Dorothea's Reviews > How to Lie with Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff
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's review
May 18, 12

Read in May, 2012

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 examples Darrell Huff chose for his audience in the United States.

It's a reminder that at that time, people were just beginning to stop worrying about underpopulation, and realizing instead that there was a Baby Boom on. At that time, also, negotiations between labor unions and businesses were much, much bigger news than they are now. Huff also notes that the race of an interviewer or the racial prejudices of a interviewee can bias survey results -- that hasn't changed, but I like that he points it out.

Lastly, this book is often very, very funny.
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