Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
How to Lie with Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics

by Darrell Huff, Irving Geis
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Over Half a Million Copies Sold—an Honest-to-Goodness Bestseller

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 full rather than to inform.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393310726
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/1993
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 142
Sales rank: 41,733
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Darrell Huff lives in Carmel, California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ..... 6
Introduction ..... 7
Chapter 1: The Sample with the Built-in Bias ..... 11
Chapter 2: The Well-Chosen Average ..... 27
Chapter 3: The Little Figures That Are Not There ..... 37
Chapter 4: Much Ado about Practically Nothing ..... 53
Chapter 5: The Gee-Whiz Graph ..... 60
Chapter 6: The One-Dimensional Picture ..... 66
Chapter 7: The Semiattached Figure ..... 74
Chapter 8: Post Hoc Rides Again ..... 87
Chapter 9: How to Statisticulate ..... 100
Chapter 10: How to Talk Back to a Statistic ..... 122

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How to Lie with Statistics 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even when it was made in the 1950s, it's still relevant today. Genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was very enjoyable. It allowed one to see the abilities of numbers and how deceiving they are. The book made me realize that even though you know you are looking at a certain number, you have no idea what it means. I loved the book, it was quite funny too in a sarcastic manner. It was very quick to read and contains many humorous illustrations;a great summer reading book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book for summer reading in high school...Although I was not looking foward to reading it by the end of the book I found it to be very interesting and humerous along the way....The overall purpose of the book as stated in chapter 10 is,'How to look a phony statistic in the eye and face it down,' (Huff, 122). This book has really changed my point of view on how I look at surveys that the world uses to solidify faulty gimics....Great book!
TLCrawford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For a book to remain in print for fifty years it must be good. This one was originally published in 1954 and, as far as I can tell, has been in print ever since. A book less than 150 pages long, generously seeded with amusing cartoons is not what you would expect to find on a graduate school reading list but that is exactly where I learned about this one. Darrell Huff and illustrator Irving Geis produced a little marvel with their book ¿How to Lie with Statistics¿. As Huff points out early in the book a cat-burglar who writes a how-to memoir in prison does not do it for other cat-buglers. They already know how to burgle. The intended audience is people who do not want to be burgled, or, in the case of this book, lied to. Huff is careful to spread the blame for lying statistics widely, overeager researchers, poor information gathering by statisticians, advertising people willing to apply lipstick of any color to their pig, journalists looking for a marketable story. The fact that most of these lies are ¿true¿ is not ignored. For me the most memorable story he uses to make this clear is the restauranteur who explains his rabbit-burger is 50% rabbit, he mixes it in a 1 to 1 ratio with horse-meat. One rabbit to one horse. After nine chapters of explaining how easy it is for statistics, charts, graphs, and percentages to lie the last chapter makes a serious attempt to explaining how we can avoid being lied to by asking a few simple questions like, who says so, how does he know, what¿s missing, and does it make sense. As Huff points out it is important to be able to detect these lies, not just because of misleading advertisements but because we have elections every few years. As an amateur historian who is just a few years younger than this book I have to admit I enjoyed the window into the past that the many cartoons offered. Yes, we really dressed and smoked like that. The books age was a little disconcerting when Huff dissected an article about the income of the ¿average¿ Yale graduate. Going to Yale hardly seemed worth the $25,000 income it offered until I ran it through an inflation calculator, then it made sense. This book is one of the most informative and fun books I have read in a long, long time. It was informative not because I know nothing about statistics, I do, it was informative because nether of the classes I have taken on statistics covered how easy it is to miss-use or misunderstand exactly what it is the numbers say. If you do not like being lied to, consider reading this book.
lerned on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great little book, and entertaining too, statistically improbable anyone could make statistics amusing.
masyukun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book illustrates common ways to distort statistics. The most valuable part of this book is the last chapter, in which the author arms the reader with a series of questions to help him think critically in the face of authoritative-sounding numbers. This book is funny, educational, and should be required reading for every critical thinker.
jocraddock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easily the most entertaining introduction to statistics and critical thinking I've come across. (What's my experience rate, you ask? You must have read the book!)While many examples are dated, they remain relevant and the lessons on how to separate the wheat from the chaff are vital. This should be required reading, but that may make it even more inaccessible. Let's do a study on that!
statethatiamin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't believe anything!This fast little read does an amazing job uncovering the methods of presenting misleading statistics. This book was first published in 1954, but it reads as fresh as ever. People with axes to grind have been employing the same subversive tactics since statistics have been popularized. Furthermore, this book is often funny, hilarious even, particularly with the illustrations. The "claim to fame" statistic on the cover is an almost certainly deliberate illustration of ironic contempt for misleading statistics. After all, just because "Twighlight" was a bigger seller than "Anna Karenina" doesn't make it better.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A reissue of the 1954 classic, the author details many of the mistakes, either deliberate or accidental, that people make when deploying statistics in support of their pet cause. A handy corrective to the current culture of statistical malapropism, and a valuable tool to arm yourself against the barrage of bogus statistics and misinterpreted data that assail us every day.
carlym on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a short little book written in the 1950s about how statistics are often manipulated, either the numbers themselves or in the presentation. Most of the examples are from advertising, news, or political groups, and although the examples are dated, the methods of trickery haven't changed. The core message of the book is to pay attention to statistics and be skeptical, but the author also explains in more detail why and how certain kinds of statistics are easily manipulated. For anyone who has taken a class in statistics or has much math background, the mathematical explanations will not be new, but it's still a good reminder to pay attention and not to accept statistics uncritically in situtations where the presenter has a reason to manipulate them.
BraveKelso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A classic. A great guide to understanding statistical claims in journalism, advertising and politics.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Highly reccomended, very revealing. You should read it! It will tell you all you need to know about how you can be fooled by statistics.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for my high school AP statistics class. I truly enjoyed reading this book. My dad had to read the same while he was in college 30 years ago. We were able to discuss the book. Huff was very insightful but humorous at the same time. This book helped me to learn how much goes into statistics and the way that they use their data however they want to. It was a fun way to learn not only about math but about the way that people use that math. It was interesting that even though the book was written over 50 years ago that his examples still worked and I could relate to things he said. I would recommend it to anyone high school level or above especially if you plan on taking or using statistics in your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book, I thought Huff would offer nothing new to thought. Huff proves me wrong by a large margin. His insight in statistics proves the errors of number the common man misses. After being force to read this for school, I find some enjoyment in reading this since it shows that trusting in numbers is a large mistake. Not a bad book, but some parts tend to last a little too long.