The Tiger That Isn’t

Seeing Through A World of Numbers (with Andrew Dilnot)

Michael Blastland

A joyful, painless introduction to the numbers that dominate public argument about everything from the climate and the economy to crime and even whether your bacon sandwich will cause cancer – by the team who created and presented the hugely popular BBC Radio 4 series More or Less.

Numbers scare and depress many of us, but politicians, journalists and everyone in power use them all the time to persuade and bamboozle. Much of this can be cut through simply and quickly – and The Tiger that Isn’t shows us how. Better still it can be understood without any jargon, any formulas – and in fact not even many numbers. Instead, the book aims to make us more intuitive and skilful critics of the blizzard of quantified information and evidence that comes our way, by using a few really simple principles, vividly described. These help us to see quickly when maths, statistics and numbers are being used to spin and play tricks – or create policies which can lead to waste, deception, failure or harm.

First published by Profile Books in 2007.

Reviews & Accolades

  • Economist Book of the Year
  • Shortlisted for the Warwick Book Prize

“Constantly sparks ‘aha! Moments”
The Guardian

“Witty… fascinating… invaluable”
David Dimbleby

“Makes statistics far, far too interesting”
Rory Bremner

“This delightful book should be compulsory reading for everyone responsible for presenting data and for everyone who consumes it.”
The Sunday Telegraph

“The truth is here. One, two, three.”
The Times

“Every journalist should get paid leave to read and re-read The Tiger that Isn’t until they’ve understood how they are being spun.”
New Scientist

“A very funny book. This is one of those maths books that claims to be self-help, and on the evidence presented here, we are in dire need of it.”
The Daily Telegraph

“A book about numbers and how to interpret them doesn’t sound like interesting bedtime reading. Yet in the hands of Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, that is what it becomes… a reliable guide to a treacherous subject, giving its readers the mental ammunition to make sense of official claims. That it manages to make them laugh at the same time is a rare and welcome feat”
The Economist (An Economist book of the year 2007).

“A compelling case for building, at the heart of government, a culture that respects data.”
David Bell, permanent secretary of the Department for Children, Schools and Families

“A very fine book.”
The Spectator

“If every politician and journalist were required to read this engaging and eye-opening book before embarking on their career, we would live in a wiser, better-governed world.”
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, former advisor to the Prime Minster.

“Should be compulsory reading. It teaches critical thinking about numbers and what they mean in a hugely entertaining way.”
Diane Coyle,

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