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1. Thou shalt not sit

With statisticians nor commit

A social science.

W.H. Auden (1907-73) U.S. poet. “Under Which Lyre” (1946), st. 27


2. Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.

Jean Baudrillard (b.1929) French philosopher. Cool Memories (1987)


3. Statistics are the triumph of the quantitative method and the quantitative method is the victory of sterility and death.

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) British writer and politician. Silence of the Sea (1941)


4. Employing data bases and statistical skills, academics compute with precision the “beta” of a stock…then build arcane investment and capital-allocation theories around this calculation. In their hunger for a single statistic to measure risk they forget a fundamental principle: It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

Warren Buffett (b.1930) U.S. entrepreneur and financier. Chairman’s Letter to Shareholders (March 7, 1995)


5. The state of statistical control is…the goal of all experimentation.

  1. Edwards Deming (1900-93) U.S. consultant and author. Referring to interferences. Quoted in Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control (W. A. Shewhart; 1939)


6. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Benjamin Disraelli (1804-81) British prime minister and novelist. Attrib.


7. Statistical figures referring to economic events are historical data. They tell us what happened in a nonrepeatable case.

Ludwig Von Mises (1881-1973) U.S. economist. Human Action (1949)


8. The average family exists only on a paper and its average budget is a fiction, invented by satisfactions for the convenience of statisticians.

Sylvia Porter (1913-91) U.S. journalist and finance expert. Sylvia Porter’s Money Book (1975)


9. There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) U.S. writer. Death of a Doxy (1966)