This week was a literary one. At work, I spent quite a bit of time reading statistical genetics journal articles. I’m in the process of writing up some results to be submitted for publication, and I’m in “literature review” mode. Unfortunately for me, my relative lack of knowledge about the field of statistical genetics (without any formal coursework/degree and one year of doing something closer to statistical programming than statistical genetics) means that everything is new and shiny and requires at least a few readings to really become internalized. The rate of progress is frustrating, but I do enjoy learning and it’s giving me a lot to think about.
And in my spare time, I’ve been reading a few good books. Still in the realm of statistics are Bayesian Data Analysis (BDA) and Statistics in a Nutshell (SiaN). Though I never took a class on Bayesian statistics, I purchased BDA for a PhD-level biostatistics class that I took during my senior year. I didn’t end up using it at all, but I’ve always been intrigued by the Bayesian framework (and I enjoy reading Professor Gelman’s blog), so I’m spending some time every day outlining it and doing the examples/problems. It seems like Bayesian methods can be extremely powerful alternatives to their frequentist complements and are definitely useful to have in your statistical bag of tricks. The latter is just a review book that I picked up in an attempt to get my brain thinking about the big topics before I head out to Berkeley. The Lady Tasting Tea, which I was a couple of months ago, was an amazing overview of the titans and history of the field of statistics, and I’m hoping that SiaN will provide a slightly more technical overview of things soon to come.
And unrelated to statistics, though not unrelated to my life ambitions, is The Fountainhead. That’s right: I’ve decided to become an architect and dye my hair orange. No, not quite. But after being introduced to Howard Roark and company a couple of years ago, I try to reread this book every 6-12 months. I’m not sure that I agree with all of Ayn Rand’s philosophies, but whenever I put the book down, I feel empowered to be the best I can possibly be, to throw myself into my work, and to push forward while trying to please nobody but myself. There’s something to be said for that. Love it or hate it, it’s definitely worth a read.