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Cats Show How To Use Statistics


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA — Millions of students take an introductory class in statistics every year, but few will understand how to apply the techniques they learned when they graduate. Their instructors gave them specially prepared datasets, told them what analyses to perform, and checked their work, but once the students leave the class they are on their own. That’s where the book, “Stats with Cats: The Domesticated Guide to Statistics, Models, Graphs, and Other Breeds of Data Analysis”, stands out.

“Stats with Cats” is different from traditional statistics textbooks. There are no exercises involving coin flipping or playing cards. There are only a few equations and not much mathematical notation. Rather than focusing on theory and calculations, “Stats with Cats” describes how to use statistics on real projects, from goal setting and planning through selection of analysis methods and presentation of results. It shows how to avoid and diffuse potential disasters—in the data, the analysis, the project, and the project participants. The book even describes how to critique other people’s statistical reports. Then there are the cats; you won’t see cats in a traditional statistics textbook. But, that’s not all that sets “Stats with Cats” apart.

“Stats with Cats” is written in an informal, engaging style that reads more like an adventurer’s memoir than a textbook. The chapters are relatively short and often humorous, like “You Can Lead a Boss To Data But You Can’t Make Him Think” about dealing with clients and bosses. There are analogies, stories, examples, flow charts, summary tables, checklists, and step-by-step descriptions of statistical methods. These are augmented by a variety of quotes, song parodies, pop culture references, and of course, a hundred photos of the author’s cats.

In a world where the amount of available data increases by a factor of ten every five years, not being able to analyze data has become a significant disadvantage for job seekers. Charles Kufs, the author of “Stats with Cats”, says he wrote the book as a "bridge between the statistics of the classroom and the statistics of the workplace so that people who aren’t statisticians can use what they learned in Statistics 101. You can gain a competitive edge by learning how to analyze your own data and be entertained while you do it.”


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