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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from…

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data (2013)

by Charles Wheelan

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This book was ok. I did learn quite a few things. But the humour was a bit cheesy and I'm not entirely convinced that someone who has never done statistics would understand it all. There are quite a few terms I came across that I think should be have been explained. I guess it depends on the audience this book was aimed at. There was a surprisingly high percentage of words compared to diagrams and illustrations. I thought that a more visual approach would have been helpful for a lot of the material. Wheelan does have quite a good capacity to explain things using words, though. I wouldn't say the book was riveting but was better than some of the books I've looked at on statistics. I'm no expert on statistics so can't say how accurate it all was. So I'll leave that to others. ( )
  spbooks | Aug 4, 2018 |
Not bad as far as pop math goes, a bit wordy. The hardee har har humor grates. ( )
  encephalical | Apr 27, 2018 |
Stripping the dread from the data
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
It’s probably obvious, but Naked Statistics is a book about statistics. Like the title suggests, it strips back the concepts to basics in easy to understand examples. I’ve studied statistics at both undergrad and postgrad level but never really gotten into the depths of analysis. I know about the normal distribution and t- tests and p values but it’s only recently where I’ve had to rely on my knowledge to actually decipher whether studies are useful underneath the analysis. Rather than turn to a textbook, I decided to give this book a go after seeing it in a bookshop.

Naked Statistics is definitely more fun than a textbook. It starts with the very basic concepts (mean, median and mode) and works its way up to regression analysis. It builds on the concepts learned and applies them to both realistic and fantastic situations (such as bus hunting for terrorists on the hunt for food. Luckily, it just happens to be the International Festival of Sausage, which calms them down nicely). The equations and letters x, y and n are few and far between (but are included in appendices if you want to revisit them).

My favourite part of the book is the examples. Sometimes they are funny (like the International Festival of Sausage), sometimes the examples are ripped straight from the headlines. It shows the science behind the spin of predicting presidential candidates to whether going to a famous college like Harvard means you will earn more (you won’t). If you already question the media when it comes to polls, the chapter on them will be fascinating. It shows how information can be skewed using statistics to get the result you want. A lot of this relies on the samples taken – ‘garbage in, garbage out’ (i.e. if you choose a biased sample, such as supporters at a Trump rally, of course you will get a high percentage voting for him. This sample is not reflective of the entire American population).

The language that Wheelan uses to describe the concepts is easy to read and easy to understand. I had flashbacks of remembering the dry statistics from uni and it was refreshing to read them described in a different way (which was also way more interesting). I didn’t find it patronising, even the mean/median/mode section (when we had this as a 2 hour postgrad lecture, my friends and I spent the time wandering in and out, buying chips and lollies and writing notes to each other because we deemed ourselves above this). I really wish my lecturers had read this book!

However, you don’t need previous knowledge of statistics to enjoy this book. You will find that you’ve been exposed to a lot of these methods in the world around you. I enjoyed this book so much that I’m going to read Wheelan’s Naked Economics, a subject I know less about (but again, need to learn about for work reasons). I’m sure he’s going to make any subject he turns to interesting.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Sep 25, 2016 |
I started out strong in this book and then got bogged down toward the end. Part of the problem could have been that I was trying to read quickly to meet a library deadline, instead of taking the time to read this one chapter at a time and ensure I'd fully absorbed the concepts before moving on. It is well written, with clear explanations and plenty of relevant, real-life (and a few occasionally absurd) examples to illustrate how the various formulae and calculations work. Recommended if you've always wondered about the science behind such things as opinion polls, medical studies or Netflix algorithms. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 30, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393071952, Hardcover)

The best-selling author of Naked Economics defies the odds with a book about statistics that you’ll welcome and enjoy.

Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.

For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions.

And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:33 -0400)

Demystifies the study of statistics by stripping away the technical details to examine the underlying intuition essential for understanding statistical concepts.

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