Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stats, Media and a new book

I was listening to XM Public Radio with Bod Edwards this morning and heard a fascinating interview with Joel Best. Joel is a professor at the University of Deleware and just published a book titled "Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data". A timely book if there ever was one - on the heels of an election with data thrown everywhere, financial markets that are either melting down or poised to rebound right about now depending upon the numbers you read that day and of course all of the numbers released daily on growth/no growth by industry/sector and just about any other segment one might be interested in. And, of course, market research and all of our clients and colleagues that deal with data, its interpretation and implications.

The book is available on and here is the description from, that summarizes it nicely:

Are four million women really battered to death by their husbands or boyfriends each year? Does a young person commit suicide every thirteen minutes in the United States? Is methamphetamine our number one drug problem today? Alarming statistics bombard our daily lives, appearing in the news, on the Web, seemingly everywhere. But all too often, even the most respected publications present numbers that are miscalculated, misinterpreted, hyped, or simply misleading. Following on the heels of his highly acclaimed Damned Lies and Statistics and More Damned Lies and Statistics, Joel Best now offers this practical field guide to help everyone identify questionable statistics. Entertaining, informative, and concise, Stat-Spotting is essential reading for people who want to be more savvy and critical consumers of news and information.

Happy New Year!

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