Ben Goldacre combines a sceptical outlook, wit and a professional knowledge of statistics, which of course means he is strongly recommended reading.

“Imagine that I am stood facing a barn, holding a machine gun, blindfolded, firing off shots whilst swinging my whole body from side to side and laughing maniacally. I then walk up to the barn, find three bullet holes which happen to be very close together, and draw a target around them, claiming I am an excellent shot.

You can easily find patterns in your data once it’s collected.”

Ben Goldacre

“We are barraged, every day, with a vast quantity of numerical data, presented with absolute certainty and fetishistic precision. In reality, many of these numbers amount to nothing more than statistical noise, the gentle static fuzz of random variation and sampling error, making figures drift up and down, following no pattern at all, like the changing roll of a dice.”

Ben Goldacre

His writings for the guardian can be found at, and he has also done a couple of TED talks. His very good collected writings have been published in I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated Than That.