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Book Cover for: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It, Alex Edmans

May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It

Alex Edmans

Adam Grant's "8 New Idea Books to Start Spring"
Next Big Idea Club's Must-Read Books for May 2024

How our biases cause us to fall for misinformation--and how to combat it.

Our lives are minefields of misinformation. It ripples through our social media feeds, our daily headlines, and the pronouncements of politicians, executives, and authors. Stories, statistics, and studies are everywhere, allowing people to find evidence to support whatever position they want. Many of these sources are flawed, yet by playing on our emotions and preying on our biases, they can gain widespread acceptance, warp our views, and distort our decisions.

In this eye-opening book, renowned economist Alex Edmans teaches us how to separate fact from fiction. Using colorful examples--from a wellness guru's tragic but fabricated backstory to the blunders that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the diet that ensnared millions yet hastened its founder's death--Edmans highlights the biases that cause us to mistake statements for facts, facts for data, data for evidence, and evidence for proof.

Armed with the knowledge of what to guard against, he then provides a practical guide to combat this tide of misinformation. Going beyond simply checking the facts and explaining individual statistics, Edmans explores the relationships between statistics--the science of cause and effect--ultimately training us to think smarter, sharper, and more critically. May Contain Lies is an essential read for anyone who wants to make better sense of the world and better decisions.

Book Details

  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publish Date: May 14th, 2024
  • Pages: 336
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.10in - 5.90in - 1.10in - 1.30lb
  • EAN: 9780520405851
  • Categories: StatisticsStatisticsIndustries - Media & Communications

About the Author

Alex Edmans is Professor of Finance at London Business School. His TED talk "What to Trust in a Post-Truth World" has been viewed two million times; he has also spoken at the World Economic Forum, Davos, and in the UK Parliament. In 2013, he was awarded tenure at the Wharton School, and in 2021, he was named MBA Professor of the Year by Poets&Quants. Edmans writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and Harvard Business Review. His first book, Grow the Pie, was a Financial Times Book of the Year. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Praise for this book

"A clear-headed guide to the exaggerations, sloppy research and the occasional downright lies peddled by companies, universities, authors and Ted Talk gurus. . . . Edmans is determined to make us better, more critical thinkers."-- "The Times"
"Edmans might believe that we're post truth, but he also proposes that it is in everyone's grasp to become smarter thinkers."-- "Financial Times"
"Edmans is out to help us better understand and analyse the data we are fed, and to aid us in becoming more sceptical. . . . The appendix ("a checklist for smarter thinking") should be required reading."
-- "New Scientist"
"A wonderful litany of the myriad ways in which we can be deceived, and deceive ourselves."-- "The Guardian"