Top critical review
57 people found this helpful
Did I really find this book disappointing?
on 23 November 2011
Or did I just think that I did? The title implies that the book is going to be full of eureka moments where you are confronted with tricks that your mind is playing on you. In this respect, you might think that you were getting a book on psychology. If so, you would be mistaken. What you are really getting is a book on morality and philosophy in the form of a series of quizzes.
There are 12 of them and I have to say, that despite liking a good quiz, I found them somewhat unengaging. The final one just tests your knowledge of philosophers with dates, places and concepts. Not having studied the subject in any academic way, this is about as interesting as a quiz on sugar production. There are a couple of quizzes which are meant to lead you up a blind alley attempting to justify the existence of God. I have already been up this particular alley, turned round and headed back to the street, so that was two more quizzes that told me nothing. There are a couple of quizzes on deductive reasoning which are OK if you aren't very good at it.
Then there are a lot of quizzes about your moral positions which attempt to find out inconsistencies in them. As you might expect, it's all a bit glib. Can you really reduce moral questions and ethical stands to a few "If you answered A then.... If you answered B then...." I found it all most unenlightening. It might be a good start for some conversations about certain questions. I could imagine this as being distributed in 6th Form study classes for an engaging debate, but if you are going to start doing this with your dinner guests you won't have to burn the bread and butter pudding for them to decide that they never want to accept another of your invitations. Without the discussions, the quizzes aren't interesting as stand alone activities.
3 stars or 2? I think 2, on the basis that not buying it would have been better than buying it. The authors are clearly intelligent and are aware that their book could be a bit glib. It is not a stupid book, just not that interesting or useful, sadly. I have bought another Baggini book and am hoping that it is going to be a little more instructive and entertaining.