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Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel - Why Everything You Know is Wrong
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Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel - Why Everything You Know is Wrong

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,716 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
• Singles have a better sex life than married people, right? Wrong! A University of Chicago study shows that married couples are having more sex--30% more--and better sex, than singles. But movies, TV shows, and other reporting about marriage never feature that fact.
• Do we have less free time than we used to? Countless news stories and anecdotes from friends and family m
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Hyperion (first published May 9th 2006)
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murph
May 30, 2008 murph rated it did not like it
Five minutes of research packaged as definitive truth.

Any review is more than this book deserves - so I'll just give an example of Stossel's breathtaking stupidity.

Here's one of the myths he claims to debunk:

Myth: Polygamy harms Women
Fact: The women aren't complaining.

Stossel backs this up with a walkthrough of a polygamist compound where all the women he speaks to seem to be doing just fine.

-Well, that's it then, isn't it? Conclusive proof that polygamy doesn't harm wome-

Wait. What about this
...more
Erika
Oct 05, 2010 Erika rated it did not like it
Note: I listened to the book-on-cd version, read by the illustrious author himself. He has a sing-songy, can-you-believe-people-actually-believe-this-stuff? voice.

The cover shows a bullshit-detecting John Stossel holding a shovel, his weapon of choice. The shovel becomes a motif throghout the tome, appearing most frequently in the catchphrase he uses for chastising the bullshit-mongers: "Get the shovel!" By the twentieth time he says it, one can envision his legions of loyal fans chanting along:
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Tabitha
Jan 19, 2009 Tabitha rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfortunate-crap
Downright stupidity is right.
I'm not going to argue about whether he has his facts straight or not (mostly because in several cases he doesn't), but I am going to point out that it wouldn't matter anyway thanks to the rock-hard shell of arrogance clotted around this book.
I originally picked up the book thinking "Oh myths and lies, this ought to be fun." I had no expectations from Stossel himself, since I've never watched 20/20 or had any contact with anything else he's done. I was assuming that
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Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know anything about this author or book, so I went into this one with no expectations. It was like watching a marathon series of 10-minute senationalist news stories aimed at "revealing the truth". Take the most complicated issues and reduce them to an interview where four or five statements are used to prove your point, and set everyone straight. The most salient feature of Stossel's thinking is that "government" is this big bad monster trying to ruin our way of life — perhaps similiar ...more
Matt
Oct 25, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
I checked this out from the library. It was in the new books section and had an intriguing title. A few days afterwards I was flicking channels and saw the author on a talk show. He acted like a jerk.

I flipped through the book and did not intend to read it. Instead it turned out to be interesting. He took many popular myths and beliefs and attempted to explode them with evidence and statistics.

I don't agree with many of his opinions, but the book made for some thought provoking reading. I don'
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Bethany
Sep 12, 2007 Bethany rated it really liked it
I always enjoy John Stossel's 20/20 reports and was excited he finally released a book based on his recent "myth-busting" stories. If you want comprehensive, in-depth discussion on controversial subjects, this is NOT the book for you. If you would like snippets of information and entertaining food for thought, you will love it. Easy-to-read and great for picking up and putting down in your moments of free time. If you hate this book... you need to lighten up. It is not necessarily thorough, but ...more
Chip
May 16, 2010 Chip rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Topics that everyone should understand. My favorite section is about public schools. A full recap of the school section can be found here. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/st...
Here is part:
School-Choice Proponents Meet Resistance
When the Sanford family moved from Charleston to Columbia, S.C., the family had a big concern: Where would the kids go to school? In most places, you must attend the public school in the zone where you live, but the middle school near the Sanford's new home was rate
...more
Scott
Sep 12, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
Okay, so I can see how some people angrily disagree with this book, claiming that he is misleading the reader with sweeping generalizations about things like the wives of polygamists not hating their arrangement. True, it's hard to prove certain things without going very in-depth, but how exactly are you going to go about that? Are you going to trot the globe and interview every single wife of every single polygamist? Would that be enough? What about polygamists of the past? Can there EVER reall ...more
Josh Hanke
Nov 02, 2009 Josh Hanke rated it it was amazing
What a wonderfully fun, humorous and inviting primer for any person wanting to know more about Libertarianism. While the content isn't deep, it is chock-full of great information across many, many subjects (100+) that collectively provide insight into Libertarian justifications. If you're a fan of the Uncle John Bathroom Readers like myself, you'll be very comfortable with the book's format. Stossel was even able to expand on some small details I had learned briefly from the Freakonomics series ...more
melydia
Dec 19, 2008 melydia rated it liked it
The famous 20/20 anchor takes on a large number of commonly held beliefs and discusses whether or not they are true. I learned quite a bit about a broad range of subjects, and Stossel's straightforward writing style is immensely readable. However, I have a feeling that if I was a die-hard believer in any of the myths covered here I would have left unconvinced and unimpressed. The trouble with this book is that there are too many topics discussed with not enough depth. Most of the myths are cover ...more
Rebecca
Sep 01, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference-books
I really like John Stossel, although sometimes he's so libertarian he makes even me a bit uncomfortable. A lot of the things he had to stay were kind of shocking, and I had some resistance them to them at first: "That can't be right, everybody knows that!" But then I had to stop and go "why do I know X is true instead of Y? I know Y because 'everybody' knows, but who is 'everybody'? And have you met 'everybody'? The vast majority of the 'everybody' is dumb as a sack of rocks." But it's hard to f ...more
Jwonnacott
Jan 14, 2015 Jwonnacott rated it liked it
This book had some pretty interesting sections in it. However, some of the chapters seemed to get repetitive.

I also feel like the author contradicted himself at times to make whatever point he wanted at the time. For example in one portion of the book he explains how easily you can get experts to say whatever you want for a segment on TV. Later in the book he uses "experts" as his inarguable evidence that something is a myth.

Having read some other books that try and prove or disprove theories,
...more
Diane Ehrlich
Dec 09, 2007 Diane Ehrlich rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
John Stossel has some interesting views on a lot of topics. He's very pro-capitalism and anti-big-government. I agree with a lot of what he has to say about lawyers, lobbyists and corrupt politicians being the cause of a lot of today's problems (even many that aren't immediately obvious) but some of what he says just makes him sound ridiculous. Yes, gas today is cheaper by the gallon than ice cream (one of his favorite points) but no one is buying 30 gallons of ice cream at a time and no one dep ...more
Matthew
Mar 13, 2008 Matthew rated it did not like it
poltics notwithstanding, this book suffers greatly from faulty logic and incomplete and/or anecdotal evidence. the afterword tells you all you need to know-this book is in service of an agenda and it shows. as such he tackles gigantic subjects and simplifies them into easily digested soundbites, using the poor logic and evidence mentioned above. i hope no one takes his effort too seriously, because i am not sure he did.

plus, not everything i knew was wrong. i was and am right about some things.
Kenny
Oct 23, 2007 Kenny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: clear-eyed pragmatists
Shelves: current-events
"A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged" is a saying I subscribe to. Stossel's book is a good example of how much we want to believe many incorrect things, despite their untruthfulness, because it makes us feel good to believe them. But "A life based on falsehood is not a life, but merely a shadow thereof" is also true, and facing facts is crucial. And Stossel uses facts to debunk squishy feelings, as he should.
Clark
Sep 15, 2011 Clark rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this book. The first few sections of this book were interesting. Then I came to a subject that I know quite a bit about and it was obvious that his research was extremely lacking. This forced me to question everything else that he described as fact. It was just too much to force myself to slog through.
Ben
Dec 02, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No huge surprises and I don't agree with everything he says, but a lot of it was thought provoking. His style of arguing a point without over-dressing is likeable, an "every man" style of simplicity, and at a couple points he's self-denegrating in a very unapologetic, matter-of-fact way.
Angela
Aug 16, 2007 Angela rated it did not like it
I thought this book was really biost with narrow views. It failed to look at the whole picture of things in many of the arguments presented.
Scott L.
Jul 27, 2011 Scott L. rated it did not like it
Stossel is full of s**t, and this book is a bunch of political drivel.
Mary Lou
Feb 19, 2017 Mary Lou rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Thought provoking if not always convincing.
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 23, 2010 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Wow, that title sounds like I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning doesn't it? Actually, it's the title of the morning book I've been reading for the past week and a half or so. It's by John Stossel, the co-anchor of ABC News' 20/20 fame, and the full title of the book is Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel - Why Everything You Know is Wrong. It's an interesting title and how I came to read this book is interesting in itself. You see, my college-enrolled daughter ...more
Tyler
Nov 11, 2008 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody!
I realize that everything in this book needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The issues are explored through Stossel's glasses and the arguments are very, very compelling and enlightening. I learned loads about how the media places spin on stories (and exaggerate the truth), how politicians are catering to the lobbyists and how slimy many lawyers can be. Stossel attacks teacher's unions, school vouchers, Title IX (if a lawyer wins a civil rights lawsuit (such as Title IX) in many states, they ...more
Mark Geise
Jul 10, 2016 Mark Geise rated it really liked it
“Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity” is an entertaining book by John Stossel. I’m a fan of Stossel because he is one of the few libertarian voices in the mainstream media. He wrote this book during his time with 20/20, so many of the myths that he dispels come from stories that he did for 20/20. If anyone is attached to any of the myths that Stossel brings up, I could imagine there being some pushback and criticism of Stossel’s approach, but I believe he is right in most instances. I would hav ...more
Kellie
Nov 12, 2008 Kellie rated it really liked it
Sometimes I find it difficult to support my beliefs when I'm trying to defend my thoughts about government, big business, education etc. Now I have a source.
A very arrogant liberal once told me I was wrong "because we did the research". I'm still stewing over this. You can do all the research you want but if your source is tainted politically or personally, you may be spouting someone's lies and not even realize it. Sometimes, what we think is fact, can also be only half true or totally false.
I
...more
Todd Stockslager
Review title: Stossel seems easily surprised by things I hope most already now
But maybe I'm the one who would be surprised by the absence of reason in the world around me. Seems like simple logic would tell people that funeral directors are often greedy predators, that bottled water is a ripoff, that government hurts more than it helps, but perhaps logic isn't so simple, and sense isn't so common as we would like.

Stossel (what is he up to these days?) for a while in the 90s and the 2000's was k
...more
Ellen
Aug 08, 2012 Ellen rated it liked it
As a long-time correspondent for ABC's 20/20 John Stossel has covered a lot of scams, myths, lies, cheats, and, yes, some downright stupidity. In this book he discusses business fraud, government excesses, education, frivolous lawsuits, healthcare, faith and parenting. Although I think many of his topics are great fodder for discussions I also think that anyone can find an expert to agree with the point they are so adamant in promoting. I don't agree with a lot of his conclusions even though he ...more
Tommy
Mar 29, 2008 Tommy rated it it was ok
This book was not as economically focused as I thought it was going to be but it did cover a broad range of topics. Stossel makes some (emphasis SOME) good points but most of his economic positions are extremely flawed and just irritating. That is a very infuriating part of the book though (that and his views on women).

some of his other 'social' views and his personal consumer stories are fairly sensical but the flaw with the entire book is lack of support (or credible support). A lot of it is j
...more
Jenn
Apr 25, 2012 Jenn rated it it was ok
Some of what he has to say is interesting. I especially like the idea of how competition can naturally fix a lot of problems in the economy and with the school system. This idea could have made up an entire book--one I would be interested in reading. My problem is that the majority of his arguments are blanket statements that he fails to adequately back up. Maybe he just didn't bother to add exactly where he got his facts and information, but as an English major, this is a huge no-no, and it mak ...more
Ray
May 06, 2008 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on input from others, I expected NOT to like this book, but that wasn't the case. I can't say everything Stossel talked about was new and earthshaking, or that I bought into everything he said, but there was more than enough I did agree with. For example, I'm not a bottled water drinker, so when he says that tap water is every bit as good, if not better, than bottled water, it's no news to me. And I believe the Country is lawsuit crazy, so when he talks about how medical liability cases li ...more
Missy
May 18, 2008 Missy rated it really liked it
Interesting book. It frustrated me to hear of the corruption and waste by government even thought I know it happens all the time. But to hear so many examples and to read of politicians who just don't seem to get it makes me wonder how so many people (voters) can get it so wrong! Also, the chapter on lawyers was unsettling. However, there was a small blurb about polygamy where Stossel got some of his information wrong or was careless in his statements. That made me wonder where else he may have ...more
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