Great discussion of how medicine finds out what is good or bad for you. And a clear presentation of how statistics can be manipulated (and how we can tell it has been manipulated).
This book anticipates some of the great ideas developed further in his Guns, Germs, and Steel. But in part 3, chapter 11, I think his explanation of the animal precursors of drug abuse and its links to displays of fitness are way off.
I'm in awe of anyone who can do this kind of research. I love it that some of the authors cited haven't even published their books yet. It makes me wonder about how good the research conditions must be at Harvard.
The ideas are so well presented that the book seems like an easy read. But some of the concepts are actually very hard to grasp. Some of the points are controversial, and some people will strongly disagree with them. But Pinker's discussion will help anyone understand clearly what the controversies are.
I decided to get the audiobook and I keep getting more out of each listen.
I rather liked some of the explanations about political systems, the idea that a state of anarchy would produce something like a third world country and not a well-funcioning utopia. I also liked the sections dealing with the history of political systems in Asia, which was new to me.
The commentary does its job, which is to explain in simpler language what might be hard to understand in the original text of the play.
I thought the narrator was too overexcited about every single scene. Her lively tone of voice seemed more appropriate for a naturalist talking excitedly at the camera as she comments on gorillas in the wild doing unusual things right next to her. Not enough to irritate me, but I feel some people might either love or hate it.
As for the actors voices in the play, it's not like the Royal Shakespeare Company live, but it's good enough for me.
You can either listen to the actors performing the text (with the perky narrator giving you the stage directions), or listen to the actors followed by explanation/interpretation of the text that was just performed.
I don't know how it compares to similar audiobooks, but I think the this particular audiobook is meant for school or university students who'd like to understand what's going on in the play.
Some of Gardner's points may seem obvious, but so do most good ideas after they are expressed in a simple way. This book shows ways in which polititians, the media, and big business act to influence public opinion about what is risky. It also provides clues as to how the process might be a result of well meaning individuals.
I also liked Scott Peterson's reading.
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