How to Lie With Statistics

by Darrell Huff.Norton, $2.95.
“A well-wrapped statistic.” says the author, “is better than Hitler’s ‘big lie’; it misleads, yet it cannot be pinned on you.” Mr. Huff’s genial monograph, irreverently illustrated by Irving Geis, shows how statistics can be employed — within the bounds of propriety — to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify. It exposes “the sample with the built-in bias”; the “Gee Whiz”chart; the ease of the disproportions! Dictograph. It shows that the dearly beloved “average” comes in three sizes: large, medium, and small —the same data can be made to yield an average of 15,000, 5000, and 3500, depending on whet her you choose the mean, the modal, or the median. This is a pleasantly subversive little book, guaranteed to undermine your fait h in the almighty statistic.