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Paperback Statistics Hacks: Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds Book

ISBN: 0596101643

ISBN13: 9780596101640

Statistics Hacks: Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds

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Book Overview

Want to calculate the probability that an event will happen? Be able to spot fake data? Prove beyond doubt whether one thing causes another? Or learn to be a better gambler? You can do that and much more with 75 practical and fun hacks packed into Statistics Hacks. These cool tips, tricks, and mind-boggling solutions from the world of statistics, measurement, and research methods will not only amaze and entertain you, but will give you an advantage...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An entertaining and useful book

It's not very easy to use the words "entertaining" and "statistics" in the same sentence, but you can if you're talking about this book. Bruce Frey's collection of tips and tools makes the subject interesting, fun-- even funny-- and most importantly, approachable. It's important to understand that this book is not intended to be a statistics textbook, review, or reference manual. Rather, it is a collection of bite-sized hacks that relate statistical principles to the "real" world. Every hack is illustrated with some example, including many relating to gambling, games, and bar bets. Which properties should you buy in Monopoly? The answer is here, along with an explanation. How many people have to be in a room with you before you can be pretty sure that at least one of them shares your birthday? That's here, too, along with the explanation. Is there a way to predict the winner of a baseball game by listening to about twenty minutes of the middle of it? Yep. If you're looking for an authoritative, comprehensive, serious statistics text, keep shopping. If you're looking for a light but nonetheless very useful explanation/review of how and why statistics work in a real-world context, buy this book. I'm glad I bought it, and I'd do it again. I got more than enough entertainment and utility out of it to justify the expense.

Have a chuckle while expanding your statistics knowledge

This is one of the funniest books I've read in a while, certainly the funniest non-fiction book I've read in a long while. And in 20 minutes of reading it over lunch, it explained more to me about basic statistics terminology than I got in the whole semester of statistics I took at Berkeley a couple of decades ago. I disagree with the reviewer who said the first 100 pages would make your eyes glaze over. For years I've been wondering what people really mean by stuff like "standard deviation" and at last, here is an explanation in plain English. Anyhow, as the author says in the book, you do NOT need to start with the first 100 pages. Just dip in wherever you like -- these are independent hacks. To be quite honest, I haven't even gotten to the main hacks yet, but I already feel like I got my money's worth. For the math-geek and absurdist humor alone. But just wait till I get through the Texas Hold-Em chapter by next poker night ...

Believe it or not, statistics rocks

Most people really hate statistics, although I'm not sure why. In college, I enjoyed the subject so much, that I earned an advanced degree in it. With that begin said, I'm always a bit leery of non-academic statistics books. Those that I have seen in the past generally have poor science or are more boring than a Ph.D. candidate's dissertation. Imagine my surprise when I read this book and found it both fun to read and scientifically correct! This book is laid out like a typical O'Reilly "hacks" book. Each section is a "hack" or tip related to the overall subject of the book. However, I was really pleased with the organization of the hacks in this book. The hacks really closely follow the same order of concepts that students cover in an introductory statistics course. The author begins with discussing the basics of statistics (mean, median, standard deviation), and from there, works up to graphing, and predicting. However, these concepts are discussed in a way that makes it fun to read and seem really applicable to the real world. While the first half of the book covers the basics of statistics, the last half shows how to apply these concepts to the real world. The author shows through example after example that probability really works, how it works, and why it's fun to understand. In some examples, he shows how knowing the probabilities of casino blackjack can dramatically increase your chances of winning. Other fun probability exercises include how to win at Monopoly (or at least increase your chances of winning), checking how "honest" your iPod's random feature is, and how to predict the winners of sporting events. This is a really fun book to read and is based on solid statistical methodologies. This book is an absolute must if you need to understand the basics of statistical techniques, methologies, and theory. If more students used this book as their introductory statistics text, we'd likely have a lot more statisticians.

Brings statistics tools to life with interesting applications

The purpose of this book is not so much to teach probability and statistics - there are many good books on those subjects. Instead, consider this a supplement that brings the theory to life by showing you how to discover hidden relationships in data. That data could be anything from a deck of cards to the contents of a parking lot. After learning some more about the subtle tools of the statistician, we see how to beat the odds at various games of so-called chance as well as skill. There's even a template for producing your own bets which on the surface appears to be some kind of trick. Demystifying coincidences means you can deliberately create false ones that seem like miracles. You can even control the random thoughts of others through hack number 67, "Control Random Thoughts". This is not an easy read, and you should be a person who is comfortable with math and already knows the basics of probability and statistics, even though chapter one provides a fast paced review. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to put their knowledge of statistics to work with some truly fascinating tricks and hacks. Also, for teachers,this book is a great way to keep your students awake and even interested in mathematics in general and combinatorics specifically. I highly recommend it.

Excellent explanation of statistics for "normal" people

I've read many books on statistics, but none were as readable as this. For each concept it teaches, it gives a real-world example of how to use it. This last feature makes it vastly superior to most college-level statistics textbooks. In addition to these examples, it is very well written and an "easy read", even if you are not a math expert (although it is conceptually sequential - if you are unfamiliar with math, the book is easier to read start to finish than hopping to the middle). From a gambler's perspective, this information is mandatory. If you aspire to be a serious gambler and haven't put in the time to master statistics, $30 is well spent on this book.
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