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

May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases—And What We Can Do about It By Alex Edmans Cover Image
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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.

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…


"A wonderful litany of the myriad ways in which we can be deceived, and deceive ourselves."
— The Guardian

"Confirmation bias can seem so engrained in us that it's difficult to shake. But Edmans highlights how first recognizing our biases and then taking small but intentional steps to overcome them can have an outsized effect on the quality of our decisions."
— Inc.

"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

"Shows us how to be more discerning with evidence. . . . Is a statement a fact, is a fact truly data, is that data genuinely evidence, and is that evidence proof? The book provides tips for sussing that out."
— Times of India

"While the subject matter can be dense at times, Edmans' engaging writing style and judicious use of anecdotes and case studies make the book accessible to a wide audience. "May Contain Lies" serves as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to navigate the complex landscape of information and make more informed decisions, whether in their personal or professional lives."
— S&G Consulting


Product Details
ISBN: 9780520403932
ISBN-10: 0520403932
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: April 16th, 2025
Pages: 336
Language: English