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Bad Science

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  40,209 ratings  ·  1,952 reviews
Full of spleen, this is a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the world of Bad Science. When Dr Ben Goldacre saw someone on daytime TV dipping her feet in an 'Aqua Detox' footbath, releasing her toxins into the water, turning it brown, he thought he'd try the same at home. 'Like some kind of Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General', using his girlfriend's B ...more
Paperback, 1st edition, 338 pages
Published 2008 by Fourth Estate
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Michael Jones This version actually has a chapter which starts with: "This chapter did not appear in the original British edition of this book..." [because of a law…moreThis version actually has a chapter which starts with: "This chapter did not appear in the original British edition of this book..." [because of a lawsuit at the time] - so presumably it is an American edition. The Copyright notice lists all three years 2008, 2009, 2010.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  40,209 ratings  ·  1,952 reviews

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Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So, you are about to tuck into a lentil burger with chia seed extract for that omega three boast you know your body has been crying out for since your last detox, especially since you aren’t completely sure if the cannabis oil you’ve been baking into your gluten free cookies has given you indigestion or if it is the start of the stomach cancer you thought you might have had and was the reason why you started eating the damn things in the first place. The guy on the Internet who sold you the oil ...more
Petra's mechanic says her car isn't worth fixing
10-star book

Edit - I have edited the review as the book is now available in the US. Truly a worthwhile read, one up for us against big Pharma!

Until recently this book was not available in the US as books that attack big Pharma, alternative medicine gurus (especially the tv variety) and sacred cows like the MMR-Autism myth get sued just to stop publication even if there is no hope of winning the suit.

This is an important book and illuminates the part the media plays in the dissemination of info
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Gendou
This is a marvelous book about people getting science--mostly medical and nutritional science--really really wrong. I was struck by an amazing coincidence from the very first page. Just two weeks before I read this book, a friend described to me the foot bath that he had undergone, exactly as described in the book Bad Science. He is scientifically oriented, so he was just flabbergasted when the procedure left a brown sludge in the foot bath, but the treatment removed all the pain in his knees fr ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading 'Bad Science' I don't think I will believe another health fad ever again.

Ben Goldacre's impressive aptitude for scientific analysis and research reveals how science is more complex than we realize, which unfortunately doesn't always satisfy our want for quick fixes to our health problems. Although complex in nature, Goldacre stresses that people are not incapable of understanding scientific facts or findings, it is often just a matter of people receiving false information through
This book is both fascinating and frustrating, and illustrates that the only way to get the real info on anything is to be a scientist. Data scientist, research scientist, medical scientist, science scientist, mad scientist...

But the good news is that one doesn't need to be a PROFESSIONAL scientist in order to get to the truth of an issue, but one just has to have the kind of critical thinking that a good scientist applies. After all 87.3% of people know that 77% of statistics can be made to sh
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Actual real proper medical doctor Ben Goldacre disassembles some of the biggest :cough: bullshitters supposedly sharing medical, health and/or nutrition theories or even cures at best just placebos, or at worse harmful, who in many cases have their voices amplified by the media. Although this book is really informative, interesting and at times funny, it also has an elitist edge to it, one that I can see Goldacre really tried not to give.

He also was at pains not to make it like a text book, bit
Paul E. Morph
This book has some important lessons to impart and, as loathe as I am to tell anybody what they should or shouldn't read, this is one of the few books I wish could be made compulsory reading.

Goldacre writes with passion about subjects that are clearly important to him and yet still manages to write conversationally and with good humour. Parts of this book made me laugh out loud and parts of this book, sometimes less than a page later, made me both angry and desperately sad. One chapter (on the M
Paul Bryant
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-life
Beads that sparkle like a prism, snake oil for your rheumatism,
Calico and gingham for the girls.
Cast your eye on Dr. Borer’s patent-pending hair restorer,
guaranteed to grow hair on a billiard ball

Hands up who doesn't recognise which gender-bending musical those portentous words emanate from ?

Okay, it was Calamity Jane. You knew that, I know. Can't just be me whose mind is stuffed with the lyrical junk of six decades.

Onward to the review.

Ben Goodacre is the sworn foe of all modern-day medical mo
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ben Goldacre is a man with a mission. A UK doctor who writes a column for the Guardian, he'd like it very much if people would stop making their health decisions on the basis of crap science.

Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of crap science out there. So Goldacre does his best to educate people about how to tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Along the way, he entertainingly uses the usual suspects of homeopathy and foot detox baths to illustrate his points. But he als
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew there was a lot of bad science & horrible media coverage out there, but I had no idea just how bad. This isn't a book just about that, though. While Goldacre does give some very good examples, he spends a lot of time teaching the reader how to spot bad science specifically in the field of medicine. I knew a lot of it, but the only statistics class I took was quite a while ago. The refresher was needed.

As Goldacre so aptly shows, numbers can easily lie, especially when blasted on headlines
Simon Wood
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing

It seems a bit gratuitous to write the 223rd review (relevant to uk amazon site) of Ben Goldacres book "Bad Science" but having decided that it would be more of a fault not to recognise the brilliance of his book I'll go ahead any way.

The Bad Science that particularly irks Goldacre and takes up the bulk of his book is that which relates to the medical sphere. It's not that he thinks purveyors of crystal healing, homeopathy or the wannabe scientific but far
A readable romp through the misuse and abuse of health related science in the media. The analysis of homeopathy, mrs McKeith and the brain gym seemed like shooting fish in a barrel, but then I remember that people make a lot of money marketing that kind of nonsense.

Although it is all very entertaining a book is perhaps not the right tool to use against such a Hydra (unless the edition is so very big and heavy that it requires a Hercules to wield it in battle), this is perhaps an example of the m
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
"Just as the Big Bang theory is far more interesting than the creation story in Genesis, so the story that science can tell us about the natural world is far more interesting than any fable about magic pills concocted by an alternative therapist." Well, no. Stories are important. They tell us what people's preoccupations are, what people want and what they're scared of. Scientifically, Goldacre's right -- but science isn't the only thing to be concerned about. I'm sure he'd think this reaction t ...more
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook. The guy doing the audiobook has a ton of passion.


Bad Science is an excellent book about how to approach news articles about scientific papers. He goes over what flaws to look out for in the studies themselves, as well as the common ways journalists completely screw up reporting about subjects they don't always understand. In particular, he focuses a lot on homeopathy and the MMR autism link (which doesn't actually exist), both of which he destroys.

The takeaways f
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so incredibly disappointed by this book. I expected a comical look at some of the more popular science misconceptions sweeping the world (okay, the UK and US). Instead, I struggled paragraph by paragraph to not just light the book on fire. In terms of content: many of the points raised by the author are good, and I think that more people need to read and understand how the world around them works (esp. medicine). But the tone of the book... the author is a jackass (sorry, not sorry). He is ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A humorous look at the (non)sense surrounding complementary and alternative medicine. A pithy, amusing read.
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of the book that I would make everyone read when I get to rule the world. There’s so much nonsense going around these days in the name of science and research that a lot of people would be quite shocked with this book. Examples are endless. Detox treatment? Just a big hoax. Homeopathy? Even a bigger hoax. All those fancy and expensive cosmetic products that supposedly do magic to your skin? Just a waste of money. Vitamin C prevents and treats cold? Not really. Antioxidants slow ...more
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favourites
This excellent book written by the intelligent and entertaining doctor and health communicator Ben Goldacre is a must read for anyone who has an opinion about any health issue you've seen, heard or read about in the media. Although written in the context of the UK, its lessons and advice apply to anyone anywhere.

Covering everything from CAM (including chiropractic and homeopathy) to vaccinations to self-proclaimed "TV professors" (like Gillian McKeith) to the pros & cons of the pharmaceutical in
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, health
I've read about most of the topics covered in this book elsewhere, but Goldacre does a great job of teaching us to spot the failures of Big Pharma, alternative medicine and journalism. He does this in an entertaining way using ripped-from-the-headlines stories.

Last week I was in the mood to read some non-fiction so went to the shelves of one of my goodreads friends and made a list of her 5 star health and science books. Armed with that,I found several of those books at the library and have been
seryal olcay
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took me long to finish it but OMG what a wonderful book for those who are interested in real scientific evidence based facts to charlatans who believes in their imagination or stupid nutritionists, homeopathists. I had a lot inspriration from the book and enjoyed the reading very much.
I'd like to quote; 'The true cost of sth , as the Economist says, 'is what you give up to get it.
So much loss of money, health resources on to get rid of superstitious accusations, belief , bullshitters.
The anti
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-books-2000s
A fun, easy, and informative read that works to explain why nonsense is so popular and widespread and how 'bad science' can have a massive cultural impact and, unfortunately, cause a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. Too bad the people who most need to read this book would likely never pick it up. ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Excellent book that I think everyone should read, I don't consider myself to be a particular naive person, and I'm not a conspiracy nut whatsoever, but at the same time am under no illusions about Big Pharma. That said, it was a real eye opener to see just how biased and flawed some of the medical studies were and that very reputable medical journals regularly publish findings and studies that should be very suspect to the professional scientist.

The only problem with this book, and why I only ga
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
An extension of his blog, this is a collection of basically rants about how science and statistics are abused by a variety of people. It also looks at faulty science behind some nutritionists and some of their dodgy "credentials". His emphasis is on making people question "facts" and double check the evidence.

However, people don't have the time for a lot of this, and when you're offered a glimmer of hope people tend to take it. The placebo effect is explored here and he does admit that it works
Hai Quan
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Instead of write a review for this book, in order to repeat myself once again I would like to invite the readers of this website to check out my review of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo.
In the said review I have written about the modern medicine, about quackery , and an brief , simple , low cost way to keep people healthy.
My approach to healthcare is in general on the same line with this book
Reading the said review also give you a bonus: A more healthy way to approach to your religion belief.
Anna Shelby ☕
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Looking for a book that shines a light on the ways media infuences public opinion in matters of homoepathy, fish oil, antioxidants and the likes? Here it is. Topped with some suggestions how to approach scientific studies, papers and flawed reviews of those. Minus two starts for the condescending tone and the overload on examples.
S.Baqer Al-Meshqab
OK. This book was way out of my comfort zone. I would have given it a 5 star rating if I had anything to do with medicine, but for an average person who knew nothing of MMR & MRSA, four stars would suffice. Sorry Mr. Goldacre.

Bad Science is a book published to specifically to unveil the masks of those who pretend to be real scientist. As the author states; he wants his readers to know what bad science looks like to identify the real one. The book covers "sciency" myths in the fields of medicine.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Ben talks us through some of the Bad Science techniques employed by the media at large. From slamming Dr. Gillian Mckeith to MMR/ autism "link" that was shared by the media, he tells us how the media has misinformed us.

An enjoyable read that isn't too heavy. It was released in 2008 so some of the references are a little dated now, but the principles still apply nonetheless.
Diane S ☔
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Informative book on things we use and see every day on TV. How medical studies and writings are used by advertisers and journalists to get the public to buy their products or avoid others. Exposes how little actual science is used.
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The passion of Ben Goldacre on his topic of "Bad Science" is undeniable. This is a doctor with a bee in his bonnet, a snarky tone and no qualms about telling it like it is and who he might offend. Undoubtedly, I imagine, most readers will be offended - scientists, researchers, naturopaths and other alternative "quacks", journalists, statisticians, university deans, nutritionists, Big Pharma, the average you and me - we all get a swipe in Bad Science.

What I liked about this book was the message:
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I spend a lot of time talking to people who disagree with me - I would go so far as to say that it's my favourite leisure activity.”
I'm an avid fan of More or Less , the popular statistics radio programme on BBC Radio, and I always enjoy Ben Goldacre's appearances on the show. At one point, I remember Tim Hartford introducing him as something like "the perennially angry Guardian columnist," to which Goldacre responded, "I am not perennially angry!" or similar. He got quite heated about it, m
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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

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