We live in a world awash with numbers. They underpin far-reaching decisions being made by governments about our health, our safety and security, our social and economic progress, our environment, our jobs and our daily lives.
Unfortunately, many of the people who collect, analyse and interpret these numbers are not trained or qualified to do so. Resulting decisions can be fatally flawed, and may adversely affect millions of people.
You probably wouldn’t trust your life to an untrained doctor, or your teeth to an untrained dentist. You probably wouldn’t trust your money to an unqualified accountant. Yet every day we rely on policies affecting our health, prosperity and security that are founded on unprofessional use of statistics.
Statistics is a complex and delicate field requiring both high level training and experience. An aptitude for figures, or the ability to turn on a computer, just isn’t enough. Statistics is a job for professionals!
The purpose of this little booklet is to make this point through some serious and not-so-serious success and disaster stories … in the hope that the next time you have to make significant decisions based on data, you’ll seek appropriate assistance.