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

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  4,757 Ratings  ·  492 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published January 7th 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published December 31st 2012)
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Jun 14, 2013 DonkeyPopsicle rated it it was amazing
There are many popular science books that try to teach basic statistical concepts, but more often than not they fall into the awful popular science trope of narrative over concepts that Malcolm Gladwell introduced into science writing and then Jonah Lehrer perfected into an awful, horrible art. Take Nate Silver's lauded book 'The Signal and the Noise'. Each chapter is about some specific area of prediction, and along the way some statistical concepts are introduced but rarely elaborated [I will ...more
Jun 26, 2013 Herve rated it really liked it
I have already talked about statistics here, and not in good terms. It was mostly related to Nicholas Nassim Taleb`s works, The Black Swan and Antifragile. But this does not mean statistics are bad. They may just be dangerous when used stupidly. It is what Charles Wheelan explains among other things in Naked Statistics. Naked Statistics belongs to the group of Popular Science. Americans often have a talent to explain science for a general audience. Wheelan has it too. So if you do not know about ...more
Robert J.
Apr 17, 2013 Robert J. rated it it was ok
I couldn't get through this book, mainly because I know too much about statistics and I know too much about the specific examples he gives to illustrate his points. Unfortunately, while at times Wheelan does convey the underlying concepts of probability and statistics in a way that would help you understand them at a basic level, he does so in what I would regard as a patronizingly oversimplified way. If you compare this book to Nate Silver's book on prediction or, indeed, to the book he says mo ...more
Rakibul Islam
Jun 09, 2014 Rakibul Islam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
এই বইটি কিনডেলে সারচ করে কিনতে গিয়ে ভুলে কিনে ফেলেছিলাম নযাকেড ইকোনোমিকস। একই রকম নাম এবং হুবহু একই রকমের পরচছদই এই ভুলের কারণ। সে যাই হোক, নযাকেড সটাটিসটিকস বইটি সুখপাঠয, পড়ে ভালো লেগেছে। বহুল বযবহৃত সটাটিসটিকযাল এনালিটিক মেথড গুলো দৈননদিন জীবনের খুব সহজ উদাহরন দিয়ে আলোচনা করা হয়েছে। বেশ কিছু মজার সমসযা আলোচনা করা হয়েছে যেমন, অসুসথ মানুষের অসুখ কাটিয়ে উঠার উপর অনয মানুষেদের দোয়ার পরভাব আছে কিনা সেটা বের করার জনয পরিসংখযান বযাবহার করতে গেলে কি কি ঝামেলায় পড়তে হয়। হারভারড বিশববিদযালয় থেকে পাশ করা ...more
Sep 21, 2012 Jenne rated it liked it
This is not the most exciting book ever, but it's way more exciting than you would think for a book about statistics.
More importantly, people: YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS STUFF. This is how you separate the lies from the damn lies from the nonsense that TV news shows spew at you. I don't care if you read THIS one, but please just fucking read a book about statistics. THANK you.
May 15, 2016 Sebastian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical, math
This book is brilliant! Although, I'd say that I already have a relatively solid statistics background (currently doing computational biology and machine learning research), I got a lot out of it: Beyond the basic concepts (sampling, central limit theorem, hypothesis testing, linear and multiple linear regression, just to name a few), it is very rich in useful, hands-on examples. I'd even go so far and would recommend it as a first book for someone who is new to the field -- prior to reading any ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Jul 26, 2015 Elizabeth Theiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amusing, clear, and even fun introduction to basic statistics and probability, this gem explains foundational concepts and provides compelling examples to illuminate them. It covers correlation, normal distributions, the central limit theorem, significance, standard error, multiple regression, and so on in a way that math-phobes can likely handle without panic attacks. I wish I had read this before taking grad stats.

The truth is that students of statistics today can use Excel, SPSS, Stata an
Feb 09, 2013 Jacob rated it really liked it
Another good Wheelan, similar to Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. There are a few topics that overlap a bit, but the author does a good job of keeping them separate. This has much of the personal anecdotes / history that make the topic more interesting, and the author includes more silly scenarios in this one which keep you engaged, such as the continually missing & crashing buses of marathon runners and sausage festival attendees. Unfortunately, the third quarter of the book ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Caity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a mathematics and statistics teacher, of course I am inclined to enjoy a statistics book. There were times I found myself a bit bored because I was being explained basic statistical concepts of which I already possess a wider understanding.

This book is an excellent recommendation to students just starting statistics as it gives practical and engaging examples of statistics and easy to follow. For those who already have a broad understanding of statistical topics as well as commonly used e
Aug 10, 2014 Patrik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How good is this book? After reading "Naked Statistics" I wanted to teach an introductory statistics course!

I could see myself engaging the students with really cool stories, confuse them with fun probability examples, only to wittily explain it clearly a minute later. I would pursue the connection between probability and inference and they would all clearly understand hypothesis testing. I would give great tales of statistics being misused and the students and I would chuckle together over how
May 23, 2013 Dale rated it really liked it
Very engaging.

There are 3 categories of readers who would enjoy or benefit from this book:

1. People who are generally curious about things and want to know why someone might say that statistics is becoming 'sexy'.

2. People who are just starting a statistics 101 class, or are about to, and would like some motivation.

3. People who know a fair bit about statistics but who would like a little perspective and history.

Wheelan, as advertised, is an entertaining writer who sort of draws you in with litt
Khalid Alnaqbi
I recommend this book for those who don't know anything about statistics, but not for those who took statistics course (,quantitative business analysis, or maybe stochastic). To be fair, I have benefited from the examples that he provided.
Kerem Bozdaş
Jun 05, 2014 Kerem Bozdaş rated it really liked it
Good introductory material. Fun to read at times. Could be a little redundant if you're familiar with examples & concepts, yet still beneficial to go through. It won't teach you statistics, but it will give you hints regarding the underlying intuition.
Nov 04, 2013 Mani rated it it was amazing
Great way to learn or update your intuitive models of statistics with practical examples.
Dec 28, 2016 GrimMandarin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to how data are used, misused, and abused. Well worth a read if you are even remotely interested in such things.
Mal Warwick
Feb 11, 2013 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
Understand how Netflix, Wall Street, and economists use (and misuse) statistics

In the unfolding Age of Big Data, no one who hopes to understand the way the world works can afford to be ignorant of statistical methods. Not a day goes by that statistical analysis isn’t behind some front-page story — in politics, sports, business, or even entertainment. The statistical concepts of probability, sampling, and statistical validity, once considered obscure and of interest only to geeks wearing pocket p
May 16, 2016 Philipp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, statistics
A very fun book about statistics, with a unique tone, featuring everything that can go wrong and does go wrong in everyday stats. He slowly introduces the reader step by step into how (basic) statistics works, he takes a tiny step into new knowledge and then immediately gives you tons of examples for this tiny new step so that you can understand what's going on - it's amazing from a didactic standpoint, because ever so slowly, without ever stating so in the beginning, he deduces the "basic" logi ...more
Adam Zerner
As for the actual concepts and ideas that are talked about, if you are familiar with statistics, it probably won’t be anything new to you (take a look at the table of contents). However, everything is explained pretty intuitively, which may help the concepts to “stick” better. Also, the stories are all interesting and well chosen (like most popular books, there is a lot of storytelling).

Statistics-relevant takeaways:
- The phrasing that the mean is “sensitive to outliers”.
- I think the standard d
Apr 27, 2013 Mommalibrarian rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This books shows no calculations and a very small number of formulas.

"The point of statistics is not to do myriad rigorous mathematical calculations; the point is to gain insight into meaningful social phenomena. Statistical inference is really just the marriage of two concepts that we've already discussed: data and probability (with a little help from the central limit theorem)." Given this emphasis I think almost anyone, with no background in statistics, could get a good feel for the meaning
Fred Forbes
Mar 17, 2013 Fred Forbes rated it really liked it
In my profession in the financial field I stay on the lookout for books that may make it easier to explain some of the concepts I use to the clients I work with so picked this one up to see how it handled statistical analysis and regression. I had long been a fan of the classic "How to Lie With Statistics" by Darrell Huff written in the 50's and this book is "an homage" to that work. I enjoyed it because I like statistics and I think the average reader will enjoy it but they may want to shy away ...more
Leland William
Mar 30, 2015 Leland William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be recommended as a companion to introductory statistics classes.

Wheelan is an excellent writer and balances the accuracy and precision needed to talk about statistics with an easy-going and humorous style. Like any well-balanced popular science book, this one comes chock full of anecdotes and stories to help solidify the concepts explored in the text. In this book Wheelan tackles descriptive statistics, probability, inference, polling, regression and the various ways to perver
Jun 13, 2014 Alanoud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Definitely one of the very good books I have read recently. Whether you are a statistics geek or simply interested in research and studies, you would fall for this book.

It basically focuses on two aspects; first, explaining some fundamental concepts in statistics like Regression Analysis, Standard Deviation...etc and showing how these concepts are applied in real-life cases. On the other hands, it discusses the hidden pitfalls associated with using these tools/concepts.

I have always believed t
Billie Pritchett
Mar 30, 2013 Billie Pritchett rated it it was amazing
I won't pretend to have retained all the information in Charles Wheelan's Naked Statistics, but I do however think that Wheelan's book will serve as a useful reference book for me regarding the purpose and power of probability and statistics and how they can serve as powerful tools for very practical problems. Wheelan demonstrates that statistics basically provide people with a tool for a precise measurement of something people think worthy of measuring, for example the effects of smaller class ...more
Chris Bauer
May 03, 2013 Chris Bauer rated it really liked it
I'm not a stats guy. In my day job I have to use them quite a bit for analytics and other business intelligence applications, but most users / customers are perfectly content to just "see pretty pictures" instead of truly understanding the metrics and statistics behind them.

Wheelan does an excellent job of explaining not just *what* a specific aspect of statistics is, but why and how it is used in practice. And he goes all out to inject humor and anecdotes into the chapters of the book.

I can't c
Feb 17, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-issues
Very well done, engaging examination of statistics, explained simply for the non-statistician. Really valuable information. Wheelan has a way of using examples--many hilarious--to explain statistical principles. He doesn't dive too deeply into the technical details and equations--a lot of this is in appendices at the end of chapters, but those of us who have had statistics can still get a lot out of the good explanations and "big picture" analysis. This would be especially good, though, for thos ...more
Trey Hunner
Nov 09, 2014 Trey Hunner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This book largely focuses on (often humorously) explaining statistics intuitively and demonstrating the huge variety of ways that Statistics is used and misused. Baseball stats are mentioned multiple times throughout the book to help make analogies. I don't know anything about baseball, but I didn't find these segues too distracting.

This book explains the Gambler's fallacy, the Monty Hall problem, how information can (and can't) be extracted from population samples, how DNA evidence is used/abus
This is a readable, enjoyable and accessible book that will teach you the fundamentals behind Statistics. And if you are at all interested in the new world of analytics or data science (or at least have to work with those that do) you need to have a grounding in this subject matter. Charles Wheelan does an excellent job of taking you by the hand and explaining terms like descriptive statistics, predictive analytics, the basics of probability and polling. Doesn’t sound all that fun? Well, you hav ...more
Kyle Montgomery
Nov 30, 2016 Kyle Montgomery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook edition) I have a Bachelors in Math, which I get to use day-to-day less often than I'd like. Therefore I was excited when I stumbled upon Charles Wheelan's book and read a few reviews. It did not disappoint. Wheelan's exploration, expertly and entertainingly narrated by Jonathan Davis, reintroduced me to many statistical concepts while reaffirming others. The real-world anecdotes were pertinent; the hypothetical ones were enjoyably farcical. It spent a bit longer on very-basic statist ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok
I was too frustrated with the author's tone to finish. He introduces the book by explaining why he doesn't like calculus. He recalls "schooling" his high school calculus teacher when his class was given the wrong version of the AP Calculus exam. The story felt unfitting and painted the author as a punk, and the tone continues. To paraphrase an example of accuracy vs. precision, "'Go through two lights, take a left at the second light and I'm the tthird house on the right' is accurate, 'I live 4. ...more
Paron Sarampakhul
Mar 26, 2014 Paron Sarampakhul rated it really liked it
What I like about the book is that it discusses about statistics concepts in a way that it is easy to understand. It covers basic concepts of the subject: descriptive statistics, correlation, probability, CLT, inference, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis. The examples are clear and hilarious. Throughout the whole book it encourages us to see the usefulness of statistics, but it also lists out the limits, pitfalls, and even abuses of statistics for personal gain in politics, medical res ...more
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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.
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Other Books in the Series

Naked (3 books)
  • Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
  • Naked Money: A Revealing Look at What It Is and Why It Matters

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“The greatest risks are never the ones you can see and measure, but the ones you can’t see and therefore can never measure. The ones that seem so far outside the boundary of normal probability that you can’t imagine they could happen in your lifetime—even though, of course, they do happen, more often than you care to realize.” 2 likes
“It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s hard to tell the truth without them.” 2 likes
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