How to Lie with Statistics: Summary Essay

Topics: Bar chart, Dimension, Chart Pages: 2 (706 words) Published: October 31, 2012
How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff was a great book to read for a student like myself that is entering a course in statistics. It gave me the insight that I needed to know what statistics is all about and even the ‘tricks’ about using statistics that I can use when I get older and maybe have an important business job for example were I must present for the company and this book proves to be my savior. Though anyway it’s still very influential. This book wasn’t very hard to get through and it gave me a new outlook on statistics that I definitely didn’t have prior to my reading it.

Before I may have had my own interpretation of statistics, but Huff has shaped my understanding into something much better than it was before. Something that the book was big on was common error in statistics that a lot of people come a crossed. And something that I learned is that these errors are not always unintentional. Sometimes, in fact, they can actually be intentionally done. Huff shows us how some of the simple ideas such as averages are

manipulated to be more appealing to the viewer. Even how the mode can be the most frequently observed outcome even though it is rarely reported with numeric data.

One of the biggest ideas shown in the book to my opinion was how he explained the power of the graph. Eye-catching graphs can really make someone see what you want them to see and perhaps hide the bad. One thing is the choice of ranges on graphs can have huge impact on interpretation. Depending on what you set your range to the graph could prove to show completely opposite ideas. By truncating the bottom of a line or bar chart, so that differences seem larger than they are, can be the difference on a project depending on what you are trying to illustrate on the graph. The next big thing is that the choice of proportion of y-axis to x-axis can distort your perspective as well and it is very easy to do with modern software in today’s world. That one change with...
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