Shortly after I completed my post on book recommendations my mother sent me the following story (Ozzie was my step-grandfather, my maternal grandmother's second husband):

Ozzie's Statistics Class

Ozzie relates that he used to give a course in statistics, and for this course he would assign homework in two different books on statistics. One semester he began with assignments in one book (let's call it Textbook A) and followed these with assignments in another book (Textbook B). At the end of the term the students handed in evaluations stating that Textbook A was frustratingly difficult, but Textbook B was clear and logical.

Accordingly, the next term Ozzie offered the course he made the first assignments in Textbook B and later ones in Textbook A. And at the end of this term the students informed Ozzie they found Textbook B incomprehensible but Textbook A made everything clear!

We judge this simply means it takes at least two trips through the material to understand it. There are no shortcuts.

August 5, 1996

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