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Probability For Dummies [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Rumsey
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Packed with practical tips and techniques for solving probability problems


Increase your chances of acing that probability exam -- or winning at the casino!

Whether you're hitting the books for a probability or statistics course or hitting the tables at a casino, working out probabilities can be problematic. This book helps you even the odds. Using easy-to-understand explanations and examples, it demystifies probability -- and even offers savvy tips to boost your chances of gambling success!

Discover how to
* Conquer combinations and permutations
* Understand probability models from binomial to exponential
* Make good decisions using probability
* Play the odds in poker, roulette, and other games


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Packed with practical tips and techniques for solving probability problems

Increase your chances of acing that probability exam — or winning at the casino!

Whether you're hitting the books for a probability or statistics course or hitting the tables at a casino, working out probabilities can be problematic. This book helps you even the odds. Using easy-to-understand explanations and examples, it demystifies probability — and even offers savvy tips to boost your chances of gambling success!

Discover how to

  • Conquer combinations and permutations
  • Understand probability models from binomial to exponential
  • Make good decisions using probability
  • Play the odds in poker, roulette, and other games

About the Author

Deborah Rumsey has a PhD in Statistics from The Ohio State University (1993). Upon graduating, she joined the faculty in the Department of Statistics at Kansas State University, where she won the distinguished Presidential Teaching Award and earned tenure and promotion in 1998. In 2000, she returned to Ohio State and is now a Statistics Education Specialist/Auxiliary Faculty Member for the Department of Statistics. Dr. Rumsey has served on the American Statistical Association’s Statistics Education Executive Committee and is the Editor of the Teaching Bits section of the Journal of Statistics Education. She’s the author of the books Statistics For Dummies and Statistics Workbook For Dummies (Wiley). She also has published many papers and given many professional presentations on the subject of Statistics Education. Her particular research interests are curriculum materials development, teacher training and support, and immersive learning environments. Her passions, besides teaching, include her family, fishing, bird watching, driving a new Kubota tractor on the family “farm,” and Ohio State Buckeye football (not necessarily in that order).

Product Details

  • File Size: 6118 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0471751413
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003S9VSEM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,194 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unacceptable Errors November 19, 2009
Format:Paperback
I am revising my review of this book due to the seriousness of one particular error.

On page 126, the author, Deborah Rumsey, addresses "The Famous Birthday Problem." Basically, the problem asks, "Given n people in a group, what is the probability of at least two of them sharing a birthday?"

This problem and its correct solution are well known and can be found in numerous authoritative texts such as William Feller's "Probability Theory and Its Applications" and on the Internet as well.

At first blush, Rumsey's different from the traditional approach to this problem seemed clever to me. However, upon closer examination, her method turns out to be flawed.

For example, if there were four people in the group, the correct calculation for the probability that at least two of the four people share a birthday is:

1 - (365/365)(364/365)(363/365)(362/365)

According to Rumsey's method, however, the corresponding probability would be:

1 - (364/365)(364/365)(364/365)(364/365)(364/365)(364/365)

Rumsey's "solution" is not mathematically equivalent to the first (correct) solution, although, fortuitously, the calculated results are nearly the same (0.0163559 versus 0.0163262). This difference reveals a subtle error in the logic of Rumsey's approach to the problem.

I'm rating this book with a single star because I feel that an error of logic in a book that purports to teach probability is not acceptable. I enjoyed reading Probability For Dummies, but I am disappointed that an otherwise well written, entertaining, and useful book has been stained by a fundamental error in reasoning.

Other errors in the book are:

On page 9, both the definition and example of the term "odds" are incorrect.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but really for dummies! March 11, 2008
By Yannis
Format:Paperback
I mostly enjoyed this book, and I now feel more comfortable with certain concepts that I had always tended to ignore. Gone are the days when, upon hearing the slightest complex-sounding word on probabilities, I would automatically revert to the ostrich technique. This book definitely helps you face such little words in probabilities and statistics, and it truly gives you confidence in doing so.

Yet, important as the above may be if you do not intend to use a lot of probs theory, that's about all this book does for you... Evidently, that's just not enough for someone you wants to start using probabilities. And my intuition is that, if you want to read a book on probabilities, that's because you want to use them.

Plainly, this book is a little bit too easy. I do not consider myself to be anything like beyond the mean of a normal distribution of IQ scores. And yet I constantly thought that I needed a more of two things, and less of another.
1) I needed more exercises: if one buys this, it is probably because one wants to start using probs, and exercises are the best way to start learning; and
2) I needed more text on applications: if one buys this, it is probably because they want to see how props are used in real-world and/or academic contexts.
3) Conversely, I thought I needed a little bit less of repetition: every chapter need not read as a self-standing piece, which recaps everything and then adds just a tiny little bit more. People tend to read books from the beginning to the end; they do not just open this king of books at a random page and start reading...
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little skeptical February 7, 2008
Format:Paperback
I was a little disappointed to see a mistake in the introduction, under discussion of odds. The claim made was that if a horse had a 50% chance of winning, the odds were 2 to 1. In fact the odds are 2 FOR 1 or 1 to 1. If a horse has a .50 probability of winning, it stands that it also has a .50 probability of losing. 0.50 = 0.50 therefore 1 TO 1. In a gambling setting, if someone paid you 2 to 1 odds on a .50 probablility event, they would go broke quickly. If they paid you 2 FOR 1 everyone would break even in the long run.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critique November 2, 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is an excellent introduction to the field of probability. It does not go into higher level mathematical theory, but presents the subject in easy to understand language and sticks to areas of practical application.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 4 for coverage, 2 for accuracy February 16, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall, this is a good book that serves well as a very thorough introduction to probabilities and statistical distributions. The author covers a very large domain that is probably equivalent to at least one semester course at the college level. I was surprised at the number and complexity of statistical distributions covered and at the depth of the combination and permutation topics applications.

This book should fulfill the knowledge needs of most people needing such an introduction to probabilities. The author provides all the formulas and tools needed to deal with not only basic but also fairly advanced stuff (with statistical distributions the learning curve accelerates into the advanced domain readily).

As mentioned in the title of this review, the author is not as accurate as she should have been. Some errors are permissible. Other errors are less so. Among the permissible errors are the author's treatment of the famous birthday problems. I won't bore you with the technicalities others have already well specified. In any case, the author comes up with an elegant estimate of a solution to the birthday problem. But, it is not 100% accurate. The only error the author did here is to forget to mention this was an estimation and not an accurate solution. There are many well accepted estimations to the birthday problem and the author's is as reasonably accurate as any others (I have partly checked that).

Among the errors that are less permissible, right at the beginning of the book the author completely messes up what odds are. She states that odds is the inverse of a probability. It is not. The odds is either the probability of winning divided by the probability of losing (called Odds on) or the reverse (Odds against).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good sale
Published 12 days ago by span0701
5.0 out of 5 stars Great into to probability
Easy to understand and read. Mostly covers discrete probability but does it well. The examples are quite good and build upon each other.
Published 24 days ago by Michael J. Harrison
2.0 out of 5 stars didn't like it. A dummies book needs to be for
Sorry, didn't like it. A dummies book needs to be for, well, dummies. This book wasn't as dummied as I'd of wanted. Read more
Published 2 months ago by James A. Brannan
4.0 out of 5 stars very good, but....
I agree with the other reviews about the errors in the book. Also, the book does not provide any exercises, and without practice it is very difficult, if not impossible, to concur... Read more
Published 7 months ago by NoDumbName
4.0 out of 5 stars Best quick learn material
These types of books make it much easier to learn your subject quickly while under pressure with ease! Best investment you could ever make! Very helpful
Published 16 months ago by Jamie Tronolone
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of probatility for dummies
Very user friendly and comfortable to read. The book is giving me a clear understanding of probability which I always had trouble with and will need to pass for my undergraduate... Read more
Published 17 months ago by jshatz
1.0 out of 5 stars What is lower than a dummy?
I know I am not very versed in statistics and probability, but this book makes me feel that a dummy is a higher rate than me. Can't comprhend most of the material.
Published 19 months ago by eyeman
2.0 out of 5 stars Very basic
Very basic. Useful to build some intuition, but clearly insufficient to grasp the subject. Do not reccommend it for someone looking for even a minimum technical content
Published on October 13, 2012 by HERNANDO VARGAS H
4.0 out of 5 stars Was helpful
The book was written in a very reader-friendly language and featured easy to understand examples. It breaks each concept down into separate topics that are easy to navigate... Read more
Published on October 12, 2012 by nursejulz
3.0 out of 5 stars Wordy descriptions of distributions
I had the Kindle edition, which had issues with square boxes where mathematical symbols like less than should have been. Not everywhere, but enough times to be very annoying. Read more
Published on April 18, 2012 by J. Pedersen
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More About the Author

Deborah Rumsey, PhD, is a Statistics Education Specialist and Auxiliary Faculty Member in the Department of Statistics at Ohio State University. She is also a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and has received the Presidential Teaching Award from Kansas State University. Dr. Rumsey has published numerous papers and given many professional presentations on the subject of statistics education.

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