Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two Books of Interest

Recently, I have been reading two books which may be of interest to data miners, Statistical Rules of Thumb by Gerald Van Belle (ISBN-13: 978-0471402275) and Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them), by by Phillip I. Good and James W. Hardin (ISBN-13: 978-0471794318). Both impart practical advice based on extensive experience and statistical rigor, yet avoid becoming hung up on academic issues.

While both are written from the point of view of traditional statisticians, they do suggest the use of some less traditional techniques, such as the bootstrap and robust regression. A wide range of topics is covered, such as sample size determination, hypothesis testing and treatment of missing values. Both books also include some material written for audiences working in specific fields, such as environmental science and epidemiology. Material in these two books will vary in applicability to data mining, given the traditional statistical focus on smaller data sets and parametric modeling.

I highly recommend both of them. Tables of contents can easily be found on-line, and an entire chapter of Statistical Rules of Thumb is available at: Chapter 2: Sample Size.


Dean Abbott said...

Funny you mentioned the Statistical Rules of Thumb book--I've recommended that book in my courses for several years. I love "rule of thumb" books because they contain wisdom that is hard to provide a theoretical basis for.

The Sample Size chapter is one I have referred to before. He has other chapters that are more specific to his experience in epidemiology and environmental studies (areas I haven't done work), so for me the book is uneven in that respect.

He also has a chapter on consulting practices which is fine. I like the earlier chapters best though.

Sandro Saitta said...


Thanks for highlighting "Statistical Rule of Thumb". It seems a very interesting book, especially for guys like me who come from computer science and not mathematics... The reviews from Amazon users are very positive as well.

Mike said...

Thanks for posting the review and book chapter; Statistical Rules of Thumb is a great resource.