Yeah, I know. Statistics. Really. I must have run out of things to write about, right? Yes*, but also, no. Stats can be fun! Especially when you’re not being tested on it, and you’re reading just for yourself. And perhaps more importantly, a basic understanding of stats is important, in the sense that it’s important to know at least the basics so you’ll realize when you’re being presented with something that is based upon either no data, or the data has been misrepresented (and if so, then you can dig around a bit to find out why), or even sometimes the data might not add up. So I’m here with an introductory text you might be interested in to get you started: Naked Statistics by Charles Wheelan.
If you’ve taken an introductory statistics course – even if the last time you took one was in high school – you’ll likely find a lot of the information presented in here a refresher. If you’re starting from scratch, Wheelan does a pretty good job breaking down concepts such as standardization, inference, correlation, and regression analysis, describing where you’ll encounter them as well as telling you how data can be misrepresented. You’ll learn about different types of experiments, and the ones from which you can conclude there to be a cause-and-effect relationship, versus the ones from which correlation does not imply causation. It’s accessible, it can be funny, and you’ll come away at the end of the book armed with a basic understanding of probability as well as examples to draw on next time you’re asked to explain the central limit theorem. You’ll be the life of the party – I guarantee it.