The very best journalism from one of Britain's most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the best-selling Bad Science and Bad Pharma.
In Bad Science, Ben Goldacre hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science. In Bad Pharma, he put the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. Now the pick of the journalism by one of our wittiiest, most indignant and most fearless commentators on the worlds of medicine and science is collected in one volume.
©2014 Ben Goldacre (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
From the reviews of Bad Science:
"For sheer savagery, the illusion-destroying, joyous attack on the self-regarding, know-nothing orthodoxies of the modern middle classes, Bad Science cannot be beaten. You'll laugh your head off, then throw all those expensive health foods in the bin." (Trevor Philips, Observer (Book of the Year))
"Unmissable...laying about himself in a froth of entirely justified indignation, Goldacre slams the mountebanks and bullshitters who misuse science. Few escape: drug companies, self-styled nutritionists, deluded researchers and journalists all get thoroughly duffed up. It is enormously enjoyable." (The Times (Book of the Year))
From the reviews of Bad Pharma:
"This is a book to make you enraged - properly, bone-shakingly furious...A work of brilliance." (Daily Telegraph)
"An important book. Ben Goldacre is angry, and by the time you put Bad Pharma down, you should be too." (New Statesman)
"A book that deserves to be widely read, because anyone who does read it cannot help feeling both uncomfortable and angry." (Economist)
This is a collection of previously published articles with no new content, the articles are just read one after the other in a vague categorical grouping. This disappointed me somewhat as I don't think that was explicitly clear from the description (although some of the other reviews do mention it). I was expecting it to contain previously published work but I wasn’t expecting that to be all that it contained.
The articles are mostly very interesting (I always enjoyed reading his Bad Science column in the guardian) but I don’t think it works very well in a book format. I am always left wanting to know more after each article but they are rarely followed up (those that are only by another interesting but short article) so I feel that’s it is forever skimming along the surface. At the very least I though related articles could have been interwoven somehow instead of just read out one after another.
This is more of a coffee table book that you pick up and read for 5-10mins rather than an audiobook you want to listen too for hours a time.
The narration by Ben Goldacre is very good. Jot Davies is OK but it feels much more natural to have the author himself reading. So far most of what I have listened too has been narrated by Ben.
If you have enjoyed any of Bens columns before then this is a great way to catch up on them, without trawling through the guardians archive but I think I would have been better off getting Bad Science or Big Pharma.
I'd recommend it to everyone, so they can stop acting like sheep, believing everything they hear or read in the media and taking it as fact.
Obviously his other books, Bad Science, etc, which I also highly recommend.
Yes, I was eager to listen at every opportunity.
People think they 'know' things, when it truth they mostly know what others want them to know.
Hopefully this book will make at least a few decide to think for themselves before assuming that what their GP, or favourite newspaper says is 'right', and does not need to be questioned.
Well I wouldn't read a book I've listened to and vice versa unless it's for study or very special.
This isn't a novella you philistine!
They were good.
What kind of question is this? I was shocked by the instances of malpractice detailed. B.G. can be very amusing too!
If you've been following his blog/articles or have read Bad Science you may have read some of it already.
Judith Corstjens Author of: Xtensity, Why 5% of Dieters Succeed; Storewars: The Battle for Mindspace and Shelfspace; Strategic Advertising
First, I should say I love Ben Goldacre. I think he is a GOOD THING, which is why I buy and read all his books. However, I do get tired with the uniform level of outrage and the equal opportunity derision. It is important and interesting that, according to Mr Goldacre, about 50% of neuroscientists publishing papers in serious neuroscience journals, do not know how to apply the statistical test which allows them to judge whether a difference between differences is significant (they simply report that one difference is (statistically) significant and one is not, and then assume that this is in itself a significant finding. Oops - one could be just above the threshold, and one just below). Fortunately, we still have the FDA or Nice (etc.) standing between us and their false positives resulting in actual remedies, but it is worrying that neuroscientists can make such mistakes and get them published. On the other hand, applying the same rigorous standards to people who sell magnets to 'age' wine, is a waste of effort. Wine magnetisers (I think he said the devices are sold for £70) may be adding to the sum of human happiness if they can make a £5 bottle taste like a £100 bottle to some credulous imbiber (the placebo effect is often useful, and the trick is to find harmless ways of harnessing it). The MRA scandal may cost children's lives, and brain gym has cost the UK taxpayer money and wasted school time, but have people really ever taken the publication 'Medical Hypotheses' seriously? Everything Mr Goldacre touches gets the same level of gobsmacked indignation. This book is a classic case of 'less can be more.'
The narration is as much to blame as the content - the parts read by Jot Davies copy the same histrionic tone as used by the author when he is reading his own material. Speaking softly, ironically, would carry more weight, in my opinion. Less tiring too.
I'd still say, overall, 'Worth reading.' Mr Goldacre seems to have this field almost to himself, and many of his topics are interesting and worthwhile. Come to think of it, in a printed book you could skip the silly stuff.
Fascinating 'lifting of the lid' into how science can be (and is) misused in ignorance and (often) to prompt individuals agenda.
Yes, this was a brilliant listen in that it was both educational and really amusing, and perfect for my commute as each article/essay is largely self-contained.
"fabulous and infuriating"
I've just finished reading Ben Goldacre's: I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That.
I found this book both fascinating and infuriating!
The book is about...well, it is about many things, such as bad science, bad journalism (compounding much the bad science or blatantly distorting real science), and bad governmental policy making (using said bad science and bad journalism).
I think everyone should get a copy of this book, read it, and try to apply the lessons you may learn from it. For instance I am going to try to put into practice one of his pieces of advice:
"If people don't link to primary sources, I don't trust them and I don't read them." (ESPECIALLY on social media).
I use to think (some) sources of journalism were trustworthy, but I think I'll have to start digging even deeper into issues that matter to me in order to ensure I am getting the correct information. The sad part is that this is going to take a lot more time, so I will have to narrow my focus significantly. Soon, I will know every piece of factual information about stegosaurus!
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