The ten best books for thinking clearly about statistics

1st February, 2022

To celebrate paperback publication day of “The Data Detective”, and in no particular order…

The Art of Statistics by David Spiegelhalter @D_Spiegel is a wide-ranging guide to how statistics work, full of vivid and humane examples by the world’s greatest living statistical communicator.

The Signal and the Noise by @NateSilver538 is a great guide to the power and limits of statistical thinking.

The Biggest Bluff by @MKonnikova is, of course, a brilliant, riveting book about poker rather than statistics. Except that of course, it’s really a book about how to think clearly about statistics.

The Tiger that Isn’t by Andrew Dilnot and Michael Blastland is the closest thing you’ll find to a @BBCMoreOrLess bible. So full of wisdom; hugely recommended.

Naked Statistics by @CharlesWheelan is very clear, fun book about all the important ideas in statistics. A great preparation for any course requiring statistical skills.

Invisible Women by @CCriadoPerez is a truly eye-opening book, exploring the consequences of data-gathering with the assumption that the default human is male. A must read.

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil (@mathbabedotorg) explains what happens when we place too much in statistical algorithms to make high-stakes decisions.

Innumeracy by @JohnAllenPaulos is a hugely influential exploration of what happens when people (particularly journalists) can’t think statistically.

Bad Science by @BenGoldacre – a hilarious, razor-sharp critique of media foolishness about stats, science and medicine.

And if you’ve made it this far you probably already know about my own book, which is called How To Make The World Add Up in the UK, India, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand…

…and The Data Detective in the US and Canada. It’s so good they named twice. Now in paperback everywhere…

Late breaking news (7 Dec 2022) – RJ Andrews has produced a thing of beauty with “Florence Nightingale: Mortality and Health Diagrams“. Absolutely gorgeous reproductions of her work, with a sparky biographical essay too.

I’ve set up a storefront on Bookshop in the United States and the United Kingdom. Links to Bookshop and Amazon may generate referral fees.

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