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A Panorama of Statistics

Perspectives, Puzzles and Paradoxes in Statistics

A Panorama of Statistics by Eric Sowey
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A Panorama of Statistics: Perspectives, Puzzles and Paradoxes in Statistics


Eric Sowey, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Peter Petocz, Department of Statistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

This book is a stimulating panoramic tour – quite different from a textbook journey – of the world of statistics in both its theory and practice, for teachers, students and practitioners.

At each stop on the tour, the authors investigate unusual and quirky aspects of statistics, highlighting historical, biographical and philosophical dimensions of this field of knowledge. Each chapter opens with perspectives on its theme, often from several points of view. Five original and thought-provoking questions follow. These aim at widening readers’ knowledge and deepening their insight. Scattered among the questions are entertaining puzzles to solve and tantalising paradoxes to explain. Readers can compare their own statistical discoveries with the authors’ detailed answers to all the questions.


The writing is lively and inviting, the ideas are rewarding, and the material is extensively cross-referenced.


A Panorama of Statistics:

  • Leads readers to discover the fascinations of statistics.
  • Is an enjoyable companion to an undergraduate statistics textbook.
  • Is an enriching source of knowledge for statistics teachers and practitioners.
  • Is unique among statistics books today for its memorable content and engaging style.


Lending itself equally to reading through and to dipping into, A Panorama of Statistics will surprise teachers, students and practitioners by the variety of ways in which statistics can capture and hold their interest.

"As befits the authors' statement that ‘this is not a textbook’, the structure is unusual. There are twenty-five chapters organised in five sections, each beginning with a brief perspective of a theme in statistics and finishing with five questions related to that theme. The answers provided to the questions, in section six, are as discursive and illuminating as the main body of the text. Even if you are pretty sure you know the answer, it is always worth checking what the authors have to say. Chances are that you will learn something every time. The glimpses and insights given into this enormous and far-reaching discipline succeed in being bewitching, entertaining and inviting; coverage was never the aim."
"In summary, this splendid book lives up to the four ‘p-values’ of its title. It is panoramic in the scope of its survey of statistics, it is full of illuminating perspectives, it sets entertaining and challenging puzzles, and it explores fascinating paradoxes. Read it, enjoy it and learn from it."

From Neil Sheldon, Teaching Statistics, volume 9, no. 2, May 2017.

Wiley; January 2017
300 pages; ISBN 9781119075844
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Title: A Panorama of Statistics
Author: Eric Sowey; Peter Petocz
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