After I posted a piece earlier today on a ridiculous math error I saw, it occurred to me that there is one “math” book that attorneys would do well to read.
The best part is, it doesn’t contain any math!
Okay, it has a few math statements, but they’re mostly of the add-and-subtract or which-is-larger variety. And frankly, you can ignore them anyway; the author adds them as supporting statements but they’re not necessary for understanding the book.
The book is 58 years old! It is still a classic, still an easy read, and still incredibly valuable.1
The book is How to Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff.
I highly recommend that you browse it, even if you don’t read it fully. It’s breezy, not a tome by any means. Huff highlights the way advertisers, politicians, and others misuse statistics.
Statistics can be seriously boring, and taxing. (I’ve taken not one but two college stats courses. Neither was the highlight of my college days.) The good news is that you don’t need to know 99% of the stuff taught in stats courses unless you plan to be a scientist or engineer — or, perhaps, will be working with them or putting them on the stand. The even better news is that 1% that is valuable is both easy and explained in Huff’s book.
If nothing else, you’ll impress you colleagues by carrying it around the office.2