- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 13, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039334777X
- ISBN-13: 978-0393347777
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (391 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data 1st Edition
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“While a great measure of the book’s appeal comes from Mr. Wheelan’s fluent style―a natural comedian, he is truly the Dave Barry of the coin toss set―the rest comes from his multiple real world examples illustrating exactly why even the most reluctant mathophobe is well advised to achieve a personal understanding of the statistical underpinnings of life.” (New York Times)
“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)
“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)
About the Author
Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. If you read media and want to have a better understanding of polls, scientific experiments, clinical trials and don't understand statistics, then I recommend this book to you.
If this book piques your interest in the topics, I suggest you next obtain a couple of the more traditional, "duller" stat books that you can use as handy references for specific concepts. Of course, if you already have that much interest in stats, you probably already have those books. Or you know where to go online to find reference materials.
There are a few tiny, tiny little things that could have been better. I think he could have included the "name" for symbols, such as sigma when he first introduced them. Also, I don't like the way he would "jump" back and forth on examples.
Overall, I recommend this book.
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.
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