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How to Lie with Statistics
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How to Lie with Statistics

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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  5,620 Ratings  ·  647 Reviews
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 to inform.
Paperback, 142 pages
Published September 1st 1982 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1954)
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Riku Sayuj
Apr 06, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, r-r-rs

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: The Pirates of the Powerpoint

Darrell Huff uses a simple, but effective literary device to impress his readers about how much statistics affect their daily lives and their understanding of the world.

He does this by pretending that the book is a sort of primer in ways to use statistics to deceive, like a manual for swindlers, or better, for pirates. He then pretends to justify the crookedness of the book in the manner of the retired burglar whose published remin
...more
Eric Phetteplace
Aug 31, 2011 Eric Phetteplace rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who don't want to be ignoramuses their whole lives
Shelves: lis-web
This is one of those rare books I would recommend to almost anyone. It's clear, concise, funny, not too complex, and above all important for anyone who wants to understand politics, economics, science, or life in general. Statistical analysis is so vital to determining how things actually stand and where we should be moving that people lacking awareness of basic logical/statistical fallacies are doomed to live within delusions. Being informed necessitates understanding and being skeptical of sta ...more
Seth
Jun 05, 2008 Seth rated it it was amazing
Yes, it has all the stuff you hear about: how people use stats to subtly (and not-so-subtly) misdirect the reader/listener, how to systematically recognize (or create) misinterpretations, and a strong implicit call to action for clearer information in public discourse.

But in the billion years since this classic came of age, we've all learned that other ways, some of them better presented. When it was written, many people believed the information they received in the papers, in magazines, and on
...more
Fiver
Nov 10, 2009 Fiver rated it really liked it

It seems a little shallow to rate this semi-pamphlet at four stars, as one of the must-read books, but that's exactly what I'm going to do.

This book earns four stars from me simply from its concisiveness and practicality. You can churn through this beauty in one sitting. It is entertaining, has excellent examples, introduces concepts in a wry, witty tone, and after ten years of courses, articles, books, and opinions, I have yet to learn a single thing about misleading statistics that wasn't taug
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George
Jan 25, 2017 George rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Το βιβλίο το αγόρασα πριν δυόμιση χρόνια με δυο ευρώ, σχεδόν στην τύχη. Μου είχε φανεί ενδιαφέρον το θέμα και χάρη στην τιμή δεν το σκέφτηκα παραπάνω. Να που ήρθε η ώρα να το διαβάσω κιόλας. Και πόσο χαίρομαι που τελικά το αγόρασα εκείνη την ημέρα και που το διάβασα τώρα.

Πρόκειται για ένα πολύ ωραίο, καλογραμμένο και εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο, που εξετάζει τις στατιστικές μεθόδους και έρευνες που χρησιμοποιούνται κατά κόρον από κυβερνήσεις, επιχειρήσεις, δημοσιογράφους, αναλυτές και διαφημιστ
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Steven
Jan 27, 2017 Steven rated it really liked it
"The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify. Statistical methods and statistical terms are necessary in reporting the mass data of social and economic trends, business conditions, 'opinion polls', the census. But without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense… This book is a sort of primer in ways to use s
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Patrick
Feb 25, 2017 Patrick rated it really liked it
A really fast read. And a fascinating one. Although I didn't pay attention to the release date before I began. So now I want to read another book discussing the same subject :3

These days, every claim is accompanied by stats to validate them. And when contradicting claims both have supporting studies behind them, you really have to stop and ask yourself what the fuck is going on. This is where this book comes to the rescue. Statisticians don't "lie" per se. But they do a lot of manipulation to b
...more
Sebah Al-Ali
Mar 15, 2010 Sebah Al-Ali rated it liked it
أحب الرياضيات و تستهويني الأرقام ، لكن علم الإحصاء كان حاجزا لم أكن أستطيع تجاوزه ، و بالأخص ثلاثة مفاهيم (عقدتني) :
mean, mode, & medium
كنت دائما أقرأها في الدراسات التي أطلع عليها دون أن أفهمها أبدا ، و أشتهي لو أني أستطيع توظيفها في أبحاثي التي تعتمد على الأرقام .

فكّ هذا الكتاب عقدتي ! ، أخيرا فهمت ما تعنيه هذه المفاهيم من خلال تخطيط رسمي مبسط (<- بديل منزلي للسكانر العطلانة) ، لم أجده في أي من كتب الإحصاء !. متعة أني أخيرا عرفت معنى هذه المصطلحات تفوق الكثير من المتع !. سعيدة جدا بهذ
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Russell
Oct 23, 2007 Russell rated it really liked it
I'm just going to quote the 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 ex
...more
Mary
Jun 07, 2011 Mary rated it liked it
Recommended by both Jamie S. Z. and my Statistical Foundations professor. Really engaging and common-spoken, eager to make us adroit critical thinkers of statistical information. The main problem, of course, is its age, which enthusiastically describes plush neighborhoods with an average income of $15,000 and the enormous profits of $42 a week. Still, it has the fervor to educate us because, as H.G. Wells once prophesied, "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizensh ...more
Grace
OK, first off, it isn't normal that I give a math book 5 stars. I often find them dull, boring, and difficult to read. However, How to lie with statistics was as funny as it was informative. Duff does a good job of not only explaining what tricks people use on statistics to twist the facts, but he gives poignant examples that were just as relevant when he wrote this book as they are today. What I found most interesting is how he dissected the "logic" that uses these techniques to explain how the ...more
Nate
I still wonder why Trigonometry and Calculus are offered in high school, but Statistics is not. It's such a broad subject that is used in so many fields-even forgetting all of the numbers we read in magazines. I digress.

This book specifically focuses on the facts and figures that we see everyday, pretty much everywhere. I thought it was well written and extremely thorough, going from problems that happen during study collection, to the cherry picking and presentation of data itself. I had to gr
...more
surfmadpig
Εξαιρετικό βιβλίο που δυστυχώς δάνεισα κάπου και έχασα. Κλαψ.

Γράφτηκε το 1957 αλλά είναι πιο επίκαιρο από ποτέ:
"Η μυστική γλώσσα της στατιστικής, τόσο ελκυστική σε μια κουλτούρα εθισμένη στην εμφάνιση χειροπιαστών στοιχείων, χρησιμοποιείται για να εντυπωσιάσει, να διογκώσει, να μπερδέψει και να υπεραπλουστεύσει.

Οι στατιστικές μέθοδοι και η αντίστοιχη ορολογία αποτελούν στοιχεία απαραίτητα για την αναφορά της τεράστιας μάζας δεδομένων σχετικών με οικονομικές τάσεις, επιχειρηματικές συνθήκες, σφυγ
...more
Erin
Jan 14, 2012 Erin rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
This book was published in 1954, before Excel, and it hasn't been updated yet it's still being reissued. After reading this, I can only assume that B.E. (Before Excel) statistics were presented more often with illustrations rather than bar graphs and pie charts, which would just be weird now since it's so easy to prepare graphs in Excel. Or maybe the whole point of the book is that if you use illustrations you will be able to confuse your audience with more ease. Either way, I didn't really lear ...more
John Hibbs
May 07, 2011 John Hibbs rated it it was amazing
This book was published in 1954 and some of the examples are dated but the principles it puts forth are still valid today--if not more so than ever--and the material is delivered in clear, concise, and even entertaining anecdotes and illustrations. It is also an easy read that can be easily finished in one day of concentrated effort.

How often do you hear statistics bandied about in the media or used to try to prove some special-interest point? "Of course" the people quoting the figures must be r
...more
Andre Simonsen
Uma das frases que abrem o livro, de H. G. Wells, diz que "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write". ("Pensar estatisticamente um dia será tão necessária para cidadania efetiva quanto a habilidade de ler e escrever").

É possível ir além e afirmar que aprender como estatísticas realmente funcionam e como elas são utilizadas para mentir e avançar as mais diversas agendas é equivalente a realmente aprender a ler.

Um livro essencial
...more
Karen Mardahl
Feb 09, 2012 Karen Mardahl rated it it was amazing
Marvelous little book. It's from 1954 and some things are obviously dated. That makes some things, like mentions of prices, very funny. However, his points are timeless.
This is easily read and easy to understand. I have never had statistics in school and I am trying to make up for that. This is perfect. There is a lot of sensible wisdom that any responsible citizen can benefit from. You use this when reading the newspaper, advertisements, news from the government, etc., etc. A friend lent me thi
...more
Dennis Cassidy
Sep 24, 2008 Dennis Cassidy rated it it was amazing
ever have the feeling that all 97.2% of statistics are bullshit? that's probably a low estimate. everyone should read this book. bogus statistics (58% of americans believe x) are everywhere. huff systematically destroyed this crap 50 years ago. unfortunately, some of the examples are dated, but you'll get the idea.
Alexandre
Mar 13, 2012 Alexandre rated it really liked it
This is a small classic – very funny – introduction to statistics (illustrated).
عبدالله
Sep 24, 2016 عبدالله rated it liked it
الكتاب خفيف جدا ومثير للإهتمام نوعا ما ولو أنه للحين ما أدري هل صرت شخص أفضل بكشف كذب الإحصائيات أو ما زلت كم أنا، المهم لعله غيرني للأفضل.
Danny
Mar 19, 2017 Danny rated it really liked it
This is a short book with 9 general ways statistics can be used to deceive people. There are 10 chapters; the first 9 are each dedicated to a different 'trick' commonly used with statistics, while the 10th discusses strategies for not getting fooled. For anyone who has taken a statistics course, this would hopefully all be a review, however many courses in statistics tend to focus on the mechanics of taking averages, calculating distributions, etc., and might skip over some of the important poin ...more
Matt Lyke
Apr 14, 2017 Matt Lyke rated it really liked it
not for everyone and a little dated but with a solid ant-ibullshit theme
Ali
Jun 03, 2016 Ali rated it really liked it
I was and still fascinated by the power of #statistics as a tool that can present and display data towards reaching a set of defined and accurate conclusions that abide with common sense but this #book #How_to_Lie_with_Statistics written byDarrell Huff in 1954 has unvieled something else about the dependepility of this tool. Huff was a journalist who wrote many "how to" articles as a freelancer, but was not a statistician.
#Wikipedia writes the following about the history of this book: "The book
...more
Pat
Sep 17, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing
This probably offers me the perfectly inappropriate opportunity to launch into a polemic against mathematics education in the US. I will refrain. However, I must say that if I were designing a statistics course then I would find Huff's book as a perfectly good cornerstone. If I were drafting a list of books to serve as pre-college summer reading requirements, How to Lie with Statistics would be towards the front. In the event that I regrettably had to attend a baby shower, I would be forgoing th ...more
Neveen
Jun 19, 2015 Neveen rated it really liked it
This book caught my eye as one of the recommended books to read by Bill Gates for Ted Talks discussions this year 2015, therefore, I grabbed it.

Although "How to Lie with Statistics" is a bit dated (having been written in the 1950's), the principles it puts forth are still valid today--if not moreso than ever--and the material is delivered in clear, concise, and even entertaining anecdotes and illustrations.

It shows all the little tricks that advertisers and propagandists, government agencies inc
...more
Abhijit Srivastava
Nov 14, 2016 Abhijit Srivastava rated it really liked it
Shelves: inquisitive
48.27% of all statistics are made up on the spot; just like this one!

Numbers provide so much coherence and context to an argument or study that it has become next to impossible to extract any meaningful information out of one which lacks them.

I, for one, love them, and use it to substantiate a point whenever I can. At the same time, I'm quite aware of the fact that it can be used to mislead a listener, or outwit an opponent. This book, in addition to being a primer for statistics, teaches the re
...more
Alan Johnson
I first read this book in hardcover during the 1970s or 1980s. Although I misplaced my hardcover copy, it is now available in Kindle and paperback at very reasonable prices, and I have just now downloaded the Kindle edition for rereading.

The book aptly describes its subject matter in its introduction:

"This book is a sort of primer in ways to use statistics to deceive. It may seem altogether too much like a manual for swindlers. Perhaps I can justify it in the manner of the retired burglar whose
...more
Maurizio Codogno
Sappiamo tutti, o almeno annuiamo quando ce lo dicono, che alle statistiche si può fare dire quello che si vuole. Spesso questo capita perché siamo noi che vogliamo essere ciechi davanti ai dati che ci vengono propinati: forse per paura dei numeri, o più banalmente perché non vogliamo fare fatica a leggere davvero quello che c'è scritto. Beh, adesso avete molte scuse in meno. Dopo solo cinquantatré anni dall'uscita dell'edizione originale, è stato finalmente tradotto il testo fondamentale di Dar ...more
Dorothea
May 18, 2012 Dorothea rated it it was amazing
This book is a brief and charming reminder of how percentages, graphs and charts, and survey results may be used to create an impression not actually indicated by the numbers.

I say "reminder" because I've taken intro-level statistics and encountered these ideas before, but I think that How to Lie with Statistics should be comprehensible to anyone who knows practical arithmetic.

Apart from its subject matter, it's interesting to read this book published in 1954 58 years later to see what sorts of
...more
Jordan
Sep 14, 2015 Jordan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
While this book was written in the 1950s and therefore includes a wide variety of dated examples, the point is still relevant today. Perhaps, even, the book is more relevant now than when it was first published! The goal of the book is to arm the reader with the skills to read statistics in advertising, the news, and anywhere else with discernment. As the author puts it, he wants to make sure you don't learn "things that aren't so."

The book does an excellent job making statistics accessible, giv
...more
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“a difference is a difference only if it makes a difference.” 7 likes
“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” 3 likes
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