How to lie with statistics

How to lie with statistics Darrel Huff

"Round numbers", pronounced Dr Johnson, "are always false."

But not, of course, the precise and scientific calculations of trained statisticians, with their decimals and percentages. The computer, like the camera, cannot lie. Not without help, anyhow.

In this Pelican Darrell Huff introduces the beginner to the niceties of samples (random or stratified random), averages (mean, median, or modal), errors (probable, standard, or unintentional), graphs, indexes and other tools of democratic persuasion.

John Connell, in the Evening News, called this famous study "wildly funny, outrageous, and a splendid piece of blasphemy against the preposterous religion of  our time." But don't let that depress you. Figures prove that there's always something to weep about - wether it's cancer, the cost of living, crime, or just the Chinese population. Yes, more and more people are dying every day. It's the trend.

Quotes from the book

There are three kinds of lies:

  1. lies,
  2. damned lies,
  3. and statistics.
-  Disraeli 

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write. -  H. G.  Wells 

It  ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble.
 It's the things we know that ain't so.
-  Artemus Ward  

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