Naked Statistics Book Summary - Naked Statistics Book explained in key points
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Naked Statistics summary

Charles Wheelan

Stripping the Dread from the Data

Brief summary

Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan explains the concepts of statistics using real-world examples. It emphasizes the important role that statistics play in our lives and provides insights into interpreting the numbers we encounter in daily life.

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    Naked Statistics
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    We encounter statistics every day: without them, we’d be up to our ears in spam emails.

    Statistics are extremely important tools for understanding the world around us. They can be used to explain everything from DNA testing to why playing the lottery is mere idiocy. It helps us identify the factors associated with diseases, helps us spot cheating on important exams, and it even helps us win on game shows.

    But while you might not ever be on a game show, you will definitely interact with statistics every day in at least some small way.

    For example, the spam filters on your email are based on statistical analysis. One part of this analysis is statistical inference, through which we draw conclusions from observable data.

    Spam filters utilize a common tool in statistical inference: hypothesis testing.

    Your spam filter starts with a null hypothesis, i.e., a starting assumption, which will either be verified or reformulated based on the observations that can be made from the collected data. For instance, your spam filter’s null hypothesis is probably: “this email is not spam.”

    It then scours the email for clues that can be used to reject this hypothesis, such as huge distribution lists or phrases like "penis enlargement." Once its hypothesis has been rejected, a spam email then lands in the “junk” folder.

    Or do you ever watch Netflix? The film recommendations they offer you are also based on statistical analysis.

    In fact, Netflix’s predictions about our taste are shockingly accurate. The algorithm they use for film recommendations is based on correlations, that is, the degree to which phenomena are related to one another.

    Whenever we rate films through their service, Netflix then compares our ratings with those of other customers in order to determine which users have submitted ratings that highly correlate with our own. With enough data, Netflix can then recommend us films that like-minded customers have rated highly, that we have not yet seen.

    As we can see, we don’t have to look far to see how statistics are relevant to our everyday lives!

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    What is Naked Statistics about?

    Naked Statistics offers an insightful introduction to statistics and explains the power of statistical analysis all while revealing its common pitfalls. It shows us how important a solid understanding of statistics is for good decision-making and gives the reader the tools to critically examine descriptive statistics.

    Naked Statistics Review

    Naked Statistics (2013) by Charles Wheelan is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the power and relevance of statistics in our everyday lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents statistical concepts with clarity and simplicity, allowing readers to grasp complex ideas with ease.
    • Wheelan uses real-world examples and relatable anecdotes to demonstrate the practical applications of statistics, making it both informative and engaging.
    • The book goes beyond numbers and formulas, uncovering the hidden insights and stories behind statistical analysis, making it far from boring and highly intriguing.

    Best quote from Naked Statistics

    We cannot treat humans like laboratory rats. As a result, statistics is a lot like good detective work.

    —Charles Wheelan
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    Who should read Naked Statistics?

    • Anyone who wants a better understanding of how statistics works
    • Anyone who is concerned that statistics might be used to mislead people
    • Anyone who’s ever wondered how statistics is relevant to their lives

    About the Author

    Charles Wheelan is an American economist, journalist and author. In addition to writing for several news magazines, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, Wheelan is also author of the bestselling book Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science.

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    Naked Statistics FAQs 

    What is the main message of Naked Statistics?

    Understanding statistics is essential for making informed decisions.

    How long does it take to read Naked Statistics?

    Reading time for Naked Statistics varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Naked Statistics a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Naked Statistics is a must-read for anyone who wants to grasp the power of statistics.

    Who is the author of Naked Statistics?

    The author of Naked Statistics is Charles Wheelan.

    What to read after Naked Statistics?

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