Naked Statistics: Charles Wheelan's Book Is As Valuable As The Dictionary
If terms like regression analysis, the central limit theorem, false negatives and false positives intimidate you—or, if you aren't really sure what the difference between correlation and causation is—you aren't alone. Thankfully, as Roll Call says, "Wheelan handles it [all] well and is a patient teacher." Further, Wheelan's "cracks about the Kardashians or [his] faux self-deprecation" can pique and revive the interest of readers who may find it difficult to navigate through the more advanced material in the book. "Persevere and you’ll find enough substance to be rewarded," Roll Call writes.
While statistics may not seem like an overly useful skill for daily life, you may eventually find it useful to know whether the increase in a billionaire businessman's income changes the mean or median income of the broader American public, or to know what a mean or median income shift means for you personally. That, or you can look to the way that Nate Silver's use of big data to predict presidential campaign outcomes has made understanding the numbers game an important part of digesting popular media coverage. If you aren't a fan of numbers and equations, don't fret. The subtitle of Wheelan's book is, after all, Stripping the Dread from the Data. In his books and his speeches, Wheelan presents a fast-paced, witty—and, most importantly, applicable—approach to statistics and big data. After digging into one of his lectures, not only will you be better armed to comprehend the stats all around you—but you may even be able to exploit data and solve some of the problems you face yourself.