The headlines in the media are filled with that latest stats. Stats sell. The stats are often quoted from the latest reports. People then parrot them around like they’re fact when most of them are complete bullsh*t. People throw them around at cocktail parties. Often when they do I throw out my favorite statistic: 73.6% of all statistics are made up. I say it deadpanned. Often I’ll get some people look at me like, “really?” ”It’s true. Nielsen just released the number last month.”
No. It’s irony.
Or as Mark Twain popularized the quote most attributed to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” The quote is meant to highlight the deceiving but persuasive power of numbers.