Friday, August 26, 2011

Maligned Puppies! (Review in Journal of Economic Psychology)

In a recent review of the book in the Journal of Economic Psychology*, Dan Goldstein perspicaciously says 
"A person would have to make an effort not to learn this material after following this tutorial. The book is relentlessly clear. Topics are explained analytically as well as visually and code is provided with which the reader can see and change every assumption made." 

Despite this brilliant and insightful assessment, Dan later states "The cover has puppies on it. Yes, puppies. Had paper grocery bags not disappeared from supermarkets, I would have covered my copy to avoid the strange looks my thoroughly quantitative colleagues gave me as I spent weeks working through the book."  

Well, the solution to this problem is just a Post-It away! See photo at right.

Thank you, Dan, for working through the book and writing such a thoughtful review.

P.S. As explained at this other blog entry, the happy puppies are named Prior, Likelihood, and Posterior. The Posterior puppy has half-up ears, a compromise between the perky ears of the Likelihood puppy and the floppy ears of the Prior puppy. (The puppy on the back cover is named Evidence. MCMC methods make it unnecessary to explicitly compute the evidence, so that puppy gets sleepy with nothing much to do.)

* Goldstein, D. G. (2011). Book review. Doing Bayesian Data Analysis: A Tutorial with R and BUGS, John K. Kruschke. Academic Press, Elsevier (2011). ISBN-13: 9780123814852. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(5), 724-725. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2011.05.010


  1. John,

    I took the book on vacation to get a chance to read it and my wife too commented on the puppies. So I told her I was on page 84 and now I know how to flip a coin.


  2. Actually, to properly "flip" a coin so that it can be biased, you have to spin it on hard surface, not flip it in the air!

  3. I say bravo for puppies! I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the analysis class I am taking and was buying up all the texts recommended by the prof when Amazon recommended your book. It had happy puppies on it so I thought that would probably be the most user friendly guide so I bought it. And I was right; it is very user friendly and I don't feel quite as overwhelmed.

    I will display this book and the puppies proudly!

  4. The book is pedagogically excellent, and I love the puppies.

  5. My husband and I referred to this as "the puppy book" when we discovered it and added it to my wish list. We love it! BTW, your song lyrics are great too :)

  6. According to the argument, puppies served well. They drew a good attention. Statistics is already serious, thanks to Dr. Kruschke, he put some cute puppies on it.