Darrell Huff
ISBN: 0393310728
Read: 11/28/2016
Pages: 142
Rating: 7/10
View on Amazon
Reading Ease: Reading Time:4 hours

Defensive statistical thinking delivered in a clear, short and direct manner. For a book that was first published over 60 years ago, a lot of it seemed relevant in how people can be easily misguided by numbers. A dose of healthy skepticism and awareness around statistics can help you live a smarter life and filter out bad news and information.

Notetable Quotes

"In the end it was found that if you wanted to know what certain people read it was no use asking them. You could learn a good deal more by going to their houses and saying you wanted to buy old magazines and what could be had?" — Darrell Huff
"To be worth much, a report based on sampling must use a representative sample, which is one from which every source of bias has been removed." — Darrell Huff
"Here is a bias introduced by unknown factors It seems likely that the most effective factor was a tendency that must always be allowed for in reading polls results a desire to give a pleasing answer. Would it be any wonder if, when answering a question with connotations of disloyalty in wartime, a Southern black world tell a white man what sounded good rather than what he actually believed?" — Darrell Huff
"Place little faith in an average or a graph or a trend when those important figures are missing. Otherwise, you are as blind as a man choosing a camp site from a report of mean temperature alone." — Darrell Huff
"One of the trickiest ways to misrepresent statistical data is by means of a map. A map introduces a fine bag of variables in which facts can be concealed and relationships distorted." — Darrell Huff

Motivations to Read

We live in a more data oriented world and statistics are often used to convey information and persuade. But statistics can and are being used to deceive and spread misinformation. This isn't a new concept and I wanted to learn more about statistics, so I can be more informed to spot bad statistics and hopefully create more accurate ones.

3 Reasons to Read

  • Understand how statistics can be used to misinform you
  • Learn how statistics affect your daily life
  • Gain knowledge on spotting abuse of and bias in statistics
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