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More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues

by

More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this sequel to the acclaimed Damned Lies and Statistics, which the Boston Globe said "deserves a place next to the dictionary on every school, media, and home-office desk," Joel Best continues his straightforward, lively, and humorous account of how statistics are produced, used, and misused by everyone from researchers to journalists. Underlining the importance of critical thinking in all matters numerical, Best illustrates his points with examples of good and bad statistics about such contemporary concerns as school shootings, fatal hospital errors, bullying, teen suicides, deaths at the World Trade Center, college ratings, the risks of divorce, racial profiling, and fatalities caused by falling coconuts. More Damned Lies and Statistics encourages all of us to think in a more sophisticated and skeptical manner about how statistics are used to promote causes, create fear, and advance particular points of view.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues: missing numbers are relevant but overlooked; confusing numbers bewilder when they should inform; scary numbers play to our fears about the present and the future; authoritative numbers demand respect they dont deserve; magical numbers promise unrealistic, simple solutions to complex problems; and contentious numbers become the focus of data duels and stat wars. The author's use of pertinent, socially important examples documents the life-altering consequences of understanding or misunderstanding statistical information. He demystifies statistical measures by explaining in straightforward prose how decisions are made about what to count and what not to count, what assumptions get made, and which figures are brought to our attention.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues. Entertaining, enlightening, and very timely, this book offers a basis for critical thinking about the numbers we encounter and a reminder that when it comes to the news, people count—in more ways than one.

Synopsis:

"Through his devastating work on common myths about social problems, Joel Best has established himself as a brilliant observer of our national fads and scares. In this latest book, Best confronts yet more of the pseudo-statistics by which we are bamboozled day by day. One obvious question comes to mind. If he can deal with highly significant topics in such lucid and enjoyable prose, why can't other social scientists begin to match him?"—Philip Jenkins, author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice

"Joel Best continues to confront us with the delicious lunacy of statistical gaffes and fantasies. Whether discussing 'deaths from falling coconuts,' teenage bullying, or likelihood of contracting breast cancer, Best teaches us to avoid the dangers of statistical illiteracy. As his cogent and comic examples from the media amply demonstrate, there is much teaching yet to be done. While we like to believe that it is our opponents who are fools with figures, this volume demonstrates that liberals, conservatives, libertarians, lawyers, physicians, and educators fall in the same numerical traps."—Gary Alan Fine, co-author of Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America

"Best provides us with another telling compendium of misleading statistics about a variety of topical issues. His approach to explicating them is lucid, instructive, and quite engaging."—John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy

Synopsis:

In this sequel to the acclaimed Damned Lies and Statistics, which the Boston Globe said "deserves a place next to the dictionary on every school, media, and home-office desk," Joel Best continues his straightforward, lively, and humorous account of how statistics are produced, used, and misused by everyone from researchers to journalists. Underlining the importance of critical thinking in all matters numerical, Best illustrates his points with examples of good and bad statistics about such contemporary concerns as school shootings, fatal hospital errors, bullying, teen suicides, deaths at the World Trade Center, college ratings, the risks of divorce, racial profiling, and fatalities caused by falling coconuts. More Damned Lies and Statistics encourages all of us to think in a more sophisticated and skeptical manner about how statistics are used to promote causes, create fear, and advance particular points of view.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues: missing numbers are relevant but overlooked; confusing numbers bewilder when they should inform; scary numbers play to our fears about the present and the future; authoritative numbers demand respect they don't deserve; magical numbers promise unrealistic, simple solutions to complex problems; and contentious numbers become the focus of data duels and stat wars. The author's use of pertinent, socially important examples documents the life-altering consequences of understanding or misunderstanding statistical information. He demystifies statistical measures by explaining in straightforward prose how decisions are made about what to count and what not to count, what assumptions get made, and which figures are brought to our attention.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues. Entertaining, enlightening, and very timely, this book offers a basis for critical thinking about the numbers we encounter and a reminder that when it comes to the news, people count--in more ways than one.

About the Author

Joel Best is Professor and Chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists (California, 2001), Random Violence: How We Talk about New Crimes and New Victims (California, 1999), and Threatened Children: Rhetoric and Concern about Child-Victims (1990).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface: People Count

1. Missing Numbers

2. Confusing Numbers

3. Scary Numbers

4. Authoritative Numbers

5. Magical Numbers

6. Contentious Numbers

7. Toward Statistical Literacy?

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520238305
Author:
Best, Joel
Publisher:
University of California Press
Location:
Berkeley
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Social problems
Subject:
Social indicators
Subject:
Popular Culture
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
61
Publication Date:
20040931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
14 line illustrations, 7 tables
Pages:
217
Dimensions:
8.48x5.84x.77 in. .85 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Reference and Methodology
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology

More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$38.50 In Stock
Product details 217 pages University of California Press - English 9780520238305 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"Through his devastating work on common myths about social problems, Joel Best has established himself as a brilliant observer of our national fads and scares. In this latest book, Best confronts yet more of the pseudo-statistics by which we are bamboozled day by day. One obvious question comes to mind. If he can deal with highly significant topics in such lucid and enjoyable prose, why can't other social scientists begin to match him?"—Philip Jenkins, author of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice

"Joel Best continues to confront us with the delicious lunacy of statistical gaffes and fantasies. Whether discussing 'deaths from falling coconuts,' teenage bullying, or likelihood of contracting breast cancer, Best teaches us to avoid the dangers of statistical illiteracy. As his cogent and comic examples from the media amply demonstrate, there is much teaching yet to be done. While we like to believe that it is our opponents who are fools with figures, this volume demonstrates that liberals, conservatives, libertarians, lawyers, physicians, and educators fall in the same numerical traps."—Gary Alan Fine, co-author of Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America

"Best provides us with another telling compendium of misleading statistics about a variety of topical issues. His approach to explicating them is lucid, instructive, and quite engaging."—John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy

"Synopsis" by , In this sequel to the acclaimed Damned Lies and Statistics, which the Boston Globe said "deserves a place next to the dictionary on every school, media, and home-office desk," Joel Best continues his straightforward, lively, and humorous account of how statistics are produced, used, and misused by everyone from researchers to journalists. Underlining the importance of critical thinking in all matters numerical, Best illustrates his points with examples of good and bad statistics about such contemporary concerns as school shootings, fatal hospital errors, bullying, teen suicides, deaths at the World Trade Center, college ratings, the risks of divorce, racial profiling, and fatalities caused by falling coconuts. More Damned Lies and Statistics encourages all of us to think in a more sophisticated and skeptical manner about how statistics are used to promote causes, create fear, and advance particular points of view.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues: missing numbers are relevant but overlooked; confusing numbers bewilder when they should inform; scary numbers play to our fears about the present and the future; authoritative numbers demand respect they don't deserve; magical numbers promise unrealistic, simple solutions to complex problems; and contentious numbers become the focus of data duels and stat wars. The author's use of pertinent, socially important examples documents the life-altering consequences of understanding or misunderstanding statistical information. He demystifies statistical measures by explaining in straightforward prose how decisions are made about what to count and what not to count, what assumptions get made, and which figures are brought to our attention.

Best identifies different sorts of numbers that shape how we think about public issues. Entertaining, enlightening, and very timely, this book offers a basis for critical thinking about the numbers we encounter and a reminder that when it comes to the news, people count--in more ways than one.

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