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Stats without Tears
Recommended Statistics Books

Updated 27 Nov 2015 (What’s New?)
Copyright © 2004–2017 by Stan Brown

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Statistics for Citizens

For more practical applications, written in a non-technical way, I recommend:

If you can’t find these in your library for regular checkout, ask a librarian to get them from another library for you, or get them from a bookseller.


The best textbook I’ve seen is DeVeaux, Velleman, and Bock’s Intro Stats (Pearson Addison Wesley, 2009). It’s written in a breezy, conversational style, perfect for self study. I really like the many sections “What can go wrong?” because you should always have possible pitfalls in mind.

Another excellent textbook is Freedman, Pisani, and Purves, Statistics (Norton, 2007). There’s not as much eye candy — no color at all, for instance — but it says what needs to be said and spends adequate time on the philosophy behind the methods.

If you’d like something a little less formal than a textbook, I recommend Larry Gonick & Woollcott Smith, The Cartoon Guide to Statistics. (HarperPerennial, 1993, ISBN 0-06-273102-5). Despite its lighthearted appearance, this is actually a pretty good statistics book. Its advantages include high readability, brief explanations, and low cost (under $12 new at Amazon in March 2004). On the down side, it presents things in a different order from our course, it doesn’t cover data types or χ², and you need to look elsewhere for practice problems. Still I think it’s great value for the money.

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