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Book Review: Naked Statistics: Stripping The Dread From The Data by Charles Wheelan

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Naked Statistics: Stripping The Dread From The Data by Charles Wheelan describes the proper ways to employ statistical analysis, as well as incorrect or misleading uses of the discipline.

The author begins by explaining how statistics is used to study interrelationships through the review of large data sets to arrive at inferences as to what the data means. Mass data is summarized to determine underlying phenomena. Sometimes, the data is analyzed to determine qualitative
aspects or defects as in the Poisson Distribution.

Wheelan explains classic problems in interpreting data. For instance, practitioners may not understand when events are independent. Occasionally, clusters impact the interpretation of the data. In other cases, practitioners wrongly assume that events are independent when they are not.

The author discusses the benefits and limitations of regression analysis. In addition, correlation does not necessarily imply causality. Wheelan discusses survivorship bias which applies classically to assumptions about students as they progress in seniority from freshman year through to the senior year.

Wheelan provides a very interesting limitation for regression. In essence, regression is not necessarily accurate for non-linear cases. The area of fractal geometry may be introduced to enhance the regression equation to deal with
non-linearity. The author does not discuss fractal geometry applications to probability/statistics.

The author explains the basic principles of how casinos operate and how people can lose money by betting in accordance with wrong assumptions. At bottom, casinos operate so that the outcome of one event has no discernible impact on another.

Naked Statistics is an important book on the proper application of statistics for solving problems of inference and even conditional probability. The presentation is easy to read and understand for a wide constituency of readers in academe, the professions and the general public.

This book should be read in connection with designing and interpreting statistical experiments.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.