Live Stress-Free with Statistics and Numbers

Live Stress-Free with Statistics and Numbers

by Dr Vasant D. Chapnerkar


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Statistics is defined as the science and practice of developing knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form-that is, in numbers. In Live Stress-Free with Statistics and Numbers, Dr. Vasant Cjapnerkar illustrates how statistics and numbers play a vital role in our everyday lives. He explains how you can use statistics can help to alleviate the stress in your life because they provide practical, objective ways of viewing your problems.

One of the first examples he uses is the way in which he asked his children to have their children. If they allowed for at least two to four years between each child, they and the grandparents would have the chance to spend time with them at the ages when they would get the most from it. He built on the statistic that most children begin playing with their friends around age four-a theory that enabled him and his wife to fully enjoy their grandchildren.

Since he has traveled to over eighty-seven countries, using his educational background, he has realized that people make statements based upon minimal information and hence are stressed out when they are pressed to quantify their statements. Live Stress-Free with Statistics and Numbers was written to provide them with a greater comfort level with statistics and numbers-a vital part of everything we do. There is very little in life that has no number associated with it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475990270
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/05/2013
Pages: 182
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

Live Stress-Free with Statistics and Numbers

By Vasant D. Chapnerkar

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Vasant D. Chapnerkar
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4759-9025-6



It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.

George Bernard Shaw

* * *

Prime / Premiere ...

Karl Pearson defined Statistics as the grammar of science.

Statistics is defined as the science and practice of developing knowledge through the use of empirical data expressed in quantitative form in numbers.

For example, a first time visitor from India who comes to America and sees only one white man from the population of about 320 million in America could go back to India and tell that all Americans are white. A second visitor who comes and sees one black man could go back home and tell that all Americans are black. A third visitor coming from India and seeing one white man and one black man and then going back to India could tell that 50% of Americans are white and 50% of Americans are black. Now a person like me who has been in America since a long time and seen a large number of Americans and who also looks at available statistical data from Government survey says that approximately 88% white and 12 % black. This information is more accurate because the sample size is bigger and provides better statistical information. In life, we cannot always have information on the entire population and hence we work on a statistically significant sample size.

This reminds me of an interesting story, that when I came to New York for the first time in 1956, I went to Gainesville, Florida by the Greyhound bus. When the bus made its first stop in Washington D.C, I had to go to the restroom. When I approached the entrance doors to the toilet for men's bathroom I saw two entrances, a sign on one showed WHITE and the other BLACK. I looked at my skin color and it was neither as WHITE as White American nor BLACK as Black American. It was in between and I did not know what to do. How was I to determine which entrance to go into?

An individual's statistics of every person is derived from the five senses (Fig. 1); and hence it is the best information to make decisions in life. You know that the five senses are:

• SEE with your eyes

• HEAR with your ears

• SMELL with your nose

• TASTE with your tongue

• FEEL with your body parts

A person who has excellent statistical information and the knowledge to retrieve the information stored in his brain and arrives at the right conclusion is called an intelligent person. The person in this category stores the information in different compartments and knows which compartment the information is in when he or she needs that information to make the right decision. Recently there was a show on '60 minutes on CBS' showing six people who could tell you what the day of the week was if you gave them the date in any year. It was shown that they compartmentalize the information and retrieve it when they need it. They showed the closet of one of the persons and it showed that everything was arranged neatly.

A person who has good statistical information but does not know how to retrieve and hence comes to wrong conclusion is called a stupid person.

A person who does not have any significant statistical information and hence may or may not come to the correct conclusion is called an ignorant person. He is taking a chance to come to the conclusion.

Education, I choose to call it information or statistics, is the most important thing you can give to your kids. Education will stay with them the rest of their lives and will not be taken away by hurricane, fire like material things which we give them. When a patriot in India (Bal Gangadhar Lokamanya Tilak), was in fight with the British to leave India, all he preached was that education is the only way we can get rid of the British. He started newspapers and started the Ferguson College in Pune. He happens to be my son-in-law's great grandfather and was sent to jail by the British to Burma (now called Myanmar) in 1914 for six years, way before Mahatma Gandhi took over his ambition.

Most of the personal examples I have used depict how we as human beings use our past information to make good decisions. It is also to show how some specific instances in your life dictate your future actions.

In order to build your database of statistics in your brain, to be able to make good decisions in whatever you do, you need to be exposed to the following:

• Parental efforts and/or those of a guardian

• Education

• Travel


Evan Esar defines Statistics, though in a cynical way, as the science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures, the fact remains that like everything else, Statistics can be used and misused. And if you are using it for leading a better life, you are certainly making not just good use but the best use of statistics.



I am disillusioned enough to know that no man's opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he's talking about.

—H. P. Lovecraft

Prime / Premiere ...

Information is the basic determinant block that leads to the shaping of a decision. One can't overemphasize the use of information. One can only call attention to the substantial significance of appropriate information in its value and important role in arriving at results. Many a times these results change course of actions. They have known to change the course of history. False information has been known to have lead to wars. Right information has led to successful revolutions.

Results can change the path of life. Often they become life defining.

So going after the right information is an invaluable exercise, which should not be done lightly, casually or carelessly. Rather, it should be gathered with diligence and due precaution to ensure that your purpose is not negatively affected but is positively enable by—right information.

Sir Benjamin Franklin had said, "For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise."

Quality of Life is based on how much information you have and the manner in which you use the information to accomplish whatever goal you have in your mind. Normally, if you think through the goal and make a detailed plan of action and attack, you have a much greater chance of achievement and accomplishment. You have to make sure that you have good statistical information. If you have bad information, what is also referred to as garbage, then you are bound to make wrong decisions, because garbage in can only give garbage out. So make sure that your source of information is reliable.

Sources of good information

Parents and/or Guardian

A child starts collecting data from the moment he or she is born. In fact, it is reported that a baby in the womb is constantly collecting information.

Hence, I believe that the environment has more to do with the progress of the individual than the genetics. I agree that genetics has to do with an individual looks, some mannerisms, diseases etc. To me, 70%-80% of the personality of an individual appears derived from the environment.

Psychologists and psychiatrists claim that 80% of the personality of the individual gets formed from the time of birth until the age of 4 years. Considering that environment has significant effect on the individual, it is critical that for the first 4 years, the child should be given the best environment. This does not mean that you ignore the child after 4 years. If you do a good job in the first four years of life, you create an envelope around the person to know what is good and bad and he or she will be able to discern what is right to do and what is wrong to do. We cannot always keep the person from being in an undesirable environment, but if the guardian of the child has consciously done a good job, it goes a long way in the building of the child's personality.

In my family, the mothers have stayed with the newborn child for at least first six years of their life, so that the child gets the best statistical information, either by parents and—equally important—by the grandparents. My wife has stayed home all the time since we were married in 1958. My older daughter began working only after her last child was six years old. Till the youngest one was four years old, she worked from home. My second daughter, who has a Ph D. in Computer Science, has been home with her kids since her first child was born in 1996 till today. She always tells me that she is planning to go at home with her children while in they are in school and then move with them when they go to college. My daughter-in-law has not worked since she is married in 1994 and has been raising her son since 2003. I always try to practice in my family what I preach.

In USA and developed countries, a woman who has given birth to a child is more prone to go back to work to preserve the family's standard of living. Then, the child is placed in the day care well before he is ready to make sound decisions on his own. The child gets the values of the babysitters. We have watched on hidden cameras in TV shows what takes place in some of these places. The children are not given the same attention that you would give them in your home.

The main reason a new mother goes to work is to maintain a higher economic standard of living with two incomes. The family can afford a bigger house, newer cars and more luxuries at the cost of not giving the child the best environment. Who can love a child more than the mother and father? One has to realize that there are more important things in life than just luxuries, at the critical time when kids are young. We have a lifetime to chase other things.

Nowadays, there are many more possibilities of working from home and hence one can work part time, while taking care of one's children.

In my case, I convinced my wife and she agreed to stay home with our kids when I moved to make a living in a small town (population of 6500) after graduating from University of Florida with a Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering. My wife, being well educated in India and USA with degrees in Law and Political Science, came to USA from India in 1956 with aspirations to go back and become the Prime Minister of India.

During that time, unlike now, there were no opportunity to work from home and she had a hard time in adjusting to raising babies. During that time when our kids were young and the youngest was just four years old, she could only raise children and do housekeeping. This took a toll on her professional career. She even had health problems after the birth of our third child. She has never recovered completely from it. She agrees that raising children was worth the troubles that she has till today.

My two daughters and my daughter-in-law kept the tradition going, which my wife had set. However, since their field was consulting and information technology they could start working from home after their youngest kids was at least more than 5 years old. During their kids' times in kindergartens and elementary school, they averaged approximately six hours per school day of social service. In fact my second daughter, volunteered six hours per day since 1997 after her first child was born. She got a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1991.

In India; there is a possibility of a mother going to work and leaving the child at home. In India, in the past, the families lived together as joint families. In such cases, when a child is left behind, it is taken care of by the grandmother, who has the same values as the parents.

In order to follow the tradition of grandparents taking care of the child, Indians in USA now get their parents to come to the United States to live with them and take care of children so that the mother can go to work. I think this is, in most cases, bad for the grandparents because many (I do not know how many) do not have a command over English language and cannot drive a car. Back home, they are used to having a freedom to do what they want and use public transport to go where they want. In India people visit each other a lot and it is not true in USA, where normally you have to make an appointment to visit somebody. I am reminded of a show of David Letterman, who was interviewing Aishwarya Rai, who was chosen as Miss World in 1993 in a beauty pageant. He asked her how come she (at that time was 31 years old) still stayed with her parents. She quickly answered that, like in USA, she does not have to make an appointment with her parents to see them.

When my children were planning on having kids, I requested them not to give birth to kids close to each other, so that I will not be able to spend quality time with one grandkid at a time. You can see how I succeeded. My grandkids were born in 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2002. You can see that I could be with each of my grandkids for 2 to 4 years of their life from their birth. I knew from my statistical information that the grandkids want to be entertained by their grand parents for the first 2-4 years of their lives, and then they want to go play with their friends and do not have much time for grandparents. This way I have been able to help my children in the upbringing of the grandkids, one grandchild at a time.

The grandparents coming from India call the life here, as living in a 'golden cage'. Since there are Indian television stations now and a lot more people, like them, are here, this problem is not as bad as it was few years' back. Indian grandparents have formed clubs and associations to enjoy with their peers here. In Houston, they have formed a colony close to the Hindu temple and get involved in the temple activities.


Education is the best thing that you can give to your children and grandchildren. When you give education and not all the material things, only education can stay with them for the rest of their lives. The material things can be destroyed by accidents, hurricanes, storms, and decline in stock market.

I made a request to each person in my family to have at least one postgraduate degree. That is what I considered to be an educated person. Some people say that having higher degrees is not needed to be a good person. I am saying that you have to be a good person and have higher college degrees so that you have the capability to think for yourself and know where to get information to accomplish what you want to do in life. I have been to school and colleges for 23 years (actually it would have been 24 years, had I not been able to jump one grade in elementary school) and have four college degrees (including a Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering) and took courses in Management for one year.

Only bookish knowledge is not sufficient to make the appropriate decisions. One should have had exposure to extracurricular activities—some kind of sport for boys, could be baseball, football, basketball or tennis; for girls it could be basketball, tennis, dancing (ballet, jazz, tap, Indian classical—Bharat Natyam, Kathakalli). Boys and girls could also learn a foreign language, learn some musical instrument (I am presently taking lessons to play Tabla, which is Indian drums), and belong to a scholastic club (viz. public speaking, personality development). Extracurricular activities, teach more than just book knowledge, they shape your personality, make it more rounded. Ballet, for example also teaches one to stand erect. In your normal life you need not bow down to the one whom you are talking to. Bowing down is an admission of inferiority. We, in India, bow down to our elders to show respect.

Per capita income in USA of Indians, as compared with others in the USA is almost 80% higher than the national average in 1980, 1990, and 2000 census data. It is also the highest amongst all the other ethnic groups. China is second at 40% higher than the national average. I think this is because the Indians and ethnic groups put a lot of emphasis on education. In my family, I advise every member to get a Ph. D and if not a Ph. D, to get at least two Masters' degrees. My grandson went to kindergarten school in San Jose. In his school there were only ethnic groups' children and less than 5% Native Americans. This school is also very expensive and name of the school is Challenger. Still ethnic group spend their money on excellent education at not material things at that age. Since Indian parents have excellent education, they have good income (as mentioned above) and can give them material things also. When we give new cars to our children, we instruct them that if you misuse the car it will be taken away from them. Till this day we have not had any problems with, our kids and grandkids, associated with driving new cars. There is an actor in India, who ran over people sleeping in the streets of Mumbai and did not even stop to see what he had done. This is bad behavior. The material things can always be gotten later, since you will have long adulthood working career after they getting a good education.

What I have seen in USA is that the parents support their children to get an education till 12th grade, then, most of the children are told to fend for them to get a college education. Indian parents support their children till they get their first college degree. What normally happens is that the children here, when they get out of the high school, get involved with girls or boys, get married, have children and buy a house and then say that I have responsibilities so I cannot afford to go to college. Where is the necessity of getting married at 18 and living an independent life. Why not wait till one gets a college education, a good job and then get married. You have a lifetime to get married, have children and buy house, like I say there is a lifetime to acquire material goods.

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