Great Lakes Geek Book Review

The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics
Grady Klein and Alan Dabney

The author (cartoonist Grady Klein) wrote two volumes of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics with the intent to make a potentially dry topic, palatable and even fun. He tries it again here with The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics.

The drawings and examples are interesting (a barnful of worms of varying length, aliens who may or may not hate each other and so on). The most basic concepts of statistics are covered using the outrageous drawings and characters.

I would guess that the audience for the book is youngsters who are interested in math, science and learning beyond their age and school coursework or older students who are struggling with their Intro to Stats course and need the extra help.

The examples do a good job of demonstrating the 4 important qualities of a sample

  1. Size
  2. Shape
  3. Location
  4. Spread
and the authors keep stressing, as they should, the need for a random sampling and for as large a population as possible.

The often confusing difference between average (mean) and median is explained well as the variation and eventually the standard deviation.

Normal distributions are covered so that the authors can present Central Limit Theorem which is vital to early statistics.

As someone who took (granted a long time ago) university level probability and statistics, the material covered in this book was too basic and would have been covered in one lecture. But the book covers the basics well and the Appendix of the book, called The Math Cave, goes beyond the topics covered in the cartoons and presents some mathematical formulas and more advanced topics.

And any book that can get kids and others reading and enjoying math and science is OK by me.

Great Lakes Geek Rating: 3 out of 5 pocket protectors.

Reviewed by Entreprenerd Dan Hanson, the Great Lakes Geek (2/14)

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