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Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash
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Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Over the past few decades, celebrity culture’s grip on our society has tightened. For Timothy Caulfield, a health science expert, this culture has a measurable influence on individual health-care decisions. But this is not a book about celebrity culture. Nor does it mock those who enjoy it (Caulfield in fact loves celebrity culture). Instead he identifies and debunks the ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Viking Canada
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Krista
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything isn't quite the book I expected it to be, or at least not entirely. In the first section, author (and professor/health science expert/celebrity culture aficionado) Timothy Caulfield personally puts celebrity-endorsed health and beauty regimes to the test (and this was, for some reason, what I thought the whole book would focus on). In the second section, Caulfield uses science (statistics, peer-reviewed journal articles, extensive personal interviews ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Commercial Photography

Since Ol' Goopy isn't the author, it's cool for me to talk smack about her when I read this one, right??????
Michelle Rotteau
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. While some of the criticism that the research in this book is a little shallow or that it is repetitive may be valid, the overriding message is so vital that I feel this book deserves 5 stars for it alone.

The message is that if you spend your life (and life savings) trying to attain some aspect of celebrity, you will fail. Additionally, you will have lost the time, energy and heart that you sunk into reaching for that ineffable goal. This includes not just being "famous" but also being
...more
Specialk
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
This book took a left hand turn downhill really quickly.

First off - the title is misleading. To a point. The first chapter is exactly what I expected/wanted: documented and scientifically performed research that underlines why fad diets, lifestyles and other regimes most often promoted by celebrities are bullshit. It was glorious. I devoured it.

Then come parts one and two. Here we lose a lot of science - while studies are cited, they are admittedly (by the author) not the most methodological.
...more
Zainab
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
The book started off strong and presented some pretty interesting information and data. However, after the first few chapters, the focus of the book shifted and everything became quite redundant and repetitive. It eventually turned into a book about why you can't achieve "celebrity" status and that you shouldn't even try. Overall the book was quite negative, redundant, laden with mismatched statistics and data, redundant, and as the author mentions throughout the book - dream crushing... and did ...more
Chuck Slack
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This book started strong and I appreciate the premise but the last half of the book lost my interest.
John
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So you want to be a star. You have what it takes to be a household name. With hard work and dedication you know you can make it to the top where untold fame, fortune and unbridled happiness awaits. If you’re sure you want to leave your day job to realize your destiny, do yourself a favor and read this book. If you have a child who has real talent and dedication and who is ready to quit school to become a star, then read this book together.

On its surface, this book looks like a light-hearted
...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Despite the tabloid-like cover of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? this is a book about a serious subject. People pay attention to famous people like Gwyneth and professor of health law and policy Timothy Caulfield is concerned about that. And although the topic is serious, Caulfield brings a lot of humor to the book, as well as his public health and legal knowledge.

Perhaps, like me, you think that since you generally ignore celebrity advice, this doesn't concern you. Caulfield has
...more
Anne-Marie
"Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything? When celebrity culture and science clash" is an entertaining non-fiction book by Timothy Caulfield exploring what it means to be in celebrity-obsessed world. In particular he looks at the authority of celebrity especially around health, diet, and beauty, as well as the illusions of the everyday person of obtaining fame and fortune. As always he backs it up with lots of evidence, interviews with people (including actors, struggling musicians, academics, ...more
Maxine
This is a fascinating look at the vagaries of celebrity life, along with a fantastic debunking of the 'health claims' made by various celebrities (from snail facials to juice cleanses). Caulfield uses himself as a guinea pig for much of this, and reports back on the results and the science. From trying out for American Idol, to facials, to Gwyneth Paltrow's 21 day cleanse diet.

Caulfield is a great writer - funny and wry, and easily able to describe the science and the studies behind what he is
...more
Christy
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review is based on an ARC I received.

I loved Caulfield's The Cure for Everything. I read and re-read it. I would own a copy but I'm waiting for my mother to forget about her copy and then I'm going to grab hers and read it again. There is something fun and refreshing about Caulfield's style of writing. It is no-nonsense and confirms so many of the things I already suspected but he isn't all doom and gloom. Instead he does a good job mixing hard truths with the positive.

Is Gwyneth Paltrow
...more
Todd Martin
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Using Gwyneth Paltrow as a poster child for unsubstantiated medical advice, Timothy Caulfield (professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta … eh?) investigates celebrity culture and the influence these individuals have on health fads. Amongst the nonsense for which no scientific evidence of effectiveness exists are: detox diets, cleanse diets, colonics, vitamin supplements, vagina steaming (yes, believe it or not, that’s a thing), juicing, cupping, ...more
Lori Henry
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Why does something have to be proven by Western science in order for it to be considered credible? Caulfield uses his "health science expert" and academic background to refute any claim that isn't "proven" by a Western study. Sigh. While a lot of what he writes makes sense to me, I couldn't get past the fact that he would consider something that was studied by a scientist as "true" and everything else as a ridiculous claim. I get it: most of the examples seemed totally bizarre and ridiculous, ...more
Hadley
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Penguin Random House for the ARC!
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Caulfield's writing is balanced, accessible, and funny--great nonfiction for those who don't particularly like nonfiction. And the subject matter could not be more pertinent. Celebrity culture and the propagation of fantastic and unattainable goals is a serious social problem, one with effects that will become more damaging with each generation. I would recommend this book to anyone. You will learn and have fun
...more
Diana
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The short answer to the title? Yes. This book was pretty great--I laughed out loud often while reading. Caulfield debunks many celebrity-hyped trends, explores the reasons why people strive to be famous, and proves that statistically, most will fail. This book was accessible, engaging, and a fairly quick read. Bonus points for all the "Canadian-isms" in the book. I would have liked a little more on Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaccine movement, or just more debunking overall compared to the other ...more
Barb Wiseberg
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How could I resist a book with such a great title?

Written by a professor, whose research including subscribing to People Magazine for a year, this book was a great escape.

Starting with a Gwyneth-inspired cleanse, to debunking the probability that our kids will become celebrities, I enjoyed the book cover to cover.

Paul Childs
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Well written and clear. although if you're looking for celebrity pseudo-science trashing all the way through you'll be disappointed, the second half is more of a social science analysis of the concept of celebrity, and a critical analysis of what anyone's chances are of reaching the top of the celebrity heap in entertainment, sports etc. Well worth the read.
Kim
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was super lucky to get an ARC of this book from goodreads first reads. This book was fascinating. I really enjoyed all of the science information. There was a good mix of science and humor. The author does a few of his own experiments to test some claims which were hilarious. Words like detoxify will bring your eye rolls to a whole new level after this.
Nat
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, canadian
Very good but not what I expected. The first half of the book is about strange trends in nutrition, health and beauty but the whole second half is about how being famous is not a realistic goal. Apparently this is a popular life goal for many kids these days.
Gina Elle
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Pleasantly entertained and informed.
Lana
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought that it was a very well written book with lots of research to support each topic. Enjoyed it immensely.
Elizabeth
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I could not resist this book because of the title. The answer to the question it poses is, in a word, "yes."

This book is an entertaining and frequently humorous discussion of a serious subject: how endorsement of products and advice on health and beauty by celebrities gives credibility to diets, lifestyle choices and health decisions that are scientifically unfounded and even potentially harmful. Gwyneth is an obvious topic of discussion, because of the success of her Goop empire. Pamela
...more
Kara
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Debating between 3.5 and 4 stars. This book is well researched, well written and humorous. The material is outlined very logically, which is much appreciated. I am slightly disappointed that the book didn't focus more on things celebrities endorse or say; which is what I thought the book's focus would be. Wish more pages were spent on the food, health practices and beauty products because those sections were super interesting. I think less discussion on why people are obsessed with being famous ...more
Graham Heslop
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I really want to give this book a higher rating. I have a growing respect for Caulfield's relentless and well researched criticism of celebrity culture, particularly in the areas of health, image, discontentment and social media. This books lends pages to all of these issues. But I wonder if a shorter, punchier piece could not have made the many necessary points Caulfield does, without the avalanche of anecdotes and narrated studies.

Perhaps I am being unfair, or failing to appreciate this book's
...more
Debra Komar
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
From the same school of pseudo-scientific thought as Malcolm Gladwell. Anecdote = proof, apparently (at least to non-scientists like Caulfield and Gladwell).

Trying hard to be an academic take on celebrity. The tone is often snarky and the author tries hard to be funny. The result is neither scholarship nor pop culture writing but some weird hybrid.

The first section debunks celebrity claims re: diet and beauty. The next two sections look at celebrity itself, through selective interviews of
...more
John
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So you want to be a star. You have what it takes to be a household name. With hard work and dedication you know you can make it to the top where untold fame, fortune and unbridled happiness awaits. If you’re sure you want to leave your day job to realize your destiny, do yourself a favor and read this book. If you have a child who has real talent and dedication and who is ready to quit school to become a star, then read this book together.

On its surface, this book looks like a light-hearted
...more
Karla
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The answer is yes.....yes she is. But you already knew that and my correct confirmation bias (yes I am confirming my confirmation bias) led me to buy this book. Turns out, shocking I know, that celebrity endorsers have no idea what they are talking about and most of the beauty business is a hustle.
While the first part of the book looked at the scientific basis of celebrity claims, handily debunking pretty much all of them with many succinctly described studies, the second part of the book dealt
...more
Doreen
Jun 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Diane
Recommended to Doreen by: saw it at the library
The first half of the book is light, informative and somewhat comical. It's a study of pop culture's influence on the masses. Caulfield explores the credibility of celebrity-endorsed products. The ridiculousness of colon cleanses, beauty creams, and fad diets are exposed as bogus, with no scientific data to support the claims of improved health and/or physical attractiveness. He pokes fun at American Idol and other lame, reality shows, too.
The second half of the book addresses the desire to
...more
Angela Kelman
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
As in most of the non-fiction that I've read, the strongest, most compelling arguments come in the first part of Professor Caulfield's book. Toward the end, his data mining comes perilously close to being as shallow as the "alternative" facts that he debunks. But this book did satisfy my science-based way of thinking. I really wish that anyone who is thinking of dieting, juicing, cleansing, going gluten-free, taking supplements, undergoing cosmetic surgery, trying the latest skin care regime, ...more
Sarah
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amusing yet investigative look at how celebrities impact the diet, beauty regimens, plastic surgery trends of regular people. I was surprise ad how far down these celebrity endorsements, both paid and off the cuff, filter into the many levels of society. I discovered that even middle aged, not celebrity obsessed me is not immune. While I will admit to juicing and smoothies and thoughts of Botox, I never considered a colonic.

The second part explores how the goal of a high percentage of
...more
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Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He has been the Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta since 1993. Over the past several years he has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavours that have allowed him to ...more
“The fact that individuals who have won the beauty-gene lottery are setting universal beauty standards is a bit like using NBA forwards to inspire people to endeavor to be tall.” 0 likes
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