Jevin D. West, Carl T. Bergstrom
‘A necessary book for our times. But also just great fun’ Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate
The world is awash in bullshit, and we’re drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Start-up culture elevates hype to high art. These days, calling bullshit is a noble act.
Based on a popular course at the University of Washington, Calling Bullshit gives us the tools to see through the obfuscations, deliberate and careless, that dominate every realm of our lives. In this lively guide, biologist Carl Bergstrom and statistician Jevin West show that calling bullshit is crucial to a properly functioning social group, whether it be a circle of friends, a community of researchers, or the citizens of a nation. Through six rules of thumb, they help us recognize bullshit whenever and wherever we encounter it – even within ourselves – and explain it to a crystal-loving aunt or casually racist grandfather.
Essential reading. Even if you feel you can trudge through verbal bullsh!t easily enough, this book will give you the tools to swim through numerical snake-oil. . . -- Simon Ings * The Telegraph * A modern classic that is troubling in some places, sobering in others, and enlightening from beginning to end. . . Bergstrom and West leave the reader feeling a very particular kind of smarter: the empowered kind. . . It works anywhere, for anyone: the academic, the citizen-scientist, citizen-skeptic, and citizen-curious * Wired * A helpful guide to navigating a world full of doubtful claims based on spurious data. Using clever anecdotes, nods to online culture and allusions to ancient philosophy, the book tells ordinary readers how to spot nonsense-even if they are not numerical whizzes * The Economist * Each of us now swims through deception so pervasive that we no longer realize it's there. Calling Bullshit presents a master class in how to spot it, how to resist it, and how to keep it from succeeding -- Paul Romer, Nobel Laureate If I could make this critical handbook's contents required curriculum for every high school student (thus replacing trigonometry), then I would do so. I highly recommend Calling Bullshit for our modern existence in the age of misinformation -- Cathy O'Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction The information landscape is strewn with quantitative cowflop; read this book if you want to know where not to step -- Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to be Wrong I laughed, I cried -- to read Bergstrom and West's great examples of 'bullshit.' This is a gripping read for anybody who cares about how we are fooled (and how not to be), and the connection to numeracy and science. But it's also just great fun. This is a necessary book for our times -- Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate If you want to read what will surely be a classic, buy Calling Bullshit. It addresses the most important issue of our time: the decline in respect for Truth. It is also a literary masterpiece. Every page -- indeed, every paragraph -- is a new bit of fun -- George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate Takes the reader behind the carefully drawn curtain of disinformation artists, politicians and advertisers ... West and Bergstrom excel in training readers in the practice of spotting BS. It's a bootcamp * E & T Magazine *
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