Tag Archives: Mathematics

Stats

Charles WheelanYeah, 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.

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Really (truly!) enjoyable books about math

A jumble of mathematical symbols in black on a blue and white backgroundHere is a lesser known fact about me: a long time ago, in what feels very much like a past life, I was a math major. In fact, I have a degree in mathematics to show for it!

And yes, I love math. I really do. I love the beauty and patterns that can be found in numbers, and I really love the weird abstract corners of math that deal with knots and multi-dimensional objects.

I also have a thing for reading books about math that are meant for non-math people – I like to make a game of seeing how long it takes before they jump the shark and become inaccessible to a general audience, to be honest! But every now and then. I find a gem that actually does what it claims to do (or at least, I think so!) Here’s the best of the best, as far as I can tell:

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