Cartoon Guide to Statistics Illustrated Edition, Kindle Edition
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- Length: 230 pages
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"Gonick is so consistently witty and clever that the reader is barely aware of being given a thorough grounding." -- --Omni
"Gonick is so consistently witty and clever that the reader is barely aware of being given a thorough grounding." -- Omni --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summary and display of all data, probability in gambling and medicine, random variables, Bernoulli Trials, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing, confidence interval estimation, and much more--all explained in simple, clear, and funny illustrations. Never again will you order the Poisson Distribution in a French restaurant! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00SRYUW5O
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Illustrated edition (February 10, 2015)
- Publication date : February 10, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 95118 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 230 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #205,180 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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But if you are like me and only have basic high school stat-related stuff (basic probability etc), the book becomes frustrating at less than half its lenght because the formulas and concepts start to become more complex are not explained well enough via cartoonish style. The book then becomes annoying and irritating because one formula/concept piles on top of the previous one and from there it is all downhill, at which point I just gave up and will appeal to a more rigorous book which takes its time to explain carefully each point.
For actually learning, I think this book is good if you struggle with basic concepts like standard deviations, z-scores and dice roll probabilities. If you are taking your first stats class in college, this book by itself would maybe get you to a B (depending on the teacher). The material ends at linear regression, and doesn't say much more about it that isn't obvious, so I don't think this will teach you any techniques that would actually be useful in the real world. It will however give you part of a foundation for learning those.
I think the book falls into the common trap of similar books that try to make complicated concepts accessible. It spends way too much time overexplaining the easy parts of the subject, which is probably already not hard for most people. The middling material is not given as much attention, so is not that much easier. However I feel that stats textbooks often have a particularly bad habit of overcomplicating simple things, so relative to those this one is quite good. It will only put you to sleep a little bit. When you get to the hardest parts of the subject, the whole accessibility begins to fall apart in the face of irreducible complexity, and the veneer of simplification actually makes it harder to understand. This one ends with regression, and I found that chapter confusing despite already knowing regression. Although then again, most other stats books are even worse. However, usually when I'm looking for a simplified description of a subject, I'm interested in the simplification of the hard parts. I figure that if I need a simplified version for the easy parts, the harder parts will be hopeless anyway, so the problem is that I lack some important foundation rather than how the material is explained. Maybe the assumption is that most people never finish the book so its better if the early chapters are done best, but the early chapters of this would cover maybe your first midterm. And usually that is not the one you need help with.
Ordinarily I love concrete examples and vignettes for explaining stats because I think it's not really a complicated subject, it's just easy to get lost when you don't have the right intuition. However the cartoons and stories in this book don't really add much, they have a lot of filler that just tells a story to tell a story, and doesn't actually help explain the concept at hand. Maybe if the material was new to me they would help ward off boredom. The humor is pretty dated but to the point of being quaint, so I can't really fault it, having indeed been amused if not in the intended way. It might have been better to include humor *about* statistics, rather than barely relevant jokes that sort of tangentially reference statistics.
Statistics is the kind of subject where just learning 10% of it gives you some useful tools for understanding a few common real-world situations (including those studied by other subjects) and learning about 30% will equip you to deal with most situations you face when not deliberately looking for tough problems, ie. doing statistics research. This book gives you about 5% which is to say it teaches you enough to solve toy problems, but falls short of teaching you to apply it to real ones. For example it teaches the t-test for comparing normally distributed variables, which is indeed a very useful test. But often variables are not actually normal. There's usually some tricks you can do to fix that (eg. taking the log), but the book doesn't go into it. Or it doesn't cover the chi-square test, which is closely related and arguably comes up more often in life (and almost as often in stats exams).
As I said, if you read this book very carefully it will give you okay understanding. If you want a good understanding the best thing is probably to find someone to show it to you with realistic examples. As far as learning from books, I would consider this one a warm up before you start on the real thing.
If you're confused by statistics, or even if you're not; this book explains in a few pages what other books spend 50 pages on. And, it explains it more clearly.
Given its low price, and incredibly useful content, I'd say this is a "must" for just about everyone. If you ever go to the casino, buy a lottery ticket, or do anything else with an element of risk, this is a worthwhile read.
Oh, and if you're going to take a statistics class, reading this book *before* the first class is highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2020
It's aimed at the kind of reader who needs to use statistics but has the attitude to them which one of my colleagues at an Economics department meeting at University once parodied by saying of the title of a stats course, "That'll sound to most students like 'Come and stick your hand in a bowl of piranha fish!'"
Well, this book does cover the material in an entertaining way, and the cartoons are both relevant and amusing.
But don't imagine that this will make statistics easy. It's a reasonably good presentation of the principles of statistical analysis, put together in a humorous way. My colleagues did find it easier to pick up and read. In that sense I would guardedly describe this as a success and I'd give it four stars.
While the book does make it easier to make the effort to apply yourself to the subject, it does not magically eliminate any requirement for that intellectual effort and never could have.
In fact, if you are looking for an applied statistics or Econometrics textbook which expresses the equations and what you need to do clearly and in relatively simple language, I have read one or two - Yeomans "Studies in Applied Statistics" or Maddala's "Econometrics" spring to mind - which are easier to follow.
My main minor irritation with this book is that it is printed in a font which looks like handwriting, presumably to match the cartoons, and I find this slightly harder to read than standard typescript.
Nevertheless, it's entertaining, the stats is sound, and if you want to a stats textbook for someone who would have difficulty making themselves even pick up the average maths book, never mind read it, this may be what you're looking for.