The lively deconstruction of statistical lies we so easily lap up and the damage they do, bringing into stark relief the fraud that surrounds us all.
Did you know that having a messy room will make you racist? Or that human beings possess the ability to postpone death until after important ceremonial occasions? These 'facts' have been argued with a straight face by researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics.
In Standard Deviations, economics professor Gary Smith walks us through the various tricks and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful deductions and total rubbish.
Drawing on breakthrough research in behavioural economics by luminaries like Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely, and taking to task some of the conclusions of Freakonomics, Standard Deviations exposes the science behind statistics and makes it easy to spot the fraud all around us.
About the Author
Gary Smith received his PhD in Economics from Yale University and taught there for seven years. He is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
'A very entertaining book about a very serious problem. We deceive ourselves all the time with statistics, and it is time we wised up.' Robert J. Shiller, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and author of Irrational Exuberance
'demystifies some of the science behind the stats and illuminates some worrying frauds... A must for anyone doing business in the new data-driven economy.' The Times
'It's a refreshing take on the practice of bastardizing numbers.' Huffington Post