big data | February 03, 2013

The Best Math Teacher You Never Had: Charles Wheelan's "Brilliant" New Book

How do you make a book about statistics inviting to the general public? You do what Charles Wheelan did: title it Naked Statistics, cram it full of witty, applicable examples, and compare LeBron James to the central limit theorem. According to the San Fransico Chronicle, Wheelan's method led to the publication of a "brilliant, funny new book." Calling him the "best math teacher you never had," the reviewer says that Wheelan made a "wise choice" by keeping it simple—and leaving the complex equations to the appendices. Wheelan's wit was then allowed to shine through, and his writing reached a wider audience. (The more number-savvy among us weren't left out, either. They simply have to turn to the back of the book to dig a bit deeper into the material.)

Stats is a "high caliber weapon," Wheelan says, and his book focuses on helping readers understand the numbers they see everyday. By making the examples interesting, the material comes alive. Not only do readers come away with more statistical know-how then they had before, but they also care about what they've learned. Wheelan employs a similar approach in his widely read "Naked Economics" column on Yahoo! and in his popular keynotes. He compiles all the top trends in economics, finance, and public policy, and makes them directly applicable to each audience. Wheelan makes numbers make sense—even to the most math-averse among us.

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digital and social media | January 31, 2013