Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists

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University of California Press, Jul 8, 2012 - Social Science - 206 pages
3 Reviews
"[An] absolutely fascinating and sobering quest into the fantastic differences between the world as it is and the world as it is portrayed in the statistics the media use. . . .This book is simply a must."—Nachman Ben-Yehuda, author of The Masada Myth

"Best is our leading authority on social problems today. His detective work in exposing the spurious use of statistics is essential to constructive social science. No one who speaks for the public welfare can ignore his powerful work."—Jonathan B. Imber, Editor-in-Chief, Society

"Joel Best is at it again. In Damned Lies and Statistics, he shows how statistics are manipulated, mismanaged, misrepresented, and massaged by officials and other powerful groups to promote their agendas. He is a master at examining taken-for-granted "facts" and debunking them through careful sociological scrutiny."—Patricia Adler, author of Peer Power

"A real page turner. Best is the John Grisham of sociology!"—James Holstein, author of The New Language of Qualitative Method

"In our era, numbers are as much a staple of political debates as stories. And just as stories so often turn into fables, so Best shows that we often believe the most implausible of numbers--to the detriment of us all."—Peter Reuter, co-author of Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices,Times and Places

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

This is a book about the social context surrounding the creation and dissemination of social statistics. It is in no way a book about the mathematical discipline of statistics, which is generally ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

Short and not very deep book about when to be skeptical of statistics. I think the message could have been given even more briefly: often, statistics are unreliable because of problems of data ... Read full review


mutant statistics
apples and oranges
stat wars
thinking about social statistics

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About the author (2012)

Joel Best is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. His many books include Everyone s A Winner: Life in Our Congratulatory Culture and Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Dubious Data, both from UC Press.

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