- 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: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Do They Think You're Stupid?: 100 Ways of Spotting Spin and Nonsense from the Media, Celebrities and Politicians Paperback – 4 Mar 2010
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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?..."
"...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).Read more ›
`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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incisive, insightful and gloriously skeptical...I really enjoyed the way this book pushes past the surface structure of BS. Great read, recommended for thinkers...Published 2 months ago by John Glyn Hughes
This book is a pleasure to read in bite sized chunks, helping the reader to think more clearly about the stories that appear everyday in the papers and on the tele.Published 6 months ago by M B.
I can understand people feeling hurt after seeing their words examined in such thorough way. However I don't understand them complaining about it as if they were wrongly accused of... Read morePublished on 21 Dec. 2014 by UrbanApe
Only just heard of this guy, and been told this book slags off some of my own work - four years after his publication so he clearly hasn't made any waves. Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2014 by AmazonCustomer
I like the structure of the book. Each short chapter highlights some interesting observations and each can be read in about 10 minutes. Read morePublished on 24 Mar. 2014 by Steven J
Very interesting well thought out and easily understood. A book to make you think and see things in a different lightPublished on 12 Jan. 2014 by D. Greenberg
Lots of short chapters so good for taking on holiday or on the bus, but a lot of it is quite obvious or nitpicking. Good for a quick flick through but won't change your life.Published on 11 Nov. 2013 by William Summers
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. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2013 by Marc Whiffen
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. Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer