February 20, 2015

Review: Debunk It!: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation

Debunk It! By John Grant
Available February 24 from Zest Books
Review copy

DEBUNK IT!: HOW TO STAY SANE IN A WORLD OF MISINFORMATION is pitched to teens, but contains useful information for anyone in the modern world.  Hoaxes can travel faster than ever, and having a tool kit for separating fact from fiction is essential.

I wish that chapter four ("Building Your Own Bullshitometer") came first, because it contains some of the most useful information.  It does build some on the first three chapters, but not so much that it couldn't be arranged to be first.  John Grant tackles common logical fallacies, weasel words, and how to track down sources to check for context, veracity, and authority.  He also tackles some of the subjects that are subject to a great deal of misinformation; for instance, medical fads, climate change, and woo.

DEBUNK IT! is very accessible.  Grant's firm stances on various subjects might turn some readers off, but that's part of the point of the book.  It's important to know why you shouldn't be worried about mercury and formaldehyde in vaccines.  Namely, vaccines contained a small dose of a mercury compound that is no longer used, and now contian a smaller dose of formaldehyde than can be found in an apple.

It's tempting when you read a click-bait article to copy and paste the link to your Tumblr without thinking, to spout back what you half remember reading to family and friends.  But it is important to remember to stop and think, to question where the information came from and why.  There's lots of good, hard facts out there, but sorting fact from fiction is a skill.  Unfortunately, not every lie is obviously crazy.

DEBUNK IT! is a fun and informative read that should entertain far beyond the expected teenage audience.  It may be nonfiction, but it is far from dry.

Thanks to Zest Books, I have one copy to give away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I've never heard of this-- sounds pretty interesting though!

    1. You should enter to win a copy then!


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