Book Club — The Data Detective

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The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics follows on the Book Club’s obsession with statistics and good data analysis (here, here, here, and here). Good policy rests on good evidence. There are good sources, including the books linked above, that uncover misleading information, with clues to identify them, and that’s important.  But it’s equally important that users of statistics and reports built on them understand our own biases. When lung cancer rates and deaths exploded in the mid-1900s, many associated that with the rise in automobiles. But statistics and good analytics found the rise was linked to cigarettes. The biases we are all subject to include allowing feelings to cloud our judgement, missing who is missing from the data, not zooming out to consider the context, and being distracted by a pretty graphic (Misinformation can be Beautiful). I don’t think I’ve marked as many pages to explore something more deeply in any other book. Highly recommended – whether you’re involved in health policymaking or not.