When I graduated from high school, one of the most significant and important gifts I received was a tiny little book, published in 1954, called How to Lie with Statistics.
The book was simply indispensable in college, and is engrained in my mind. I don’t know where my copy currently is — I’m betting it’s in one of the stacks of books I have stored carefully in bins — but I’ve virtually memorized the thing.
How to Lie with Statistics should be required reading for any college-bound student. Today’s universities and colleges do nothing but bombard a student with frankly, blatantly false statistics that the students eat right up because they have no idea how easy it is to screw with statistics and make them do exactly what you want them to do.
But everyone should have a copy of it. Like I said, How to Lie with Statistics (the link goes straight to Amazon.com — I want you buying this thing if you don’t have it) is a slim little red book that will quickly and efficiently teach you how little faith you should place in a given statistic tossed out by anyone.
And, just for a dose of evil — it teaches you how to bend and warp statistics towards your own ends.
In today’s warped reality, this book is like a survival kit for the mind. Buy it. Buy it now.