Seventy-eight point three percent (78.3%) of statistics are made up on the spot.
How do I know that? I don’t. I just made it up. It’s a factoid – something that looks like a fact. You can’t call me wrong, because you don’t know, either.
That doesn’t mean you have to believe me, but maybe you will.
Numbers can be powerful convincers. They are so definite, so specific. They can be extremely reassuring or terribly frightening. Either way, they don’t taste so bad, and they go down easy. Just if you don’t examine them too closely. Like junk food.
That’s why we need to be careful around numbers – when we use them ourselves and when we read or hear them from others.