A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Many people would like to think they can trust certain publications, news sources and authorities, that they can believe the statistics and the arguments without having to dig any deeper. It's easy, it's comfortable, but it can lead to believing outright lies, voting against one's interests, damaging one's health and ruining one's finances.

Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind) is a neuroscientist, musician, record producer and bestselling author. In his smart and humorous A Field Guide to Lies, he explains how readers can use common sense and a variety of simple analytical tools to locate the right information needed to make important decisions.

Levitin suggests starting by looking for three kinds of errors: "how the numbers were collected, how they were interpreted, and how they were presented graphically." How plausible are the claims? Does the pie chart add up to 193%? "Infographics are often used by lying weasels to shape public opinion, and they rely on the fact that most people won't study what they've done too carefully." He explains how to identify trustworthy experts and sources; determine averages, probability and risk; how to interpolate and extrapolate; and how to wade through the difficulties of collecting data fairly and presenting it honestly.

A Field Guide to Lies is a densely packed, well-organized book that may be read and used as a reference by general readers, students and anyone who collects and interprets data. Levitin offers the necessary tools for maintaining a well-informed and open mind. --Sara Catterall

Powered by: Xtenit