Damned Lies and Statistics
---- Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists
by Joel Best
published by University of California Press
© 2001 by The Regents of the University of California
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In an effort to turn people into critical thinkers, Best presents three
questions to ask about all statistics and the four basic sources of
bad ones. He shows how good statistics go bad; why comparing statistics
from different time periods, groups, etc. is akin to mixing apples and
oranges; and why surveys do little to clarify people's feelings about
complex social issues. Random samples, it turns out, are rarely random
enough. He also explains what all the hoopla is over how the poverty
line is measured and the census is counted. What is the "dark figure"?
How many men were really at the Million Man March? How is it possible
for the average income per person to rise at the same time the average
hourly wage is falling? And how do you discern the truth behind stat
wars? Learn it all here before you rush to judgment over the next little
nugget of statistics-based truth you read. -- Lesley Reed
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