100 books like Thinking About Statistics

By Jun Otsuka,

Here are 100 books that Thinking About Statistics fans have personally recommended if you like Thinking About Statistics. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

Ran Spiegler Author Of The Curious Culture of Economic Theory

From my list on scholarly and popular-science books that both pros and amateurs can enjoy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic researcher and an avid non-fiction reader. There are many popular books on science or music, but it’s much harder to find texts that manage to occupy the space between popular and professional writing. I’ve always been looking for this kind of book, whether on physics, music, AI, or math – even when I knew that as a non-pro, I wouldn’t be able to understand everything. In my new book I’ve been trying to accomplish something similar: A book that can intrigue readers who are not professional economic theorists, that they will find interesting even if they can’t follow everything.

Ran's book list on scholarly and popular-science books that both pros and amateurs can enjoy

Ran Spiegler Why did Ran love this book?

In the ongoing debates over artificial general intelligence (AGI), Judea Pearl is taking a firm stand: He argues that an intelligent robot should be able to reason about causality and that the currently fashionable approaches to AI miss this aspect.

A celebrated AI researcher and a Turing Prize laureate, Pearl has developed an amazingly original approach to this problem. This book is a high-end popular exposition of his approach.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s a history of statistics and its conflicted attitude to causality. It’s a story of heroes (or villains?) in this history. And it’s a scientific autobiography that describes Pearl’s journey. Pearl likes picking fights with the AI community, statisticians, or economists. He’s boastful, provocative, extremely intelligent, and knows how to tell a story.

By Judea Pearl, Dana MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Book of Why as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Wonderful ... illuminating and fun to read'
- Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

'"Pearl's accomplishments over the last 30 years have provided the theoretical basis for progress in artificial intelligence and have redefined the term "thinking machine"'
- Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, Inc.

The influential book in how causality revolutionized science and the world, by the pioneer of artificial intelligence

'Correlation does not imply causation.' This mantra was invoked by scientists for decades in order to avoid taking positions as to whether one thing caused another, such as smoking…


Book cover of Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us?: A Layperson's Guide to the Concepts, Math, and Pitfalls of AI

Michael Anthony Lewis Author Of Social Workers Count: Numbers and Social Issues

From my list on quant geeks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've had a long-time interest in two things: mathematics and social issues. This is why I got degrees in social work (Masters) and sociology (PhD) and eventually focused on the quantitative aspects of these two areas. Social Workers Count gave me the chance to marry these two interests by showing the role mathematics can play in illuminating a number of pressing social issues.

Michael's book list on quant geeks

Michael Anthony Lewis Why did Michael love this book?

As I write these lines, artificial intelligence (AI) is getting a lot of attention.

This is largely due to ChatGpt recently bursting onto the scene. But even before ChatGpt began making its mark, AI was often in the news. Some have expressed worry that it will take our jobs, others that it will reinforce systemic oppression by making racially or otherwise discriminatory decisions, and some have even voiced concerns that one day a superintelligent AI might pose an existential threat to humanity.

In the midst of all this, what might get lost is what AI is, what it's capable of doing, and what its limitations are. Wenger's book is intended to address all of these questions. It manages to do so in a way which goes into some of the mathematics of AI systems and yet remain accessible to a lay audience.

After laying out the technical aspects of AI,…

By Kenneth Wenger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Artificial intelligence is everywhere―it’s in our houses and phones and cars. AI makes decisions about what we should buy, watch, and read, and it won’t be long before AI’s in our hospitals, combing through our records. Maybe soon it will even be deciding who’s innocent, and who goes to jail . . . But most of us don’t understand how AI works. We hardly know what it is. In "Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us?", AI expert Kenneth Wenger deftly explains the complexity at AI’s heart, demonstrating its potential and exposing its shortfalls. Wenger empowers readers to answer the question―What…


Book cover of Bayesian Statistics for Beginners: a step-by-step approach

Michael Anthony Lewis Author Of Social Workers Count: Numbers and Social Issues

From my list on quant geeks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've had a long-time interest in two things: mathematics and social issues. This is why I got degrees in social work (Masters) and sociology (PhD) and eventually focused on the quantitative aspects of these two areas. Social Workers Count gave me the chance to marry these two interests by showing the role mathematics can play in illuminating a number of pressing social issues.

Michael's book list on quant geeks

Michael Anthony Lewis Why did Michael love this book?

Many quant geeks are familiar with statistics. The dominant school of statistical thought is called "Frequentist" or "Classical."

It focuses on either 1) testing a given hypothesis by determining how likely observed data are on the assumption that the hypothesis is true or 2) constructing intervals for which a certain percentage of them contain the actual value of whatever is being estimated.

A lesser known, although this seems to be changing, school of thought is Bayesian statistics. It focuses on using prior information about some phenomenon in order to revise or update one's beliefs about it.

If you're into stats but don't know much about Bayesian statistics, Donovan and Mickey's book is a great place to start. It's somewhat mathematical but covers the technical aspects much more accessibly that any other book I've seen on the topic. 

By Therese M. Donovan, Ruth M. Mickey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bayesian Statistics for Beginners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bayesian statistics is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. At its heart is a method of statistical inference in which Bayes' theorem is used to update the probability for a hypothesis as more evidence or information becomes available. It is an approach that is ideally suited to making initial assessments based on incomplete or imperfect information; as that information is gathered and disseminated, the Bayesian approach corrects or replaces the
assumptions and alters its decision-making accordingly to generate a new set of probabilities. As new data/evidence becomes available the probability for a particular hypothesis can therefore be steadily refined and…


Book cover of Book of Proof

Michael Anthony Lewis Author Of Social Workers Count: Numbers and Social Issues

From my list on quant geeks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've had a long-time interest in two things: mathematics and social issues. This is why I got degrees in social work (Masters) and sociology (PhD) and eventually focused on the quantitative aspects of these two areas. Social Workers Count gave me the chance to marry these two interests by showing the role mathematics can play in illuminating a number of pressing social issues.

Michael's book list on quant geeks

Michael Anthony Lewis Why did Michael love this book?

Many people associate mathematics with calculating things or plugging numbers into formulas to get answers to a multitude of problems.

But this isn't how mathematicians view their discipline. They see mathematics as more about starting with definitions of key mathematical concepts, stating axioms about these concepts, and proving things about them. For those interested in going from calculating and plug and chug mathematics to "real" mathematics, Richard Hammack's book is a terrific place to start.

The book covers a number of topics that cut across all of pure and applied mathematics, topics such as sets, relations, and functions. But the heart of the book is focused on how mathematicians go about proving things. If one wants a glimpse of how mathematicians really work, go out and get this book immediately.  

By Richard Hammack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Book of Proof as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is an introduction to the language and standard proof methods of mathematics. It is a bridge from the computational courses (such as calculus or differential equations) that students typically encounter in their first year of college to a more abstract outlook. It lays a foundation for more theoretical courses such as topology, analysis and abstract algebra. Although it may be more meaningful to the student who has had some calculus, there is really no prerequisite other than a measure of mathematical maturity.

Topics include sets, logic, counting, methods of conditional and non-conditional proof, disproof, induction, relations, functions, calculus…


Book cover of How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers

Rebecca Campbell Author Of How to Teach Economics to Your Dog: A Quirky Introduction

From my list on economics for people who are allergic to algebra.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently teach in the management department of the London School of Economics, and I often need to communicate economic ideas to non-economists. Honestly, I was very nervous about writing (yet another) book about economics. Especially since there are so many around. Two things made me have a go. I really wanted to convey the key arguments with simplicity, translating often complicated and abstruse ideas into straightforward language in a way that didn’t dumb down. Second the world has changed so much in recent years that you need to keep up to date. Quantitative easing, modern monetary theory, and Bitcoin are ideas that just did not exist until recently. 

Rebecca's book list on economics for people who are allergic to algebra

Rebecca Campbell Why did Rebecca love this book?

All politicians should be forced to read this book. Anyone who reads a newspaper should be forced to read this book. My favourite radio programme in the world is Tim Harford’s More or Less. And this book is every bit as good. Harford is clear, incisive, and always interesting. In a world crowded with disinformation and fake news, he shows you how to evaluate the numbers that are thrown at you. To read him is to become a little cleverer. Make this man prime minister someone.

By Tim Harford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Make the World Add Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times Bestseller

'Tim Harford is one of my favourite writers in the world. His storytelling is gripping but never overdone, his intellectual honesty is rare and inspiring, and his ability to make complex things simple - but not simplistic - is exceptional. How to Make the World Add Up is another one of his gems. If you're looking for an addictive pageturner that will make you smarter, this is your book' Rutger Bregman, author of Humankind

'Tim Harford could well be Britain's Malcolm Gladwell'
Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

'If you aren't in love with…


Book cover of The Cartoon Guide to Statistics

Martin Sternstein Author Of Barron's AP Statistics

From my list on statistical insights into social issues.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught for 45 years at Ithaca College broken by two years as Fulbright Professor in West Africa at the University of Liberia. During my years in academia, I developed several new courses including a popular “Math in Africa” class and the first U.S. course for college credit in chess theory. I’ve always had a passion for and continue to have strong interests in (1) national educational and social issues concerning equal access to math education for all and (2) teaching others about the power of mathematics and statistics to help one more deeply understand social issues.

Martin's book list on statistical insights into social issues

Martin Sternstein Why did Martin love this book?

This book is kind of a fun crash course in statistics which covers all the basic concepts at an introductory level.

The cartoons are a little bit dated, but still entertaining. There are lots of pictures and graphs which are a pleasure if you are a visual learner. The reader will come away with many useful tools to help understand real world problems.

I’m a retired math professor, but still got a real kick out of this book and especially appreciated the many good examples referenced such as gender discrimination in salaries and racial discrimination in jury selection. I recommended it to many of my struggling students.

By Larry Gonick, Woollcott Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cartoon Guide to Statistics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Updated version featuring all new material. If you have ever looked for P-values by shopping at P mart, tried to watch the Bernoulli Trails on "People's Court," or think that the standard deviation is a criminal offense in six states, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Statistics to put you on the road to statistical literacy. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics covers all the central ideas of modern statistics: the summary and display of data, probability in gambling and medicine, random variables, Bernoulli Trails, the Central Limit Theorem, hypothesis testing, confidence interval estimation, and much more-all explained in simple,…


Book cover of Modern Mathematical Statistics with Applications

Chris Conlan Author Of Algorithmic Trading with Python: Quantitative Methods and Strategy Development

From my list on mathematics for quant finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a financial data scientist. I think it is important that data scientists are highly specialized if they want to be effective in their careers. I run a business called Conlan Scientific out of Charlotte, NC where me and my team of financial data scientists tackle complicated machine learning problems for our clients. Quant trading is a gladiator’s arena of financial data science. Anyone can try it, but few succeed at it. I am sharing my top five list of math books that are essential to success in this field. I hope you enjoy.

Chris' book list on mathematics for quant finance

Chris Conlan Why did Chris love this book?

One of my favorite professors, Gretchen Martinet, used this to teach a course called “Mathematical Statistics” when I was at the University of Virginia. It is an extremely profound course full of dense but fundamental mathematical proofs in classical statistics. 

You will learn why the formula for the normal distribution is the way it is, why the sum of squares appears everywhere in statistics, and how to fit a linear regression by hand. In the same way calculus elevates our understanding of rates of changes, the book elevates your understanding of samples, averages, and distributions. Quant trading requires an intuitive sense of how data, models, and aggregates work, making this content essential for your success.

By Jay L. DeVore, Kenneth N. Berk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Modern Mathematical Statistics with Applications as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Modern Mathematical Statistics with Applications, Second Edition strikes a balance between mathematical foundations and statistical practice. In keeping with the recommendation that every math student should study statistics and probability with an emphasis on data analysis, accomplished authors Jay Devore and Kenneth Berk make statistical concepts and methods clear and relevant through careful explanations and a broad range of applications involving real data.

The main focus of the book is on presenting and illustrating methods of inferential statistics that are useful in research. It begins with a chapter on descriptive statistics that immediately exposes the reader to real data. The…


Book cover of The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data

Valliappa Lakshmanan Author Of Data Science on the Google Cloud Platform: Implementing End-To-End Real-Time Data Pipelines: From Ingest to Machine Learning

From my list on if you want to become a data scientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career as a research scientist building machine learning algorithms for weather forecasting. Twenty years later, I found myself at a precision agriculture startup creating models that provided guidance to farmers on when to plant, what to plant, etc. So, I am part of the movement from academia to industry. Now, at Google Cloud, my team builds cross-industry solutions and I see firsthand what our customers need in their data science teams. This set of books is what I suggest when a CTO asks how to upskill their workforce, or when a graduate student asks me how to break into the industry.

Valliappa's book list on if you want to become a data scientist

Valliappa Lakshmanan Why did Valliappa love this book?

What if you are faced with a problem for which a standard approach doesn’t yet exist? In such a case, you will need to be able to figure out the approach from the first principles. This book will help you learn how to derive insights starting from raw data.

By David Spiegelhalter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art of Statistics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A statistical national treasure' Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2

'Required reading for all politicians, journalists, medics and anyone who tries to influence people (or is influenced) by statistics. A tour de force' Popular Science

Do busier hospitals have higher survival rates? How many trees are there on the planet? Why do old men have big ears? David Spiegelhalter reveals the answers to these and many other questions - questions that can only be addressed using statistical science.

Statistics has played a leading role in our scientific understanding of the world for centuries, yet we are all familiar with the way…


Book cover of How to Lie with Statistics

Bastiaan C. van Fraassen Author Of Philosophy and Science of Risk: An Introduction

From my list on exploring the meaning of probability and risk.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve wanted to be a philosopher since I read Plato’s Phaedo when I was 17, a new immigrant in Canada. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with time, space, and quantum mechanics and involved in the great debates about their mysteries. I saw probability coming into play more and more in curious roles both in the sciences and in practical life. These five books led me on an exciting journey into the history of probability, the meaning of risk, and the use of probability to assess the possibility of harm. I was gripped, entertained, illuminated, and often amazed at what I was discovering. 

Bastiaan's book list on exploring the meaning of probability and risk

Bastiaan C. van Fraassen Why did Bastiaan love this book?

I am laughing out loud, even now that I am rereading this book for the umpteenth time. Fraudsters are so clever, and so is advertising. And then there is sloppy journalism with its “wow” statistics.

I like his book enormously, not least because of its witty illustrations. It is subversive, comic, and provocative, and it makes me wise to seductive, misleading practices–and it does so with a light touch.

By Darrell Huff, Irving Geis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How to Lie with Statistics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From distorted graphs and biased samples to misleading averages, there are countless statistical dodges that lend cover to anyone with an ax to grind or a product to sell. With abundant examples and illustrations, Darrell Huff's lively and engaging primer clarifies the basic principles of statistics and explains how they're used to present information in honest and not-so-honest ways. Now even more indispensable in our data-driven world than it was when first published, How to Lie with Statistics is the book that generations of readers have relied on to keep from being fooled.


Book cover of Statistics and Data Analysis for Financial Engineering: With R Examples

Ernest P. Chan Author Of Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business

From my list on quantitative trading for beginners.

Why am I passionate about this?

A noted quantitative hedge fund manager and quant finance author, Ernie is the founder of QTS Capital Management and Predictnow.ai. Previously he has applied his expertise in machine learning at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center’s Human Language Technologies group, at Morgan Stanley’s Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence Group, and at Credit Suisse’s Horizon Trading Group. Ernie was quoted by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, and the CIO magazine, and interviewed on CNBC’s Closing Bell program. He is an adjunct faculty at Northwestern University’s Master’s in Data Science program and supervises student theses there. Ernie holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University.

Ernest's book list on quantitative trading for beginners

Ernest P. Chan Why did Ernest love this book?

I have used this book to teach my Financial Risk Analytics course at Northwestern University for many years. As a textbook, it is surprisingly easy to read, and the abundant exercises are great. This would be a foundational text to read after you have read my own books. It puts you on solid ground to understand all the financial babble that you may read elsewhere. It includes extensive coverage of most basic topics important to a serious quantitative trader, while not being overly mathematical. Easily understandable if you have basic programming and math background from first year of university.

Everything is practical in this book, which isn’t what you would expect from a textbook! There is no math for math’s sake. I have used the techniques discussed in this book for real trading, and for creating features at my machine learning SaaS predictnow.ai. Examples: What’s the difference between net…

By David Ruppert, David S. Matteson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Statistics and Data Analysis for Financial Engineering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new edition of this influential textbook, geared towards graduate or advanced undergraduate students, teaches the statistics necessary for financial engineering. In doing so, it illustrates concepts using financial markets and economic data, R Labs with real-data exercises, and graphical and analytic methods for modeling and diagnosing modeling errors. These methods are critical because financial engineers now have access to enormous quantities of data. To make use of this data, the powerful methods in this book for working with quantitative information, particularly about volatility and risks, are essential. Strengths of this fully-revised edition include major additions to the R code…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in statistics, philosophy, and epistemology?

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