Best Statistics Books 2020

statistics books
Written by Kelly Roberts

Statistics books are the key to building your foundational knowledge in this discipline, especially if you want to excel not only while you are pursuing your education but also in your career moving forward.


At the same time, with a subject as complex and sometimes convoluted as statistics sorting all of the different textbooks and titles out there into the ones worth studying and ones you should ignore can be a real uphill battle.


That’s why we’ve put together this quick list to help you get your hands on only the best statistics books available, the books that can shortcut your learning curve and act as effective references.

Top Statistics Books 2020

Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics

This book (obviously) uses a lot of humor to help diffuse some of the trepidation that students new to the world of statistics very frequently have. Recognizing that students without a lot of background in the world of statistics are understandably a little reticent to dive into the dry, complex minutia that can exist in a lot of traditional textbooks this book takes a totally different approach entirely. Very accessible, very easy to understand with a visual backbone running throughout the title, this is quickly becoming one of the most frequently recommended textbooks for college and university curriculums because of its simple and more straightforward nature.

Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide

You have to love a book like this that takes a look at the world of statistics from a realistic standpoint, recognizing that while scientific progress has grown by leaps and bounds there’s no such thing as “perfect” statistical analysis – even when you are amongst the best and brightest in the field. This book shows how statisticians and data scientists can look at their own biases, how they can spot holes in their research, and how they can best “future proof” their research moving forward. It may not even be possible to create perfect statistical models even with the help of this book, but you’ll be a lot closer to that ideal after reading it than you would have been otherwise.

Statistics (10th Edition)

Constantly updated, this is one of the most in-depth and expansive books on statistics you’ll find anywhere as well as a title that is almost always a part of college and university level curriculums. The authors are leading voices in the world of statistics today, helping you to get a fresh look at statistics from people that continue to work in the field, teaching the field, and develop new ways to approach the material. 

The Elements of Statistical Learning

A lot of the best books on statistics can be very dry, very expansive, and almost overwhelmingly complex and convoluted for those that are just getting started in this field of study. This specific title works to distill core concepts down across a wide variety of fields – including medicine, biology, business, and more – to create conceptual frameworks that students can build off of going forward. While not quite as specialized or as in-depth as some of the other top statistic books available right now those looking for a more fundamental education in this field will want to make sure this is on their desk.


An Introduction to Statistical Learning

Another great introduction to the world of statistics, statistical models, and working with vast and sometimes complex data sets, the beautiful thing about this particular title is that it has been completely revamped and expanded to work in our modern world. Over the last 20 years, major technological breakthroughs have helped to influence the world of statistics in ways never before thought possible, and this introduction to statistical learning really helps to set a foundation for those working in today’s current environment.


Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

Not at all your traditional textbook that can often be overloaded with difficult to sift through, tedious, and time-consuming data sets and complex concepts, this book approaches statistics from a totally different angle with fun, humor, and levity that help to make it a New York Times bestseller. Acting as both an introduction into the world of statistics as well as a resource that statisticians and data scientists can lean on for years and years to come this is a book that’s changing the way people look at statistics from here on out.


OpenIntro Statistics: Third Edition

A book based on the project created in 2009 with the exact same name, everything about the OpenIntro Statistics title has been created with our modern world in mind and how statistics play a hugely important role in pretty much every aspect of our day-to-day life. Not only does this book do a deep dive into the more theoretical aspects of statistics in a way that is easy to read and easy to digest but it also provides in-depth details regarding specific statistical techniques that few other textbooks are willing to go into.


Statistics for Business and Economics (12th Edition)

Another of the more foundational textbooks you’ll likely be recommended as part of your college or university curriculum, there’s a lot of meat in this textbook to go over – far more than you are ever likely to touch on in just a single semester or two. The beautiful thing about this book, however, is that it covers so many different aspects of the statistical world that it continues to be a critical resource for those that have already graduated and are pursuing careers in this field.


Barron’s AP Statistics, 8th Edition

Specifically intended for high school students taking Advanced Placement courses, this is a part entry-level introduction to the world of statistics but also a much broader and more sweeping textbook as students progress through their lesson plans. Not only are students going to have an opportunity to learn about the basic building blocks of statistics with this title, but it also includes a host of AP statistics examinations that students can take to test their knowledge on the fly as well. There are 35 of these tests are included in this textbook helping to better prepare students as they learn more about statistics.

Statistics in Plain English, Third Edition

Frequently recommended as the top primer for the world of statistics, some of the world’s leading statisticians recommend this title overall others for those that are just getting started in the field. Set up to be incredibly approachable (and obviously in “plain English”) there are a considerable amount of university professors that aren’t just recommending this to their students but also recommending it to their colleagues as well. The conversational language your find throughout the book is what helps to separate it from the rest of the pack, though it certainly doesn’t hurt that the main author behind this book is a world-class educator in the field as well that knows how to translate some of the more challenging concepts into plain English without losing anything along the way in translation.


At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with any of the books we highlighted above when you choose to add them to your library. It’s not a bad idea to add at least a handful of them to your collection, giving you the best of the best to learn from and refer to moving forward.

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