A reading club with a view to the future

205 Charles Wheelan: Naked Statistics

Charles Wheelan demystifies the world of statistics and data analysis, showing how they can be used to inform decisions and shape policy.

Charles Wheelan: Naked Statistics


"Naked Statistics" by Charles Wheelan is a practical guide to understanding statistics and data analysis, and their role in our daily lives. Through clear explanations, real-world examples, and humorous anecdotes, Wheelan explains the basics of statistical concepts such as correlation, regression, sampling, and inference. The book also covers the use of statistics in fields such as medicine, economics, and politics, and the importance of interpreting data in an objective and critical manner. Wheelan aims to demystify statistics and make it accessible to a wider audience, showing how statistics can be used to inform decisions, shape policy, and ultimately, make the world a better place.


Title: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Author: Charles Wheelan

Publishing year: 2013

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Length in hours: 10 hours and 48 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Statistics and data analysis are essential tools for making informed decisions and understanding the world around us.
  2. Statistical concepts such as correlation, regression, and probability are fundamental to understanding data.
  3. The misuse and misinterpretation of statistics can have serious consequences, and it is important to approach data objectively and critically.
  4. Statistics are used in a wide range of fields, from medicine and economics to sports and politics.
  5. The ability to understand and interpret statistics is becoming increasingly important in an era of big data and information overload.
Charles Wheelan: Naked Statistics

5 funny quotes

  1. "Statistics is like a high-caliber weapon: helpful when used correctly and potentially disastrous in the wrong hands."
  2. "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital."
  3. "Statisticians have to be brave, like deep-sea divers or test pilots, because they are constantly venturing into unknown territory."
  4. "One thing you can say for sure about a life in statistics: you won't ever be bored."
  5. "Using statistics to forecast the future is like trying to drive a car blindfolded while looking in the rearview mirror."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The plural of anecdote is not data." - Roger Brinner
  2. "In God we trust, all others must bring data." - W. Edwards Deming
  3. "All models are wrong, but some are useful." - George E. P. Box
  4. "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital." - Aaron Levenstein
  5. "Torture the data, and it will confess to anything." - Ronald Coase

5 dilemmas

  1. The tension between using statistics to make informed decisions and the danger of oversimplifying complex problems.
  2. The ethical considerations of using statistics to make policy decisions, especially when they impact vulnerable populations.
  3. The challenges of interpreting statistical findings and communicating them effectively to different audiences.
  4. The role of statistics in reinforcing or challenging societal biases and stereotypes.
  5. The question of who has access to data and how it is used, and the implications for privacy and social justice.

5 examples

  1. Florence Nightingale, who used statistical analysis to improve the care of wounded soldiers during the Crimean War.
  2. William Sealy Gosset, who invented the t-test statistical method and wrote under the pseudonym "Student".
  3. Nate Silver, a statistician who gained fame for his accurate predictions of political elections.
  4. John Snow, who used statistics to track and map a cholera outbreak in London, leading to improvements in public health practices.
  5. Ronald Fisher, a statistician who made significant contributions to the development of statistical theory and methodology.

Referenced books

  1. "The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't" by Nate Silver
  2. "How to Lie with Statistics" by Darrell Huff
  3. "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" by Leonard Mlodinow
  4. "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  5. "Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide" by Alex Reinhart

Share a quote

"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital."

Charles Wheelan: Naked Statistics
Become a NextBook Insider

Join our community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.