The Manga Guide to Statistics is a cartoon book in the same style as the publisher's Manga Guide to Calculus, which I reviewed a while back. It's been close to thirty years since I studied statistics (in High School) and reading this book brought back memories.
For the same reasons that I liked Manga's Calculus book, I enjoyed this one. It tells a story. It has pictures, so it engages the visual sense as well as the "word processing" sense. It takes a subject that can be taught in a very dry way and brings it to life, showing how statistics has meaning in real life problems; the importance justifies the mechanical machinery that is central to the study.
Here's the start of the plot:
"Grade 10 Up–Rui is introduced to "statistics with heart-pounding excitement" when she develops a crush on Igarashi, her father's market-research business associate. In an attempt to impress him, the teen asks her father for a personal tutor and is devastated when he enlists Yamamoto, a bespectacled geek, as her instructor. As Rui gamely struggles through some basic lessons, readers learn about distribution tables and deviation scores. Naturally, love finally blossoms. In a moment of frustration, Rui knocks off Yamamoto&'s glasses and sees his eyes for the first time, and hers fill with hearts."
The book provides a very elementary coverage, good for demystifying statistics for the very beginners, especially those not comfortable with Math. The book has seven chapters:
- Determining Data Types
- Getting the Big Picture: Understanding Numerical Data
- Getting the Big Picture: Understanding Categorical Data
- Standard Score and Deviation Score
- Let's Obtain the Probability
- Let's Look at the Relationship Between Two Variables
- Let's explain the Hypothesis Tests
Each chapter has a summary, an exercise, and answers. The book also has a nice appendix that walks the reader through using Excel to perform calculations. This is a great idea since most of us have Excel or some clone of it.
The Manga Guide to Statistics has been well received on Amazon. Most reviews are 4 or 5 stars. There are a couple of criticisms one should be aware of, though. One concern was that there was a lack of depth of explanation, i.e. what are the motivations for using the particular formulas. Another concern was with the accuracy of some of the content. I can't speak to the second concern, because my statistics is VERY rusty. Regarding depth or lack thereof, I'd like to hear of a book that has all the qualities of this book and does a better job of explaining the why. Until I see one I won't knock this book.