- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Limited (8 Nov. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908739347
- ISBN-13: 978-1908739346
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Deceived Wisdom: Why What You Thought Was Right Is Wrong Hardcover – 8 Nov 2012
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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 might not 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, Unpopularscience.co.uk
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 www.sciencebase.com and tweets as @sciencebase to more than 20,000 followers. He lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife.
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Top Customer Reviews
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...
It is also occasionally possibly self-deceived: in my youth the saying was "Feed a Cold to Starve a Fever". The author leaves out the preposition "to", assuming an antithesis (feed colds/starve fevers). The form including "to" is saying that feeding or otherwise take care of yourself during a minor illness helps prevent things getting worse - Feeding the cold starves the fever. So the author's advice actually supports this form of the proverb.
Also, I have often heard this applied to non-medical situations: deal appropriately with a relatively minor problem to prevent it becoming something worse. This is folk wisdom (as another reviewer pointed out) and not deceived wisdom or folk science or bad science at all.) This might seem pedantic, as the author's critique is valid for the proverb as quoted; but he is not dealing with a factual assertion but with proverbial wisdom which has an alternative reading. The author is trying to show the power of science, but while book is often fun, some examples are relatively trivial and this example shows that a scientific critique may in fact be incorrect for grammatical rather than scientific reasons. Folk wisdom is often misquoted and thus unfairly misunderstood. Proverbs often enshrine traditional wisdom in traditional phrasing; thus, a change in language or change in the proverb by accident or because of misunderstanding can make real wisdom appear deceived (and science is no help).
An example is the phrase "the proof is in the pudding" which is a meaningless saying. The original is "the proof of the pudding is in the eating".Read more ›
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...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a very enjoyable, fun read which dispelled a lot of myths I have always accepted without question, almost like an inherrent belief system. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Heather Hill
Really interesting book describing why many things we thought were true aren't. All backed up by independent references. Well worth a read.Published 3 months ago by Elliott Rodgers
Nice little bits to dip in and out, or read in a couple of sittings as I did. Lots of things you have always believed are covered in this book with facts and links to back up... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Matt Shinn
I always knew it is never too cold to snow. Now I have the proof if anyone ever come out with that nonsense!Published 7 months ago by James Bland
An entertaining read that could have been better exemplified. Rather than linger on a single point with multiple, repetitive and unnecessary examples that illustrate the point this... Read morePublished 12 months ago by R101
Book has a great premise but is seriously let down by its execution.
The elements of "deceived wisdom" - which are essentially commonly held... Read more