Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data Hardcover – 5 Feb 2013
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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
Charles Wheelan, a professor at Dartmouth College (and a former Chicago correspondent for The Economist), does something unique here: he makes statistics interesting and fun. His book strips the subject of its complexity to expose the sexy stuff underneath. --The Economist
About the Author
Charles Wheelan teaches at Dartmouth College and is the author of the internationally best-selling Naked Economics (ISBN 978 0 393 33764 8).
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Top Customer Reviews
The first two thirds of the book is particularly good, breezing competently through key statistical concepts up to and including the Central Limit Theorem.
Many people may be drawn to the book because of the growing importance of 'big data'. Wheelan takes this topic on board with a focus on regression analysis, and is not afraid to discuss the pitfalls as well as the benefits of the more abstract 'darker' arts of statistics. However, given the choice between a candid acknowledgements of the fundamental limitations of statistics and an uncomplicated view that 'as long as its done well all will be fine', Wheelan goes in the simpler, more positive direction, even when cheerfully supporting claims that over half of the top-flight peer reviewed scientific papers that draw conclusions from the techniques he proposes are likely to be wrong.
Instead, Wheelan argues that brilliant statistical research simply requires brilliant researchers (guess who?) - and that brilliance is not about being good at the maths, but about a having a creative and intuitive grasp of what works. There are two problems with this. One is that observant readers may well spot flaws in the exemplars Wheelan presents as brilliant.Read more ›
I wasn't expecting much, but Wheelan blew me away with the awesomeness which he squeezed into this book. If it isn't already, this should be on the reading list of every undergraduate at University. Heck, it should be on EVERYONES' reading list! It starts with an introduction to the basics and progresses into more advanced material. All along the way, he explains all of the concepts extremely well and uses examples to get the point across. It's a shame a lot of his examples are Americanized, but you still get the point he's trying to make.
As a graduate student, I kept up with this and found it a useful refresher and something which I can revisit to clarify topics in the future on a couple of the more advanced points. But, being honest, this is approachable for anybody with an interest in statistics and its usefulness in everyday life. If you have a really basic knowledge, you might have to re-read some of the concluding chapters once or twice, but Wheelan writes very well so I wouldn't expect this to be much of a chore.
Just to conclude, it's a shame that more statistics book aren't like this. He makes a terrifying subject A LOT more approachable and something (SHOCK!) that we can find fun in! Wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone.
My only criticism is that in the Kindle edition the equations themselves are unreadably small, but they are not essential for a casual reader.
Wheelan lays out his stall pretty early, making it clear that he's not a numbers for their own sake person. Numbers to him are only of any interest if there's a point, and he proceeds to explain why statistics are, in the final analysis, potentially a useful and friendly set of devices for explanation and, quite importantly, identification of potentially the best way to respond to a problem or need in government or business. In generally clear language he explains the basics of descriptive statistics, correlation, probability, polling and regression analysis, as well as outlining some common pitfalls and how they may be circumvented.
The writing style is clear and lively, and the examples he uses are practical and engaging, although the sports examples are very much oriented to the American reader, with abundant reference to Lebron James, quarterback ratings and at bat averages. In some ways, from that point of view it's something of a complement to Scorecasting, a book that applies principles of behavioural economics to sports (explaining, amongst other things, the reason for "Fergie time" and home field advantage).
But it isn't by any means all sports.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Readable, engaging and pretty thorough. Only slight problem for a British reader is the use of baseball stats that are a bit baffling!Published 3 months ago by RB
very easy to read and well-explained. Good for a very simple introduction to statsPublished 5 months ago by LJ
Good book. After taking several statistics classes, with this book I was finally able to really understand some fundamental theoretical conceptsPublished 6 months ago by Pedro DC C
Author has used a great way to describe to public, that statistical analysis is great tool. And wish such great tool comes great responsibility. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Martin Bodocky
Surprisingly good if slightly superficial look at statistics. Statistics in Plain English by Urdan is probably a better book, but this is a nice easy read nonetheless. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer