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Publisher's Summary

In Do You Believe in Magic?, medical expert Paul A. Offit, MD, offers a scathing exposé of the alternative medicine industry, revealing how even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly. Dr. Offit reveals how alternative medicine - an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks - can actually be harmful to our health. Using dramatic real-life stories, Offit separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy - alternative or traditional - should be scrutinized. He also shows how some nontraditional methods can do a great deal of good, in some cases exceeding therapies offered by conventional practitioners.

An outspoken advocate for science-based health advocacy who is not afraid to take on media celebrities who promote alternative practices, Dr. Offit advises, "There's no such thing as alternative medicine. There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't."

©2013 Paul A. Offit, M.D. (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This excellent, easy-to-read look at the alternative-medicine industry is highly recommended." (Library Journal Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Some of the research right on and some right off

A lot of his research makes sense and I enjoyed this book but The author needs to do more research about AIDS and Vaccinations. It's unclear if he is toeing the line in favor of the pharmaceutical company's or being completely unbiased

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Must Listen!

Doctor Offit makes the topic of 'alternative' medicine accessible and in an understandable and fascinating manner explains its popularity and shortcomings.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent overview of alternative medicine

The book takes a good hard look at what alternative medicine really offers and why magical thinking may sometimes cause real harm. The author presents a detailed overview of the dirty underside of an industry that can only exist because of powerful political and financial backing and the desire of its patrons to believe (and pay for) supposed medical interventions that have no basis in evidence. The narration is decently done and easy to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What everyone should know before they try alternative medicine

In this book, Dr. Offit explains the origins, failings and fallacies behind many of the alternative medicine quackery that exist today. Unlike the practitioners of quackery, Dr. Offit shows the downside (the injuries, the deaths, the lies and deceptions not just the purported successes).

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Should be required reading at every high school

Very informative book. Although he does come down hard on quacks and scammers, it really is a fairly balanced treatment by the end of the book.
I can't help but feel we have all been lied to for many years by the alternative medicine industry.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 10-20-14

Title is All Wrong

I do wonder if I would feel differently if I had read this instead of listened to it. But overall, I think no.
1. Don't title it Sense and Nonsense if you are just making a case against it. Trust your readers and be honest with them.
2. If you are against it, especially so vehemently, give your credentials and back ground up front so I know where you are coming from instead of making me research you for the Aha! I get it now moment. You've made your living from your side. Be honest about that.
3. You totally left out diet, which is a huge part of this. I have a hard time forgiving that. Saying that Steve Jobs killed himself before his time by drinking too much carrot juice, and not submitting to the knife more quickly - when the man lived almost a decade with pancreatic cancer, is just so wrong in so many ways. Be honest.
4. Do more acknowledging the harm of the pharm and the knife and the desire for the humane. There is a real reason plus a mil that people seek the alternative. Be honest.
5. It's not all placebo. Or, if it is then modern medicine is just as guilty if not more so. Be honest. And darn it, please be more humane. I mean, recognize that there is a flip side to why people are seeking the alternate. If you can just acknowledge that, I would be more likely to believe you. As it is, I'm possibly even more of a doubter.

7 of 17 people found this review helpful