Posted on
By
David Salsburg

- Little Secrets
- The Book of Lost Friends
- Chosen Ones
- The New Husband
- The Missing Sister
- The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
- He Started It
- The Sweeney Sisters
- The Book of Longings
- Chosen Ones
- If I Had Your Face
- A Bad Day for Sunshine
- The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
- Conjure Women
- Crave

Theme: Avant by
Kaira

This book concerns the fairly recent evolution of the field of statistics, to become a major factor in science and applied science The author discusses this for the nonmathematician by elaborating on some of the biographies of prominent people in statistics, both theoretical and applied He lucidly discusses the math without formulas by using intuitive ideas, but his description of the mathematics which is central to statistics amounts at certain points to name dropping Nevertheless, he displays, overall, an interesting point of view on statistics from someone who has worked in the field, and thought about the nature of the field I recommend this book especially to beginners who have some background in statistics, and want to be exposed to some of the real excitement of this field as it has grown to influence many areas and seems, in many respects, to be inherently multidisciplinary His perspective is that of someone who has some very deep exposure to the field, and is able not only to write in an interesting fashion, but also critique some of the ideas he presents and seriously discuss some of the limitations of statistics, as he sees them His direct view is that statistics has made revolutionary advances, and he is able to be fairly convincing, despite the fact that he has written specifically for non mathematicians Nevertheless, his broad viewpoint should be of interest to many mathematicians as well.

This book was hard for me to put down It is not a how to book Instead, it addresses the very foundations of statistics As a practitioner but relative novice in the sophisticated use of statistics, I was stunned and frankly thought it ironic that there is so much uncertainty in the appropriate use, usefulness and meaning of statistics It played with my mind on what is real in science The history of the statistical revolution he describes is fascinating as personalities, perceptions and interpretations clash across the years It should provide valuable insight to those whose work depends on the appropriate use and interpretation of statistics But the book must cause them pause as the author concludes in the final paragraph, the statistical revolution in science stands triumphant but it stands triumphant on feet of clay.

A wonderful romp through the statistical methods and their practitioners of the twentieth century There is a concerted effort to NOT include math notation or heavy lifting this will not replace a stats textbook, it is decidedly and avowedly not meant to Instead, intuition and philosophy of these advances are summarized I am sure that my familiarity with the math helped, but I don t think it was necessary to understand the book In fact, the Confidence Interval being process not number is the best way I have ever heard that put I have a way to say it and I can only say it that way to be sure that I haven t flipped the meaning This was a great example of how Salsburg takes big concepts with lots of math and explains them in intuitive ways More than that though he makes these names from tests and bootstraps and whatnot and makes them real live people with stories and ambitions There is also a great sense of the personal statisticians need to interact with their data you cant make a good valid clear model if you have no idea what the data really mean Great lesson for everyone.

Mostly useful for the biographies of these historical figures Do not expect full explanations of the mathematics I found the descriptions of the relationships between the characters to the very useful Also, at times the author recounts anecdotes from meetings he had with the mathematicians e.g., Chester Bliss These are interesting and revealing, but do not expect sociological rigor here the author isn t from that field, after all I ve read some sections several times and was able to use some of these anecdotes in class.

As a professional statistician, I gained a deeper understanding of underlying philosophical aspects of probability and how it affects our everyday decision making process I also learned that applied statistics was one of the suppressed research fields in the country of Kolmogorov where I grew up, and how it affected the future development not only of other scientific disciplines, but the economic prosperity, or should I say lack of it It is disheartening that the country with enormous intellectual potential and talent was not able to capitalize on it.The most captivating part of the book were stories of great scientists who contributed to the field It is humbling and inspiring, at the same time encouraging to know the immense value of analytical probing and desire to get to the root of things.Statistics potential is changing so many fields, from baseball to quantum physics Qbism, or Quantum Bayesianism I wonder who and when will write a sequel on how statistics revolutionized science in the 21st century I hope it ll be in my lifetime.