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Thinking Statistically Paperback – February 26, 2013
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Why do the Geico ads make no sense? Is your boss really as ignorant as you think, or is there something else at work? Is your girlfriend cheating on you?
Read this book (it's a quick one) to figure out how to approach these (and other) questions with some statistical rigor. It's a fun read.
=== The Good Stuff ===
*Bram's section on selection and sampling biases is dead-on. He uses simple examples and drives home his points. In my applications, this is one of the more important areas for training. We never let junior manufacturing technicians do complex statistical analysis, but we often give them tremendous latitude in sampling plans.
=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===
* The author loses his touch when it comes to the Bayesian theorem. He gets the statistics correct, but the explanation is very wordy and plagued by several convoluted sentences. Further, in his desire to make sure there is "no math", he turns what could be a relatively simple set of equations into paragraphs of text. I understand the concepts, but had to read it several times to make sure I understood where he was going.
=== Summary ===
Those are really the only two topics covered in the short book. If you are buying it to learn statistics, or as a study aid, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Perhaps the most useful section of the book is where the author describes how a 99% effective medical test for a relatively rare disease is roughly as useful as flipping a coin. It should be a required reprint in every Doctor's office.
I happened to like Uri's style, though I agree that he goes a bit overboard with cutesy. But I think he's done this because statistics often is one of the more boring, and intimidating, topics anyone could write a book about. This book, not Uri, gets 4 stars for two reasons: 1) it separates concept from theory and formulas and 2) for being accessible, interesting, topical and pretty fun to read, especially in less than 50 pages. Bravo, Uri.
I highly recommended this book, especially for: beginning students looking to get some initial motivation to study statistics or a short, fun intro to key concepts (or eager parents who want to encourage interest in statistics); intermediate/advanced students who want to get more excited by the subject matter or are looking for intuitive explanations of the concepts covered in the book (selection bias, endogeneity, Bayes Theorem); and anyone who wants to seem smart at dinner parties.
*They will learn why they likely won't save money by switching to Geico.
Great book though.