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How to Lie with Statistics Paperback – October 17, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 2,558 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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

Review

"A hilarious exploration of mathematical mendacity.… Every time you pick it up, what happens? Bang goes another illusion!"
New York Times

"A pleasantly subversive little book guaranteed to undermine your faith in the almighty statistic."
Atlantic
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (October 17, 1993)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 144 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0393310728
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0393310726
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.84 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,558 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
2,558 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

asdr
5.0 out of 5 stars Lie like a politician!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on February 2, 2021
29 people found this helpful
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Jelena T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes statistics as a tool of manipulation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 24, 2021
2 people found this helpful
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Earl Awesome
5.0 out of 5 stars Using numbers against the masses....
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on May 16, 2021
16 people found this helpful
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Rainmaker
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice easy read which will greatly change the way you think
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 27, 2012
2 people found this helpful
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Little W.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 28, 2018