Top critical review
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Teach yourself how to avoid being confused by medical stats
on 1 September 2003
This book takes a simple premise - that ordinary people, even scientists and doctors - are frequently confused by statistics. The author shows how it is possible to reduce this confusion by presenting the statistics in a different format. In particular, the book concentrates on medical statistics, dispelling a number of myths about the effectiveness of certain treatments and the risk of certain diseases.
In fact, the treatment of the topic is repetitive. Each chapter tends to prove the same thing, without offering any new insights. Although a few revelations about the number of incidences of some diseases (including HIV and breast cancer) are interesting, there is a risk that some readers could use these to justify taking (or not taking) treatment without really understanding the issues involved - precisely what the author is striving to avoid.
The most interesting chapter of all is the one on games, which offers potentially hours of endless fun for the reader, who can use the techniques described therein to win money off colleagues!