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Deceived Wisdom: Why What You Thought Was Right Is Wrong [Kindle Edition]

David Bradley
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Did your mother remind you to take off your coat when inside or you won’t ‘feel the benefit’ when you leave? Have you ever been informed that what you need to cool down is a nice cup of tea? And are you bored of being told that you have to let that red wine breathe first to improve its taste? If so then Deceived Wisdom is the book for you. Organised into easy-to-read standalone sections, it looks at the facts we all think we know and examines why we don’t know them at all. David Bradley’s clear and witty writing examines the science behind the statements to reveal the truth behind many popular myths.

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'At last, a book that blows away many of the urban myths that we've come to accept without questioning. Well written and engrossing' -- --Dr John Emsley, author of 'Nature's Building Blocks' and other popular science books

'Let it be announced from the rooftops that David Bradley has compiled this charming book, Deceived Wisdom, showing that some of the popular Old Wives Tales and things you could have sworn were true because you heard them down the pub are, with the appliance of science, just another charabanc of retired shoe manufacturers ... Good things come in small packages, and I read it in a single session. It's a book you can dip into, one of those things that no well-stocked shelf in the Smallest Room should be without ... if you want a stocking-filler for the geek in your life, especially if they are teenagers and mightn t have come across these before, then this has to be it.' -- --Henry Gee, Occam's Typewriter

'I can't recommend this book highly enough. Not only is it entertaining, but it is also extremely informative, smart, and thorough. While Bradley discusses some complex topics, his clear writing makes reading about these brainteasers a breeze.' -- --Kim Lacey, Guru Magazine

'This is a brilliant book, which presents some really pertinent information in a fun and enjoyable manner ... Bradley reinforces what science is really all about: questioning what you know and never accepting something just because somebody else tells you it's true.' --Paul Blakely,

'This is a brilliant book, which presents some really pertinent information in a fun and enjoyable manner ... Bradley reinforces what science is really all about: questioning what you know and never accepting something just because somebody else tells you it's true.' --Paul Blakely,

About the Author

David Bradley has worked in science communication for almost 25 years. He has written for 'New Scientist', the 'Telegraph', the 'Guardian' and many other publications, as well as contributing to and editing books including 'The Bedside Book of Chemistry'. He has won awards for his writing and blogging, including 'Daily Telegraph' Young Science Writer of the Year. He blogs at and tweets as @sciencebase to more than 20,000 followers. He lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceived Wisdom 17 Nov. 2012
Having first read the Extended Sampler, I now have in my possession the hardback copy of 'Deceived Wisdom' by David Bradley, Science Writer, and it certainly lives up to its description. To both scientists and non-scientists alike, it demystifies those old wives' tales and urban myths, as described, in a scientific and logical manner. Being of retirement age, I encountered many of those myths myself but all ages, from 10 to 100+, will be captivated by his scientific analysis. The hardback copy is beautifully presented in 166 pages and does what it says on the cover. At the end of each topic covered is 'The Science' behind it and a 'Find out more' link reference. On page 156 he quotes Carl Sagan 'There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths'. This beautiful quotation really sums up what is in this book and I certainly recommend it to all.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are those 'pearls of wisdom' just fake? 4 Dec. 2012
Ah, all those snippets of wisdom that we grow up with - information absorbed from your mother, father, granny, school teachers and that fount of all knowledge, `I read somewhere that.' This is information so fundamental that it's on the `everybody knows that' curriculum, but what if it's actually wrong?

David Bradley, a top science writer based in the UK puts a plethora of common misconceptions under his microscope and shows you why the stuff that you thought was right is really rubbish.

Written with a light and humorous touch, reading `Deceived Wisdom' will enable you to shoot down dinner-party bores, win endless quiz shows when Stephen Fry invites you to star in `QI' and generally educate yourself beyond the misinformation doled out in primary and secondary schools (and probably quite a few universities.)

I'd browsed the pre-publication extended sampler and enjoyed it - so my wife bought me the real thing and it's a nicely produced hardback book with even more pearls of real wisdom and knowledge. It's science, it's information, and it's fun! Perfect for Xmas stockings...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and educational at the same time! 16 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While I’m not (“I declare that I am not now nor have ever been…”) a proper scientist, I like to think I have at least an inclination in that direction. (I have read “A Brief History Of Time.” I have read “Chaos.” Can’t necessarily claim I understood everything I read, but there y’go.) I’m even an ex-resident of Cambridge.

It was enjoyable enough that I was disappointed when I got to the end. “Too short, too short!” went my irrepressible internal narrative. Leave ‘em wanting more? Hoping there's a sequel planned, anyway.

Did it teach me anything? Well, some of the deceived wisdom presented therein I was able to be smug about. Yes, I knew that, but aren’t some people /silly?/ But yes, it does appear that I’m just as inclined to accept some deceived wisdom as the next guy, sadly. (I’ve “known” why you go pink and wrinkly in the bath for about 45 years, for instance. And the “tea cools you down” thing didn't quie fit with my worldview. Not a bad thing, of course -- and if this helps people challenge some of the things they unthinkingly take for granted, that's probably all to the good!!

I've dropped a star because there's a point where a discussion of the physical ensues from a question about the perceptual (sorry, I'm deliberately trying not to write spoilers!) that I'm not at all sure is justified. Doesn't devalue the science, I guess...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent read 21 Feb. 2013
By Lazes
In an age of often poor Science reporting in the media, how refreshing to have a clear, thorough debunking of popular Science myths. David Bradley's writing is clear, concise and entertaining throughout. As an educator I am on a constant search for engaging texts for students to get hooked into Science. This one fits the bill perfectly.
Roll on Vol II !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 11 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is amazing how you can believe things that you are told because they come from adults or teachers! Many of these pointed out here only require the common sense to see that what we are sometime told can be utter rubbish! This is a very enjoyable book, that should be required reading in every school .... for the teachers especially.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good debunking 16 Dec. 2012
A thorough debunking of various received wisdom, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and myths, written in a very accessible style. I appreciated the supporting references, but would have liked to have seen more citations to the scientific literature than popular websites - but then I'm a journal editor.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars poor man's QI 20 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Seems to have been cobbled together after watching a few episodes of QI, only paid 99p on the Kindle daily deal- roughly 99p too much
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debunks old wives tales 28 Feb. 2013
By Pazuzu
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Debunks many things that I was told as a child by everyone by family and teachers that are generally regarded as accepted facts.

Thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read. The familial knowledge chain has now been broken and I will not pass down the 'facts' told to me to my little girl.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Much enjoyed reading this
This is the book I've been waiting for! De-bunks all the things that you have been told (and thought were true). Thanks David Bradley!
Published 3 months ago by Bethanne Brummell
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
A nice little book for a nice little price. I wanted just yo expand my common knowledge and this book did it in a clear and non patronizing way. Interesting and small.
Published 5 months ago by Justine Knight
2.0 out of 5 stars Another book on similar subjects is Counter Knowledge which is better...
A lot of the so-called advice refuting well known and tried solutions did not ring true. Also I found that a lot of the assertions were long winded and did not hold my attention. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dudley F. Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Haven't yet finished it, but am finding it amusing and informative, and full of reminders of my mother's sayings.
Published 7 months ago by anneka
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenge yourself
I downloaded this book as it was one of the daily deals. I was pleased I did. It challenged several things I thought were true. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Stepas
5.0 out of 5 stars A stocking filler for my son
I bought this book for my son (19 and at Uni) he loves the book. Well written, researched and entertaining.
Published 19 months ago by mark ormston
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy & interesting read. Pick up and put down. perfect for bedtime and...
I loved the way this book keeps you involved. You can relate to lots of areas and you will have heard of most of the tales in here. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Dickie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A really interesting read. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered why or asked what if or is that true.
Published 23 months ago by Mark Plant
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, and funny.
Some of the things in here you don't think twice about when you're told, but it is really interesting. Definitely worth reading.
Published 24 months ago by Stephanie Mills
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, but simplistic in parts.
A good selection of common myths are dispelled in a clear and readable way, but I felt a few of the items were treated a little simplistically. Read more
Published on 15 Jun. 2013 by David
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