The Best Statistics Textbooks of 2019

By July 23, 2019 October 16th, 2019 Textbook Reviews
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Are you looking to get the best grades possible in your statistics courses?  Are you embarrassed about the amount of time you are spending studying and still not getting it? Give yourself a break by finding a textbook that will aid you in your studies.   Whatever book you choose will be crucial to your success in the classroom. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you are using a book that fits your specific needs.  This list will provide you with several statistics textbooks for varying levels of expertise.  Some will be traditional in format whereas others can be used as supplements to your in-classroom experience.  Aside from providing you with our personal favorites, you will see our runner ups and value picks as well.  Continue reading to see the best of what statistics textbooks have to offer.

Our Favorites for the Best Statistics Textbooks

Intro Stats (4th Edition) by Richard D. De Veaux, Paul F. Velleman, David E. Bock

Intro Stats uses humor and conversational tones to keep users engaged and intrigued by learning statistics. The text does not focus on calculations, as a calculator is used; instead, they emphasize statistical thinking. Intro Stats starts lightly, easing you into topics and gradually gets harder as the book progresses.  It boasts a staggering 31 chapters which most courses never entirely get through.

What makes it unique:

  • Intro Stats is not only a great teacher but also positions the material to be helpful to the student.
  • Each chapter boasts a section which teaches users how to do the needed calculations on diverse types of calculators.
  • One unique thing that it offers are stat tables in the back of the text for users looking to do calculations by hand.
  • Intro Stats also has numerous examples and breaks down difficult problems into simpler terms for students to understand.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are looking for a top statistics textbook that you can read like a novel, that is full of useful examples and written in a language that everyone can comprehend; Intro Stats is perfect for you.
  • It is also the ideal reference guide for other courses and provides a great beginner introduction for statistics newbies.


An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R (Springer Texts in Statistics) by Gareth James, Daniela Witten, Trevor Hastie, Robert Tibshirani

If you are looking for something for the more advanced students or are looking to pursue a career in mathematical statistics, An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R is perfect for someone who already has a vast and growing knowledge.  It assumes that you have some prior knowledge of statistical learning and the R language. However, if you don’t, it does offer a small introduction to the basics. An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R is targeted at Ph.D. and master’s students as well as upper-level undergraduate students.  It focuses in on the modeling and graphing techniques.   It covers a wide array of topics like regression, clustering and applying these techniques to real-life samples.

What makes it unique:

  • Though the concept may be hard to grasp, each chapter provides a 10-15 question review which allows you to gauge your handle on the material.
  • Aside from review materials, An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R also provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to go into machine learning.
  • The exercises, labs, and examples using R are the perfect hands-on additions to the text. It provides the necessary starter code for students looking to engage in machine learning.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are an undergrad student looking to get into data science or seeking a job in the statistics field, this is a perfect addition to any collection.
  • An Introduction to Statistical Learning: with Applications in R is one of the best statistics books for data science and can even aid outside of the classroom for individuals in the science and math industry.


Statistics (13th Edition) by James T. McClave and Terry T Sincich

Statistics is one of the most popular statistics books around.  To feel confident in the material, you are learning you must have a solid foundation. Statistics gives just that. From the guided examples within each chapter to the diagrams and charts which close out each chapter of the book focuses on making your comprehension as easy as possible. It is incredibly user-friendly for beginners and makes grasping statistics simple. It boasts a plethora of examples, diagrams, and charts which are informative, detailed and relatable. Statistics also supplies the short and long hand for solving problems. The physical copy of Statistics  may be slightly pricey; however numerous versions are available including Kindle.

What makes it unique:

  • Statistics gives you the information that you need in order to learn statistics easily.  It provides guided examples in each chapter as well as numerous exercises.
  • It also works to highlight pertinent formulas which you will need for solving problems in each chapter.  This makes it easy for users to find and use as required.
  • Every chapter also is equipped with sections that break down the information which is to come by section, end of chapter flow graph summaries as well as hints for problem-solving or “looking back” throughout the text.

Why choose this book:

  • Statistics a college-level textbook perfect for anyone struggling in their statistics course. It is one of the best statistics books for undergraduate students.
  • Statistics is also excellent for self-learning as many using this book rave about it being extremely clear and concise.


Runner-ups for the Best Statistics Textbooks

Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World (6th Edition) by Ron Larson and Betsy Farber

Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World is seen as the mandatory text for a number of statistics courses however others are using it as a supplement to their statistics course for the volume of practice questions it provides as well as the step by step work that it shows. Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World comes equipped with a companion CD as well as a stock card which lists helpful formulas for a student to have in their possession. It is the best option for users with no prior knowledge of statistics, who are true beginners. Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World is aimed at algebra-based courses.  MyStatLab is its online accompaniment which provides extra resources as well as additional practice for students.

What makes it unique: 

  • If you are someone who is big on online resources, Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World has no shortage of them.  Aside from offering MyStatLab, It also offers StatCrunch which is integrated within the book for instructions an extra practice which can be easily followed from the book.
  • Each chapter also opens with a real-life example of how the information being taught fits into the world around us.
  • Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World also provides tips and tricks throughout the text for reading tables, using your graphing calculator and even interpreting results.

Why choose this book:

  • Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World is an excellent book for anyone looking to start their math journey with statistics. It is perfect for the beginner with limited prior knowledge or the graduating senior who wants to get a head start on college mathematics.
  • If you are someone who needs to work through problems on your own consistently, Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World has over 2300 exercises and 210 examples, which doesn’t include the companion material.
  • This is an excellent book for learning statistics and retaining what you have learned.


Statistics in Plain English by Timothy C. Urdan

Much like the title reads, Statistics in Plain English is perfect for explaining statistics in plain English.  What better way to train your mind to grasp difficult subjects than by reading in the manner that you speak.  Urdan’s book has the power to provide struggling students with a way out.

What makes it unique:

  • The author explains everything in great detail.  He even reminds you of the earlier information or concepts needed to understand the items you are actively learning.
  • The examples are straightforward and easy to follow. Definitions and terminology are explained in a manner that is easy to follow and apply.
  • One thing this text will not show you is what statistical methods to use or how to use statistics software.
  • Statistics in Plain English also comes with a group of problems which have already been worked out which allow students and readers to work through the example in order to ensure their calculations and interpretations are correct.
  • The author also uses his personal research as a means of providing real-world examples to the reader.

Why choose this book:

  • Students who have previously used Statistics in Plain English marvel at how much they are able to understand after reading it.  No matter what discipline your background is in, the author strips away the technical jargon to get you to the root of the various concepts.
  • Statistics in Plain English does not mandate that you have a technical or mathematics background.  If you are years removed from school or from a Statistics course, it is perfect for getting you back on track.
  • If more help is needed, Statistics in Plain English also provides a companion site which allows students access to chapter summaries, PowerPoint presentations, textbook problem solutions, videos and so much more.


Value Picks for the Best Statistics Textbooks

Statistics for Dummies by Deborah J. Rumsey

The “For Dummies” series is excellent for individuals or students looking for a one-stop guide to statistics. Though it is not a traditional textbook, it is still valuable to a number of readers.  Statistics for Dummies is also a cheap alternative instead of opting for a pricey option. It teaches users in a manner which is easy to understand by all ages and expertise level. It presents information in plain English.

What makes it unique:

  • Many individuals using the text say that it is perfect for understanding typically complex concepts like hypothesis testing or z distribution.
  • Several teachers even use Statistics for Dummies in their classrooms as a secondary resource. Statistics for Dummies does an excellent job explaining regressions and a variety of other concepts.
  •  Overall, it is a cheap alternative for building a foundation for going into more advanced statistics.

Why choose this book:

  • Do you have a job in which minimal statistics knowledge is needed?  Are you preparing to go back to school or just looking to learn some math?  If the answer is yes, Statistics for Dummies is an excellent alternative for someone who simply needs a statistics overview or who wants to scratch the surface of what can do with statistics.
  •  It should not be substituted for a full course but is helpful when merely using it as a companion guide or tips book.


Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan

Who would have ever thought that you could find humor in statistics?   Another cheap alternative to a traditional textbook is Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan.  Although the text is not bursting at the seams with examples, it picks up where traditional textbooks lack.  It is comedic yet filled with useful information.   Many students using Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data shared that the author excels at detailing concepts and breaking them down in layman’s’ terms.  Charles Wheelan manages to take some of the densest areas of statistics and make it light-hearted and enjoyable, two things we generally do not associate with statistics.

What makes it unique:

  • If you are looking for a book to give you a list of formulas to work from, this is not the book for you. Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data is for the pupil who needs things explained in a different way. It is for the student who is looking to get better explanations of concepts or brush up on their foundational knowledge.
  • It teaches the user how to look at data for interpretation.  Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data also provides real-world examples. Some of the examples include using things like Wall Street’s failure or Moneyball.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are interested in getting the big picture explanation of statistics, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data will do just that.
  •  It is an “easy read” for building your foundation or for merely brushing up on forgotten concepts.


Summary of the Best Statistics Textbooks

Putting everything together, in this guide on the best statistics textbooks we reviewed the following:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Intro Stats (4th Edition) $226.65 800
An Introduction to Statistical Learning $79.99 426
Statistics (13th Edition) $226.65 896
Elementary Statistics $226.65 704
Statistics Course Pack Set 1 Op $45.95 286
Statistics II for Dummies $19.99 408
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data $16.95 304

Whether you’re looking for a textbook to kick start your journey into statistics or merely doing some self-studying, there is a book on the list for you.  As a student, it is easy to panic when a course isn’t going your way, or you aren’t grasping a concept like you thought you would.  However, there are always resources to aid you in your quest.  This list includes items for varying levels of expertise. If you are looking for a more traditional textbook that focuses on creating the mathematical foundation you need to succeed, Intro Stats & Statistics are two perfect options.  Other books like Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan will provide you with high-level significant picture information whereas books like Statistics for Dummies will give you just enough information to be dangerous.  No matter which book you choose, you can feel confident knowing that not only will it help you further your knowledge of statistics but ace your math class.

If you found this post helpful, check out our other comprehensive textbook reviews.

Are you taking AP Statistics? We have a list of AP Stats tips you might like here, or reviews of the best AP Statistics prep books here.


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