This Second Edition of The Tao of Statistics: A Path to Understanding (With No Math) provides a reader-friendly approach to statistics in plain English. Unlike other statistics books, this text explains what statistics mean and how they are used, rather than how to calculate them. The book walks readers through basic concepts as well as some of the most complex statistical models in use. The Second Edition adds coverage of big data to better address its impact on p-values and other key concepts; material on small data to show readers how to handle data with fewer data points than optimal; and other new topics like missing data and effect sizes. The book’s two characters (a high school principal and a director of public health) return in the revised edition, with their examples expanded and updated with reference to contemporary concerns in the fields of education and health.

Bell-Shaped—The Normal Curve

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  • School bells ring
  • Some melodious, some not
  • The faces of the new world

The bell curve and the normal curve are two names for the same thing. Originally, it was called the normal curve of errors. This term comes from some of the earliest work in statistics, which focused on predicting a son’s adult height from the height of his father. The errors from these predictions formed a bell-shaped curve. Other characteristics were then predicted. The errors from those predictions also formed bell-shaped curves. Remarkably, many common characteristics did the same thing. That bell-shaped curve was then named the normal curve of errors. Since that time, statisticians have found that many common traits are distributed the same way. The mathematical properties of the ...

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