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Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules: Separating Fact from Fiction, and the Science of Everyday Life

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Quacks and pundits beware!

The internet is a powerful beast when it comes to science; the answer to any query you may have is just a few keystrokes away. But when there are multiple answers from various sources, how do we know what information is reliable? In Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules, bestselling author Dr. Joe Schwarcz takes a critical look at how facts are misconst
...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by ECW Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Angie
Apr 18, 2015 Angie rated it really liked it
I loved this book, but it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I thought it would give some advice on how to sort through nonsense on the web, how to tell an authoritative source from a nonsensical one. Instead, the answer seems to be that Dr. Joe is an authoritative source, so we should just read his stuff.

So all in all, the combination of the blurb and the approach of the book are a little, well, hubristic? off-putting? But that only shows up in the introduction, the blurb, and the conclu
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Lauralee
Apr 06, 2015 Lauralee rated it it was amazing
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This was interesting, plainly written, and provided great explanations for the questions and topics covered.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the scathing indictment of Doctor Oz, the master of pseudo-science.

I think the only Con I see with this book is that it doesn't provide a lot of resources to do further research on your own if you want to learn more.

If I hadn't been committed to writing a review, I would have prefer
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Hilary
Jun 08, 2015 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, science
The so-called "junk science" is everywhere now. It's easy to see another alarming heading on a newsfeed, easy to share and yet hard to analyze, so this collection of short articles explaining common misunderstandings and misrepresentations, whether deliberate (I'll point at PETA's "chicken wing" statements here) or unintentional, is very welcome.

It's a good book for dipping into, one chapter at a time. It's also ideal for leaving in a communal area, or for chemistry teachers to inspire students
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Amanda Wilson
May 04, 2015 Amanda Wilson rated it it was ok
From Netgalley for a Review:

I wanted to like this book, I love the idea of taking a hard look at some of the really preposterous myths floating around the internet, especially the ones relating to outrageous health claims. I loathe them, I hate the way they are usually set up to take advantage of people who are desperate for a solution to a health problem or afraid for their health, or possibly even worse...these people are just plain stupid and think they know the solution to a problem because
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Tim
Aug 11, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but not nearly as much as I would have if:

a) it featured a bibliography.

b) it weren't riddled with strawman arguments.

The entire premise of the book is the debunking of pseudoscience and commonly held misconceptions. I have a science background, enough of one to be familiar with a lot of the material discussed by Dr. Joe. I also have a skeptic's fascination with alternative medicine, which covered a lot of the rest of it. He actually did a pretty good job with the chemistr
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Nick Null
Jan 27, 2016 Nick Null rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Meh
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

The internet is a powerful beast when it comes to science; the answer to any query you may have is just a few keystrokes away. But when there are multiple answers from various sources, how do we know what information is reliable? In Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules, bestselling author Dr. Joe Schwarcz takes a critical look at how facts are misconstrued in the media. He debunks the myths surrounding canned food, a
...more
Ron
May 15, 2015 Ron rated it liked it
Unfortunately, despite the sub heading (Separating Fact from Fiction), Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules is better at pointing out fallacies then providing answers. You can read these short tales about science/food/health quackery and be entertained and informed at times. But do not depend upon Dr. Joe as a legitimate source for a paper or even an argument. As he points out in one story, just because it is in print does not mean it is true. Always, always verify! Especially when you are reading with ...more
Rob
Feb 24, 2016 Rob rated it it was ok
Series of brief articles or blog posts about science, history, nutrition, and daily life. Although the articles are loosely grouped, they appear to be about random topics that struck the author's fancy. In general, his bent is to show that there's a lot of pseudo-science out there which inhibits good decision making. Also some interesting background on the origins of things we use in daily living. A fun read in between things, like an interesting conversation with someone who has done his ...more
Elizabeth
Aug 08, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
While this was entertaining at times, and I did (potentially ) learn new things, this book did not add at all to my, or any reader's, ability to discern the truthfulness of any claim. In fact, the author made claims in the same manner and tone as many of the sources that he debunks.
So while I may trust him as a source over others, I still feel the need to verify his claims independently, as I cannot do that based on his quoted research.
LillyBooks
Jun 27, 2015 LillyBooks rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed the goal of this book, I found that for something written by a scientist and that is attempting to scientifically refute certain myths that it was not very deep. It felt too brief and shallow. I think the author may have been more concerned with brevity and maintaining that cheerful tone than in conveying hard science. It is possible to write a concise, accurate, educational book that presents truths in a positive light without winking through-out.
Lexy
I saw Joe Schwarzc on a local talk show and decided I would check out this book. I enjoyed the book but wish there was some kind of order or continuity to it. the topics that were tackled just seemed to be entered into randomly, there was no flow from chapter to chapter. The information presented in the book was interesting and educational but at times this artsy fartsy had a hard time understanding some of the underlying chemistry.
Rayfes Mondal
Sep 05, 2016 Rayfes Mondal rated it really liked it
Great collection of articles taking on misinformation on the internet regarding chemicals
Karen
Oct 05, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: partially-read
I have had to set this aside for now. I got about 1/3 of the way into it but it became overdue at the library and I was unable to renew. Nonfiction is a slog for me these days, although this is very interesting and I even read some aloud to my boyfriend. I do plan to pick it back up sometime, but for now, it remains Partially Read.
victor harris
Jul 27, 2015 victor harris rated it liked it
As the title indicates it attempts to distinguish science from pseudo-science. A broad range of topics are covered from food consumption to harmful chemicals and it offers interesting historical snapshots on how such myths and false cures evolved. Readers should be forewarned it contains very detailed discussions of biological and chemical structures, so it is challenging reading.
Melanie Clemmer
Jan 24, 2016 Melanie Clemmer rated it really liked it
I thought the author did an excellent job of explaining how the science worked to help us better understand how the pseudoscientific community gets it wrong. Each chapter is more like an essay and easy to read in snippets.
Susuluco
For some reason I was expecting something different of this book.
It is really science from everyday life. However, I did not find a good link between chapters, and some of the explanations were quite short for me.
Shira
Jul 10, 2015 Shira rated it it was ok
Different parts of his book seem to give contradictory information about diet and various other areas of life. I found his writing entertaining, but the information/conclusions were contradictory.
Elaine
Elaine rated it it was amazing
Nov 11, 2015
Tim
Tim rated it did not like it
May 01, 2015
Meggan
Meggan rated it liked it
Oct 23, 2015
Jo Elsken
Jo Elsken rated it liked it
May 04, 2015
Elina Hayosh
Elina Hayosh rated it liked it
May 01, 2015
Susuluco
Susuluco rated it did not like it
Sep 09, 2015
Cherie
Cherie rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2016
Tris Jose
Tris Jose rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2016
Randall
Randall rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2015
Rajesh
Rajesh rated it liked it
May 15, 2015
Jennifer Lea
Jennifer Lea rated it it was ok
Jun 12, 2016
Isabelle Huot
Isabelle Huot rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2015
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Dr. Joe Schwarcz holds a PhD in chemistry and is host of the radio program The Dr. Joe Show, directo of McGill University's Office for Science & Society and the author of fourteen bestselling books. Well known for his informative and entertaining lectures, Dr. Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching and deciphering science for the public.
More about Joe Schwarcz...

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