Book: A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics

Book Review: Field Guide to Lies and Statistics – Daniel Levitin

Title:A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics
Author:Daniel Levitin
Year:2014
Importance:4/5
Accessibility:4/5
Recommended:4/5

This book is a ‘popular science’ type read that you find in the non-fiction bestseller charts at airpots. That means it’s a pretty easy, entertaining read, and you’ll might learn a few things which make an impact.

Reading this helped me begin to be more critical of the things I am conditioned to believe as facts by science. It helped me see the mental health system in a different light, when I began to read academic papers and uncover the truth for myself about the different labels I’d been given.

One part of the book stood out for me amongst all others. Levitin uses an example of when we bump into somebody we know, seemingly out of pure coincidence, somewhere totally out of context. It feels like the chances of that happening were so small, we are both absolutely amazed to see each other there – “Wow! What are you doing here? What are the chances?!” Yet, it’s happened to all of us.

From a statistical point of view, yes, the chances of meeting that person in that spot at that exact time, are very small. But when you look at the bigger picture, the chances of meeting anybody that you’ve ever met before, in any location and at some point in time, are very high.

Reframing this was a big lightbulb moment for me.

I have since used it as a way to remind myself there might be another side to the statistic, a bigger picture we’re not seeing. And that big-picture thinking allowed me to see beyond the current mental health system which is failing and harming so many of us, and instead recognise complex trauma for what it is, something so big that it emcompasses every aspect of our lives, and needs a trauma-informed approach across the whole of society.

The chances of that positive change happening? 100% if it has anything to do with me!

Have you read this book too? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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