It started out as a nice evening watching a movie at my friend’s house in Oakland. My friend’s parent’s, came over to join us. Afterwards we were all chatting when my friend’s Dad Al learned that I was going to school for statistics. He mentioned an anecdote about John Tukey.

I did a double take. “You mean the John Tukey? One of the greatest minds in computational statistics? Inventor of the box plot, fast Fourier Transform, and the word ‘bit’?” Yep. Turns out Al worked under him as a post doc in Princeton. Incredible!

Al told me a few more stories, and ended with “We were into big data before it was cool.”

Later Al contacted me and told me he was getting rid of a few books, and asked if I would like them. Heck yes!

On Saturday I received two large boxes of books containing Volumes 1-7 of Tukey’s collected works, early copies of Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming, Feynman’s lectures on Physics, and many more classics.

I’ve been working my way through Tukey’s ‘Data Analysis and Regression’, and I must say the practical viewpoint is very refreshing.