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.

Risk—Probability

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  • Not yes, not no
  • Between
  • Where?

How can we calculate probabilities that are closer to reality than random guesses would be? The history of gambling plays a big role in answering this question. Where there is money, there is motivation. Plenty of motivation could be found with coin-flipping, dice, and card games. People were making wagers and, hence, started figuring out the odds. They also asked friends for help with figuring out the odds. Add several centuries and mathematically inclined people with time on their hands, and you get modern statistical probabilities. Fortunately for most of us, understanding the meaning of that probability is pretty easy and does not change much among choices of statistical methods.

Statistics estimate the percentage of the time that we would ...

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