Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Background: I took multiple statistics classes in both high school and college, but nothing I learned ever stuck. The problem is, things like p-tests, the equations for chi-squared/normal distributions, even the standard deviation are always simply presented as fact, without any proof/justification/motivation for why this equation/method is the correct one.

Often, this is because the books are written for people looking to simply apply statistics rather than truly understand it. Usually, not even a calculus-background is assumed, despite the underlying equations being calculus-heavy.

Non-calculus example: Why is the standard deviation not defined as the average distance from the mean, when that is the more intuitively obvious definition? I still don't quite understand the answer to that one...

I did find some books that do go deeply into proofs in my college's mathematics library, but even those were heavy on symbols and light on justifications/motiviations (as well as real-world examples)

Does anyone know of any statistics books that not only go over the equations/methods, but explain in detail why they are what they are?

share|cite|improve this question

wackerly et. al., Mathematical statistics. Very good! :)

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.