- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: Norton; Underlined edition (1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 039309426X
- ISBN-13: 978-0393094268
- ASIN: B000GU89T8
- Package Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 1.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
how to Lie with Statistics Paperback – 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
First, it's about numbers but manages to be both extremely easy to read and very entertaining.
Secondly, although it is so accessible that a ten-year old of average intelligence should be able to understand everything in this book, the points it makes are so universal in application that even someone with much greater mathematical knowledge - and I write this as a graduate with two degrees in a discipline which requires statistical understanding - can find it full of useful reminders and even the odd valuable idea you might not have thought of or heard of.
The book is about how numbers can be manipulated, by accident or design, to trick people into making false conclusions, and how to spot when you are being fed misleading numbers. In this day and age the ability to spot bad statistics is extremely important to everyone and can literally be a life-saver.
I was very surprised indeed to see that a previous reviewer had described this book as "not for everyone." I could not disagree more strongly.
If every voter read this book, fewer bad politicians would be elected on the basis of dishonest campaign statistics, if every consumer read it, fewer bad products would be sold on the basis of dishonest advertising statistics, and if every journalist read it there might be less harm done by scare stories based on bad statistics.
Despite the fact that this book was written many years ago, every single word in it is still very relevant today.
However, anyone with a serious interest in the subject who wants an update on some of the more recent examples of how statistics are misused should still start by reading "How to Lie with Statistics" and then follow up with the equally good "Damn Lies and Statistics" by Joel Best, which is more current and nearly as accessible. The two books complement each other very well.
If you spotted the fast one I pulled in the first paragraph, you're either one of "the crooks" who already know these tricks or else are an honest soul who has learned them "in self-defence". Hence the title of this fantastic little book: knowing how a burglar thinks helps secure your house. Most of the time, I would pass over the phrase "average wage" without a second glance. We all know what an average is, don't we? Distant maths lessons are just that for most of us, and even if I'd dredged up the question - what kind of average? - would I have been bothered to ask it? Complacency translates into vulnerability.Read more ›
There are plenty of lessons about how we should interpret the numbers we come across every day in adverts and (potentialy biased) news reports and there is nobody living in the developed world who can't benefit from the enlightenment that this brings.
The only disappointing aspect of this book is that it's so short, an accomplished reader with some knowledge of statistics could get through the book in a single (if lengthy) sitting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can't review the content as I haven't read it. I only bought this as a replacement for a friend as I accidentally damaged his copy (which I also didn't read).Published 1 month ago by Benjamin Graham Feakins
A short but very interesting read. Landed here from a bill gates article, wasn't disappointed.Published 7 months ago by FrankRossetti
I've had a copy of this for many years. Quite apart from how informative and clearly written it is, it's also very, very funny.Published 7 months ago by Barry Cooper
A great amble through the pitfalls of statistical bias, misuses and misunderstandings.Published 10 months ago by al
I bought this as a graduate student wanting some entertaining, but hopefully useful, reading on statistics. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dean
The book has some good common sense information in it, however it is a little dated now.Published 12 months ago by Dr. Pip Griffiths
I first read this book at university, where I was studying statistics as part of my degree. However, it has been in the context of other subjects and, indeed, life in general that... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Terry Freedman
Nice book, nothing amazing, it's more or less what you already know if you studied the topic a little in schoolPublished 14 months ago by Stefano Solinas