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Complete And Utter Zebu: The Shocking Lies We're Told Every Day Paperback – 3 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (3 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906964335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906964337
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 779,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Instead of ranting, they offer thorough research, some good, clear writing and a likeable tone of mild melancholy, as though this is really all we can hope to expect. By comparison, most of this year's grumpy-old-men books are complete and utter zebu.'Spectator

'a splenetic unpicking of scams, statistics and frauds perpetrated by politicians, publicists, supermarkets and all the other people trying to ruin our lives' Guardian

'a book at which you will laugh in disbelief (and possibly through gritted teeth). It is a compilation of the lies we are told every day by governments and businesses. The zebu in question is an ox-like creature from India that is occasionally served by restaurants as 'British steak'. From that fib, Rose and Caplin move on to political lies, statistical lies, misleading marketing, and the art of 'polishing' a CV.' Sunday Times

'An absolutely fantastic book.' BBC Scotland

***** 'Zebu here is not the animal but the word for deception. The authors take a frank look at the lies told as a matter of course by businesses, policemen, and politicians alike, and indeed by every sort of interested party with something to sell or a line to shoot.' 5 stars, Sunday Telegraph, Pick of the Paperbacks

'A hoot!... dip into it when you need a laugh' Lorraine Kelly --**

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By An Amazon customer on 3 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
The authors have done a stellar job in managing to expose the massive number of lies, deceits, and frauds that are perpetrated daily on us by politicians and businesses, while still keeping the book lively and entertaining. I was both infuriated and amused, particularly at the "I wish I hadn't said that" entries (my favorite being Gerry Sutcliffe's "My comments do not accurately reflect my views"). This is a great read, and I actually laughed out loud several times--perhaps it should be read only in private, but you'll be dying to read out bits to your family and friends! The authors also run a Zebu blog, where they post the most recent shameful examples; sadly, I suspect there will be plenty of material for a sequel before the end of the year. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles Clarke on 4 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fabulously diverse collection of porkies is a page turner. How can a reference book be a page turner..?

Steve Caplin and Simon Rose have written other informative books (my other favourite is Dad Stuff): zebu utterly and completely seals their reputation as tops for delivering interesting stuff lightheartedly. Zebu is such fun to read, you don't realise you are learning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack Hobartson on 2 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I'd never heard of a zebu, let alone knew what it looked like. That is one weird looking creature - see front page!

It originates from India, but is now reared in various warm climates and sold as beef, sometimes British beef. Meat from Wetherspoon pubs was analysed and found to be zebu instead of British meat as claimed. Shocking, although considering how wonderful British meat is, perhaps Wetherspoons were doing their customers a favour.

This is the sort of thing you will find here. Its interesting but generally lowbrow stuff, I particularly enjoyed reading about the tricks developers employ furnishing show homes, some of which I was aware of (eg. smaller than normal furniture so the rooms look bigger) and others I wasn't (removing internal doors to make rooms look bigger).

This is a fun book, slightly dumbed-down to be fair but interesting all the same. I wouldn't recommend reading it like a novel, its best in small chunks, which is actually how it is set out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr Johnson on 11 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
It's that time of year again. Wondering what to get for all those friends and relatives for Christmas?

Well, Rose and Caplin have come to your rescue. "Complete and Utter Zebu" is funny, clever, irreverent and full of surprises. It's difficult to imagine anyone not enjoying it, and every time you dip into it (and it's definitely a dipping book) you find a bunch of surprising things you'll want to tell your friends about.

Is it all true? I hope so. It's all surprising, anyway, and mostly very funny.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. Reiss on 2 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
I continue to be shocked by the amount of lies we are told in the media, by advertisers, politicians and experts. Simon Rose and Steve Caplin clearly are too, and have done some wide ranging and amusing research into the areas in which the public are misled. Theatrical posters, bottle labelling (wine can legally contain fish bladders and not tell you - urgh!), budget airlines and many quagmires of deceit are exposed. "British' pork can come from Ireland, 'British' beef can be Zebu meat from Brazil - hence the title of the book as a metaphor for the amount of misleading tosh we are fed.

Though the revelations are (mostly) serious, this is a book to dip into for a gasp and a chuckle, then scour the index for other areas to become outraged about. There are many witty illustrations, and running sections headed 'Dictionary of Deceit', and 'I Wish I Hadn't Said That' in which Tony Blair appears several times.

It may make you check labels and small print much more carefully in future, but the book remains very entertaining.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Los Angeleno on 4 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed with this book. The writing style is very poor, with several glaring typos ("The Chinese bussed in yellow-shirted 'fans', wearing yellow shirts" being one particular example), and a smattering of blokey mild swearing. The whole design is very "tabloid newspaper"-style.

The biggest problem though is that there is absolutely nothing new in the book. The authors appear to have done no research of their own; instead, the book is full of rehashed news reports from the general media, i.e. "revelations" that are already very well known from other sources. We're told that Boris Johnson lied about his affair with Petronella Wyatt. Really? This is supposedly new to us? There are lots of CCTVs in the UK, but no-one really knows exactly how many? Wow.

This could be a mildly diverting stocking filler if you haven't paid any attention to what's going on in the world for the last five to ten years, but there's very little of depth here. It's also printed in relatively large type with a jokey little picture on almost every page, which tells you what level of reader it's aimed at.

For a much better book about lies in the media, try Flat Earth News by Nick Davies, also available on Amazon. It's highly readable and contains much more of substance, plus the author has done more than just done a Google search for "lies and distortion in Britain".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gianmarco Hopkins on 29 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
...dulled by years of abuse by advertisers, politicians and over-enthusiastic journalists. A great round up of things - many of which you will remember and re-clock as being deceitful. Good fun too - I can see readers shaking their head and grinning as they peruse these revealing pages. One to share!
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