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Introducing Statistics

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ISBN-13: 978-1848310568
ISBN-10: 1848310560
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eileen Magnello trained and worked as a statistician before doing her doctorate in the history of science at St Antony's College, Oxford. She has published extensively on the life and statistical innovations of the Victorian statistician Karl Pearson and is a Research Associate at University College London. Bill Mayblinhas illustrated a number of Introducing titles including Derrida and Logic.
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Product Details

  • Series: Introducing
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books (October 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848310560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848310568
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eldon Nash on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Not everything in this book is bad: the historical information is very interesting. (The author has a PhD in the history of science.)

Unfortunately, however, the book is riddled with blunders and misconceptions, obfuscations and inaccuracies.

Consider just one topic: the standard deviation -- pretty important when it comes to understanding statistics.

We are told that the standard deviation 'indicates how widely or closely spread the values are in a set of a data' (fine so far, apart from the typo of an extra 'a'), and then that it 'shows how far each of these individual values deviate from the average'. No: as a single summary figure, the standard deviation cannot possibly give information on 'each of these individual values'. (That is not its purpose, of course; indeed it almost the exact opposite of its purpose.)

The accompanying graphic carries the information that the 'standard deviation ... corresponds to the moment of inertia ... of dynamics'. No: it corresponds to the radius of gyration. And we are told that the moment of inertia is 'a geometrical property of a beam, and a measure of the beam's ability to resist buckling or bending'. Oh dear! Clearly the author's grasp of mechanics is no better than her grasp of statistics.

The formula for the standard deviation is then given -- but it is typeset incorrectly!

Next, the standard deviation for a set of data (with mean 8) is calculated (correctly!) as 2.82. The accompanying comment is 'This means that the average amount of deviation in this set of data is 2.82 units away from the mean value of 8 and that, therefore, there is a small amount of variation in this sample'. There appears to be no explanation of the criterion by which the variation is deemed large or small.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Francis de Sales on February 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is exactly what it says it is, an introduction to statistics. It is meant to attract people to the field rather than drive them away. It is a great review of the history, philosophy, and purpose of statistics, the development of the various statistical concepts and how they relate to real-life problems. I loved the historical parts dealing with the women and men behind the science Given how pervasive and ubiquitous statistics have become in fields of study, work and even play, this book should be a required reading to any novice statistician or anyone whose life and/or work are touched by this very important field. A next great stop would be a book called "The Lady Tasting Tea" by David Salsburg and "The Unfinished Game" by Devlin. If you want to read more I recommend "The Theory that Wouldn't Die" by McGrayne.
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By Owl on February 23, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a person with very little background in statistics I found this book to be very informative, mathematically educational, and enjoyable.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Russell S on April 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
[...]

While I visited family in Louisville last week, I browsed through Carmichael's bookstore, of the last independent book sellers in the city. I ran into a section of books called "Introducing .... A Graphic Guide." The titles ranged from Introducing Freud: A Graphic Guide to Introducing Buddha: A Graphic Guide. The one on statistics caught my eye, so I bought it and read it over the next couple days.

Unfortunately, the book disappointed, in two major ways. First, it discussed the history of statistics far more than offering an introduction. Every two pages, it seemed, the authors introduced a new figure in the development of statistics. While that history provided some useful color, it also meant that more topics were covered, and in a superficial way, than I expected in an introductory book. Indeed, the book ran through: variation, the name `statistics,' vital vs. mathematical statistics, demography, polar area graphs, Florence Nightingale's role in developing statistics, probability, relative frequency, Poisson Distribution, the Gaussian Curve and the Principle of Least Squares, samples vs. populations, methods of moments, Galton's Dilemma, the tau coefficient, and about 20 other concepts. As new ideas came thick and fast as the pages turned, I found my eyes glazing over, and my mind unable to keep up with the quick explanations of dozens of concepts.

In addition, the book attracted me as a `graphic guide.' While it does contain a few helpful graphics, by and large, the graphics distracted from the material. Bobble-heads, odd designs and fonts, and vaguely relevant drawings dominated the pages. As I read, I kept coming back to Edward Tufte's admonition that design follows content. This book included pictures for pictures' sake, and large ones.
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