Lloyd Tabb

Averages are one-dimensional vanity metrics. Without context, they leave out the why.

James Guszcza, David Steier, John Lucker, Vivekanand Gopalkrishnan, Harvey Lewis

The same body of psychological research that underpins behavioral economics also suggests that we are very poor natural statisticians. We are naturally prone to find spurious information in data where none exists, latch on to causal narratives that are unsupported by sketchy statistical evidence, ignore population base rates when estimating probabilities for individual cases, be overconfident in our judgments, and generally be “fooled by randomness.” … [ Read more ]

Aaron Levenstein

Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive; what they conceal is vital.

Gregg Easterbrook

Torture numbers, and they will confess to anything.

Michael E. Raynor, Mumtaz Ahmed and Andrew D. Henderson

Studying even the right tail of a distribution doesn’t tell you how to break free of the distribution. In short, if you want to use inferential methods to get outside the box, you have to look at someone who is outside the box!

To see the importance of this step in the analysis, ask yourself this question: If two firms in the same industry had differences … [ Read more ]

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The field of statistics is based on something called the law of large numbers: as you increase your sample size, no single observation is going to hurt you. Sometimes that works. But the rules are based on classes of distribution that don’t always hold in our world.

All statistics come from games. But our world doesn’t resemble games. We don’t have dice that can deliver. Instead … [ Read more ]

Dr. Neil Postman

We must keep in mind the story of the statistician who drowned while trying to wade across a river with an average depth of four feet. That is to say, in a culture that reveres statistics, we can never be sure what sort of nonsense will lodge in people’s heads.

Seymour Tilles

Averages hide more than they disclose.


Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive; what they conceal is vital.


Torture numbers, and they will confess to anything.

The Grok

A number is a number, but a trend is a thing of beauty.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Leaders should have some understanding of variation, including appreciation of a stable system, [and] some understanding of special causes of variation and common causes.