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Standard Deviations


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About the Author

Gary Smith received his PhD in Economics from Yale University and taught there for seven years. He is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. This is his first book for general readers.


A very entertaining book about a very serious problem. We deceive ourselves all the time with statistics, and it is time we wised up -- Robert J. Shiller, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and author of Irrational Exuberance
Gary Smith is brilliant when it comes to writing lively and understandable statistical analysis, and Standard Deviations is his best work to date. It joins Darrell Huff's How to Lie With Statistics as a 'must read' classic in the field' -- Woody Studenmund, Laurence de Rycke Professor of Economics, Occidental College
It's entertaining; it's gossipy; it's insightful; it's destined to be a classic. Based on a lifetime of experience unravelling the methodical blunders that remain all too frequent, this book communicates Gary Smith's wisdom about how not to do a data analysis. Smith's engaging rendering of countless painful mistakes will help readers avoid the pitfalls far better than merely mastering theorems -- Edward E. Leamer, Chauncey J. Medberry Professor, UCLA
Shows in compelling fashion why humans are so susceptible to the misuse of statistical evidence and why this matters. I know of no other book that explains important concepts such as selection bias in such an entertaining and memorable manner -- Richard J. Murnane, Thompson Professor of Education and Society, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Both a statement of principles for doing statistical inference correctly and a practical guide for interpreting the (supposedly) data-based inferences other people have drawn. The book is cleverly written and engaging to read, full of concrete examples that make clear not just what Smith is saying but why it matters. Readers will discover that lots of what they thought they'd learned is wrong, and they'll understand why -- Benjamin M. Friedman, William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University
Standard Deviations will teach you how not to be deceived by lies masquerading as statistics. Written in an entertaining style with contemporary examples, this book should appeal to everyone, whether interested in marriages or mortgages, the wealth of your family, or the health of the economy. This should be required reading for everyone living in this age of (too much?) information -- Arthur Benjamin, Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College and author of Secrets of Mental Math
Statistical reasoning is the most used and abused form of rhetoric in the field of finance. Standard Deviations is an approachable and effective means to arm oneself against the onslaught statistical hyperbole in our modern age. Professor Smith has done us all a tremendous service -- Bryan White, Managing Director, BlackRock, Inc.
Gary Smith reveals in this deeply insightful skeptical analysis of the use and abuse of statistics, the numbers never just speak for themselves... His catalogue of mistakes we all make - including and especially scientists - should be memorized by every citizen... and member of Congress -- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic and columnist for Scientific American

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