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Publisher's Summary

Don't Panic! with The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

An all-encompassing guide to skeptical thinking from podcast host and academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine Steven Novella and his SGU co-hosts, which Richard Wiseman calls "the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction."

It is intimidating to realize that we live in a world overflowing with misinformation, bias, myths, deception, and flawed knowledge. There really are no ultimate authority figures - no one has the secret, and there is no place to look up the definitive answers to our questions (not even Google). 

Luckily, The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is your map through this maze of modern life. Here Dr. Steven Novella - along with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein - will explain the tenets of skeptical thinking and debunk some of the biggest scientific myths, fallacies, and conspiracy theories - from anti-vaccines to homeopathy, UFO sightings to N-rays. You'll learn the difference between science and pseudoscience, essential critical thinking skills, ways to discuss conspiracy theories with that crazy co-worker of yours, and how to combat sloppy reasoning, bad arguments, and superstitious thinking. 

So are you ready to join them on an epic scientific quest, one that has taken us from huddling in dark caves to setting foot on the moon? (Yes, we really did that.) Don't Panic! with The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, we can do this together. 

"Thorough, informative, and enlightening, The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition. If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes." (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

"In this age of real and fake information, your ability to reason, to think in scientifically skeptical fashion, is the most important skill you can have. Read The Skeptics' Guide Universe; get better at reasoning. And if this claim about the importance of reason is wrong, The Skeptics' Guide will help you figure that out, too." (Bill Nye)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Steven Novella, Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A terrific book for anyone who wants a better understanding about the world around them and an essential guide to navigating modern life. The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe will help readers recognize pitfalls in reasoning, combat bad arguments and avoid superstitious thinking." (Simon Singh, skeptic and author of Fermat's Enigma)

"If everyone in the world were to read this book, we might just arrest humankind's depressing slide into truthlessness. Someone should put the Skeptics' Guide on the vaccination schedule." (Tim Minchin) 

"Empowering and illuminating, this thinker's paradise is an antidote to spreading anti-scientific sentiments. Readers will return to its ideas again and again." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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Demon Haunted World 2.0

There’s A LOT of meat in this book.

It serves as a GREAT introduction to scientific skepticism and critical thinking that we need now more than ever in this age where we retreat to tribalism and carelessly employ sloppy thinking leaving no room for conversation, compromise, or thoughtful and sincere dialogue. This book is a primer to help the reader avoid overthrowing reason and common sense with ideology and fear.

We, as a culture, are in desperate need of a course correction of the mind. This book is a great start to understand how the mind works and how it synthesizes and generates truths, deceives itself and fortifies falsehoods. We have always lived in a world full of fake, but only recently has it been normalized and expected.

Here is a great start to help maneuver the currents of this new world of data inundation. It also serves as a foundation on how to spot bullshit and refrain from retreating to our cultural bubbles. It's a great introduction on how to open your mind and evaluate new information based on evidence and merit rather than seeking out information that conforms to your sacred beliefs.

There is a way out this. Using our brain lazily got us in this mess. Perhaps employing some critical thinking and using our brain skillfully will get us out.

Should be mandatory reading for all high schoolers.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken
  • Frankfort, IL, United States
  • 10-04-18

Must Read

This should be assigned to every student in the country, critical thinking is more important now than ever.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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You are or are not Alone

Well done book. Some common knowledge already understood by those with a scientific background and some less common knowledge. Regardless of your interests or beliefs it’s hard to refute the challenge to be just a bit more skeptical. I didn’t agree with 100% of the Authors points of view (close but not 100%) but then again they wouldn’t necessarily want me to. The book deals with scientific skepticism which makes it easier to establish some ground rules. Works very well as audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An excellent companion to the podcast.

It's hard to give this book the positive review it deserves without making it sound like a self-help book. It's really not written like one. But it's not about the science of bigfoot or aliens either. It is written instead as a toolkit and guidebook on how to avoid the pitfalls that lurk in our every-day modes of thinking. It details the what, how, and why of minds led astray from disciplined thought and the strongest possible basis in reality. And it encourages us to find those errors in the arguments we make to ourselves, as well as those we share with or hear from others. So to the degree that they avoid pendantry, the authors have, if by accident, created a great self-help book, hidden in a book about understanding science and the human mind.

Novella's reading was about 10 percent slower than the usual conversational tone he uses in his podcast, but that was easy to correct for with the Audible app. As a long-time SGU listener, I found the chapters from the Rogues and the interview at the end of the audiobook especially enjoyable.

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Mandatory Listening

The only thing that could make this amazing book better is having it performed by Dr. Steven Novella. What took you so long to write a book, Doc?

If I could snap my fingers and make one book mandatory reading/listening for every citizen of Earth, it would be this book.

How many books tell you what to think? Millions. How many teach you how to think? Very few, and, in my opinion, this is the best!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book!!!!!

I couldn't stop listening to this book. I definitely learned new things and will be rereading it again a few times. Hope there will be more like it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The title says it all.

This is a must read for anyone that cares about drawing true conclusions and finding out when they've been wrong about something. When it comes to critical thinking, science, logical fallacies, and pseudoscience, they cover everything, and it's very accessible. And it's really entertaining. My only gripe is that the narrator and author doesn't always have the same energy as he does on their podcast. But it's a minor complaint.

So flex your intellectual honesty and just dive in. Because the world could use a few more critical thinkers and a LOT more neuropsychological humility.

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An instant classic for critical thinking

The SGU crew do the impossible. They have delivered a book in the spirit of The Demon Haunted World, for the modern day. Not only explaining why scientific skepticism is important, but doing it in a fun and engaging way.

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Thank you SGU.

As a long time follower of the SGU, getting this was a no-brainer. I wasn't sure how the SGU team was going to pull off the tribute that Perry DeAngelis deserved, not that Dr. Novella wouldn't have; it was just like that Paul Walker's last scene, and just like the film, they (SGU) pulled it off. Thank you Dr. Novella.

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The best book in the universe!

This book is a perfect guide to get through this crazy time, I think everyone should own it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful