Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lies, Damned Lies, and Science” as Want to Read:
Lies, Damned Lies, and Science
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lies, Damned Lies, and Science

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  386 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
This is the eBook version of the printed book. If the print book includes a CD-ROM, this content is not included within the eBook version.Don't Get Hoodwinked Make Sense of Health and Science News...and Make Smarter Decisions Every day, there's a new scientific or health controversy. And every day, it seems as if there's a new study that contradicts what you heard yesterda ...more
ebook, 223 pages
Published January 13th 2009 by FT Press (first published 2009)
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 Lies, Damned Lies, and Science, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lies, Damned Lies, and Science

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
David R.
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seethaler does a decent job of laying out criteria that can be used to discern the validity of claims, especially in a scientific context. However, she is tone deaf to the corruption of science especially by governmental agencies and thereby creates a mystic vision of truly objective scientists laboring to seek only the truth for the good of all humankind. The resulting book is therefore rather too rose-tinted for my tastes.
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, meridian
Thorough, step-by-step handbook on how to interpret scientific claims, particularly those made in the mainstream media. This is not a book to read quickly - the best application is probably to read a chapter or even just a section within the chapter and take some time to digest the processes and examples she describes. Ms. Seethaler gives her readers the tools to get past the oversimplified perspectives that we as a general public are all-too-often fed, the better to understand the nuances invol ...more
I was sick all weekend, so I can't quite remember anything useful, but this is a very good and useful book to explain science, science reporting, and skepticism. It is the lengthy and well-explained answer to the question "Why are there no magic bullets?"
John Doyle
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The glib title of the book does not do justice to the clarity and thoughtfulness the author brings to the material. Excellent overview of logical fallacies, manipulation of statistics, cultural influences, and other factors that confound clear understanding of scientific data.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Lies, Damned Lies and Science: How to sort through the noise around global warming, the latest health claims, and other scientific controversies by Dr. Sherry Seethaler

"Lies, Damned Lies and Science" is a book about critical thinking in the everyday use of science. The book helps lay people understand how science works and how to put scientific claims in the proper context. This 224-page book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. Potions, plot, personalities: understand how science prog
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The most important product of knowledge is ignorance.’

And this book is aimed at providing the tools to reduce ignorance.

How can a non-scientist make sense of science when so much science-related information is poorly presented, incomplete, contradictory or wrong? What tools can we use in order to assess and make sense of what is presented as fact? So much of the ‘information’ we receive is packaged and presented in a format which makes it difficult to understand let alone analyse the underlying
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I had this, i guess, on my wish list. I must have head a review or something. Its not a huge surprised, really, because the business of science writing and communication is one that i think and care about. Additionally, the question of how to increase the overall scientific literacy of our nature is one that i care about.

So, here is a book that is written to help non-scientists understand how to evaluate scientific ideas. I felt like the book was a bit simplistic to me, but, then, i think about
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a handy book! In a world where many lobby us each day with their "facts and statistics" how do we make informed choices. Seethaler gives us a nice collection of tools for critical thinking. The examples she chooses including: global warming, mad cow disease, brain cancer from cell phones are all relevant and interesting. She shines in help us to detect and dissect the interests of parties and how to get what each of us needs to know. Pitched to the lay person, this gem provides something fo ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the disappointing experience with Counterknowledge, I was a little skeptical. Sherry Seethaler, though, does an excellent job writing the book that Counterknowledge could have been. Rather than burning through chapters picking on easy targets, she does the hard work of explaining how the practical business of science works, how it interacts with the media and popular culture, and how we can tease understanding from the mountain of technical claims we see on a daily basis.

Two big thumbs up.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars

If you've ever wondered why seemingly contradictory recommendations pop up in the media every day this book will help you understand why. It will also give you a set of tools you can use to dig up the real results so that you can apply them to your own decision making. A worthwhile read directly written to those of us that have only a basic science education.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book explains some of the basic things going on in scientific research, drawing from numerous case studies. While I could see some people benefit from this book, it was too basic for me. I would recommend Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" over this one.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a very well written book about science, statistics, and the presentation of both. It is a great review since I had my research and statistics classes decades ago. The up-to-date and current descriptions of policy, science, and sound bites was entertaining and informative. There was really nothing new about the research process and statistics, but it was nice to read such well-described concepts such as anchoring sampling, and generalizability. This is a good book for an overall depiction ...more
Steven Peterson
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author begins by noting that (Page xvii): "My goal in writing this book is to help people make sense of the science-related issues that impact their daily lives." The following ten chapters try to show how science as an enterprise works, how disagreements develop, and how they are resolved. The book also addresses how to make sense of scientific disagreements. The conclusion notes 20 applications of what went before. Among examples: Legitimate criticism can be distinguished from science bash ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to O by: I just found it in bookshop.
(Polish version)

Interesująca książka. Przeczytałam w niej to, co spodziewałam się przeczytać. Nie rozczarowała mnie. Mimo że znałam już niektóre 'pułapki myślenia' przedstawione w tej pracy, miło było je sobie przypomnieć, by nie dać się nabrać na sztuczki marketingowców.
Podoba mi się wydanie (estetyczna okładka, czytelna czcionka), ale niestety już po pierwszym przeczytaniu zaczęła odchodzić folia, a że nie lubię rozwalających się książek, trochę mnie to wkurzyło.
Cena z okładki to 32 zł. Ja kup
Pauline Ross
I'm not quite sure who the intended audience is for this one. It's a serious and deeply worthy look at how to make sense of the scientific and pseudo-scientific claims in the media, which is probably too heavy for the average curious Joe Public, and not news for anyone already scientifically minded. There are a lot of interesting examples in here, and it's well researched, but the text in-between which explains the general principles is very dry and I often found myself skipping paragraphs. It w ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book written for the non-science reader discussion how to evaluate non-science writing on science. Perhaps I could put that more simply by saying in is a critique of how the popular press writes about scientific issues. While I don't think most of you will learn something that you didn't know, you will be reminded to apply much of what you do know and to pay attention to the many ways you can be mislead. The writing is, at times, repetitious but the information is valuable and the repe ...more
Dee Renee  Chesnut
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks, 2013
This was free when I downloaded it from
In less than 200 pages, Seethaler teaches her readers to better understand what information might be missing from a news story about scientific results and also about the governmental policies affecting innovation. She hopes to have us better engaged in forming opinions, instead of ignoring information just because stakeholders may want to manipulate our opinions. While this is a book about science, its information is helpful in sorting through adv
Scott Smith
I was hoping based on the title for a more incendiary, anti-science book so that I could have an example of science paranoia for my paper, but it is really just more of a "science explained" thing. Still, it does a fair job of helping people who may not be familiar with the whole science thing to think a bit more critically about what things mean. So i guess thats good.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, kindle
The information here is quite useful, but Seethaler's writing is dull, labored, and full of redundancies. This could have been trimmed to a quarter of its length and run as a magazine piece -- or plumped back up again with fascinating anecdotes. It's still a good primer on critical thinking about science in the news, should you need one.
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Well constructed examination of several tricks and tools needed to understand the strengths and drawbacks of popular medical and scientific debates. Nothing groundbreaking provided one has always approached these topics with logical discernment.
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
A book everyone should read for the concepts. The author walks you through the process of thinking about how science and reporting about science happens and how you can understand the what is said and what in not stated.
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent primer on using intellect and logic to decipher scientific claims, whether they relate to global warming or the newest diet fad. This should be essential reading for all high school and college science classes.
I need to remember this book for when the kids are a little older. It's a good primer for critical thinking as it applies to science reporting. It's not so very useful for your already reasonably well-informed adult.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
A wonderful treatise on methods to evaluate scientific studies. Dr. Seethaler writes in a very accessible manner and provides a lot of great critical examination techniques of scientific studies. I highly recommend this book!
Kamas Kirian
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
I found this book to be fairly well written and easily understood. It's basically the same stuff we learned about critical thinking in my high school physics class. But, it was nice as a refresher.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brief and basic. Free Kindle download.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
freebie on amazon
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect starter for anyone with the desire to move from a general discourse of baseless opinion to that of logical discovery and critical discussion.
Daniel DeLappe
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. People should read this book for science basics and learn what science is and is not. Good refresher if you have not had a science class or read a science book in years.
Devereaux Library SDSM&T
Thorough, step-by-step handbook on how to interpret scientific claims, particularly those made in the mainstream media.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today
  • Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria
  • It Takes a Genome: How a Clash Between Our Genes and Modern Life Is Making Us Sick
  • Genes, Chromosomes, and Disease
  • Brains: How They Seem to Work
  • Breakthrough!: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World
  • Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us about Who We Are
  • City of Dust: Illness, Arrogance, and 9/11
  • The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution
  • Beer Is Proof God Loves Us: The Craft, Culture, and Ethos of Brewing, Portable Documents
  • Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or Chance
  • Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy
  • In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions When It Counts
  • Fun Facts about Pets
  • Even You Can Learn Statistics: A Guide for Everyone Who Has Ever Been Afraid of Statistics
  • Options for the Beginner and Beyond: Unlock the Opportunities and Minimize the Risks (Financial Times (Prentice Hall))
  • No Better Place to Die: Ste. Mere-Eglise, June 1944: The Battle for La Fiere Bridge
  • Evolution: A View from the 21st Century

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »