Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from Data by Charles Wheelan

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by charles WheelanSummary: A little understanding can be worse than no understanding.

Part of my job is dealing with statistics for program evaluation for a non-profit.  So I have to think about how to accurately look at statistics quite frequently.

Naked Statistics is a very good introduction to the proper use (and lots of examples of improper use) of statistics.  This is intended for the average person and while it includes a little bit of math, the main focus is trying to help the reader develop an intuition for how statistics are supposed to work and be used and not really explain the math behind how they work.

What is particularly useful is the large number of relevant examples.  Wheelan discusses Netflix recommendations, political polling, medical research, probability using lottery and other gambling games and a many other areas where statistics are commonly used, which in our world is almost everything area of life.

In our technocratic world, and one where advocacy groups often misuse statistics, it is very important that everyone have a basic understanding of statistics.  I have read several other intro to statistics books like this to particularly remind myself how statistics are often misused.  This is probably the best one I have read, both because of the relevant examples and because of the frequent use of humor.

It probably could have been cut a little bit, but I read the most recent edition that was updated last year and includes a number of up to date examples from recent economics, politics and technology.

I listened to the audiobook version and it was very well done, but there were several places that charts or graph would have made it easier to follow.  There was an associated PDF with the audiobook, but I listen to audiobook when I often can’t spend time looking at a PDF.  There were only a couple places where I thought it mattered (and with most of them I knew what was trying to be explained), but it is something to pay attention to if you have less experience with statistics.

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data Purchase Links: PaperbackKindle Audiobook

Other related Reviews:

Leave a Comment