Book Reviews

Book by Neil J. Salkind
Review by Aura Rios Erickson
ESL Program
Shoreline Community College
Seattle, Washington

Advisors find statistics valuable when explaining academic advising to administrators.  Statistical information can prove valuable in determining the type of advising interventions that are effective with students.  Statistics allow us to prove whether assumptions about our work are true. Most importantly, they can provide us with information about the students we serve.

Many advisors find statistical concepts confusing and difficult to use in a meaningful way.  Even after successful completion of several courses in statistics I find it a challenge to use statistics effectively.  Thus Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics intrigued me.  I had hoped to find something unique in Salkind’s text; I was somewhat disappointed.  

Salkind’s Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics, like Rumsey’s (2003) Statistics for Dummies, successfully conveys complex concepts in a straightforward and simple manner. Both texts organize their material using space, visual aids and language in ways that maximize learning.

Salkind uses humor effectively throughout his book. He writes in a light, jovial, conversational tone that puts the reader at ease. At the beginning of each chapter, he summarizes the key concepts that will be addressed. In addition, he alerts the reader regarding levels of difficulty of the concepts that will be addressed.  This allows the reader to pay close attention and take notes or read slower. The summaries at the end of each chapter are very useful as are the exercises and homework at the end of each chapter. In addition, the charts guide the user in selecting the appropriate statistical test.

The author spent the first sixteen pages of the book building the reader's confidence level; I felt that he spent a little too long trying to do this. Another drawback of this book was that most of the chapter exercises require the use of the statistical software package SPSS. The author did not consider that some readers may not have access to this particular software package and failed to provide an alternative for readers without access to SPSS. As a reader who did not have access to SPSS, I felt at a disadvantage.

I believe every advisor should have a basic statistics book in his or her bookshelf.  While this book would be a good choice it does not differ significantly from Statistics for Dummies, a book that can be purchased at a better price while providing similar benefits to the reader.

Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. (2004) Book by Neil J. Salkind. Review by Aura Rios Erickson. Corwin Press. 424 pp., $46.95. (paperback), ISBN # 1412924820
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