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.


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  • The mean gets bullied
  • Pulled to the strongest side
  • Helpless in the tug-of-war

The mean is the arithmetic average, has intuitive appeal, and is the most common incarnation of the average or central tendency. Yet it needs a fairly symmetric (i.e., nonskewed) distribution to be a relevant approximation of the central tendency. Large numbers of outliers (data points far from the mean), or even a few data points extremely far from the mean, can greatly distort the mean. When the data are fairly well balanced, the mean is quite useful. It contains more information than the median or the mode (to be discussed in the next two sections) because it is affected by both the number and the size of all occurrences. Means also are ...

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