Statistical Analysis with Excel For Dummies

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Book Preface

What? Yet another statistics book? Well … this is a statistics book, all right, but in my humble (and thoroughly biased) opinion, it’s not just another statistics book.

What? Yet another Excel book? Same thoroughly biased opinion — it’s not just another Excel book. What? Yet another edition of a book that’s not just another statistics book and not just another Excel book? Well … yes. You got me there.

So here’s the story — for the previous three editions and for this one. Many statistics books teach you the concepts but don’t give you a way to apply them. That often leads to a lack of understanding. With Excel, you have a ready-made package for applying statistics concepts.

Looking at it from the opposite direction, many Excel books show you Excel’s capabilities but don’t tell you about the concepts behind them. Before I tell you about an Excel statistical tool, I give you the statistical foundation it’s based on. That way, you understand the tool when you use it — and you use it more effectively.

I didn’t want to write a book that’s just “select this menu” and “click this button.” Some of that is necessary, of course, in any book that shows you how to use a software package. My goal was to go way beyond that.

I also didn’t want to write a statistics “cookbook” — when-faced-with-problem-#310-use-statistical-procedure-#214. My goal was to go way beyond that, too.

Bottom line: This book isn’t just about statistics or just about Excel — it sits firmly at the intersection of the two. In the course of telling you about statistics, I cover every Excel statistical feature. (Well … almost. I left one out. I left it out of the first three editions, too. It’s called “Fourier Analysis.” All the necessary math to understand it would take a whole book, and you might never use this tool, anyway.)

Although statistics involves a logical progression of concepts, I organized this book so you can open it up in any chapter and start reading. The idea is for you to find what you’re looking for in a hurry and use it immediately — whether it’s a statistical concept or an Excel tool.

On the other hand, cover to cover is okay if you’re so inclined. If you’re a statistics newbie and you have to use Excel for statistical analysis, I recommend you begin at the beginning — even if you know Excel pretty well.