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How to lie with statistics (1954)

by Darrell Huff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,741545,238 (3.85)74
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.
  1. 00
    Half your luck by Peter Mason (KayCliff)
  2. 00
    A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin (PuddinTame)
    PuddinTame: Daniel J. Levitin said that his book was inspired by Huff's, a book he had read several times and appreciated more with each reading.
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» See also 74 mentions

English (53)  Danish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Huff's short book/ long pamphlet is tandard reading before you pass the Writing Requirement at my undergrad school (Marlboro College). Unlike Strunk & White's _Elements of Style_, it is not brilliantly written. However, it amusingly and very clearly illustrates Twain's (?) quote:
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
You'll never be swayed by numbers in an article again without checking out their stats methodology. ( )
  deliriumshelves | Jan 14, 2024 |
A must ( )
  Den85 | Jan 3, 2024 |
Good, reasonably entertaining introduction to the basic ideas behind statistics as used in the "popular" sphere. No serious complaints, but it doesn't particularly stand out as insightful, mostly because of a few problems:

- Old, so it uses outdated terms and examples that can be confusing and sometimes insulting - I didn't understand a couple of examples at all
- The use of maths is confusing - it says everything in word form instead of equations, which doesn't particularly help those with trouble with maths and for those who are good with it requires a lot of mental translation. This is a problem with 1 chapter mainly.
- The last chapter is basically a recapitulation in different terms of the others. This isn't a big deal, I was just hoping for more general advice along similar lines about spotting lines
- The illustrations don't really add much mostly - they aren't particularly funny or helpful, which is a shame.

As it's a big market I'm being a bit more critical than I would otherwise. Summary: good book, good introduction, worth reading if you get it, but nothing extraordinary. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
This book should be on every priority list you have. Statistics and percentages seem to make up most of the click bait articles today, and are used by media and articles left and right to try to convince you about just about anything. Learn how to protect yourself from bad statistics, from bad reporting. This is definitely a must read for that! ( )
  tcwLT | Sep 17, 2023 |
Funny book, but also full of useful concepts. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 9, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huff, DarrellAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Calman, MelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geis, IrvingIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heyden, H.A.M. van dertrasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Livraghi, GiancarloEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puglisi, RiccardoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, John J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

-- Disraeli
Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient as the ability to read and write.

-- H. G. Wells
It ain't so much the things that we don't know that get us in trouble.
It's the things we know that ain't so.

-- Artemus Ward
Round numbers are always false.

-- Samuel Johnson
I have a great subject [statistics] to write upon, but feel keenly my literary incapacity to make it easily intelligible without sacrificing accuracy and thoroughness.

-- Sir Francis Galton
Dedication
To my wife
WITH GOOD REASON
First words
"There's a mighty lot of crime around here," said my father-in-law a little while after he moved from Iowa to California. (Introduction)
"The average Yale man, Class of '24," Time magazine noted once, commenting on something in the New York Sun, "makes $25,111 a year."
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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.

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