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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics, 2nd Edition by Robert Donnelly

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Who Thought of This Stuff?

The field of statistics has been evolving for a very long time. Population surveys appear to be the primary motivation for the historical development of statistics as we know it today. In fact, according to the Bible, Moses conducted a census more than 3,000 years ago. The very word “statistics” comes from the Latin word status, which means “state.” This etymological connection reflects the earliest focus of statistics on measuring things such as the number of (taxable) subjects in a kingdom (or state) or the number of subjects to send off to invade neighboring kingdoms.

Early Pioneers

European mathematicians provided the basic foundation for the field of statistics. In 1532, Sir William Petty provided the first ...

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