Darrell Huff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Darrell Huff
Born(1913-07-15)July 15, 1913
Gowrie, Iowa
DiedJune 27, 2001(2001-06-27) (aged 87)
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Alma materUniversity of Iowa
Notable worksHow to Lie with Statistics

Darrell Huff (July 15, 1913 – June 27, 2001) was an American writer, and is best known as the author of How to Lie with Statistics (1954), the best-selling statistics book of the second half of the twentieth century,[1] and for his use of statistics as a tobacco lobbyist.[2]


Huff was born in Gowrie, Iowa, and educated at the University of Iowa, (BA 1938, MA 1939). Before turning to full-time writing in 1946, Huff served as editor of Better Homes and Gardens and Liberty magazine. As a freelancer, Huff produced hundreds of "How to" feature articles and wrote at least sixteen books, most of which concerned household projects. One of his biggest projects was a prize-winning home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where he lived until his death.

Social role[edit]

Stanford historian Robert N. Proctor wrote that Huff "was paid to testify before Congress in the 1950s and then again in the 1960s, with the assigned task of ridiculing any notion of a cigarette-disease link. On March 22, 1965, Huff testified at hearings on cigarette labeling and advertising, accusing the recent Surgeon General's report of myriad failures and 'fallacies'."[3]

Huff is credited with introducing statistics to a generation of college and high-school students on a level that was meaningful, available, and practical, while still managing to teach complex mathematical concepts. His most famous text, How to Lie with Statistics, is still being translated into new languages. His books have been published in over 22 languages, and continue to be used in classrooms the world over.

Huff was later funded by the tobacco industry to publish a follow-up to his book on statistics: How to Lie with Smoking Statistics. This led to controversy and much criticism in the late 1960s.[2][4] The book was intended to be published by Macmillan, but near the end of 1968, the plans for its publication came to an abrupt halt. It was not until the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 that the existence of the book, letters between Huff and tobacco industry lawyers discussing it, and the entire unpublished manuscript itself became publicly available.[2]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Huff, D. (1944). Pictures by Pete: A Career Story of a Young Commercial Photographer. Dodd, Mead, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1945). Twenty Careers of Tomorrow. WhittleseyHouse, McGraw–Hill, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1946). The Dog that Came True (illust. C. Moran and D. Thorne). Whittlesey House, McGraw–Hill, New York. (Adapted from a short story by Darrell Huff which appeared in Woman's Day.)
  • Huff, D. (1954) How to Lie with Statistics (illust. I. Geis), Norton, New York, ISBN 0-393-31072-8
  • Huff, D. (1959). How to Take a Chance: The Laws of Probability (illust. I. Geis). Norton, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1961). Score: The Strategy of Taking Tests (illust. C. Huff ). Appleton–Century Crofts, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1964). Cycles in Your Life—The Rhythms of War, Wealth, Nature, and Human Behavior. Or Patterns in War, Wealth, Weather, Women, Men, and Nature (illust. A. Kovarsky). Norton, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1968). How to Work With Concrete and Masonry (illust. C. and G. Kinsey). Popular Science Publishing, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1972). How to Figure the Odds on Everything (illust. J. Huehnergarth). Dreyfus, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1972). How to Save on the Home You Want (with F. Huff and the editors of Dreyfus Publications; illust. R. Doty). Dreyfus, New York.
  • Huff, D. (1996). The Complete How to Figure It. Using Math in Everyday Life (illust. C. Kinsey; design K. M. Huff ). Norton, New York.
  • Huff, D. and Corey, P. (1957). Home Workshop Furniture Projects. Fawcett, New York.
  • Huff, D. and Huff, F. (1963). How to Lower Your Food Bills. Your Guide to the Battle of the Supermarket. Macfadden–Bartell, New York.
  • Huff, D. and Huff, F. (1970). Complete Book of Home Improvement (illust. G. and C. Kinsey and Bray–Schaible Design, Inc.). Popular Science Publishing, New York.


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "How to Lie with Statistics remains the most popular statistics book ever written." J. M. Steele. Darrell Huff and Fifty Years of How to Lie with Statistics. Statistical Science, 20 (3), 2005, 205–209.
  2. ^ a b c Reinhart, Alex (October 2014). "Huff and puff". Significance (Preprint). 11 (4): 28–33. doi:10.1111/j.1740-9713.2014.00765.x. Archived from the original on August 30, 2020. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  3. ^ Proctor, Robert (2011). Golden Holocaust. Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. pp. 437. ISBN 978-0-520-27016-9.
  4. ^ Gelman, Andrew (2012). "Statistics for Cigarette Sellers" (PDF). Chance. 25 (3): 43–46. doi:10.1080/09332480.2012.726563. S2CID 60267976.

External links[edit]