Naked Statistics

  • by Charles Wheelan
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Business/Educational, 2014
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 does Netflix know which movies you'll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.
For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions.
You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal - and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a best seller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Starts well then becomes non-Audible

I love statistics and I am comfortable with equations and numbers so maybe this is just not the right book for me. The early chapters on mean, median and mode were great, even standard deviation, but then it got a bit tedious. There was no associated PDF and no ebook companion on Audible, but lots of equations read out verbally like; “S divided by the square root of sixty two equals thirty six over seven point nine or four point six. The difference between the sample mean of one hundred and ninety four and the population mean of one hundred and sixty two is thirty two pounds or well more than three standard errors”. I love equations, but I found this stuff tedious in Audible format (thus non-Audible).

I particularly did not like the presentation of reversion to the mean. Many people misunderstand this topic, and Wheelan’s description did not seem to help. The important thing to grasp is that if you first flip ten tails then need to guess the total number of tails after a hundred flips (ninety more flips) you should guess 55 tails NOT 50 tails. Wheelan does not make any mis-statements in the section, but it seemed to me, the section leaves the incorrect impression to the uninitiated.

I generally dislike throwing in Latin for no good reason. Wheelan introduces then repeatedly uses “ceteris paribus” meaning with other things remaining the same. Why use the Latin?

The author also seems to gloss over some of the deep weaknesses of statistics. One of the key weaknesses of statistics is the world sometimes changes in wildly unexpected ways. Using statistics to make predictions about such a changing world is fraught with risk.

The narration was very good both clear, expressive and lively.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

Statistics is like a high caliber gun, very useful

This book will not teach you the mathematics behind statistics. This book is about making you understand what you are doing when you are doing statistics. Thus it is a great complement to a university course where you might learn how to plug in numbers in SPSS or MATLAB and get a p-value but don't really understand the assumptions involved and the potential pitfalls that must be considered.

Though I have studied some statistics at university level this book still provided a fresh valuable perspective on many statistical issues. It also gives examples of many, often costly mistakes scientists made in the past using statistics.

The analogy I used in the title (taken from this book), really captures an important aspect of statistics. If used properly statistics can tell us if a medication, or a certain policy is effective. If used improperly, it can lead to erroneous medical advice with fatal consequences, in the literal sense.

I would recommend this book if you are taking statistics but often don’t know what you are really doing or how what you are doing relates to real life issues. Alternatively, this book can also be read by people who don’t know any statistics but want to understand what it is all about without having to learn to do the actual math. If you are already an advanced student in statistics and know what you are doing (and know what not to do), then this book might not be for you.
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- Neuron "Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-23-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios