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Re: thoughts on manuals [Was st: -margin-, -mfx compute- and -manuals-]

From   SamL <>
Subject   Re: thoughts on manuals [Was st: -margin-, -mfx compute- and -manuals-]
Date   Sun, 16 Nov 2003 01:45:28 -0800 (PST)

You know, Clive, this was discussed less than 6 months ago, and is amply
documented in the archive.  To make a long story short, the manuals are
cheap.  They are investments.  They will pay off over the rest of your
life (even after the software has been superceded by stata18--because you
will learn very useful things to make you survive in the field until
stata18 arrives, as well as for other reasons).  If a person is unwilling
or unable to make a human capital investment early, that person will reap
lower returns later.  That's the way it works.

Being a student, that's what one is doing--among other things; making
hci's.  It's okay to decide the stata manuals are not a good hci.
Although it is probably especially penny wise and pound foolish for
someone without any other way to access the syntax to regard the manuals
as poor hci's, it is just wrong to assert that the manuals are expensive.
As investments go, they are cheap--very very cheap.  And, as the saying
goes, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Respectfully yours,


On Sun, 16 Nov 2003, Renzo Comolli wrote:

> Dear all,
> I have already expressed my opinion on the general matter of the manual
> price for graduate students (or students in general). In order to limit
> repetition (the thoughts were leanghy and nounced) let me only update what
> changed.
> 1. When I bought Stata, I said to my self, "manuals? I can do without; I'll
> use the help"
> 2. When I wrote my email on this topic, I wrote "manuals? I would seriously
> consider buying them if they were cheaper"
> 3. Today I write "it would be really expensive, but if I could not borrow
> them, I would buy them".
> Now some practical advice to Clive on how to (try to) borrow the manuals and
> live a happy Stata life:
> 1. Propose to your library to buy them (it works)
> 2. Propose to your department (chair, director of graduate studies...) to
> buy them (it works too)
> 3. Propose to your supervisor to buy them
> 4. Some universities have mini-research grants for purposes such as this
> one.
> 5. Be brass and ask to other departments whether they have them (some
> epidemiological, public health, political science depts have them)
> Ciao
> Renzo
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> /* From   "Clive Nicholas" <> */
> To
> Subject   st: -margin-, -mfx compute- and -manuals-
> Date   Sat, 15 Nov 2003 11:47:50 -0000 (GMT)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> [...]
> By the way, unlike most Statapeeps on this list, I don't consider myself
> loaded enough to afford all of the Stata manuals. I find it hard to
> understand why people make this assumption. There are no books *at all* on
> Stata available at my (rather large) university library, not least
> because, quite wrongly in my view, Stata isn't on our university machines
> here. I'll let you all into a dirty secret I have:
> **I'm a student!**
> I know. Incredible, isn't it?! Yes, I'd *love* to own the whole kit and
> caboodle, but I had to make choices as to which I could purchase, since I
> needed to purchase Stata 8 and Stat/Transfer 7. I chose to buy [U]. I'm
> thinking of getting [XT] soon. But [R]? No way, not at that price. Love
> to, but you know, finances and all that... ;-)
> C.
> *
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