27 Jul What We’re Reading Now – A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin
By Grant T. Smith
During tax season, I was reading an article about books nominated for the National Business Book Award, the finalists were:
- Bet on Me by Annette Verschuren
- A Field Guide to Lies by Daniel J. Levitin
- Block Chain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
- Distilled by Charles Bronfman
At the time, I thought I should read them all and determine the appropriate winner, in advance of the prize being released. However, as stated earlier, that was in tax season and I read none of them – surprise!
As summer arrived, I went back and looked to see who won the final prize. And the winner is … A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin.
What a cool book! I want to buy copies for all the conspiracy theorists in my life. The book is delightful if you enjoy debunking myths and challenging the absurd statements that are prevalent in today’s internet age.
The book is divide into three parts:
- Evaluating numbers.
- Evaluating words.
- Evaluating the world.
In the first section, we play with numbers. While this may frighten some, I do not think you need be daunted, for in fact this section is illuminating, engaging and an easy summer read. Levitin uses fun examples and simple reveals to give comfort to anyone who finds the math thing frightening.
I am anxious to share a part of this with a friend who likes to plot things on X and Y axis to chart progress in personal challenges, for the author does a great job of explaining how you should read the axis and how data can be manipulated by skewing the presentation.
Evaluating Words, the book’s second section, examines a number of key areas. It explores a few considerations like:
- Question the expertise of the speaker – why is this someone you should believe on this topic?
- Watch for the bias of the speaker – what is their goal in this presentation?
Finally, in the third section we watch as it is all pulled together. Levitin does a nice job of creating four case studies, my personal favourite being a review of the moon walk and the debunking of the hoax theory.
This book is an enjoyable read and full of quiet chuckles – get it, gift it, enjoy it.
Now if you got this far – email me with a book you would like to see reviewed.