Author Ben Goldacre exposes the epidemic of pseudoscience and gives listeners the tools they need to distinguish good science from nonsense.
©2010 Ben Goldacre (P)2012 Tantor
"Great fun for science and statistics geeks, this is challenging in the best sense of the word." (Library Journal)
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
First off, be aware that the humor in this book is VERY British. I didn't know that going in, but was pleasantly surprised. The narrarator is SPOT ON with the read. It's witty, yet scientific, and filled with interesting facts. Rather bravely, the author (Goldacre) admits numerous times when he's getting too bogged down in boring/heavy stuff, and apologizes. This is done in a way that's charming and hillarious. Entertaining all the way through. If you've ever wondered about the reality of Homeopathic remedies, natural healing, witch doctors, etc, then you will LOVE this book!
Mother and catlover
I will listen again, just because there was so much in it that I can't remember every detail all at once. FABULOUS information and take!
I loved this book! Of course, the fact that the author agreed with me on the pseudoscience of many alternative medicine certainly didn't hurt, but it was more than that. He came and things as a nonbeliever in everything, whether it be alternative medicine or science, whether it be medicine or placebo. Furthermore, he was able to say that “yes, some things that are not scientifically proved actually have proved helpful, MORE than doing nothing”. He did his best to explain what could be going on, and he did his best to allow for individuals' belief systems. In some cases, he said that he doesn't agree with you, but he respects your choice. I personally, furthermore, learned things about what I, personally, need to look for. It was a great book!
Goldacre really gives you pause for thought in regards to medicine and nutrition. He has no qualms about calling a quack a quack, and really makes you wonder about all the studies that have been done concerning supplements, diets, and general medical information.
It's important to be informed that the "Detox Foot Baths" and Pads, and Ear Candles, Homeopathy and many other things in the Alternative Medicine industry are scams, but it's even better to learn *how* they are scamming people.
Maybe you wouldn't have fallen for these things yourself anyway, but this book can help you explain to others who may be more inclined to try them exactly what they do and why they don't work.
I already knew that most of these were useless or even intentional scams, but I didn't know the details of all of them, and despite having a previous interest in the subject, some of these quacks and hacks were new to me.
I found it very enjoyable to listen to, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject matter - as long as they're okay with a British perspective and narrator. It's always a good idea to listen to a sample before buying just in case!
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).
eye opening how irresponsible the media is when publishing a story
yes. andrew wakefield should be held accountable for the damage he has caused.
the rest of the mail order quacks should be publicly ridiculed for their nonsense. I'm talking about you Chopra
The narrator is monotonous and makes it a slog
A more lively and varied inflection. Every sentence follows the same predictable monotonous voice pattern. Such a shame, as Ben Goldacre himself is a wonderfully lively presenter.
Ben Goldacre clearly explains how the media today (and quacks) take results that say one thing and manage to twist them to mean another, all the while still being "correct".
It's good to know exactly how people the headlines and stories that the media spins differ from the results of the actual studies that those headlines were based on!
Absolutely. He does a great job of explaining basic science in the context of testing medicines. He breaks down experimental design including how to explain resulting data. He explains clearly what makes a good and what makes a bad study, and why this is important. He really explains how the human brain works--why we understand numbers differently depending on how they are reported, and how the placebo effect works. I often see people claiming they are smart so there couldn't be a placebo effect happening to them. Not true. It is not about being smart or dumb, but about being human. Excellent info.
The guy who sells vitamin pills to people with HIV in Africa. The prevailing narrative in my part of the US is the big pharma is evil and natural medicine good and pure. This turns that narrative on its head. This guy is absolutely evil and caused countless deaths and suffering all in the name of profit. I was absolutely outraged at this chapter. It is a must listen.
This isn't one particular scene, but overall I liked how scathing he was towards science reporting--which exists to sell newspapers not to inform the public. It is really upsetting how they create controversies then when the controversies are resolved never close the loop on the reporting.
The author has a distinctive voice that meshes well with the narrator's voice. Definitely arrogant and chatty. It didn't bother me but I can see how it might bother others. This was a LOT of information, I will probably have to listen to it again to absorb it all.
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