Statistics Hacks

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Overview

Want to calculate the probability that an event will happen? Be able to spot fake data? Prove beyond doubt whether one thing causes another? Or learn to be a better gambler? You can do that and much more with 75 practical and fun hacks packed into Statistics Hacks. These cool tips, tricks, and mind-boggling solutions from the world of statistics, measurement, and research methods will not only amaze and entertain you, but will give you an advantage in several real-world ...

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Statistics Hacks: Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds

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Overview

Want to calculate the probability that an event will happen? Be able to spot fake data? Prove beyond doubt whether one thing causes another? Or learn to be a better gambler? You can do that and much more with 75 practical and fun hacks packed into Statistics Hacks. These cool tips, tricks, and mind-boggling solutions from the world of statistics, measurement, and research methods will not only amaze and entertain you, but will give you an advantage in several real-world situations-including business.

This book is ideal for anyone who likes puzzles, brainteasers, games, gambling, magic tricks, and those who want to apply math and science to everyday circumstances. Several hacks in the first chapter alone-such as the "central limit theorem,", which allows you to know everything by knowing just a little-serve as sound approaches for marketing and other business objectives. Using the tools of inferential statistics, you can understand the way probability works, discover relationships, predict events with uncanny accuracy, and even make a little money with a well-placed wager here and there.

Statistics Hacks presents useful techniques from statistics, educational and psychological measurement, and experimental research to help you solve a variety of problems in business, games, and life. You'll learn how to:

  • Play smart when you play Texas Hold 'Em, blackjack, roulette, dice games, or even the lottery
  • Design your own winnable bar bets to make money and amaze your friends
  • Predict the outcomes of baseball games, know when to "go for two" in football, and anticipate the winners of other sporting events with surprising accuracy
  • Demystify amazing coincidences and distinguish the truly random from the only seemingly random--even keep your iPod's "random" shuffle honest
  • Spot fraudulent data, detect plagiarism, and break codes
  • How to isolate the effects of observation on the thing observed

Whether you're a statistics enthusiast who does calculations in your sleep or a civilian who is entertained by clever solutions to interesting problems, Statistics Hacks has tools to give you an edge over the world's slim odds.

Want to calculate the probability that an event will happen? Be able to spot fake data? Or learn how to be a better gambler? This fun and practical book presents concepts from statistical research and psychological measurement in easy-to-understand language.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Statistics has never been this much fun, or this useful. Statistics Hacks isn’t just for statisticians and scientists (though they’ll love it): It’s for anyone who hates getting bamboozled.

Bruce Frey starts with some indispensable ground rules for demonstrating causation and understanding the true significance of your findings, as well as the “one secret thing that makes [statisticians] seem smarter than everybody else.” He offers hacks for discovering hidden relationships between variables; asking questions that are likelier to elicit accurate answers, and making probability your friend, in games from Texas Hold ’Em to roulette. You’ll learn how to weed out bad answers on tests, demystify amazing coincidences, even spot faked data.

For each tip, Frey explains why it works, where else it works, and, crucially, where it doesn’t work. These aren’t just “hacks”: They’re essential tools for life in the 21st century. Bill Camarda, from the July 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596101640
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/20/2006
  • Series: Hacks Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 358
  • Sales rank: 968,609
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Frey, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology and research in education at the University of Kansas. Previous books include "Online Auctions! I Didn't Know You Could Do That " published by Sybex and, with Neil Salkind, "eBay Online Auctions: Effective Buying and Selling with eBay" published by Muska & Lipman. He is an award-winning teacher of statistics, research design, and measurement. Bruce enjoys movies and collecting comic books, especially those early 1960s DCs with the cool checkered flag pattern. (Note to his tenure committee: In the research field of education, he is also an author of fifty scholarly publications and papers.)

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Table of Contents

Credits;
About the Author;
Contributors;
Acknowledgments;
Preface;
Why Statistics Hacks?;
How This Book Is Organized;
Conventions Used in This Book;
Safari Enabled;
How to Contact Us;
Got a Hack?;
Chapter 1: The Basics;
1 Know the Big Secret;
2 Describe the World Using Just Two Numbers;
3 Figure the Odds;
4 Reject the Null;
5 Go Big to Get Small;
6 Measure Precisely;
7 Measure Up;
8 Power Up;
9 Show Cause and Effect;
10 Know Big When You See It;
Chapter 2: Discovering Relationships;
11 Discover Relationships;
12 Graph Relationships;
13 Use One Variable to Predict Another;
14 Use More Than One Variable to Predict Another;
15 Identify Unexpected Outcomes;
16 Identify Unexpected Relationships;
17 Compare Two Groups;
18 Find Out Just How Wrong You Really Are;
19 Sample Fairly;
20 Sample with a Touch of Scotch;
21 Choose the Honest Average;
22 Avoid the Axis of Evil;
Chapter 3: Measuring the World;
23 See the Shape of Everything;
24 Produce Percentiles;
25 Predict the Future with the Normal Curve;
26 Give Raw Scores a Makeover;
27 Standardize Scores;
28 Ask the Right Questions;
29 Test Fairly;
30 Improve Your Test Score While Watching Paint Dry;
31 Establish Reliability;
32 Establish Validity;
33 Predict the Length of a Lifetime;
34 Make Wise Medical Decisions;
Chapter 4: Beating the Odds;
35 Gamble Smart;
36 Know When to Hold 'Em;
37 Know When to Fold 'Em;
38 Know When to Walk Away;
39 Lose Slowly at Roulette;
40 Play in the Black in Blackjack;
41 Play Smart When You Play the Lottery;
42 Play with Cards and Get Lucky;
43 Play with Dice and Get Lucky;
44 Sharpen Your Card-Sharping;
45 Amaze Your 23 Closest Friends;
46 Design Your Own Bar Bet;
47 Go Crazy with Wild Cards;
48 Never Trust an Honest Coin;
49 Know Your Limit;
Chapter 5: Playing Games;
50 Avoid the Zonk;
51 Pass Go, Collect $200, Win the Game;
52 Use Random Selection as Artificial Intelligence;
53 Do Card Tricks Through the Mail;
54 Check Your iPod's Honesty;
55 Predict the Game Winners;
56 Predict the Outcome of a Baseball Game;
57 Plot Histograms in Excel;
58 Go for Two;
59 Rank with the Best of Them;
60 Estimate Pi by Chance;
Chapter 6: Thinking Smart;
61 Outsmart Superman;
62 Demystify Amazing Coincidences;
63 Sense the Real Randomness of Life;
64 Spot Faked Data;
65 Give Credit Where Credit Is Due;
66 Play a Tune on Pascal's Triangle;
67 Control Random Thoughts;
68 Search for ESP;
69 Cure Conjunctionitus;
70 Break Codes with Etaoin Shrdlu;
71 Discover a New Species;
72 Feel Connected;
73 Learn to Ride a Votercycle;
74 Live Life in the Fast Lane (You're Already In);
75 Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations;
Colophon;
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2006

    Believe it or not, statistics rocks

    Most people really hate statistics, although I¿m not sure why. In college, I enjoyed the subject so much, that I earned an advanced degree in it. With that begin said, I¿m always a bit leery of non-academic statistics books. Those that I have seen in the past generally have poor science or are more boring than a Ph.D. candidate¿s dissertation. Imagine my surprise when I read this book and found it both fun to read and scientifically correct! This book is laid out like a typical O¿Reilly ¿hacks¿ book. Each section is a ¿hack¿ or tip related to the overall subject of the book. However, I was really pleased with the organization of the hacks in this book. The hacks really closely follow the same order of concepts that students cover in an introductory statistics course. The author begins with discussing the basics of statistics (mean, median, standard deviation), and from there, works up to graphing, and predicting. However, these concepts are discussed in a way that makes it fun to read and seem really applicable to the real world. While the first half of the book covers the basics of statistics, the last half shows how to apply these concepts to the real world. The author shows through example after example that probability really works, how it works, and why it¿s fun to understand. In some examples, he shows how knowing the probabilities of casino blackjack can dramatically increase your chances of winning. Other fun probability exercises include how to win at Monopoly (or at least increase your chances of winning), checking how ¿honest¿ your iPod¿s random feature is, and how to predict the winners of sporting events. This is a really fun book to read and is based on solid statistical methodologies. This book is an absolute must if you need to understand the basics of statistical techniques, methologies, and theory. If more students used this book as their introductory statistics text, we¿d likely have a lot more statisticians.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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