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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  • Strength in numbers
  • The mode boasts
  • But is seen little

The mode is the value with the most frequent occurrence. For data that take a large number of very specific values (e.g., length of each road in a state), the mode is not useful. For data that take a more limited number of values (e.g., make and model of registered vehicles), the mode can be informative and useful (e.g., America’s 10 most popular cars). The mode can be calculated for the majority of distributions, yet it is the least informative of averages, or central tendencies. That relative lack of information content is due to the mode’s failure to indicate its relationship to points anywhere else in the distribution.

Moreover, we have to guess at the mode’s ...

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