The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake
Narrated by: Steven Novella
Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $21.81

Buy for $21.81

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

An entertaining and all-encompassing guide to skeptical thinking for the age of misinformation.  

In this tie-in to their popular The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, Steven Novella, along with 'Skeptical Rogues' Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein, explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies and conspiracy theories (anti-vaccines, homeopathy, UFO sightings and many more.) They'll help us try to make sense of what seems like an increasingly crazy world using powerful tools like science and philosophy.   

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is your guide through this maze of modern life. It covers essential critical thinking skills as well as giving insight into how your brain works and how to avoid common pitfalls in thinking. They discuss the difference between science and pseudoscience, how to recognise common science news tropes, how to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy colleague of yours and how to apply all of this to everyday life.  

As fascinating as it is entertaining, this enthralling audiobook is your essential guide to seeing through the fake news and media manipulation in our increasingly confusing world.

©2018 SGU Productions LLC (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A fantastic compendium of skeptical thinking and the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction." (Richard Wiseman, author 59 Seconds)

"Thorough, informative, and enlightening...If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilisation unravel before our eyes." (Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)

What listeners say about The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    78
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    70
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    72
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great follow-up to Sagan's Demon-Haunted World

The members of the SGU have done an outstanding job summarizing their experience as skeptics and science enthusiasts. It is a useful and healthy habit to review one's most closely held beliefs and this audiobook provides example after example of misguided and self-deceiving individuals who fail to apply critical thinking to their assumptions. We could all use some skepticism in our lives to protect us from charlatans, conspiracy theorists and our own tendencies toward self-deception. I'm so glad to have this in my library and I hope it reaches a wide audience!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book everyone should read or listen

I first bought the book. Then I bought five more books so that I could give them away to my friends. Finally I bought this podcast so that I could recap some of the parts on my commute. It is great at presenting and sharpening your tools of sceptical thinking in a way that is educational and sometimes even humorous. It can be a bit harder to read than an average novel, since it really requires your focus. But when you're done, it also functions as a encyclopedia of sceptical thinking. I have more than once had to return to this book when picking apart an argument or constructing my own - verifying that the logic is sound and that the premise is known and agreed upon by both parties.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Your escape to reality

It was great and a pleasure to listen to. Steve Novella is a great reader and I always love to listen to the podcast as well. Long time listener and this book was long overdue.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Concise and clear, but not much new for an SGU fan

Loved it, but couldn't help thinking that this is the book that OTHER people should read. Preaching to the choir a bit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

awesome book.

This is an excellent guide to scientific skepticism. a lot of chapters covering all kinds of phenomena. Great listen. Dosn't matter whether you're a skeptic or not.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Raquel
  • Raquel
  • 07-26-20

Practical and Fun

So much great info, although a bit dense to read/listen. I will check out the podcast.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dickie
  • Dickie
  • 03-26-20

Let the scales fall from your eyes

A fantastic journey of rational enlightenment. By the end of this your eyes will be open to the biases and flawed thinking that pervades everyday life. Stop being fooled in ways you have no awareness of, buy this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. Drew
  • J. Drew
  • 03-24-20

The glitches in our thinking

We are all brought into this world as children ready to believe anything, we make connections, notice all the hits and fail to observe the many more misses (how astrology requires and needs it as do psychics). It takes something like science to understand the truth, but it’s up against a range of bias and glitches already in our thinking. These include glitches such as cognitive biases (searching and noticing only evidence that supports the beliefs you’ve already formed) and the Dunning–Kruger effect whereby people believe they are better than others but actually lack so much self-awareness to don’t realise how little they truly know. Think Trump perhaps. This book explains so much of magical thinking, the type where intelligent people can be just as foolish and ignorant in their thinking as anyone else because what is sometimes more important is the ability to use critical thinking as opposed to magical thinking. This book beautifully demonstrates our biases and glitches in our thinking including memory (memory can be easily distorted) and how we delude ourselves. This is an excellent book for helping you to become more aware and to overcome all your biases and to look at more appropriate ways of thinking, Particularly through the use of science. Fools and fanatics are certain of everything but to be wise in your thinking means you have to question everything, keep an open mind, be humble, uncertain and be doubtful, and question what you think you already know. This book will help you. I have read quite a bit on the subject so not all of this was new to me, but I’m sure it will be new to many.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 12-08-19

Essential reading

This is a modern primer on rational and critical thinking written by one of the foremost proponents of scientific skepticism. Entertaining and educational, this is not to be missed

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jason Hehir
  • Jason Hehir
  • 10-17-19

A vital and timely guide to critical thinking

Having been an avid listener of the SGU for over a decade I was always going to enjoy this book. That being said, it really does fulfill its remit of being the go to reference for all things critical thinking. Whether it's an explanation of logical fallacies, how to interpret science reporting in the media or how to deal with illogical family members, this book covers all that you need to know to think critically and, most importantly, to spot flaws in your own judgement and mental processes. This is a timeless book that will stand many readings and should always be near at hand to help you on your critical journey through the universe.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alistair Davies
  • Alistair Davies
  • 08-19-19

Didn't quite hit the spot

I've listened to all the PodCasts, so thought I'd give the book a try. For someone new to skepticism it would provide a good primer. For people who are very familiar with the Pod Cast, there's not much new here. As a very minor point, Steve Novella's delivery sounds more like he's lecturing the listener - it gets a little irritating at times, or perhaps that's me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joel
  • Joel
  • 07-10-19

Amazing

Loved it! Felt proud to not have any of my current beliefs challenged (although definitely some of my old beliefs) except maybe to be a bit more skeptical about research on the microbiome. Highly recommend. This should be mandatory learning at school.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sohio
  • Sohio
  • 07-03-19

Excellent audiobook

I've listened to the SGU podcast for years and love the format - have wanted a place to go to find out specific information about different topics for a long time. This is it. If you want to change how you think and appreciate the world on a different level then listen to this audiobook. My only issue is you can't go back. So take the red pill and wander down the rabbit hole with Steve. Kinda wish the chapters written by the other rogues were read by them but that might come in time or the next book. Well done SGU.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Wolfie's Wibbles
  • Wolfie's Wibbles
  • 05-07-19

SGU fan enjoys SGU book

I'd definitely recommend this as an introduction to skepticism and for fans of the show. As always with Skeptics guide productions I can hear the amount of work that went into getting the tone and accessibility right whilst keeping the level of detail intact. I've listened to the SGU for years so most of the concepts weren't new but there are some more recent examples and it's great to have all of this in one place. Steve's delivery is good too, only a couple of missteps

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve
  • Steve
  • 05-07-19

brilliant

Well written and narrated. Brilliant for helping you understand how to approach ideas and belief systems. It points out our biasis and flaws of the way we look and approch ideas. Breaks down many falsely held beliefs to why they are misunderstood, the thinking behind them and the flaws in the logic.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for claus steinenböhmer
  • claus steinenböhmer
  • 06-12-19

Must have to learn to think.

This book is essential to have an understanding of critical thinking. There's a clear description of common thinking flaws as well as how to deal with them. The logical fallacies often encountered when dealing with proponents of pseudoscience are carefully disected in order for the reader to understand. It would be nice if audible would let us have chapter names to make it easier to go through again for those of us who have yet to maser using the bookmarks.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Trimble
  • John Trimble
  • 01-28-19

Thoughtful

wonderful. insightful and beautifully written. it's not that the book will make you cynically sceptical... just thoughtfully and critically sceptical.... loved the numerous examples given to provide evidence for claims.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brian Laurikainen
  • Brian Laurikainen
  • 01-08-19

Critical Thinking Can Be Taught!

With so much nonsense in the world masquerading as knowledge this book couldn’t be more timely. Recommend for everyone, but particularly those struggling to navigate the endless streams of pseudoscience, woo, fad diets, and science “breakthrough” headlines that never materialize. Inoculate yourself from errors in thinking, and be better at separating truth from falsehood. Becoming a “skeptic” is about thinking critically and careful discernment not naysaying. Let the SGU be your guide!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joshua
  • Joshua
  • 01-06-20

Classic SGU

Narration was great, after years of listening to the SGU podcast, hearing more of Dr Steve was very familiar. Unlike most books I've completed recently; this book may have been better read than listened to. So many occasions I caught my mind wandering after an interesting sentence, only to have to repeat the last minute or two, get caught wandering at the same spot, and around we go again... I tend to disagree with the autbors and publishers choice of single narrator, single style. I really would have preferred to listen to each of them narrate their own part, as they had written it. This may however just be a text vs voice thing though.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stephen Anastasi
  • Stephen Anastasi
  • 01-01-20

Excellent, but...

I very much liked this book... except. I found the narrator's otherwise excellent presentation drove me crazy when he missed a 't' in certain words, such as 'impor-ant'. Drove me crazy. Apart from this, this was an excellent book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-27-19

Mandatory Reading for Life

Dr Novella expresses what I have believed, largely, since I was a child. There is no point in reading it if you are genetically programmed to be arrogant and always believe you are right but for the non-primitive, open minded, it is absolutely wonderful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-19

Outstanding

An excellent book about the most important skill a person can have. Interesting and motivating its a great listen to recommend to friends and family to promote critical thinking.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael J. Morris
  • Michael J. Morris
  • 03-27-19

Excellent factual and enjoy experience

Mister Novela gave a great performance. The book is an extremely valuable resource, I learned a lot and found the experience enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lindsay
  • lindsay
  • 03-21-19

Can’t tell if this is real or not

This book made me doubt my preconceived ideas of what paper was, but now I know so thanks book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard
  • Richard
  • 01-02-19

Required Reading

Should be required reading in every school on the planet. How to think critically, how to avoid faulty thinking and scams. Well written, quite thorough but starts at the basics. You need to read this, and get as many other people as you can to read it also.