May 2011 Archives

Head First Statistics
Dawn Griffiths
O'Reilly Media, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-596-52758-7
US$ 34.99

Rating: 4/5 (very good)

There are times when you really need something in the area of statistics, for your job (I'm a computer programmer and I happen to need some) or just because you'd like to know more about it. You, however, don't have time and/or find it boring to read about math and statistics on a regular text book. If this is the case, Head First Statistics might be exactly what you need.

First of all, the explanations do not start off from theory, but from practical examples. For instance, a slot machine is an entertaining way to dig into discrete probability distributions. Then, the layout makes everything clear and easy to read (and, likely, also to understand): important formulas are written in very big letters, and side notes with arrows make it straightforward to understand what is what.

Every chapter covers a topic (i.e. sampling, normal distribution, confidence intervals, ...). Explanation is what makes most of the chapter (of course), which is then closed with Q&A answer where you'll find answer to the most frequently asked questions related to the topic of the chapter. As in every good teaching book, there are also exercises (with solutions on the page following each question).

The explanation might not dig too much in depth, ad of course it lacks some of the theory. Nevertheless, this is a fine book for everybody who's interested in or needs to know something about statistics.

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