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I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than That

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,085 ratings  ·  157 reviews
The very best journalism from one of Britain's most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma. In 'Bad Science', Ben Goldacre hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science. In 'Bad Pharma', he put the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. Now the pick of the jo ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 23rd 2014 by Fourth Estate Ltd (first published January 1st 2014)
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Petra-X
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was so variable. There were chapters that were really hard-hitting, naming names - which companies are ripping you off, which doctors are just publicising stuff for the money, exposing the scams, the pseudo-science and pouring scorn on the sort of people who if this was politics would be called conspiracy theorists. The sort of people who believe that there is "something" in vaccines causing autism, that really you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day (this was a marketing campaign f ...more
Caroline
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, 4-star-reads
A marvellous book. I am new to Ben Goldacre's writings, which is both a good and a bad thing - good because I was unfamiliar with all the articles reproduced in this book from his journalism in The Guardian, and bad because it took me a while to understand the issues he was writing about. But I did get into them after a while, and the book progressed into an eye-opening and exciting read. He is also a very funny writer, which gave a nice leavening to the serious subjects he was writing about.

Bas
...more
Trevor
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the second of this guy’s books I’ve read and the second that I’ve enjoyed. You know that old saying about damned lies and statistics, well, this book helps us learn to focus on the sort of lies that are likely to be told with stats and how to detect them. And it does this through a series of worked examples, even showing when the person using statistics badly doesn’t even know they are ‘lying’. Since this book is basically a series of articles that appeared mostly in the Guardian, as the ...more
Brian Clegg
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was somewhat unnerved when Ben Goldacre's latest arrived in the post. I generally love his work, but this is a positive doorstep of a book at 474 pages, so I recoiled a little - but I shouldn't have worried, because as always it's readable, entertaining and enlightening. I got through the whole thing in two days, admittedly helped by spending six hours reading it on two train journeys, which, as a result, flew by.

What we have a selection of Goldacre's writing on bad science and the like since
...more
Kevin
Goldacre is a treasure: "Pulling bad science apart is the best teaching gimmick I know for explaining how good science really works."

The Good:
This collection of journalism from my favorite popular science writer (focus on stats applied to public health, with a heap of big pharma, bad "science" quacks, and ugly media) is like reading a memoir of the author's mind, which I much prefer over generic here's-what-I-claim-to-remember-of-my-life memoirs.

Bridging the gap between science and society:
--G
...more
Mohamed al-Jamri
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Collection of his most fun articles and fights and academic papers written over 20 years. Science. Explains the critical appraisal process of science. Real scientists accept criticism. Statistic toy book. Study design.

No repititions. Lists the contents of book. A lot.

1. Drugs, A rock of cracks.
Opium raid in Afghanistan by UK troops. Media misinformation. UK minister of defense got it wrong too.

2. The least surrogate outcome.
Statistics. Drugs related deaths not counted in UK.

3. Heroin prescriptio
...more
Anna
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because the name is awesome, and because it sounded good. And while the idea behind it is great, and I did chuckle a few times, I feel like Goldacre's writing style is slightly annoying. He seems like one of those funny-but-only-in-small-doses kind of people, and even though I read this book in very small doses (like one or two columns per day, sometimes not even that), I still felt like there is too much repetition in this book. Probably would not feel like it if you'd actua ...more
Heather
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The very best journalism from one of Britain's most admired and outspoken science writers, author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma.

Have I heard of Ben Goldacre? I think so. Have I ever read his articles? Somehow, I haven't. Do I enjoy someone picking apart falsehoods in reporting and research? You betcha. So this collection was ridiculously enjoyable.

My background is journalism, and I have a lot of fundamental problems with misreporting of stuff. I've even boycotted the news aft
...more
ashley c
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I absolutely loved this and needed this in my life. I've never been good with statistics. If it wasn't for a good friend of mine I would have flunked badly - hence I need this book as a refresher, even if as a layperson making my way through the ocean of information that bombards me everyday, and not as a plucky undergrad struggling through her essays.

Goldacre is also a very funny writer, and he writes with such sarcasm and scorn about journalists who misrepresent facts, academics that publish b
...more
Henry Manampiring
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this, and at least be less susceptible to stupidity. Ben Goldacre is a critic of bad science and quackery. The book is compilation of his column writings on The Guardian, and hence makes "snackable" content you can start and finish at your convenience.

Very good anecdotes to understand the dangers of media sensationalism that creates fear based on irresponsible science or pseudoscience. Like "vaccine causes autism" nonsense. Along the way you will learn about scientific methods and why evid
...more
Kirsty Hay
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ben calls this his 'toilet book' or a collection of his 'best fights' it's pretty funny in a 'gosh I probably fall for this nonsense all the time' type way. However, it really does opens your eyes to some of the under researched and misleading health-related stories that the media churn out, and the implications these sensationalist headlines can have on public health... If you haven't read Ben's books before, check out his first, Bad Science. Or follow him at www.badscience.net ...more
Alex Sarll
Collecting pieces not already cannibalised in the essential Bad Science, much of this will be familiar to devoted readers of Goldacre's Guardian column, though it also takes in everything from pieces for the FT and medical journals to a brochure for a miniature railway and an undergraduate essay, regarding whose style Goldacre now professes a degree of embarrassment. While it's certainly not as fluent as the more recent pieces, it's still peppered with the sort of bombshells we've subsequently c ...more
John
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scanned-books
Subtract about a star if you regularly read his Bad Science column, because most of the book came from there. I don't get the Guardian, and only occasionally read his blog, so this wasn't a problem for me. On the other hand, if you've read the book Bad Science, there's quite a lot of stuff in the same sort of themes - I'd probably suggest reading that first.

But it's got all the favourite characters (McKeith, the daily mail, MMR, brain gym). Maybe the short-form pieces don't have the same impact,
...more
Alex G
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I loathe to give anything by Ben Goldacre less than full praise. His writing is as important as it is engaging. But as a book this compendium of his articles becomes, after a while, a bleak trudge through a field of quacks, ill informed journalists, manipulated politicians and religious zealots.

I know Dr. Goldacre's job is to call our the bullsh*tters. But 3 chapters in and I was pining for recollections of journalists and scientists that got it right. More Archie Cochranes for example.

This, I
...more
Kathryn
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Brian
As was promised, I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me how much I love Ben Goldacre's writing style. I enjoyed some sections more than others (a few of the essays made me laugh out loud), but as a collection it worked really well. Would recommend!

(Yes I started reading this in April and it's taken me until December to finish it, but that isn't a reflection of how much I enjoyed it! It just inadvertently turned out to be a holiday book, for some unknown reason. Thus, it is probably the most
...more
Hella Comat
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent expose of all the bad science claims we read about in the headlines - Ben Goldacre is a columnist who takes a closer look at the studies behind medical, science, social or political claims. He examines how carefully (or not!) science experiments were conducted and analyzed, usually to find that there were major faults such as low populations, no control groups, inaccurate summaries, bad statistical analysis, selective studies, and all the other errors that cause bad science to happen a ...more
Arne
Jul 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saying that I enjoyed Bad Science more is actually just a measure of how good Bad Science was. This is an entertaining and illuminating read, it gets a bit Scooby Doo, where you can see where the article is going in the first paragraph but I absolutely love his sense of humour and the research that goes into his articles.

A practical personal take-away for me is how to make re-hidrate; 5 tsps of sugar 1 tsp of salt, thanks to Ben I will have significantly less hang-overs in the future. Capital s
...more
Richard Thomas
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
A thought provoking and stimulating collection of articles from about the best de-bunker of twaddle there is. He has a cold eye for the pseudo scientific and for journalistic idiocy in swallowing whole the nonsense perpetrated by the unscrupulous and those who have commercial or religious axes to grind. This (and his previous books) should be the bedside reading for all politicians and journalists as well as the rest of us who need a little help to see through what someone is telling us.
Sian Bradshaw
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is quite a hefty thing and requires slow reading because of the detail. It is rather good and if you like poking holes in idiots' theories about appalling science, it's a bit of a giggle. The plethora of those declaring qualifications they don't have, theorising that X is harmful but you just happen to sell the anti X potion, and sheer nuttery.

Dominic Carlin
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
There are many issues with reading a collection of articles written over the course of 10+ years. Stories which might be interesting and topical in 2005, often aren’t in 2019.

The other problem combines the repetition of history and exposure. Writing articles attacking MMR vaccine truthers and homeopathists is too easy. These might be fine when you’re reading them once a year, but when you’re reading them once an hour it’s different.

Similarly, reading Ben Goldacre once a week - in articles <500
...more
Daniel Smith
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty average. In case it’s not clear this book is basically all of the articles that Ben Goldacre has published in his column in the Guardian, relating to bad science & most importantly the miss portrayal of science in the media. And therefore as it’s broken up into many of his column articles that he has made, each section is small, and you find that some of what you are reading (a lot actually) has been said before. And it can sometimes feel like you’re going around in circles. Like I imagin ...more
DiscoSpacePanther
Finally picked this up again, re-read bits and finished it off.

This is an entertaining series of essays/articles from Ben Goldacre's Bad Science Column in the Guardian.

Pointing out the scurrilous fakery of alternative medicine as well as the over-credulous hearing that its proponents often get from the world of journalism is both satisfying (when a charlatan is exposed) but also exhaustingly frustrating (because it seems to be an exercise in whack-a-mole).

Definitely worth reading, and definitely
...more
Graham
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worried

Worried . You should be. This book exposes yet more falsehoods , lies and buffoonery from the press , cranks and quacks as well as doctors and scientists. It's amazing how many lies are told and how gullible most people are.
Graham
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
enjoyable and illuminating examples of bad science and all-round bastardry in politics, journals, psychology and medicine as well as highlighting good practitioners and good practice
Sylvie Helen
This was probably better than a three star but wasn't super ground-breaking for me so a three star rating it gets. Bonus points for how enjoyable this was though.
Gina Hopkins
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great easy read

The usual satirical writing that accompanies his writing! Personally, I liked the format, it kept it interesting and snappy. Great for a little reading before bed.
Martin Watts
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Journalism

Ben Goldacre's work exposing all sorts of pseudoscience, collected into a handy book, fully referenced, foot noted and indexed with links, all written with the witty style that must so upset chiropractors, homeopathy and all his other targets.
James
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
With a passing nod to the title, this is a little bit more than just columns previously in the Guardian. But not that much more, and as I never seem to learn, the style and content of work that suits weekly bursts of 700 words does not make for a good cover to cover read.

The counter to that is that you do not have to read it cover to cover. But this is not a dry reference book, or a list of interesting facts. This is writing intended to be entertaining but on a serious topic, and by a good write
...more
Eric Lawton
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of Goldacre's columns in the Guardian (British Newspaper), but even if you are a regular reader of his column, this is worth getting so you can re-read them.
Goldacre's subject is those who misrepresent science for various reasons: a more exciting newspaper article, profit, ideology or carelessness.
The back cover cites The Daily Telegraph as saying ‘This is a book to make you enraged’ and it does exactly that. (There is some irony here as the Telegraph is a frequent target of
...more
Raj
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-science
This collection of short writing by Ben Goldacre is mostly drawn from his Guardian Column, Bad Science, where he took apart stories in the media that were built on bad science, often repeatedly. I'm really impressed with Goldacre's work and the amount of time and effort he sometimes had to spend to get past obstructive companies (and sometimes journalists), to get to the original research (or contacting the researchers, if it wasn't available) and lay out not only his conclusions in a very reada ...more
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Ben Goldacre is a British science writer and psychiatrist, born in 1974. He is the author of The Guardian newspaper's weekly Bad Science column and a book of the same title, published by Fourth Estate in September 2008.

Goldacre is the son of Michael Goldacre, professor of public health at the University of Oxford, the nephew of science journalist Robyn Williams, and the great-great-grandson of Sir
...more

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