When numbers talk

The problem with numbers is that there are too many of them. If you were to list the salaries paid to each person in a large company, or the price of each item in its catalogue, we would probably be here until long after dark. However, if you identify the highest, lowest and average amount (perhaps by department or category of product) this creates an instant picture of the situation:

  • the average identifies the mid-point, and

  • the highest and lowest values reveal the range or spread.

For example, you have a good idea of my price list if I say that the average price of one of our widgets is $100; the cheapest is $85 and the most-expensive is $250.

Such descriptive summaries are very important. By the time we reach the end of this ...

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