BOOK REVIEW: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan | Science News

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BOOK REVIEW: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan

Review by Tom Siegfried

By
5:37pm, January 10, 2013

Despite a reputation for being worse than damned lies, statistics conquered its enemies during the 20th century and now reigns over science. What happens in a scientific experiment is considered unworthy of serious consideration (that is, you can’t get it published) unless formulas determine that the result is “statistically significant.”

Those formulas involve all sorts of obscure concepts such as the central limit theorem, correlation coefficients, standard deviation and regression analyses — all involving mathematical wizardry that would be relegated to books in the restricted section of the Hogwarts library. But Wheelan, a Dartmouth economist, has provided a volume offering safe reading for all ages. With humor and an engaging conversational style, he walks the reader through the basics of statistical concepts and their applications, using real-world exampl

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