How to Lie with Statistics
"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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