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Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data


3.94  ·  Rating details ·  11,136 ratings  ·  1,057 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 13th 2014 by W. W. Norton Company (first published December 31st 2012)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  11,136 ratings  ·  1,057 reviews

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Robert Muller
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
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Cool and easy. Even though I would have liked more advanced stuff made easy and cheesy.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: data-science
A solid five-star. If only I had had Charles Wheelan as my college statistics professor! :)
The synopsis on Goodreads was a good review,so I'll save some ink here.
These were all basic statistic concepts, from probability to regression. While breaking down the basic concepts, Wheelan sought to caltivate intuition around them. And he did a fantastic job. Better yet, he made me chuckle all the time with those funny, sometimes provocative real-life examples.
Some of the examples, like the route cause
Dan Lutts
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: consumerism
Excellent book for the layperson that gives you a solid grasp of statistics as well as how statistics can be used and abused. As Wheelan says in the book: Statistics don't lie, but the data behind them can because they can be faulty, misleading, or downright false.

Reading the book helps you become more critical so you won't naively believe a person or organization's argument when they cite statistics to support their case or when you read about scientific breakthroughs in the newspaper or other
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good intro book for aspiring to be statistician.
Simple explanation for very complicated concepts.
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 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mathematics
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
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Elizabeth Theiss
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Statistics 101 with cheesy jokes.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
This was juuuuuust too close to being a textbook for me to really love 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 gets ...more
Sandesh Rawat
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exactly what I expected this book to be -- a compelling read on Statistics and its practical usage. The language is easy to read and examples given are super witty and relatable. For instance, I could totally relate the test vs control methodology that I'd used for one of my clients and few things that should have been more careful about. Charles shares all complex/technical stuff in Appendix at the end of respective chapters (so it's up to you if you want to get into the dirty stuff).

The book i
Morgan Blackledge
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this as a supplemental text for a statistics course. Its pretty good in terms of providing fun examples of statistics constructs, written in an accessible, punchy, relatable voice.

I think I was a little underwhelmed because other authors have written really well on the same subject e.g. The Signal And The Noise by Nate Sliver, The Black Swan (or really anything) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and the Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow.

I LOVED all of those books, and they are extremely tough a
Eny Rebel
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economy
This was one of the best and simplest books about statistics I've ever read. I'm not a math major person, not a statistician and honestly I am not very interested in deep theoretical knowledge about statistics. This book helped me to understand the statistics in easy and simple way from a business viewpoint.
I rarely got bored reading it, which is hard to say for most books of statistics and economics. Because the book entertained me , enlightened me and used practical, meaningful, real life exa
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a great primer for those who are not familiar with basic statistical concepts (in fact, I encourage you to read it as statistics can be highly manipulative). If you have completed at least one university-level statistics course or the equivalent then you can safely pass on this book (most advanced topics: OLS regression and t-statistics).
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book attempts to provide an introduction to the field of statistics in plain language in the form of stories.
I found that the method they took was too long winded. It would have been better to just explain the core mathematical concepts.
Michael Lynch
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
       Laughter is rarely associated with Statistics in my experience, but I laughed all the way through this book. Math-y people will love it,  and math-challenged people will discover that stats can be fun. WHO KNEW? 

       Statistics made an indelible impression on my life. More twenty years ago, I was enrolled in a  graduate program in logistics management, knee deep in a graduate level stats class. I turned the full glare of my undergraduate education in English literature on the problem, t
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan

Numbers are sexy. There’s no denying it. People like numbers and measuring things. They like seeing the ranking of their favourite sports stars, hearing what the latest political polls are saying or just knowing what CPI is doing. But for all this, many people might not know how these numbers such as ranks, sampling means, indexes etc, are actually derived and how they can be best used or questioned. If you’re interested in this topic (and there is a good chanc
Krishna Chaitanya
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was an absolutely fantastic read - maybe because I am a beginner in this field, but I think it would be good for everyone. I read this book at a point when I just started to venture into the field of data science. The book helped me to be intuitive about several statistical concepts, which I had been confused with previously. Wheelan has presented all the concepts in way that will make sense in our daily lives, with good and realistic examples - however, the only drawback is that all the exam ...more
Elizabeth Davis
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
Actually a pretty good book for building your conceptual understanding of statistics. Starts almost frustratingly simple, but eventually explores interesting and foundational concepts like the central limit theorem and multiple regression analysis.

Charles Wheelan is a pretty good writer and the book reads well with lots of entertaining digressions. And a lot of the studies explored in the book were interesting, and allowed for compelling real-world examples of the book’s concepts.

But some exam
Taufan Satrio
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should've been a supplementary reading material during my college years. It altered my sentiment towards Statistics and Probability to the point where curiosity and intuition can take its place and do their job. Its concise writing and examples will help you dissect unfathomable formulas, find their core concept, and make you smile while you're at it ...more
Thao Nguyen
Sep 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This might be a good book for a normal non-statistical person with intuitive explanation of several basic concepts: descriptive statistics, correlation and such. Too bad, I work with statistics so the choice of examples seems redundant for me from time to time, some are even obscure and confused. Especially for those who are not familiar with American things (voting, baseball, etc), this book may seem to be a very tedious reading.
Overall, a fair good read, at least you can get some intuition on
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mandatory reading for those just getting into statistics and those already familiar with it. Totally focusing on the "why" with interesting examples and gotchas. Ensures you will ask the right questions in most practical applications of statistics. I'll be re-reading this one every once in a way. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Useful review of statistics with easy to understand examples
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: data
Instead of focusing on the theory and the mathematics behind each equation, the author explains the intuitive ideas and gives practical examples which help me comprehend statistics much easier.
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Charles Wheelan is a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College. He joined the Dartmouth faculty fulltime in June of 2012.

Wheelan’s most recent book, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, was released by W.W. Norton in January of 2013. Three weeks later, it reached the New York Times bestseller list for hardback nonfiction. The San Francisco Chr

Other books in the series

Naked (3 books)
  • Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
  • Naked Money: A Revealing Look at Our Financial System

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12 likes · 2 comments
“It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s hard to tell the truth without them.” 12 likes
“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.” 5 likes
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