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Do They Think You're Stupid?: 100 Ways of Spotting Spin and Nonsense from the Media, Celebrities and Politicians Paperback – 4 Mar 2010

14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847080839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847080837
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julian Baggini's books include The Ego Trick, Welcome to Everytown, What's It All About? - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life and The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books. He writes for several newspapers and magazines and is co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine.

Product Description

About the Author

Julian Baggini is the editor and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. His books include Do You Think What You Think YouThink? (with Jeremy Stangroom), What's It All About? - Philosophy and the Meaning of Life and The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, all published by Granta Books.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marc Whiffen on 8 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Baggini has a way with words and can help you understand how people/governments/companies can conspire to confuse you with fallacious arguments and false analogies. However sometimes his choices of example can irritate and lend you a view as to Mr Baggini's own thinking, political leaning and other convictions which can detract from the object lessons. I have read a number of books on logic and fallacies in argument and, while lending some clear examples, the author does a reasonable job in explaining them this is not the best book and sometimes the arguments muddy the water. That being said, his clever use of the duck symbol (canard) is used to show some of the deliberately misleading aspects of those fallacies. However not enough for me to overlook some of his more laboured and incorrect examples
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Dalby VINE VOICE on 26 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does for politics and the media what Bad Science did for quack medicine. The book is divided into 100 short articles - some of which are related to each other (this is a similar format to 30 second philosophies). This looks at what people say and if their rhetoric actually holds water. There are some excellent examples and I particularly liked the one about Donald Rumsfeld which made me laugh out loud until I found out he was right and my assumptions were wrong!

This is how philosophy and critical thinking should be taught. This is how to make sure that we are all part of an informed public. It is no use giving citizenship classes in schools and looking at science in society or the impact of the media when you can actually have concrete examples from everyday life, presented in an interesting and dynamic way.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mister G HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 5 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It addresses various logical fallacies and shows where the fallacy may - or may not, on closer inspection - lie.

There are 100 brief chapters. Each starts with a quote which forms the basis for discussion. Take, for example, chapter 28:

"Cow's milk is meant for baby cows. Which helps explain why this foodstuff is a leading cause of unwanted reactions to foods that can give rise to a variety of health issues such as nasal congestion, sinusitis, eczema and asthma". Dr John Briffa, Observer Food Monthly.

It was a shock to read that as I agree with it. So where's the logical fallacy? The author writes:

"...By Briffa's logic, a chicken thigh is meant to help it stand up and walk. Does that mean we should be wary about eating it because it wasn't meant for eating?..."

and

"...The point is simple and obvious: the fact that something did not evolve as a human foodstuff does not mean we shouldn't eat it. In fact, if we ate only what was unambiguously meant for us to eat then we'd starve to death as soon as we stopped breast-feeding...".

His point is not that Dr Briffa is necessarily wrong but that the way he states it is wrong - it contains on the face of it a logical fallacy. Now, had Dr Briffa said there was evidence that some people are allergic to cow's milk and there is evidence of that then that would be another matter. Maybe Dr Briffa meant that but it is not what the quote states.

Perhaps the author has accidentally committed one of his own errors - taking Dr Briffa's words out of context - see chapter 22 for that (hey, it's a seamless link, like on TV).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book for mental exercise I think. Julian has a real knack of getting to the heart of the matter and I enjoy his ramblings on the many topics in this book. Being someone who is frequently annoyed by advertising claims and argumentative tricks I found this book both enjoyable and helpful.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Den on 21 Dec. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This brilliant stroll through logical fallacies, using real live examples is exactly how logical fallacies should be taught. After reading many good books on dissecting arguments, looking at logical fallacies and fallacious arguments, I have found this to be one of the most interesting books for the layman to learn about bad arguments.

The chapters are short enough to keep the interest of any reader, the lack of technical jargon is a dream and allows you to fully enjoy and appreciate the range of expose' as well as relax with the authors words, even allowing for the odd chuckle here and there, something not often found in a philosophy book.

No deep thinking required, no hard slog trying to retain hundreds of minutiae details, just learning made fun, lots of fun as Baggini exposes the fallacies in peoples arguments and we learn both not to make the same mistakes as well as being able to point these errors out to others the next time they argue their case from pure fallacious logic.
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50 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up because I'm fascinated and appalled by the misuse of logic, by the misrepresentation of opinions, by the way people in power (in the media as much as in politics) abuse their power through their astute and clever dishonesty.

`Do They Think You're Stupid?' is the title of the book, but its implied subtitle is Baggini asking `Do You Think I'm Clever?' Well, yes, I admit, I do think he is clever. He cleverly takes a series of texts which his reader is unlikely to know directly. He cunningly selects the slenderest of phrases. And then his book mocks and scorns the writers in question. Well, as it happens, some time ago, I had read `No Logo', one of the books he attacks, and his interpretation seemed peculiar, and wholly at odds with my memory. Puzzled, I took the book off my shelves and looked again. And I was disgusted at the way Baggini misrepresented it, in a way which is not only illogical but profoundly deceptive. I went on to look at a few other writers Baggini attacks: over and over again, Baggini twists their words, cherrypicks their arguments, to make flat-footed generalisations which the original text do not warrant. He also, incidentally, lambasts Thom Yorke's praise for George Monbiot. I doubt very much that the world would be a more intelligent place with a Baggini but without Radiohead, Monbiot and Klein. But the reasons for Baggini's disapproval of Yorke are interesting. Baggini says that Thom Yorke is a musician, and therefore has no authority whatsoever to comment on any political subject. The crassness of this view speaks for itself, but Baggini's hypocrisy is also striking, for Baggini offers us his opinion of Thom Yorke's musical skills.
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