Customer Reviews: Statistics For Dummies
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VINE VOICEon September 21, 2007
Statistics for Dummies is an excellent overview of the fundamentals of statistics for those who have forgotten some of what they previously learned, those whose instructors left them dazed and confused, or those who just need a quick reference. Like all of the "for Dummies" books, it's not really intended to be a comprehensive instructional program or a definitive reference book. In my view, the book does exactly what it's intended to do.

Several reviewers have mentioned the lack of examples or exercises. They're right; however, there is a companion volume by the same author, Statistics Workbook for Dummies, that solves that problem. Why didn't they do it all in one book? Probably because it would have totaled over 600 pages.

So, this book won't teach you statistics from scratch, but it is a very good introductory level overview of the subject. Like all of the Dummies books, the format is attractive, the organization is clear, and the information is presented in small, easily digestible blocks. More importantly, the author uses just the right approach. She is both thorough and authoritative, but she doesn't assume much expertise among the readers. At the same time, she's never condescending.

This book is well worth the cost, and I recommend it highly.
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on May 31, 2006
This book covers material that would be found in the early to mid-level phases of a college Statistics course. I was hoping for a deeper refresher, short of re-reading my college texts and notes, and this wasn't the place to find it.

Nonetheless, there are positives worth considering. This book spends a good amount of time discussing normal distributions, the errors encountered in sampling a population, and the testing of hypotheses based on sample statistics. In particular, the explanations for using a Z-distribution or t-distribution were much clearer than any I'd ever read in several university texts. In fact, the textual descriptions are among the most valuable portions of the book, in part because the quantitative portions are scarce.

On the bad side, waaay too much space is devoted to public surveys and the confidence you should or should not place in them. Those chapters could have been condensed into a single entry, and the repeated examples of misleading or incorrect statistical measures were not necessary. There's also virtually nothing on probabilities, the study of which is usually linked to statistics in the introductory courses.

There's simply not enough valuable material to make this a good choice for college prep or refresher material, and as an introductory text, you'll find better alternatives as well.
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on July 30, 2004
I agree that this is a fair OVERVIEW. But where the entire Dummies series focuses on making complex topics simple and practical, this book fall short. For instance, there is very little value in the Probabilities section; the examples used as so simplistic that they cannot be applied by the reader to any larger question. Want to know the odds of something happening with multiple independent trials? Want to really understand games of chance or card games? Want to figure out for yourself the likelihood of being called on in class over the course of a week? This book can't help you answer these questions. No formulas for individual or multiple trials, dependent or independent events, or the like are presented to enable you to use the examples that are given.

As for general statistics, again this is a fair vehicle to understand statistics in their application, not so good at explaining how they are derived or allowing the reader to apply the information.

In the end I gave this book to my college-bound daughter and she will use it as a companion guide in her stats class. It remains to be seen whether it will add any value even there.

Not a waste of money for someone wanting to understand stats in the media and the like, but certainly a disappointment if you want a refresher on how to crunch the numbers yourself.
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on March 5, 2006
As an early elementary education undergraduate in the late 70's, I was not required to take a statistics course. Now that I have raised my family, have earned my masters degree and am working on my doctorate, I came to realize how much I did not know about statistics. I also came to realize how much I would NEED to KNOW about them.

After reading my one chapter on the basics of statistics in Gall, Gall, and Borg "Educational Research," I panicked. I ran up a bookstore (sorry Amazon, I needed it immediately) and found your book. It has provided me with a solid foundation so that I now

can go back to Gall, Gall, and Borg without feeling like I am lost.

The funniest thing happened in my online discussion. I mentioned that I had purchased your book to help me. One other class member mentioned that he purchased it before the course started because he had read ahead in the syllabus, and another student asked me for the ISBN number so she could order it.. :)

Thanks again!
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on September 29, 2003
This author is great, and the book has helped me tremendously! There are tons of problems in the book, and the author walks us step by step through the calculations. If you want to understand statistics, I would recommend this book.
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on September 14, 2003
Deborah Rumsey has obviously written this book for the professional because there are no examples of any kind to be found in the book. If your looking for a book that shows examples of how to work the formulas for statistics then I highly recommend Shaum's Statistics third edition. Statistics for Dummies is a real disappointment to the dummies series of books.
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on January 30, 2006
This book amply warns against the many pitfalls of applied statistics - and does so extremely well.

Unfortunately, the author does a poor job explaining the fundamentals of statistics. Although she discusses items like deviation, sample deviation and standard error, the reader is left at a loss how they all fit together. We do not get a coherent view of the basics of statistics! Her obsession to turn every chapter into an "autonomous" text is partly to blame, and doesn't really work because cross-references are all over the place (always a telltale sign of a badly structured text)

Apparently this book is aimed at the general audience, and its main purpose seems to be teaching 'the rest of us' "statistics literacy". For that I give the author 4 stars.

But as an introduction to statistics for the serious 'statistics student' this book fails.
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on July 26, 2005
This book is well organized, contains meaningful examples, explains concepts in conversational English, and shows step-by-step how to work problems. You can go to any chapter and start reading -- all concepts not pertaining to that chapter are carefully referenced.

The author's patience, kindness and humor are evident in her examples of how stats permeate our everyday lives. I ended up thinking this would be a fun person to hang out with - not exactly what I expected of an author of a book on statistics.

While shopping, I glanced through about a dozen stats books and had about 3 "maybes". Then I saw this one, and it was a slam-dunk. After a short time with it, I decided to remain in enrolled in a stats class I was about to drop.
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on March 14, 2006
This text is a wonderful introductory work to the terms and reasoning used in statistical analysis, but it also provides something most books on statistics lack: the ability to explain in simple, clear words which tests are available, when to use them and WHY to use them as compared to one another. It's entertaining to read, easy to understand and excites the interest for further exploration of the subject, which is probably the best thing a book can do.
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on October 22, 2005
I was doing terrible in my stats class until I got this book. It really helped me understand how to do things and helped me see what I had been doing wrong. I got this as well as the workbook and between the two, I was able to make it through my class just fine. I highly recommend both this and statistics workbook for dummies.
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