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Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons, and the Erosion of Common Sense
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Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons, and the Erosion of Common Sense

3.23  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In 1979 two events occurred that would shape the next twenty-five years. In America and Britain, an era of weary consensus was displaced by the arrival of a political marriage of fiery idealists: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher transformed politics with a combination of breezy charm and assertive "Victorian values." In Iran, the fundamentalist cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by PublicAffairs (first published May 12th 2004)
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May 06, 2017 Bryan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Glad I have finished it. Brought up some interesting issues and analyzed them, historical and political, but not something I would care to read again.
Jan 31, 2009 Yofish rated it really liked it
Rants on and on about the waning of the enlightenment and rational thought. I agreed with him mostly, but it was tiring reading page after page of the rants. Some targets were too easy. (Really? Politicians will tell white lies in pursuit of votes? Post-modernists are wacko?) Hits the right and the left about equally hard.

OK, this is really weird. I had this written down on my list of books to read, under "How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World." That seems to be the name of the book in Britain.

Josephus FromPlacitas
Mar 07, 2008 Josephus FromPlacitas rated it it was ok
Paeans to rationality are fine and good, but this seemed more like a paean to "How Very, Very Much I Read In the Past Three Decades." It does not make a strong, coherent book, just a few scattered strong points. It feels like a bunch of overlong newspaper columns threaded together.

Wheen really goes off the rails in the last chapter, jumping on the bandwagon demonizing the anti-war movement. A signer of the execrable Euston Manifesto, where leftish lights all got quivery in the knees after 9/11 a
Steven Williams
Apr 04, 2015 Steven Williams rated it really liked it
I felt it to be a pretty good book. This is the first book I have read by Francis Wheen. He writes clearly and continues to hold the attention. Although I was more or less familiar with the topics covered, it still was filled with lots of interesting particulars and explanations. While he did not focus on religious belief per se, Wheen brought those beliefs in to the story when it was pertinent to those other beliefs he was writing about. The most focused chapter on god was the end timers one. H ...more
Mostly a catalog of ideological blindness on both the Right and the Left. Wheen makes an effort to tie everything back to rational Enlightenment ideals, but mostly the book reads as a long list of why the Right is stupid for believing in trickle-down economics and the power of the market, while the Left is dangerous for reducing life to relativism and for blind hatred of America.

I have to admit, I enjoy anyone skewering fanatics, and while I always enjoy taking the piss out of conservatives, I a
Mar 31, 2015 David rated it liked it
The title of this book overseas is How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, which I think is a better name. Anyhow, I was on the verge of giving this book 4 stars, because I think sacred cows should be tipped every now and then, and I took visceral pleasure in at least some of his rants. On the other hand, for a relatively short book, it covers a lot of ground with widely disparate targets, and I don't think it all comes together that well, a notion which is reinforced by the lame attempt of the clo ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 14, 2017 Daniel Kukwa rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading this book was like a flashback to all of the political science & history readings throughout my university career; this book was published in 2004, so all that I studied is here, in one giant mass. It really wants to be a grand synthesis of socio-political-historical reactionism over the previous thirty years, but it isn't successful. It reads more like a long catalog of reactionary views, and only rarely offers some analysis or attempts to put these views into some context. It seems ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Drily amusing overview of current social trends the writer disapproves of. Wheen sometimes indulges in a moronic notion of his own (as when he cites with approval Richard Dawkins' suggestion that one should be able to sue astrology columnists for providing inaccurate advice), but on the whole this is both fun and insightful.
Apr 05, 2009 Kevin rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
Terrible. Yes, the book had chapters. Each chapter was labeled. But I'm not so sure the author kept to the chapter topic. Maybe it is because the chapter, like the book itself, had no point. There is not really any direction anywhere in here. Mostly it is filled with what the author considers to be dumb things that dumb people have said or done. But the writing? Really? This was published?
Sep 14, 2008 Julien rated it really liked it
American edition of How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World. Frequently hilarious attack on business con-men, new agers, Princess Diana and her cult, politicians, religious cretins, vapid academics, and other anti-Enlightenment dopes.
Ex Leftist Orwell Is Spinning
This is the 'How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World' book for the American Market; don't buy both. If I remember correctly this has one chapter fewer than the UK version.
Mar 15, 2007 Jafar rated it liked it
Elitism for common folks.
Jun 02, 2008 Annette rated it did not like it
trying too hard to be clever

almost interesting reading, but wasn't. didn't finish. labourous reading but very interesting topics.
Jonathan Morrow
Nov 17, 2015 Jonathan Morrow rated it it was ok
Kind of a rambling book, but he does make some good points. There's just no coherent thesis, though. Fairly easy read, but overall not worth the time.
Patricia Ferreira
Jul 27, 2016 Patricia Ferreira rated it liked it
Escellent book!
Phil Cannon
Sep 29, 2013 Phil Cannon rated it it was ok
An incoherent rant about the absurdities of the modern era done with wit and a total lack of structure.
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Sep 19, 2014
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Jun 18, 2010
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May 08, 2016
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Ameer Ayaz rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2012
Lordoftheonionrings rated it it was ok
May 22, 2012
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Phillip LeRoux rated it it was ok
Jan 30, 2017
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May 11, 2014
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Dec 24, 2008
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Francis James Baird Wheen (born 22 January 1957) is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster.

Wheen was educated at Copthorne Prep School, Harrow School and Royal Holloway College, University of London. At Harrow he was a contemporary of Mark Thatcher who has been a recurring subject of his journalism.[citation needed] He is a member of the 'soap' side of the Wheen family, whose family business
More about Francis Wheen...

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