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"There is terror in numbers," writes Darrell Huff in How to Lie with Statistics. And nowhere does this terror translate to blind acceptance of authority more than in the slippery world of averages, correlations, graphs, and trends. Huff sought to break through "the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind" with this slim volume, first published in 1954. The book remains relevant as a wake-up call for people unaccustomed to examining the endless flow of numbers pouring from Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and everywhere else someone has an axe to grind, a point to prove, or a product to sell. "The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify," warns Huff.
Although many of the examples used in the book are charmingly dated, the cautions are timeless. Statistics are rife with opportunities for misuse, from "gee-whiz graphs" that add nonexistent drama to trends, to "results" detached from their method and meaning, to statistics' ultimate bugaboo--faulty cause-and-effect reasoning. Huff's tone is tolerant and amused, but no-nonsense. Like a lecturing father, he expects you to learn something useful from the book, and start applying it every day. Never be a sucker again, he cries!
Even if you can't find a source of demonstrable bias, allow yourself some degree of skepticism about the results as long as there is a possibility of bias somewhere. There always is.
Read How to Lie with Statistics. Whether you encounter statistics at work, at school, or in advertising, you'll remember its simple lessons. Don't be terrorized by numbers, Huff implores. "The fact is that, despite its mathematical base, statistics is as much an art as it is a science." --Therese Littleton
A hilarious exploration of mathematical mendacity…. Every time you pick it up, what happens? Bang goes another illusion! — The New York Times
In one short take after another, Huff picks apart the ways in which marketers use statistics, charts, graphics and other ways of presenting numbers to baffle and trick the public. The chapter “How to Talk Back to a Statistic” is a brilliant step-by-step guide to figuring out how someone is trying to deceive you with data. — Wall Street Journal
A great introduction to the use of statistics, and a great refresher for anyone who's already well versed in it. — Bill Gates
Mr. Huff's lively, human-interest treatment of the dry-as-bones subject of statistics is a timely tonic…This book needed to be written, and makes its points in an entertaining, highly readable manner. — Management Review
Illustrator and author pool their considerable talents to provide light lively reading and cartoon far which will entertain, really inform, and take the wind out of many an overblown statistical sail. — Library Journal
A pleasantly subversive little book, guaranteed to undermine your faith in the almighty statistic. — Atlantic
Charming book. The examples are a bit dated but still relevant. Honestly, the reference to American elections and world events that predate me just lead me to look them up; which... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Stephan Rayner
I am very familiar with statistics. I found this book very instructive and clear, with a funny way of telling the story. To recommend.Published 4 months ago by Martin Ridano
This book puts into perspective statistics in science and how the obvious may not be correct at all unfortunately. The brain can be turned off when statistics is presented to it.Published 9 months ago by Graham
Although the language and examples used are quite dated (the book is over 60 years old) ‘How to lie with Statistics’ provides very easy to understand examples of the various... Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Schaub
Good write-up of the power of numbers wielded inappropriately (by chance or by design). If you are not deep into mathematics in general and statistics in particular, this is a must... Read morePublished 19 months ago by JohnV
This is a gift for my randson who is struggling a bit with statistics. The book makes it fun and demystifies the topic.Published 19 months ago by Kathryn Belzer
A must read for anyone who's ever wondered how there are so many statistics and metrics flying around that all seem to contradict each other. Read morePublished on July 25 2013 by Umar Ahmed
Although "How to Lie with Statistics" is a bit dated (having been written in the 1950's), the principles it puts forth are still valid today--if not moreso than ever--and... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Amazon Customer
How to Lie with Statistics is a fun and informative look at the was in which statisticians try to decieve the public with misleading statistics. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2003 by Brian