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The Irrational Ape

Narrated by: David Robert Grimes
Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Why flawed logic puts us all at risk, and how critical thinking can save the world.

It may seem a big claim, but knowing how to think clearly and critically has literally helped save the world. In September 1983, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union's early warning system showed five US missiles heading towards the country. 

Stanislaw Petrov knew his duty: he was to inform Moscow that nuclear war had begun, so that they could launch an immediate and devastating response. Instead, he made a call to say the system was faulty. He'd assessed the situation and reasoned that an error was more likely than such a limited attack. 

We may not have to save the planet from nuclear annihilation, of course, but our ability to think critically has never been more important. In a world where fake news, mistrust of experts, prejudice and ignorance all too often hold sway, we can all too easily be misled. We live in an era where access to all the knowledge in the world is at our fingertips, yet that also means misinformation and falsehoods can spread further and faster than ever before. 

In The Irrational Ape, David Robert Grimes shows how we can be lured into making critical mistakes or drawing false conclusions, and how to avoid such errors. Given the power of modern science and the way that movements can unite to protest a cause via social media, we are in dangerous times. But fortunately, we can learn from our mistakes, and by critical thinking and scientific method we can discover how to apply these techniques to everything from deciding what insurance to buy to averting global disaster. This book, packed with fascinating case studies and examples, helps ensure we are ready for the modern world.  

©2019 David Robert Grimes (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

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Profile Image for Paddy McHugh
  • Paddy McHugh
  • 11-07-19

Should form part of the school curriculum

Essential reading required for everybody. Everybody should be made to question their beliefs and thoughts.
This book is excellently well put together and thought out.

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  • S. Macken
  • 10-31-19

Thought provoking and needed.

While this book may never be read by those who most need to read it, those that are so wound up in their ideological beliefs that they define their sense of self by those ideologies, it is an invaluable exploration of why we think the way we do and how to counter the flaws in our thinking. It, and other books that promote reason and critical thinking, should be prescribed reading in schools but, unfortunately, the book burners amongst us would happily add it to their bonfires at the first available opportunity for promoting rational thought that questions their ideologies, and prevent these books from appearing on school curricula.

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  • Maria Slattery
  • 10-29-19

An excellent book but a cautionary tale.

Statistical analysis is a tricky field to translate into a more simplified language but David does a wonderful job in explaining to those who have a statistical background before importantly those who dont the basic pitfalls that are there & how to spot the charlatans who take advantage of ambiguity. Keep up the good work David.

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  • IWantSunshine
  • 10-25-19

Good

Good, but I wish it contained more actual examples of irrational incidents and less theory behind irrational thinking.

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  • J. D. Faulkner
  • 10-09-19

Ideal Christmas present

This is an excellent book debunking many popular misconceptions and explains why junk science is so prevalent. I will be buying several copies of this book to give to friends who tell me their head aches are cured by sugar pills and lost weight on a keto diet.