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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Databy Charles Wheelan
Synopses & Reviews
Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly transforming into a discipline that Hal Varian at Google has actually called "sexy." And with good reason — from batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics is growing by leaps and bounds. In Naked Statistics, Charles Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details to get at the underlying intuition that is so key to understanding the power of statistical concepts. 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? Statistics can be used to tackle these questions and others that are incredibly important and relevant to us today. With the trademark wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan brings another essential discipline to life with that one-in-a-million statistics book that you'll read for pleasure.
"Wheelan (Naked Economics) offers a helping hand and a humorous perspective to everyone who's ever felt confused, lied to, or just plain lost when it comes to statistics, those handy data sets used to determine everything from batting averages and trends on Wall Street to the quality of a school and which door you should pick if you're playing Let's Make a Deal. The author shows how statistics like the mean and the median are used to summarize and find patterns in large collections of data, and in later chapters he consider how statistics are used to assess large-scale economic risk and to find important connections between different sets of data, like those that allow Netflix to offer reasonable movie recommendations. Throughout, Wheelan stresses how statistics 'rarely a single 'right' answer;' indeed, when deployed carelessly or deliberately misused, they can sometimes obscure the truth. Furthermore, the author reminds readers that while data can be used to help make better decisions, 'even the most precise measurements or calculations should be checked against common sense.' Wheelan's relatively mathless real world examples (he sequesters equations in appendixes) and wry style — heavily seasoned with pop culture references — make for a fun and illuminating read. Agent: Tina Bennett, William Morris Endeavor." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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
"Are you one of those who dread statistics? Fear no more. Charles Wheelan’s Naked Statistics explains the intuition behind the various statistical concepts we use in an easy and accessible way." Raghuram Rajan, author of Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy
"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
"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
The best-selling author of Naked Economics defies the odds with a book about statistics that you'll welcome and enjoy.
About the Author
Charles Wheelan is the author of Naked Statistics and the internationally best-selling Naked Economics. He teaches at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.
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