Charles Wheelan: "Statistics Have A Point Of View"
What's important to remember, however, is that a portion of the overall picture is often lost in statistical analysis. It's not possible to condense everything into a single stat, nor is it possible to always present every relevant stat in a discussion or campaign. "Statistics have a point of view," he explains. Stats can be picked and chosen to convey a certain perspective—making it even more important to understand how a sample was gathered and how information is presented. When you can understand what the statistic may be leaving out, you can better comprehend what is being expressed in the stat you are analyzing. Polling numbers, for example, can be a valuable tool in determining which way a certain part of the population is leaning politically. However, you have to ensure that the sample used to extrapolate those numbers is an accurate representation of the population. If you can ask yourself these questions when analyzing stats, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the information that influences your decisions.
Similar to his previous work, Naked Economics, Wheelan's new book strips the confusion and fear away from numbers and data. He also discusses similar themes in his popular Yahoo! column "Naked Statistics." In his talks, he explains that statistics are all around us—and embracing them allows us to transform raw data into knowledge that can truly benefit our lives.