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The Cartoon Guide to Statistics

(Cartoon Guides)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,343 ratings  ·  107 reviews
If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy.

The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summ
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 14th 1993 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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 ·  1,343 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
If you have ever seen a sheet of statistical formulas and are unfamiliar with it, they look like incomprehensible nonsense. The notation system in statistics is pretty weird, and it lacks the more logical consistence that you find in regular algebra.

People who write about statistics have this same illogical twist in their minds. That is why most books on the subject spend whole chapters explaining easy stuff, and then make huge logical leaps in just one line, leaving the reader puzzled as to whe
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
When a man lives alone, he invents ways to keep busy. One summer I decided I was going to become an AP statistics professor. Yes, I know. Anyhow, I spent that summer studying like you would not believe. This was one of the books I read.

This was a rather straightforward approach to statistics. While it has cartoons, there is real mathematics here. I swear!
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
The back blurb advertises that this book will “put you on the road to statistical literacy.” But unless you already understand statistics or are very comfortable with algebra and have a basic understanding of calculus, you are unlikely to come out of it any more statistically literate than you went in. It uses a lot of symbols and only barely introduces the underlying math. And it is more of an overview of how to do statistics than a guide to understanding statistics.

The book’s biggest lack is t
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"If you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough" and Larry understands his topic matters more than most tenured professors I know. ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
i think statistics is horrible when you learn it in a serious stat 101 theoretical class but once you make it through that pain and understand what the central limit theorem really means and how confidence intervals and hypothesis testing kind of works then this book is fun and makes lots of intuitive sense. this book alone probably won't teach statistics to a person trying to learn it but it is something fun to read for more intuition about what is going on. also nice pictures and graphs which ...more
Nick Geiser
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
An excellent book! While it may seem like a kid's book, there is no shame in reading casual, "chatty" introductions to a field when you're trying to get the basic intuition behind concepts. ...more
Teo 2050


Gonick L & Smith W (1993) Cartoon Guide to Statistics


01. What Is Statistics?

02. Data Description
• Summary Statistics
• The Mean (or "Average")
• The Median
• Measures of S p r e a d
• Interquartile Range
• Standard Deviation
• Properties of x̅ and s
• An Empirical Rule

03. Probability
• Basic Definitions
• Basic Operations
• Conditional Probability
• Independence and the special multiplication rule
• Bayes' Theorem and the case of the false positives...

04. Random V
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I adore Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide series in general, but that is partly because I clearly identify their purpose. Don't think of this as a College level textbook in statistics because it isn't. It is rather an illustrated, extremely easy to read conceptual overview of statistics, the moral equivalent of Cliff note or a course outline but with cartoons and a certain amount of humor and history mixed in.

Do not underestimate the value of this if you are a student wanting to learn statistics! For
Anand Mandapati
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My go to probability & statistics refresher

This book has been my go to refresher on probability and statistics for many years now whenever I need to remember something. It is a very simple and fun introduction to many concepts that are important to our every day lives. Yet, it also gets fairly in depth into statistical concepts. The reason I gave he book 4 stars instead of 5 though is that there are places where even the cartoons jump a little too fast for my speed and I need to refer to other r
"chicken soup" for people who have to endure courses in statistics, it failed to make me fall in love with the subject, but enough to make we stood in awe with the level of obsessions some people have to measure our lives with numbers. Hooray to all statisticians who provide guidance to understand the world we're living in - but everybody need to remind themselves that we need further look into each phenomenon lest we get disoriented - don't blame the statistics for misunderstanding! ...more
Ted Nadeau
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
There are many math courses that I should have skipped & just read this book instead.
Needs Excel worksheets & macros to help one enjoy/experiment. Might make them myself.
I bought much of the whole Cartoon Guide/History series & leave them near the kids.
Apr 07, 2009 rated it liked it
A nice basic review of statistics. I read through this with my stats text from college, looking up derivations/proofs of the important results discussed more intuitively in this book. I think this was a valuable approach, I certainly got more mileage out of this book with this kind of reading.
The book's title is 100% self-descriptive; despite the fact that the book is full of comic paintings, it is still a complete and very well explained statistics guide.

The writers use the cartoons to make it more pleasant to read and very good examples to make everything written clear; nevertheless, when it comes to the scientific content they have taken no shortcuts. The book contains all the basic elements of the theory of probability and statistics - I strongly believe that someone that reads
Karthik Thrikkadeeri
Simple enough to understand - authors used examples of situations and scenarios as well as illustrations to define concepts, instead of theory and formulae. However, towards the end, more of each page was lined with formulae, which put me off. This led to me skimming through the final few chapters. However, all in all, it's a good guide, and I would recommend it to anyone just starting out with statistics, or anyone who is looking to refresh and cement their learnings before moving on to somethi ...more
Rohit Goswami
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun, short read. It took around two hours and was a pretty neat overview of basic stats. Docked a star for some cartoons which were clearly in poor taste.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A quick and clear way to get introduced to various terms in statistics. Liked the way cartoon series was presented in an easy way.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brian by: Jon
(4.0) Actually not a bad refresher reference

I don't think anyone would learn statistics from this one, but it actually does pack in a fair amount of justification/explication in addition to some of the basics from the statistician's toolbox. I also have to admit that I never learned how to compute (or the real meaning of) p-values, Student's t-test etc., so was cool to see the motivation/~derivation of the tools there. Definitely fun read and if I needed to refresh my memory of some of the key c
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the default Christmas present book I'm going to give to parents with middle-school kids. I found it at the MP library's new book section, and it is worth looking at.

It starts out simple - illustrating the differences between median, mean and mode. By page 22, I got a little shaky, but it covers more than what I learned in a business math class in college.

This series also looks at American History, which may also be good.
Rohit Suratekar
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, mathematics
Very good concept with impressive cartoon display. Basic concepts of statistics are explained well with a good examples and real life problems. You will not get bored while reading this book unlike other stereotypical statistics books. Authors' sense of humor is great and how they tried to incorporate it into the 'mathematical' cartoons is brilliant. Overall good book for the beginner students who have just started studying statistics. ...more
Steve Carroll
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thought this one was great. It does a great job of gradual learning curve mixed with an emphasis on real world application but it is also unafraid to toss a little math your way. Not to mention it is really funny at times. I've been chewing up stat books lately as an attempt to refresh on these concepts for work. This is a great refresher and then I'd add Data Smart as a good extension to more modern issues (like clustering, and social graph stuff). ...more
Oct 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: academic, mathematics
Oh, CGS. Apparently the only statistics textbook out there without terrible, glaring errors, according to my professor. I really can see the utility of this teaching method, especially for high school - but it doesn't have any practice problems! (what, me, complain about having no homework?) Good as a reference, but it should not be your only source for learning stats. ...more
Tara Lynn
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Borrowed from a friend as a quick reference to my statistics homework. While some of the illustrations are helpful, it's far easier to sit down with a tutor for explanations, than to try to understand the illustrations. This is better suited as a gift to someone who already has a rudimentary knowledge of statistics. ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Funny stuff about statistics! It can be a pretty interesting topic if you are looking at interesting data. It could probably help some folks get over their fear of the topic, I'm not sure, but I do like the cartoons. I pull some of them in to the stats class I'm teaching, just for fun. ...more
February Four
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic review for my exams. Don't buy this expecting it to teach you statistics, but if you need a review or just want to see the big picture, this is your book. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book must have been in the periphery of my consciousness when I was growing up, because the idea of reading it suddenly manifested itself fully-formed to me one day after, as a math teacher whose weak point is statistics, I'd long nursed a need to get better at the subject: "Wait a minute, isn't there some kind of Cartoon Guide to Statistics or something?" And yes, I could have looked at an actual statistics textbook; but, the point of this book, it seems to me, is to be more human than tha ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
An informal yet very informative book about statistics that aims to present its main elements as graphically and intuitively as possible. It offers a good look at data analysis, probability, and statistical inference applied to a wide variety of situations where statistics play a crucial role in the modern world in an entertaining way with relevant and amusing cartoons.

Although it is not a textbook, but a concise and illustrative explanation of the key concepts with real-life examples, it still
Roberto Rigolin F Lopes
Hypothesis: there is a chance that this is the first statistics book that you (Sherlock?) will read from cover-to-cover. Why? The distribution of humor looks good. Meaning that humor is well distributed throughout this book; highly biased towards good jokes, you may find some lame-ish stuff, though. The confidence interval for “good jokes” depends on your erudition/personality, Sherlock. We can use “paired comparisons” between this book and other textbooks as well. But I will leave it as an exer ...more
Ed Terrell
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
“CG to Statistics” is a fun little romp through mutually exclusive garden paths into the Alice in Wonderland world of conditional probabilities and the special multiplication rule. After taking the pill that was supposed to make me smaller, I chase the Chevalier de Mere down the rabbit hole until I encountered the fuzzy central limit theorem in place of a Cheshire Cat-- all of which left me longing for the world of standard normal distributions. Means of 0 and standard deviations of 1: what coul ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A funny, fun, easy to read brush up on Statistics Fundamentals for those of us who don't naturally gravitate to mathematics books. I really liked it! Some of the jokes were on the mature side (1990s humor). The last chapter gives a highlight into the future of Statistics (computation and visualization using software and programming languages). It's interesting to read about the authors using S and Minitab when years later, we're using R but I recall using Minitab during my first Stats course in ...more
Manan Singh
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting flow of subject matter, and cartoons (and their characters). Well illustrated both graphically, and with real world statistics examples.
Just skimmed through it mostly. Requires some patience and careful attention to formulas. Just patience is required, otherwise the math is well explained.
Cartoons are black and white. Nice, overall.
Will try to re-read it later, after carefully studying hypothesis testing and paired comparison from other books too.
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Larry Gonick (born 1946) is a cartoonist best known for The Cartoon History of the Universe, a history of the world in comic book form, which he has been publishing in installments since 1977. He has also written The Cartoon History of the United States, and he has adapted the format for a series of co-written guidebooks on other subjects, beginning with The Cartoon Guide to Genetics in 1983. The ...more

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