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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data Hardcover – January 7, 2013
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“The best math teacher you never had. [Naked Statistics] is filled with practical lessons, like how to judge the validity of polls, why you should never buy a lottery ticket, and how to keep an eye out for red flags in public statements.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Naked Statistics is an apt title. Charles Wheelan strips away the superfluous outer garments and exposes the underlying beauty of the subject in a way that everyone can appreciate.” (Hal Varian, chief economist at Google)
“I cannot stress enough the importance of Americans’ need to understand statistics―the basis for a great deal of what we hear and read these days―and I cannot stress enough the value of Wheelan’s book in giving readers an approachable avenue to understanding statistics. Almost anyone interested in sports, politics, business, and the myriad of other areas in which statistics rule the roost today will benefit from this highly readable, on-target, and important book.” (Frank Newport, Gallup editor-in-chief)
“A fun, engaging book that shows why statistics is a vital tool for anyone who wants to understand the modern world.” (Jacob J. Goldstein, "Planet Money" on NPR)
“Are you one of those who dread statistics? Fear no more. Charles Wheelan’s Naked Statistics explains the intuition behind the various statistical concepts we use in an easy and accessible way.” (Raghuram Rajan, author of Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy)
“Two phrases you don’t often see together: ‘statistics primer’ and ‘rollicking good time.’ Until Charlie Wheelan got to it, that is. This book explains the way statistical ideas can help you understand much of everyday life.” (Austan Goolsbee, professor of economics at the University of Chicago and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers)
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Top Customer Reviews
One drawback: you really, really need to read the entire book from start to finish to really understand all of the concepts. This is not a reference book in which you can "jump around" or just go to the parts you have questions about.
It's like being given a prescription for antibiotics; you really need to read every chapter in the book, to "take it all." Concepts build on previous chapters, up to the final chapter. Don't stop or you will miss out!
On the other hand, this is not a book for someone who wants to quickly, at-a-glance understand probability or who wants to get a solid definition of any statistical concept, such as confidence level or regression analysis. It is not specifically a reference book.
I confess, my prejudice is for more concise information without all the "fluff." On the other hand, I work with opinion survey statistics almost every day of my worklife, so I don't need to be lured in with tales of baseball (in which I have no interest) or discussions of what's behind the doors in Let's Make a Deal. (In fact, I have never, ever seen that show.)
However, if you are in business or education or health care and don't have a complete grasp of statistics, I recommend you read this book. If you want to better understand whether you should buy a lottery ticket or buy insurance and you don't understand probability theory, I recommend this book to you.Read more ›
Though I have studied some statistics at university level this book still provided a fresh valuable perspective on many statistical issues. It also gives examples of many, often costly mistakes scientists made in the past using statistics.
The analogy I used in the title (taken from this book), really captures an important aspect of statistics. If used properly statistics can tell us if a medication, or a certain policy is effective. If used improperly, it can lead to erroneous medical advice with fatal consequences, in the literal sense.
I would recommend this book if you are taking statistics but often don't know what you are really doing or how what you are doing relates to real life issues. Alternatively, this book can also be read by people who don't know any statistics but want to understand what it is all about without having to learn to do the actual math. If you are already an advanced student in statistics and know what you are doing (and know what not to do), then this book might not be for you.
The rest of the book is also good, although I could do without the many sports examples, which were not enlightening since they required knowing (and caring) more about sports than I do. (What is a passer rating, anyway?)
Wheelan explains concepts clearly and tells why statistics and probability matter. So even, if like Wheelan, you never warmed to calculus, you can still exercise your math muscles and decide for yourself whether the latest poll or alarming statistic is credible or just another goat behind the door.
One of the most interesting segments was that explaining the reasoning and high certainty of looking good on blind taste tests using those who previously preferred a competitor's offering (eg. Coke vs. Pepsi, some beers) when there's little discernible difference between the two products. Another was his simple explanation of how random occurrences such as coin flips can make one look superior at the end of a series of selecting those getting heads - when there obviously was no difference; similarly often in eg. mutual fund performance, etc. Still another - pointing out the erroneous possibilities of claiming a DNA match when done on 9 loci (a common method) - supposedly only 1 in 113 billion, vs. the reality of thousands within a single database.
Expected values are another important topic addressed - eg. point-after-touchdown expected results vs. two-point conversions; never buy a lottery ticket or expect to come out ahead (on average) buying product insurance.
Testing for disease doesn't always make sense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In full disclosure, I am only half way through the book. I don't have the time I wish I had to read. However, the half that I have read has been excellent. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Well written and engaging read. Clearly explains all the basic statistical concept without any of the tedious math.Published 19 days ago by Vedran Lelas
Great book. Very nice introduction to statistics, even for non-math folks. I took stats about 30 years a go in graduate school and wanted a basic tune-up as I begin to get back... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Karl W. Palachuk
Great book if you haven't taken any college level statistic course. Very easy to read and enjoyable to read.Published 1 month ago by Harjot Singh