Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

!!To protect your privacy, please remember to log out when you are finished. The Log Out button is at the top of the page.!!

Naked statistics : stripping the dread from the data /

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

Main Author:
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: W.W. Norton, 2013
Edition: First edition.
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
View on New Catalog
Cover Image
Saved in:

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.


Introduction: Why I hated calculus but love statisticsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
1What's the Point?p. 1
2Descriptive Statistics: Who was the best baseball player of all time?p. 15
Appendix to Chapter 2p. 34
3Deceptive Description: "He's got a great personality!" and other true but grossly misleading statementsp. 36
4Correlation: How does Netflix know what movies I like?p. 58
Appendix to Chapter 4p. 65
5Basic Probability: Don't buy the extended warranty on your $99 printerp. 68
51/2 The Monty Hall Problemp. 90
6Problems with Probability: How overconfident math geeks nearly destroyed the global financial systemp. 95
7The Importance of Data: "Garbage in, garbage out"p. 110
8The Central Limit Theorem: The Lebron James of statisticsp. 127
9Inference: Why my statistics professor thought I might have cheatedp. 143
Appendix to Chapter 9p. 164
10Polling: How we know that 64 percent of Americans support the death penalty (with a sampling error ± 3 percent)p. 169
Appendix to Chapter 10p. 183
11Regression Analysis: The miracle elixirp. 185
Appendix to Chapter 11p. 208
12Common Regression Mistakes: The mandatory warning labelp. 212
13Program Evaluation: Will going to Harvard change your life?p. 225
Conclusion: Five questions that statistics can help answerp. 241
Appendix: Statistical softwarep. 257
Notesp. 261
Indexp. 269

Review by Choice Review

Given the increasing role of statistics in various areas, many professionals find that they need to make effective decisions based on data. Clearly recognizing this need, Wheelan (Univ. of Chicago; journalist) has provided an intuitive presentation of statistical concepts without getting bogged down by extensive data lists or computation. The author begins by generally introducing each idea with an idealized situation to illustrate that statistical setting and its impact on effective interpretation, and then moves on to current real-world settings to legitimize his discussion. He also clearly discusses subtleties that can be encountered, showing how data users must be careful to avoid oversimplifying the implications of a given result. The presentation is nonthreatening, yet readers will find it a suitably thoughtful consideration of statistical ideas. Many will appreciate that Wheelan accomplishes this masterfully with a minimal number of formulas, generally relegated to footnotes. The conclusion is a capstone consideration of five disparate areas such as the recent increase in children with autism and the difficultly in assessing teacher effectiveness, which nicely pulls together his overall presentation. Valuable for nonexperts who need a firmer grasp of what statistics is all about. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, general readers, and professionals/practitioners. N. W. Schillow formerly, Lehigh Carbon Community College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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 [offer] 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. (Jan. 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.

Similar Items