Statistics has played a leading role in our scientific understanding of the world for centuries, yet we are all familiar with the way numbers can be used to support sensationalised claims, whether political or scientific. As data becomes more influential in our society, data literacy becomes an increasingly essential skill. But statistics education in schools is not exactly a shining beacon of success, forming an uneasy interface between maths and the real world, with statistical ideas potentially ending up appearing just a 'bag of tools' - a bewildering mix of tests and rules to which data is subjected.
This suggests a new approach to statistics education is necessary, in which real problems provide motivation for ideas, technicalities are delayed as long as possible, and the whole topic is seen more as data science than part of maths. In the book The Art of Statistics, I use this approach to construct a first course in statistics that is driven by questions which data might help answer. These include: could Harold Shipman have been caught earlier, should I take a statin, who was the luckiest passenger on the Titanic, and why do old men have big ears? Thus is the true power of statistical science revealed.