David Spiegelhalter's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David Spiegelhalter recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David Spiegelhalter's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Do You Feel Lucky?

Find out why coins have no memory, whether Urgum the Axeman is likely to lose his head and join Riverboat Lil and Brett Shuffler in a mathematical tangle with swamp snakes. Murderous Maths books contain no nasty exercises and no boring sums. less
Recommended by David Spiegelhalter, and 1 others.

David SpiegelhalterThis is part of the Murderous Maths series, and is my favourite book. It is great. It is a book for secondary school kids full of cartoons and lovely characters like this filthy boy called Pongo McWhiffy, or the one I like best is an upper-class idiot called Binky Smallbrains who falls for every trick. It is a book about chance, luck and probability, and these are difficult things that people... (Source)

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Does the number of children gunned down double each year? Does anorexia kill 150,000 young women annually? Do white males account for only a sixth of new workers? Startling statistics shape our thinking about social issues. But all too often, these numbers are wrong. This book is a lively guide to spotting bad statistics and learning to think critically about these influential numbers. Damned Lies and Statistics is essential reading for everyone who reads or listens to the news, for students, and for anyone who relies on statistical information to understand social problems.
Recommended by David Spiegelhalter, and 1 others.

David SpiegelhalterThis is written by a sociologist, so we have moved on from psychology to sociology. I like this book because one of the things that really irritates me as a statistician is when numbers are bandied around as though they are God-given truths and can’t be argued with. There is a nice quote from Joel Best that “all statistics are social products, the results of people’s efforts”. He says you should... (Source)

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"Clear, balanced, and lively." -- Steven Pinker, bestselling author of How the Mind Works ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE "RIGHT" RISKS?

Do you worry more about radiation from nuclear power or from the sun?

Are you more afraid of getting cancer than heart disease?

Are you safer talking on your cell phone or using a hands-free device when you drive?

Do you think global warming is a serious threat to your health?


International risk expert...
Recommended by David Spiegelhalter, and 1 others.

David SpiegelhalterYes, this is a completely non-technical book, which is looking at things from the point of view of psychology. It is essentially a review of the recent research on risk perception. He is looking at how dangerous it is if we get our interpretations wrong. He uses our response to 9/11 quite a lot as an example, but he has also recently written about the response to Fukushima and nuclear risk. (Source)

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Dicing with Death

If you think that statistics has nothing to say about what you do or how you could do it better, then you are either wrong or in need of a more interesting job. Stephen Senn explains here how statistics determines many decisions about medical care--from allocating resources for health, to determining which drugs to license, to cause-and-effect in relation to disease. He tackles big themes: clinical trials and the development of medicines, life tables, vaccines and their risks or lack of them, smoking and lung cancer and even the power of prayer. He entertains with puzzles and paradoxes and... more
Recommended by David Spiegelhalter, and 1 others.

David SpiegelhalterI know Stephen, and he is full of very entertaining jokes and rude remarks about people. This book is somewhat similar to The Drunkard’s Walk in that it covers the history of probability. But since Stephen’s background is in medical statistics, he looks at clinical trials and other medical studies. (Source)

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Esta apasionante lectura nos descubre la naturaleza de los procesos arbitrarios de la vida cotidiana y cambia para siempre la percepción que tenemos de ellos. En 1905 Albert Einstein publicó una impactante explicación sobre el movimiento browniano -el movimiento arbitrario de partículas- comparándolo con la clase de movimiento que se observaría en el caminar de un borracho. La comparación se convirtió desde entonces en una poderosa herramienta para entender el movimiento puramente arbitrario que, por definición, no tiene ningún modelo específico.
En este nuevo libro, Leonard Mlodinow...
Recommended by David Spiegelhalter, Gabriel Coarna, and 2 others.

David SpiegelhalterThis is a general introduction to the history of probability and the way it comes into everyday life. It intersperses the historical development with modern applications, and looks at finance, sport, gambling, lotteries and coincidences. (Source)

Gabriel CoarnaLeonard Mlodinow's "The Drunkarkd's Walk" -more precisely, the section on the "Monty Hall" problem- totally changed how I look-at/think-about probabilities and choices in general; this has impacted almost every real-life choice I've made since I read this book. (Source)

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