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The Data Detective

From “one of the great (greatest?) contemporary popular writers on economics” (Tyler Cowen) comes a smart, lively, and encouraging rethinking of how to use statistics.

Today we think statistics are the enemy, numbers people use to mislead and confuse. That’s a mistake, Tim Harford argues in The Data Detective. We shouldn’t be suspicious of statistics—we need to understand what they mean and how they can improve our lives. At heart, they are human behavior seen through the prism of numbers and are often the most illuminating ways of grasping what is going on in the world. If we can set aside our prejudices and learn to approach them properly—understanding how our own preconceptions lead us astray—statistics can point to innovative ways we can live better and work smarter.

As “perhaps the best popular economics writer in the world” (New Statesman), Tim Harford is an expert at taking complicated ideas and untangling them for millions of readers. Drawing from new research in science and psychology, he sets out ten strategies for using statistics to erase our biases and replace them with new ideas that use virtues like patience, curiosity, and good sense to help us to better understand ourselves and the world. As a result, The Data Detective is an eye-opening book about statistics and human behavior that is fresh, unexpected, and insightful.