read: 30 June 2002
I generally eat up these “teach normal people math” books and this one is even a cut above the rest. While Best is aware that people lie with statistics, he is specifically interested in how statistics come to us, from whom, and to what end. He explores the relationship of statistics to activism -- how statistics are often produced by activists who want to make a particular point, refuted by members of the status quo and often misrepresented by the press -- and how they often take on lives of their own. He uses several very strightforward examples, covering the whole range of political beliefs, so no one comes away disbelieving them due to their own biases, and explains how the lifespan of a statistic works. It’s great reading, and makes you feel smarter and more assured -- not angrier and more annoyed -- when you are done reading it.
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