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If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summ If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summary and display of data, probability in gambling and medicine, random variables, Bernoulli Trails, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing, confidence interval estimation, and much more—all explained in simple, clear, and yes, funny illustrations. Never again will you order the Poisson Distribution in a French restaurant! This updated version features all new material.


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If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summ If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summary and display of data, probability in gambling and medicine, random variables, Bernoulli Trails, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing, confidence interval estimation, and much more—all explained in simple, clear, and yes, funny illustrations. Never again will you order the Poisson Distribution in a French restaurant! This updated version features all new material.

30 review for The Cartoon Guide to Statistics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pvw

    If you have ever seen a sheet of statistical formulas and are unfamiliar with it, they look like incomprehensible nonsense. The notation system in statistics is pretty weird, and it lacks the more logical consistence that you find in regular algebra. People who write about statistics have this same illogical twist in their minds. That is why most books on the subject spend whole chapters explaining easy stuff, and then make huge logical leaps in just one line, leaving the reader puzzled as to whe If you have ever seen a sheet of statistical formulas and are unfamiliar with it, they look like incomprehensible nonsense. The notation system in statistics is pretty weird, and it lacks the more logical consistence that you find in regular algebra. People who write about statistics have this same illogical twist in their minds. That is why most books on the subject spend whole chapters explaining easy stuff, and then make huge logical leaps in just one line, leaving the reader puzzled as to where that new formula all of a sudden came from?! So most books I've read didn't teach me anything. The Cartoon guide to statistics was a partial exception since they finally managed to explain soms ideas understandably. And the drawings weren't annoying, sometimes they even helped the text! On the other hand, this book also made unexplained logical jumps and sometimes changed notational systems from one page to another. I guess it's that twist in the brain. This is by far the most accessible book I have found on this subject so far. But that still doesn't mean that it is understandable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    When a man lives alone, he invents ways to keep busy. One summer I decided I was going to become an AP statistics professor. Yes, I know. Anyhow, I spent that summer studying like you would not believe. This was one of the books I read. This was a rather straightforward approach to statistics. While it has cartoons, there is real mathematics here. I swear!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    The back blurb advertises that this book will “put you on the road to statistical literacy.” But unless you already understand statistics or are very comfortable with algebra and have a basic understanding of calculus, you are unlikely to come out of it any more statistically literate than you went in. It uses a lot of symbols and only barely introduces the underlying math. And it is more of an overview of how to do statistics than a guide to understanding statistics. The book’s biggest lack is t The back blurb advertises that this book will “put you on the road to statistical literacy.” But unless you already understand statistics or are very comfortable with algebra and have a basic understanding of calculus, you are unlikely to come out of it any more statistically literate than you went in. It uses a lot of symbols and only barely introduces the underlying math. And it is more of an overview of how to do statistics than a guide to understanding statistics. The book’s biggest lack is that it doesn’t provide any sense of when statistics are being used in a valid manner. For example, they talk about the very important problem of false positives in tests for disease, or guilt: that in a large enough population and given a false positive rate, tests are more likely to be wrong than right. They conclude that, in order to be more certain that a patient is in fact sick, “The doctor orders more tests.” They leave out that the doctor had better order different tests that are unrelated to the one already performed. This is a critical step that is often deliberately ignored in public policy debates. Similarly, they talk about how you use the median instead of the mean to avoid outliers, but not when it is appropriate to avoid outliers and when it is not. Critically in today’s world of data mining for conclusions, they mention in passing that using the .05 confidence level still means that one in twenty times the null hypothesis is correct even though the interpretation says otherwise. But they do not mention what this means for statistical analyses that look through lots of data for correlations. That kind of data mining is statistically invalid not just because it turns the scientific method on its head, but because it guarantees a statistically invalid result. These are what most people need to be “on the road to statistical literacy.” The equivalent in literal literacy would be a book that goes into great detail about how letters and combinations of letters are pronounced; that mentions in passing that sometimes these pronunciations are combined to form words; but not what those words are or what they are used for. Following such a course, a person might very well be able to perfectly pronounce words, sentences, and paragraphs but would have no idea what those things mean. They would be able to construct their own strings of letters, pronounce them perfectly, and still have created nothing but gibberish. Countering statistical gibberish ought to be the reason for becoming statistically literate. This book appears to have been designed more as a text book for an actual college course; besides assuming some calculus, it also assumes that you have a software statistics package. I suspect that even after writing this book with his co-author, Larry Gonick had no better understanding of statistics than he’d had before. Most of his jokes either make fun of the fact that there is math, or make puns on statistical terms without regard to their meaning. This is in contrast to Gonick’s other cartoon guides, especially his Cartoon Histories, in which the jokes are related to the topic and so provide a memory aid for that topic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thatsgreateric

    "If you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough" and Larry understands his topic matters more than most tenured professors I know.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nick Geiser

    An excellent book! While it may seem like a kid's book, there is no shame in reading casual, "chatty" introductions to a field when you're trying to get the basic intuition behind concepts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Teo 2050

    2016.05.12–2016.06.26 Contents Gonick L & Smith W (1993) Cartoon Guide to Statistics Acknowledgments 01. What Is Statistics? 02. Data Description • Summary Statistics • The Mean (or "Average") • The Median • Measures of S p r e a d • Interquartile Range • Standard Deviation • Properties of x̅ and s • An Empirical Rule 03. Probability • Basic Definitions • Basic Operations • Conditional Probability • Independence and the special multiplication rule • Bayes' Theorem and the case of the false positives... 04. Random V 2016.05.12–2016.06.26 Contents Gonick L & Smith W (1993) Cartoon Guide to Statistics Acknowledgments 01. What Is Statistics? 02. Data Description • Summary Statistics • The Mean (or "Average") • The Median • Measures of S p r e a d • Interquartile Range • Standard Deviation • Properties of x̅ and s • An Empirical Rule 03. Probability • Basic Definitions • Basic Operations • Conditional Probability • Independence and the special multiplication rule • Bayes' Theorem and the case of the false positives... 04. Random Variables • Mean and Variance of Random Variables • Continuous Random Variables • Mean and Variance of a continuous random variable • Adding random variables 05. A Tale of Two Distributions • Bernoulli trial • The binomial random variable • The standard normal distribution • "Fuzzy Central Limit Theorem" • Continuity correction 06. Sampling • Sampling Design • The Simple Random Sample • Stratified Sampling • Cluster Sampling • Systematic Sampling • Word of warning #1 • Word of warning #2 • Opportunity Sample • Sample Size & standard error • Sampling error • Sampling Distribution of the Mean • The Central Limit Theorem • The t-distribution 07. Confidence Intervals • Estimating Confidence Intervals • Confidence Intervals for µ • Student's t (again!) • Degrees of freedom 08. Hypothesis Testing • Step 1. Formulate all hypotheses • Step 2. The Test Statistic • Step 3. p-value • Step 4. Compare the p-value to a fixed significance level, α • Large Sample Significance Test for Proportions • Large Sample Test for the Population Mean • Small Sample Test for the Population Mean • Decision Theory 09. Comparing Two Populations • Comparing Success Rates (or failure rates) for two populations • The Model • Sampling distribution for P^1 - P^2 • Confidence Intervals for p1-p2 • Hypothesis Testing • The general recipe • Comparing the Means of two populations • Confidence intervals • Hypothesis testing • and how about comparing Small Sample Means? • Paired Comparisons: a better way to compare gasolines 10. Experimental Design • Replication • Local control • Randomization • Latin square 11. Regression • Regression analysis • The Regression or Least Squares line • ANOVA • ANOVA table • The squared correlation • The correlation coefficient • Statistical Inference • Confidence intervals • Hypothesis testing • Multiple linear regression • Non-linear regression • Regression diagnostics 12. Conclusion • Data Display • Statistical analysis of Multivariate Data • • Cluster analysis • • Discriminant analysis • • Factor analysis • Probability • • Random walks • • Time series analysis • • Image analysis • • Resampling • Data Quality • Innovation • Communication • Teamwork Bibliography Index

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    I adore Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide series in general, but that is partly because I clearly identify their purpose. Don't think of this as a College level textbook in statistics because it isn't. It is rather an illustrated, extremely easy to read conceptual overview of statistics, the moral equivalent of Cliff note or a course outline but with cartoons and a certain amount of humor and history mixed in. Do not underestimate the value of this if you are a student wanting to learn statistics! For I adore Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide series in general, but that is partly because I clearly identify their purpose. Don't think of this as a College level textbook in statistics because it isn't. It is rather an illustrated, extremely easy to read conceptual overview of statistics, the moral equivalent of Cliff note or a course outline but with cartoons and a certain amount of humor and history mixed in. Do not underestimate the value of this if you are a student wanting to learn statistics! For many students, the problem with statistics isn't the algebra or computations, which are straightforward if tedious. It is grasping the concepts of statistics -- the notions underlying probability, sampling, distributions, the central limit theorem and Gaussians, how they relate to estimates of error. This is precisely where most college level statistics texts fall short. They may well present all of the equations needed (and then some). They may well derive them and present examples of their use. However, to my experience they do a fairly mediocre job of simply conveying the idea that underlies all of the algebra and computation. A student is left memorizing dozens of equations and relations without ever gaining a deep understanding of what they mean (or really how to properly use them). Using the Cartoon Guide to Statistics as a supplement to a college text, however, gives the weaker student a conceptual bridge. Best of all, it is a bridge that they can cross in one sitting! They can read it, cover to cover, in a matter of a few hours, and then refer back to it when an idea confuses them for the rest of the term. The other group the book is ideal for is younger students in high school (or even middle school), ones whose attention span is not yet up to the task of slogging through a serious book in statistics written in small print by a humourless author. Again such a student would be well-served by having another more mathematical reference handy, but if one's goal is just to convey the idea and methodology underlying the ideas of: distribution, mean of the distribution, variance of the distribution, standard deviation, and the central limit theorem (and what else is there, really?) you can hardly do better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anand Mandapati

    My go to probability & statistics refresher This book has been my go to refresher on probability and statistics for many years now whenever I need to remember something. It is a very simple and fun introduction to many concepts that are important to our every day lives. Yet, it also gets fairly in depth into statistical concepts. The reason I gave he book 4 stars instead of 5 though is that there are places where even the cartoons jump a little too fast for my speed and I need to refer to other r My go to probability & statistics refresher This book has been my go to refresher on probability and statistics for many years now whenever I need to remember something. It is a very simple and fun introduction to many concepts that are important to our every day lives. Yet, it also gets fairly in depth into statistical concepts. The reason I gave he book 4 stars instead of 5 though is that there are places where even the cartoons jump a little too fast for my speed and I need to refer to other resources to fully understand the concept. But, I’ve yet to find a simpler, more accessible statistics book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Inggita

    "chicken soup" for people who have to endure courses in statistics, it failed to make me fall in love with the subject, but enough to make we stood in awe with the level of obsessions some people have to measure our lives with numbers. Hooray to all statisticians who provide guidance to understand the world we're living in - but everybody need to remind themselves that we need further look into each phenomenon lest we get disoriented - don't blame the statistics for misunderstanding!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ted Nadeau

    There are many math courses that I should have skipped & just read this book instead. Needs Excel worksheets & macros to help one enjoy/experiment. Might make them myself. I bought much of the whole Cartoon Guide/History series & leave them near the kids. There are many math courses that I should have skipped & just read this book instead. Needs Excel worksheets & macros to help one enjoy/experiment. Might make them myself. I bought much of the whole Cartoon Guide/History series & leave them near the kids.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rohan

    A nice basic review of statistics. I read through this with my stats text from college, looking up derivations/proofs of the important results discussed more intuitively in this book. I think this was a valuable approach, I certainly got more mileage out of this book with this kind of reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karthik Thrikkadeeri

    Simple enough to understand - authors used examples of situations and scenarios as well as illustrations to define concepts, instead of theory and formulae. However, towards the end, more of each page was lined with formulae, which put me off. This led to me skimming through the final few chapters. However, all in all, it's a good guide, and I would recommend it to anyone just starting out with statistics, or anyone who is looking to refresh and cement their learnings before moving on to somethi Simple enough to understand - authors used examples of situations and scenarios as well as illustrations to define concepts, instead of theory and formulae. However, towards the end, more of each page was lined with formulae, which put me off. This led to me skimming through the final few chapters. However, all in all, it's a good guide, and I would recommend it to anyone just starting out with statistics, or anyone who is looking to refresh and cement their learnings before moving on to something more advanced.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Goswami

    This was a fun, short read. It took around two hours and was a pretty neat overview of basic stats. Docked a star for some cartoons which were clearly in poor taste.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Swateek

    A quick and clear way to get introduced to various terms in statistics. Liked the way cartoon series was presented in an easy way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    (4.0) Actually not a bad refresher reference I don't think anyone would learn statistics from this one, but it actually does pack in a fair amount of justification/explication in addition to some of the basics from the statistician's toolbox. I also have to admit that I never learned how to compute (or the real meaning of) p-values, Student's t-test etc., so was cool to see the motivation/~derivation of the tools there. Definitely fun read and if I needed to refresh my memory of some of the key c (4.0) Actually not a bad refresher reference I don't think anyone would learn statistics from this one, but it actually does pack in a fair amount of justification/explication in addition to some of the basics from the statistician's toolbox. I also have to admit that I never learned how to compute (or the real meaning of) p-values, Student's t-test etc., so was cool to see the motivation/~derivation of the tools there. Definitely fun read and if I needed to refresh my memory of some of the key concepts, I might actually consider starting here. Might be a good companion to business school or something like that. It would've been inadequate to get me ramped up for grad school though (had to do that the hard way). I know it's not Gonick's style, but including some exercises would've been really cool/helpful. Perhaps he could consider some companion books. Making 'homework' fun with cartoons could be a winning combination.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    This is the default Christmas present book I'm going to give to parents with middle-school kids. I found it at the MP library's new book section, and it is worth looking at. It starts out simple - illustrating the differences between median, mean and mode. By page 22, I got a little shaky, but it covers more than what I learned in a business math class in college. This series also looks at American History, which may also be good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Suratekar

    Very good concept with impressive cartoon display. Basic concepts of statistics are explained well with a good examples and real life problems. You will not get bored while reading this book unlike other stereotypical statistics books. Authors' sense of humor is great and how they tried to incorporate it into the 'mathematical' cartoons is brilliant. Overall good book for the beginner students who have just started studying statistics.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve Carroll

    Thought this one was great. It does a great job of gradual learning curve mixed with an emphasis on real world application but it is also unafraid to toss a little math your way. Not to mention it is really funny at times. I've been chewing up stat books lately as an attempt to refresh on these concepts for work. This is a great refresher and then I'd add Data Smart as a good extension to more modern issues (like clustering, and social graph stuff).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Oh, CGS. Apparently the only statistics textbook out there without terrible, glaring errors, according to my professor. I really can see the utility of this teaching method, especially for high school - but it doesn't have any practice problems! (what, me, complain about having no homework?) Good as a reference, but it should not be your only source for learning stats.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tara Lynn

    Borrowed from a friend as a quick reference to my statistics homework. While some of the illustrations are helpful, it's far easier to sit down with a tutor for explanations, than to try to understand the illustrations. This is better suited as a gift to someone who already has a rudimentary knowledge of statistics.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Funny stuff about statistics! It can be a pretty interesting topic if you are looking at interesting data. It could probably help some folks get over their fear of the topic, I'm not sure, but I do like the cartoons. I pull some of them in to the stats class I'm teaching, just for fun.

  22. 4 out of 5

    February Four

    Fantastic review for my exams. Don't buy this expecting it to teach you statistics, but if you need a review or just want to see the big picture, this is your book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    This book must have been in the periphery of my consciousness when I was growing up, because the idea of reading it suddenly manifested itself fully-formed to me one day after, as a math teacher whose weak point is statistics, I'd long nursed a need to get better at the subject: "Wait a minute, isn't there some kind of Cartoon Guide to Statistics or something?" And yes, I could have looked at an actual statistics textbook; but, the point of this book, it seems to me, is to be more human than tha This book must have been in the periphery of my consciousness when I was growing up, because the idea of reading it suddenly manifested itself fully-formed to me one day after, as a math teacher whose weak point is statistics, I'd long nursed a need to get better at the subject: "Wait a minute, isn't there some kind of Cartoon Guide to Statistics or something?" And yes, I could have looked at an actual statistics textbook; but, the point of this book, it seems to me, is to be more human than that. To be readable on its own, rather than as a reference for a course. Sure: I've heard tell of many students, whether totally self-motivated or, if not, still about as serious about math as I sometimes imagine myself becoming, working their way through advanced textbooks, completing all the exercises. ... And are those the same people who review said textbooks, and celebrate their density as admirable lack of hand-holding? Let me not cast my lot in, in any case, with those folks. No, the Cartoon Guide to Statistics isn't a textbook, but it's something I can look at fondly, a complement to a lifestyle, a collection of (cartoon) points of reference. I look forward to returning later on to this book and saying to myself, finally, "Aha! That's the connection they were making, all those years ago!"

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mireia

    An informal yet very informative book about statistics that aims to present its main elements as graphically and intuitively as possible. It offers a good look at data analysis, probability, and statistical inference applied to a wide variety of situations where statistics play a crucial role in the modern world in an entertaining way with relevant and amusing cartoons. Although it is not a textbook, but a concise and illustrative explanation of the key concepts with real-life examples, it still An informal yet very informative book about statistics that aims to present its main elements as graphically and intuitively as possible. It offers a good look at data analysis, probability, and statistical inference applied to a wide variety of situations where statistics play a crucial role in the modern world in an entertaining way with relevant and amusing cartoons. Although it is not a textbook, but a concise and illustrative explanation of the key concepts with real-life examples, it still requires a statistics and algebra background to really understand what it is about. I recommend it to anyone who has a decent background on statistical analysis and wants a refresher or perhaps didn’t fully understand some of the concepts the first time around, as it has helped me better understand what first seemed like complex formulas or methods. The basic principles, tools, and calculations covered in this book can be extended to solve more complex problems, as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Rigolin F Lopes

    Hypothesis: there is a chance that this is the first statistics book that you (Sherlock?) will read from cover-to-cover. Why? The distribution of humor looks good. Meaning that humor is well distributed throughout this book; highly biased towards good jokes, you may find some lame-ish stuff, though. The confidence interval for “good jokes” depends on your erudition/personality, Sherlock. We can use “paired comparisons” between this book and other textbooks as well. But I will leave it as an exer Hypothesis: there is a chance that this is the first statistics book that you (Sherlock?) will read from cover-to-cover. Why? The distribution of humor looks good. Meaning that humor is well distributed throughout this book; highly biased towards good jokes, you may find some lame-ish stuff, though. The confidence interval for “good jokes” depends on your erudition/personality, Sherlock. We can use “paired comparisons” between this book and other textbooks as well. But I will leave it as an exercise for the reader who dared to read other statistics books. One thing is certain, Larry has been getting better over time. This book was published in 1993 and a few weeks ago I read his book on Calculus published in 2011. To conclude he has evolved exponentially as a cartoonist and teacher.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ed Terrell

    “CG to Statistics” is a fun little romp through mutually exclusive garden paths into the Alice in Wonderland world of conditional probabilities and the special multiplication rule. After taking the pill that was supposed to make me smaller, I chase the Chevalier de Mere down the rabbit hole until I encountered the fuzzy central limit theorem in place of a Cheshire Cat-- all of which left me longing for the world of standard normal distributions. Means of 0 and standard deviations of 1: what coul “CG to Statistics” is a fun little romp through mutually exclusive garden paths into the Alice in Wonderland world of conditional probabilities and the special multiplication rule. After taking the pill that was supposed to make me smaller, I chase the Chevalier de Mere down the rabbit hole until I encountered the fuzzy central limit theorem in place of a Cheshire Cat-- all of which left me longing for the world of standard normal distributions. Means of 0 and standard deviations of 1: what could be more enticing. Goodbye to world of random variables and binomial coefficients, Bernoulli trials and Pascal triangles, Continuous density functions and Z-transforms, I need to breathe fresh air!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Loretta

    A funny, fun, easy to read brush up on Statistics Fundamentals for those of us who don't naturally gravitate to mathematics books. I really liked it! Some of the jokes were on the mature side (1990s humor). The last chapter gives a highlight into the future of Statistics (computation and visualization using software and programming languages). It's interesting to read about the authors using S and Minitab when years later, we're using R but I recall using Minitab during my first Stats course in A funny, fun, easy to read brush up on Statistics Fundamentals for those of us who don't naturally gravitate to mathematics books. I really liked it! Some of the jokes were on the mature side (1990s humor). The last chapter gives a highlight into the future of Statistics (computation and visualization using software and programming languages). It's interesting to read about the authors using S and Minitab when years later, we're using R but I recall using Minitab during my first Stats course in undergrad. I highly recommend this book!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Manan Singh

    Interesting flow of subject matter, and cartoons (and their characters). Well illustrated both graphically, and with real world statistics examples. Just skimmed through it mostly. Requires some patience and careful attention to formulas. Just patience is required, otherwise the math is well explained. Cartoons are black and white. Nice, overall. Will try to re-read it later, after carefully studying hypothesis testing and paired comparison from other books too.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lik C

    I am a Statistics graduate so I can understand the concepts in this book. I am not sure what others who did not take Statistics would think of this book, but I liked how the concepts were presented with relatable examples and illustrations to take the boredom out. The book is a good refresher for me on the central ideas in statistics.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm pretty sure we bought this for the 11 year old a few years ago, but I picked it up and decided to review my basic statistics. It lives up to its promise of both giving a brief guide/overview, and being fairly easy to read. So, go, book! I've been trying to formalize my learning a tiny bit this spring. This contributed to that effort.

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