Book Review: How to Lie with Statistics

Huff, Darrell How to Lie with Statistics. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1954.

[Buy from my Aerbook store.]

This is a delightful little book about statistical deception, illustrated charmingly by Irving Geis. If you’ve ever wondered what all the numbers in news stories mean, and where they come from, this is a good book for you to read. If you haven’t ever wondered about the numbers–it’s an even better read for you.

Huff shows a good selection of the methods by which numbers can be made to say something different than the actual data would support. He looks at presentation, correlations, collection of data, sample size, sample bias, and other critical factors which can enter into the validity of statistics and of the conclusions we try to draw from them. All of the material is written in a clear, interesting manner which will be easy for the layperson to comprehend and apply.

Don’t let the media continue to deceive you–intentionally or unintentionally!