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Essentials of Statistics, or "How I Learned to Hate Statistics"
on November 29, 2012
I absolutely 100% hate this book. I've actually given serious thought to burning it in my fireplace. To put that in perspective, I enjoy math and have a cherished selection of math books at home, all of them of a higher level than this (but not on statistics).
I gave this book two stars instead of one because it does in fact contain useful information about statistics. But good luck gathering that information in any expedient way. The author is talkative to a fault. The effect it has in this book is to hide the useful information such that the reader must dig for it and therefore waste time. In one instance, it took this author two pages to develop an idea, whereas a different author was able to do so in half a page. So I try to skim the book to avoid the useless reading, and pause to take in the main points. However, the main points seem to be often hidden by more useless things, such as him repeating things the reader should already know. The book therefore seems bloated and redundant rather than iterative and elucidating. Much of the stuff the author spends so much time saying would be immediately obvious if said in a more direct way. (Again, talkative to a fault.) To top this all off, the visual layout of the book is more of a hindrance than a help. Good books use spacing, size, color, and typeface to help highlight important things the reader should learn. This book offers an attempt at that with dorky little mid-1990's-Internet-style buttons and shapes which distract me from paying attention to the important parts of the book, and if not for the generous margins, would feel altogether claustrophobic. The result is, it's more complicated than it ought to be to learn anything from this book.
Obviously this is my own opinion, and I am probably in the minority of people wishing I had a statistics book with more (and more rigorous) math in it. I've just never hated a textbook more than Triola's "Essentials of Statistics," and I say that as someone who keeps most of his textbooks. I hope someone out there finds this book more enjoyable than I, because I would not wish this experience on anyone.