How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Statistics in the News (and Knowing When to Trust Them) (Hardback)
  • How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Statistics in the News (and Knowing When to Trust Them) (Hardback)

How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Statistics in the News (and Knowing When to Trust Them) (Hardback)

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Hardback 208 Pages
Published: 18/03/2021

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Waterstones Says

In a world of fake news and misinformation, the Chivers’ brilliantly clear and accessible guide to understanding the vagaries, ambiguities and plain untruths of statistics provides a sane and logical way to pick through the minefield of contemporary current affairs.

'Even one glass of wine a day raises the risk of cancer'
'Hate crimes have doubled in five years'
'Fizzy drinks make teenagers violent'

Every day, most of us will read or watch something in the news that is based on statistics in some way. Sometimes it'll be obvious - 'X people develop cancer every year' - and sometimes less obvious - 'How smartphones destroyed a generation'. Statistics are an immensely powerful tool for understanding the world; the best tool we have. But in the wrong hands, they can be dangerous.

This book will help you spot common mistakes and tricks that can mislead you into thinking that small numbers are big, or unimportant changes are important. It will show you how the numbers you read are made - you'll learn about how surveys with small or biased samples can generate wrong answers, and why ice cream doesn't cause drownings.

We are surrounded by numbers and data, and it has never been more important to separate the good from the bad, the true from the false. How To Read Numbers is a vital guide that will help you understand when and how to trust the numbers in the news - and, just as importantly, when not to.

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781474619967
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 328 g
Dimensions: 222 x 142 x 24 mm


A charming, practical and insightful guide. You might not even notice how much you're learning - you'll be too busy having fun - TIM HARFORD, author of HOW TO MAKE THE WORLD ADD UP

A vital plea to take statistics more seriously - the prose being as clear and elegant as the numbers - SATHNAM SANGHERA, author of EMPIRELAND

Reading this book is strongly correlated with not looking stupid. Highly recommended - HELEN LEWIS, author of Difficult Women

An excellent guide to everyday statistics . . . the authors do a splendid job of stringing words together so smartly that even difficult concepts are explained and so understood with ease. [A] timely and lively book - Manjit Kumar, THE TIMES

Wonderfully written - incredibly readable. It should be made compulsory reading for everyone before they leave school - EVAN DAVIS

An erudite, enlightening guide to the numbers we read in the news - and why they are so often wrong. The authors make sense of dense material and offer engrossing insights into sampling bias, statistical significance and the dangers of believing the casual language used in newspapers - INDEPENDENT

[A] fascinating, easy-to-read explanation of how to interpret numbers in the news . . . their enlightening book provides us with the tools to spot when we're being led astray - Nick Rennison, DAILY MAIL

An absolute lifesaver . . . Breezy, easy to read, funny and loaded with useful information - IAN DUNT, author of HOW TO BE A LIBERAL

A great combination of important and accessible - MISHAL HUSAIN

Brilliant . . . part of the joy of How to Read Numbers is how light and fun it is. At the end of the process, you'll be better equipped to understand what it means when a glass of red wine can both increase and decrease your chances of getting cancer, how many portions of fruit and veg you need to eat each day, and any number of stories about numbers you might read or hear - THE BIG ISSUE

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“A Worthwhile and Accessible Introduction to Many Aspects of Statistics”

Overall I would say this book is a worthwhile read - as well as covering topics I had never come across before (eg Collider Bias, Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, Funnel Plots and Rankings) it also covers many other... More

Hardback edition
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