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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, but the book fell short on the delivery., 13 May 2010
This review is from: Irrationality (Paperback)
This book in a nutshell: humans can be very irrational at times.

I know. Common knowledge, right? However, the book goes on to try to explore, explain and offer solutions to the various forms of human irrationality, always relying on studies to back up the conclusions. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it just fell short of what it was trying to do.

Be warned. This book was written in 1992, and it shows. I noticed right away some very strange factual errors that, at times, by light of new evidence that has since been gathered, completely defeat the points being given by the author. I noticed this particularly with medical studies - having been in medical school myself I spotted the, at times, glaring mistakes, which didn't impress me at all. I guess I was using one of the irrational thought processes he described - the "halo effect", which when applied to this, means that when I saw that he was completely wrong in some thing he vehemently defended, it made me look at the rest of his book in a negative light. It probably means this review is tainted by irrationality as well. I'll take my chances.

I wish I had marked the exact quotes to back up what I'm saying. I recall at least that at some point in the book he goes on and on about how doctors were wrong to think that blood cholesterol levels had anything to do with what you eat, because a study had proven they had no correlation. Yeah. This reminded me of all the smokers who will quote one study that says that smoking is not bad for you at all and has nothing to do with lung cancer. Let's ignore the rest of the studies who say otherwise, then.

I also had a problem with the tone of this book. It was way too patronizing, and the author seemed to have personal vendettas against some members of society, namely feminists, members of the medical profession, and psychologists who do social experiments.

There were some positive aspects to it, and I found a few pearls of wisdom, but overall, the book was simply not worth it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2011 12:25:46 BDT
I have this book and really enjoyed it. I really dont remember it attacking feminists throughout the book, and if anything it extols the virtues of the medical profession and simply highlights that even doctors can come to irrational conclusions due to the way our brain is hard wired. You also claim the book "always relying on studies to back up the conclusions", many of which are conducted by psychologists, and then conclude that the author also has personal vendetta against "psychologists who do social experiments" - this doesnt seem to make sense.

Also with regards the cholesterol, the book says that people once believed that eating foods that were high in cholesterol cause high cholesterol levels and thats why it was thought that you shouldnt eat too many eggs etc. if you had high cholesterol levels. He equates this with the erroneous old practice of 'doctrine of signatures' in which like was seen to cure like. He does not say diet has no effect. This is not a false claim it is agreed on by the British Heart Foundation
http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/conditions/high-cholesterol.aspx.

Im sure some of the conclusions could be updated in light of new evidence but i found the book to be an interesting account of the way our perceptions can cloud rational judgement.
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