Skinny Dipping Stats

Topics: HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser

cover image of book Naked Statistics in article by John Sumser published May 17, 2016

Statistics and driverless cars won’t do you a damn bit of good if you don’t know where you’re going first.

I barely got out of undergraduate school because of Statistics 101. Eventually, sheer persistence, late nights and the drive to make good on my claims to have graduated did the trick.

No one was happier to see that statistics could be performed by spreadsheet software.

It turns out that you have to know a little more than that.

It’s kind of like the fuss about driverless cars. They won’t do you a damn bit of good if you don’t know where you’re going. They’re sort of useless without that info.

The same is true with stats. They are no good to you unless you have an idea of what you want.

In my day to day adventures, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about statistics and Big Data (yup, it’s a real thing in spite of its state in the hype cycle). Everywhere I turn, some fancy pants analyst/guru is decrying the failure of HR to produce enough people with statistics and analytical skills.

Aren’t you sick of that crap?

Anyhow, I’m a fan of Naked Statistics (quite possibly because it has the word Naked in the title and I’m a closet Beavis and Buthead fan.) Charles Wheelan is on a mission to take the mystery out of statistics.

The paradox of statistics is that they are everywhere—from batting averages to presidential polls—but the discipline itself has a reputation for being uninteresting and inaccessible. Many statistics books and classes are overly laden with math and jargon. Believe me, the technical details are crucial (and interesting)—but it’s just Greek if you don’t understand the intuition. And you may not even care about the intuition of you’re not convinced that there is any reason to learn it.

In this simple book, the fundamental principles of statistics are explained in easy to digest chapters without all that mumbo jumbo.

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