Standard Deviations

Standard Deviations

Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie With Statistics

Book - 2014
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"Did you know that baseball players whose names begin with the letter "D" are more likely to die young? Or that Asian Americans are most susceptible to heart attacks on the fourth day of the month? Or that drinking a full pot of coffee every morning will add years to your life, but two cups a day increases the risk of pancreatic cancer? All of these "facts" have been argued with a straight face by credentialed researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase once cynically observed, "If you torture data long enough, it will confess." Lying with statistics is a time-honored con. 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. Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief they are committing. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful indicators and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool us, we fool ourselves. With the breakout success of Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise, the once humdrum subject of statistics has never been hotter. Drawing on breakthrough research in behavioral economics by luminaries like Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely and taking to task some of the conclusions of Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt, Standard Deviations demystifies the science behind statistics and makes it easy to spot the fraud all around"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Overlook Duckworth, 2014
ISBN: 9781468309201
Branch Call Number: 519.5 SMITH
Characteristics: 326 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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StarGladiator
Sep 20, 2014

Wow, is this book ever a butt-kicker! Easily a 10 to 20 star rating, but can only give it 5 under present system. Reading the author tear apart Rogoff's austerity study (now how could Harvard not possibly censure him?) and the Club of Rome study and Freakonomics guys is marvelous - - this book really makes one think, and think hard! Highly recommended reading for the thinking person. [Just one or two corrections: The author mistakenly cited older sources for Marilyn vos Savant and her now renounced-record in Guinness as having the world's highest IQ; Guinness pulled that entry on her when it was found that she incorrectly cited her IQ, which was recorded at 132.]

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