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#295 Darrell Huff: How to Lie with Statistics

Darrell Huff: How to Lie with Statistics

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (12 Dec 1991)
ISBN-10: 0140136290
ISBN-13: 978-0140136296
Category(ies): Statistics

Originally released back in 1954, this is a wonderful slim book. Its title, 'How to lie ...' is, of course, tongue in cheek. It's really how to spot lies. The problem has been there for a very long time now: it was Disraeli who said 'There are three types of lie: lies, damned lies, and statistics'. The third category exists, as does this book, because although statistics are supposed to reveal the truth, all too often, whether by malice or carelessness, they do exactly the opposite. The short, clear chapters cover these different sorts of lies, and more than once I called out 'Yes!' when I saw one of my particular bugbears being mentioned.

(My personal greatest complaint: when the bottom part of a graph is cut off, making the wiggle at the top look so much more by proportion.)

This is an easy book to understand, and if everyone had read it, advertisers and politicians would have to be so much more honest.
Tags: books, reviews

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