Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong” as Want to Read:
How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How To Be Right: … in a world gone wrong

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Forget agreeing to disagree – it’s time to learn How To Be Right.

Every day, James O’Brien listens to people blaming benefits scroungers, the EU, Muslims, feminists and immigrants. But what makes James’s daily LBC show such essential listening – and has made James a standout social media star – is the careful way he punctures their assumptions and dismantles their arguments
Published November 1st 2018 by Virgin Digital
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How To Be Right, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How To Be Right

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Roman Clodia
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
O'Brien is such a sane voice in today's increasingly toxic world... refusing to accept the often unthinking inanities of people incensed by Muslims, migrants, Remainers, uppity women, feminists, gay/trans people, Trump-haters, millenials, the young in general and just about anyone else who doesn't fit into some kind of narrow definition of 'us', he subjects - and importantly - forces them on his phone-in show to subject their often rabid and deeply offensive opinions to factual and cool critical ...more
Sid Nuncius
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought How To Be Right was excellent. It is readable, thoughtful, intelligent and humane.

James O’Brien writes very well indeed. Drawing on his experience as a print journalist and then as a long-standing and very successful radio phone-in host, he dissects the prejudices, myths and downright lies which pollute our debates so badly these days. What is so striking, though, is that he tries to believe that people are sincere but have been misled by powerful politicians, media outlets and the lik
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
JO’B is the only person I listen to on LBC and this is really a collection of the reasons for why I choose not to listen to the others
James is like the sense that prevails amongst a sea of right wing nonsense.
I did enjoy it.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A lot of this could be considered preaching to the choir, and many of the radio show transcripts come across as a bit sneering and condescending. It's actually better when he leaves his radio show behind (in any case all the clips are available on youtube) and just writes from his own perspective. The later chapters on the age gap and millennials are the strongest, as he tackles wider issues and their socio-economic causes and consequences.
O'Brien's main point is a good one; that many prejudices
Tariq Mahmood
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is not an easy job, trying to directly argue with ordinary deranged individuals who are living in a climate of fear. They are insecure, they are afraid, they feel as if they are the real victims. James blames Project Fear of brainwashing these individuals but I think some of the anger is a result of too much change being imposed on a society too quickly. But regardless of the why, James quest to face these individuals on national radio is indeed commendable. The example conversations in the ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really like James O’Brien so this book was very much in the “preaching to the converted” category for me. Enjoyable though also quite depressing as I can’t see how we’re going to get out of this mess which we’ve created.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those great books that needs to be read by the people who would never read it, which is such a shame. So many flashbacks to the amount of time I've spent asking (mostly people I'm related to) why they have the angry odd right wing views they love to express and how exactly these things affect their lives. The true answers are usually because of the newspapers they read, and in almost no way whatsoever.
Debby Hallett
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
James O’Brien articulates much about what’s wrong in the world today.

“When the liars have the loudest voices,
the tellers of truth need to find new ways to be heard.”

A good, pithy, fast read.
Robert Cain
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In an age of anger and outrage, James O’Brien is one of those willing to dig beneath and surface and confront these issues head-on and his work is succinctly presented in his first book.

For those outside the UK, James O’Brien is, according to the New Statesman, “the conscience of liberal Britain” and over the years, he’s built a journalistic career on challenging and confronting individuals who ring in with controversial and often dubious views, particularly on the radio in “Leading Britain’s Co
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I burnt through this book, finishing in less than 2 days. It's very easy to read, which is both a positive and a negative. O'brien challenges the trolls and thralls who phone his radio-show in a salient way, and his advice is important. However, the tone is polarising; the transcripts inject an absurdity, a warmth and humour and conflict into the book. The bits in between, where the author's rationale is laid out has no warmth, humour and a less theatrical presentation of absurdity. Rather, ther ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick and easy read around a few controversial topics that fuel James O'Brien's radio phone-in show.

I agree with most of JO'B's opinions, so quite enjoyed it, especially the transcripts of the calls, but I suspect that someone who didn't agree would remain unconvinced. As with his radio show (some great clips available on YouTube), he's articulate and has a lot of fun making people think, leading callers through the consequences of their own ill-thought-out opinions, clunking inconvenient fact
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Despite my feelings toward LBC, I’ve always liked James O’Brien. No surprise then, that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although at times it did have a preach-to-the-choir-feel.

Tackling the hot political and cultural topics of today, O’Brien’s critical analysis is second to none, and the arguments he presents are well reasoned as well as humorous. His examination and confrontation of his own perceived failings made for compelling reading, although I felt the highlight of the book was the inclusi
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an interesting insight into a variety of seeming commonly held opinions, from the general public. It highlights the failing of the media, journalists, broadcasters and in some cases I think, the public ourselves, for not challenging views created by lies and misinformation.

We should always talk with those with different opinions and be able to rationally explain our own. We should be able to point to the reasons we have our views on various topics, not just point to someone on TV and sa
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James O'Brian has a remarkable ability for skewering the weak arguments, or downright prejudices, of a certain sort of right wing, illiberal, little englander. The sort who laps up the nonsense put out by the Sun, Express and Daily Mail. This book is a really readable summary of the weakness in the sorts of views these people hold and how to expose them. Yet what’s remarkable about it is that he doesn’t look down on the callers to his radio program who, like moths to a flame, seem drawn to expos ...more
Amy Goldstone
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Similar to his LBC radio show, James O'Brien in this book calls out and challenges the current state of discourse on the topics of the day, where opinion is often expressed in the absence of an explanation or reasoning behind it. James O'Brien is able to articulate what many liberals have been trying to examine and explain from a down to earth and accessible perspective, which draws upon discussions he has had from speaking to individuals on his phone in shows on topics from Brexit to immigratio ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, his politics are aligned with my own, and this kind of book is only ever going to be marmite, depending on where on the political spectrum you place yourself. However, James O'Brien has such a way of deconstructing certain, wrongly-held, viewpoints. The way he surgically locates and dissects the nub of the issue is a skill I wish I had.

If we were all able to think a bit more like him, and articulate half as well, the world would be a much, much better place than it is right now.

A word on the
Tom Bennett
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a delight. Very well written, and encouraging.

Seeing many similarities with JoB really made me think about the generations before and after me. He has far more patience for some of the nonsense that is bandied about in place of thought these days, and I feel the need to try harder to also call out the liars but not the lied to.

Great read. Depressing in some ways, uplifting in others. At Hay’s winter weekend the other day, Gina Miller talked about the importance of engaging with Br
Marc Kenobi
A quick read covering many areas of current affairs. Those who have seen his interviews on Facebook or YouTube will recognise several of the snippets of conversation. Entertaining in his positioning James O’Brien still hits several hard with his questions and under cuts some of the most pernicious lies and ugly attitudes being peddled by mainstream media. Some areas where I’d disagree with his assumptions and the way he approaches challenging those he disagrees with. The book gives a very light ...more
Greville Waterman
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading the sane and eminently commonsensical views of an intelligent libertarian talk show host and how he uses logic to tear the views of many of his more extreme and even bigoted listeners.

I think this would have worked better as a podcast or audiobook than an actual book given the immediacy of the actual conversations and that sometime sit was a bit of a slog to read and collate the transcripts of the actual telephone calls and conversations - but thought provoking and interesting
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
1. Thoroughly enjoyed it, 2. Written in an engaging style, and had to prevent myself from finishing it in two sittings, 3. Invaluable his focus on bridging the gap between differing viewpoints, rather than simply stating your own and expecting others to understand instantly, 4. Its impact petered out towards the end for me, with much of the same tactics being deployed throughout, 5. Interesting take on the way the mainstream media is run, for profit, with little incentive other than the owner's ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Verified Purchase! Kindle Edition.....

I have been listening to Mr O'Brien for many years as an Expat here in Taiwan. I looked forward to his book and although I have skimmed through it today I believe from what I have read so far it is ready for a thorough read! I have never called into lbc, maybe because we all know James will set you straight! Nevertheless, this is a great book! Well Done Mr O'Brien for giving your intellectual insight on many matters over the years!
Michael Denison
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Disturbing Truth Laid bare.

James O'Brien is a brave man. He tries to explain the truth about issues our world now faces. This despite being pretty much a loan voice against the utter lies and misleading drival spouted by the majority of the media, including our national broadcaster, the BBC. You have been a comforting ally during the last 2 years providing true facts to back up your arguements and making people face up to the truth. Great book!
Dean Clark
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you have an open minded view on current affairs this book is for you, if you suffer from cognitive dissonance this book will just make you angry.

James is great at taking a viewpoint that many people hold on a particular subject, asking simple questions that scratch away at the surface and then you discover that your viewpoint has no foundation and you have absolutely no idea why you held that view in the first place. This happened to me on two occasions throughout this book.
Steve Angelkov
As an avid listener to the James O'Brien radio show on LBC, this was a book that I was keen to read.

He has been an ardent vocal proponent of Brexit, which has led to some very interesting exchanges with callers to his show.

This book discusses the concepts of 'fake news' in the current political environment, which has many similar themes to that of Junk News and infotainment in The Age of American Unreason

Dan Rodgers
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm a frequent listener to Jame's LBC show and remember most of the calls referenced in the book.

While it's a great overview of societal issues, as a frequent listener unfortunately wasn't much new to me in the book and perhaps a book better for someone less politically aware/savvy to get an opening.
Jane Lunsford
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a world where many people now seem to base their opinions on lies and nonsense. We wonder where it will all end.

James O'Brien gives examples of conversations he's had on his radio talk show, in which he attempts to get his listeners to step back and consider where their strong feelings have originated, and whether they have any basis in reality.
andrew kourtellis
An andiote to the mess we have caused to ourselves

If you want an antidote to what's going on in these dark backward times then I highly recommend you read this book. James o'brien is the one few British journalists that speaks truth to power
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
In summary: false equivalency in the media has lead some people to go down a rabbit hole of, frankly insane, opinions and alternative facts. We’re still a long way from figuring out how to deal or even hold a discussion with people who do not believe in objective reality.
Martin Neely
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone wondering what the hell has gone wrong with the current world and how to try to eloquently explain to people why they are wrong by using actual facts and reason! A crazy notion, it seems, in these days of ‘fake news’!

More please James!!!
Simon Frenais
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What I’ve been looking for. Someone willing to challenge mainstream media, who report, what I know intuitively, to be biased or plain incorrect stories. I’ll be more confident now knowing I’m in the right track.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
“The cultural event being threatened in this case was Christmas, that most Anglo-Saxon of festivals whereby the birth of a Jewish baby in a Middle Eastern stable two thousand years ago is commemorated.” 1 likes
“Despite the title of this book, it is refreshing, in an age of increasingly reductionist and binary debate, to recognise the importance of sometimes saying the three most undervalued words in the English language: I don’t know.” 1 likes
More quotes…