How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers (Paperback)
  • How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers (Paperback)

How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers (Paperback)

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Paperback 352 Pages
Published: 17/09/2020
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'If you aren't in love with stats before reading this book, you will be by the time you're done. Powerful, persuasive, and in these truth-defying times, indispensable'
Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women

'Nobody makes the statistics of everyday life more fascinating and enjoyable than Tim Harford'
Bill Bryson

'Fabulously readable, lucid, witty and authoritative . . . Every politician and journalist should be made to read this book, but everyone else will get so much pleasure and draw so much strength from the joyful way it dispels the clouds of deceit and delusion'
Stephen Fry

'Wise, humane and, above all, illuminating. Nobody is better on statistics and numbers - and how to make sense of them'
Matthew Syed


When was the last time you read a grand statement, accompanied by a large number, and wondered whether it could really be true? Statistics are vital in helping us tell stories - we see them in the papers, on social media, and we hear them used in everyday conversation - and yet we doubt them more than ever.

But numbers - in the right hands - have the power to change the world for the better. Contrary to popular belief, good statistics are not a trick, although they are a kind of magic. Good statistics are not smoke and mirrors; in fact, they help us see more clearly. Good statistics are like a telescope for an astronomer, a microscope for a bacteriologist, or an X-ray for a radiologist. If we are willing to let them, good statistics help us see things about the world around us and about ourselves - both large and small - that we would not be able to see in any other way.

In How to Make the World Add Up, Tim Harford draws on his experience as both an economist and presenter of the BBC's radio show 'More or Less'. He takes us deep into the world of disinformation and obfuscation, bad research and misplaced motivation to find those priceless jewels of data and analysis that make communicating with numbers worthwhile. Harford's characters range from the art forger who conned the Nazis to the stripper who fell in love with the most powerful congressman in Washington, to famous data detectives such as John Maynard Keynes, Daniel Kahneman and Florence Nightingale. He reveals how we can evaluate the claims that surround us with confidence, curiosity and a healthy level of scepticism.

Using ten simple rules for understanding numbers - plus one golden rule - this extraordinarily insightful book shows how if we keep our wits about us, thinking carefully about the way numbers are sourced and presented, we can look around us and see with crystal clarity how the world adds up.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9781408712238
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 600 g
Dimensions: 238 x 160 x 38 mm

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“Excellent summary of how to analyse statistics”

He breaks statistics down into ten rules. These aren't hard and fast, but he presents examples in each case and shows you how things are represented or frequently misrepresented. It's the sort of book you... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 52

“Sexy stats”

I am a huge fan of 'More or Less', the radio show/podcast presented by Tim Harford and so was keen to read this book. It didn't disappoint. There have been some reviews opining that Harford is the... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 29

“Fascinating, thought provoking and made me more curious”

There is a good opening here on statistics generally which I found helpful. While this books was originally published a little while ago it does appear to have been updated since the previous edition with quite a bit... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 28

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