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How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
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How to Lie with Statistics (1954)

by Darrell Huff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Very good read. Should be required before anyone is allowed to read or write the "News". Next question is will they use it to write better or lie better? ( )
  Daniel.Malcor | Jul 17, 2018 |
Short and interesting primer on how to understand the weaknesses behind statistics. We are thrown statistics in one shape or another all the time but what do they actually mean? What is the average? And which "average"? This book shows how statistics can be manipulated and teaches you to be skeptical. You learn how to question the conclusions, the graphs, and the data. Concise, practical, and entertaining read. Though the book was published a while ago, the lessons are still relevant today. Would recommend for those who want to be appreciate the subtleties of statistics or be more aware of how numbers can be used to deceive. ( )
  trile1000 | Jul 1, 2018 |
Had to read it for school. It is both funny and nostalgic. ( )
  Omegawega | Apr 1, 2018 |
Classic of its kind that hasn't aged a bit since it came out many years ago. A very practical guide to how statistics can be misused, either intentionally or not. A must-read for anyone exposed to statistics on a regular basis -- which means anyone that reads a newspaper or magazine, or watches television! ( )
  EricCostello | Mar 21, 2018 |
This was not a bad book- but maybe because it was written in the 50s or for people who are not in statistical jobs, it was not very useful. For example, median vs mean has to be known even at a college student level. Sample size is important, I agree. There are many ways to control that. And significance level can easily eliminate funny situations such as "27% of a large sample of eminent physicians smoke Throaties". Another on is the graph size: nowadays with the tools available to engineers, you can change the graph size with a click of a button (or swipe of a mouse- however you like). There were some nice parts such as "it is not necessary that a poll be rigged- that is, that the results be deliberately twisted in order to create a false impression. The tendency of the sample to be biased in this consistent direction can rig it automatically"
"Often an average- whether mean or median, specified or unspecified- is such an oversimplification that is worse than useless. Knowing nothing about a subject is frequently healthier than knowing what is not so, and a little learning may be a dangerous thing"
( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Darrell Huffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Geis, IrvingIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393310728, Paperback)

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way the results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to fool rather than inform.… (more)

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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