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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
Categories: Non-fiction, Science
5 out of 5 stars (147 ratings)

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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. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Definitive guide to skepticism

Really detailed and informative guide for anyone interested in skepticism. This was an enjoyable listen covering a wide array of topics including heuristics, psychology, logic etc. I enjoyed most the advice about how to approach scepticism with friends and family

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  • Csaba Turkosi
  • 07-10-18

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!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-03-19

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.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-03-19

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.

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  • Sinikka
  • 20-11-18

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.

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  • taylor hernandez
  • 19-10-18

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.