Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Date and Other Ways to Lie With Statistics

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Gerald Duckworth & Co, Sep 22, 2016 - Mathematics - 304 pages
Did you know that having a messy room will make you racist? Or that human beings possess the ability to postpone death until after important ceremonial occasions? Or that people live three to five years longer if they have positive initials, like ACE? All of these ‘facts’ have been argued with a straight face by researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase once cynically observed, ‘If you torture data long enough, it will confess.’ Lying with statistics is a time-honoured con. In Standard Deviations, economics professor Gary Smith walks us through the various tricks and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories. Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief they are committing. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful deductions and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool us, we fool ourselves. Drawing on breakthrough research in behavioural economics by luminaries like Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely, and taking to task some of the conclusions of Freakonomics, Standard Deviations demystifies the science behind statistics and brings into stark relief the fraud that surrounds us all.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Muir_Alex - LibraryThing

This book was well thought out, flowed well, contained many relevant examples, and was not overly technical. Many times with math books, the writing can be cryptic and authors launch into tangents ... Read full review

STANDARD DEVIATIONS: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics

User Review  - Kirkus

Another in the genre that began with the Darrell Huff's 1954 best-seller, How to Lie with Statistics. If history is any guide, it will likely be ignored by those who do the lying.In his first book for ... Read full review


Graphical Gaffes
Common Nonsense
When Youre Hot Youre
Even Steven
The Ultimate Procrastination
Dont Confuse Me With Facts
Theory Without Data
When to Be Persuaded and When to Be Skeptical

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About the author (2016)

Gary Smith received his PhD in Economics from Yale University and taught there for seven years. He is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona

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