A Field Guide to Lies

  • by Daniel J. Levitin
  • Narrated by Dan Piraro
  • 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Organized Mind and This Is Your Brain on Music, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever.
We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process - especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half truths, and even outright lies. New York Times best-selling author Daniel J. Levitin shows how to recognize misleading announcements, statistics, graphs, and written reports, revealing the ways lying weasels can use them.
It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudofacts, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin groups his field guide into two categories - statistical infomation and faulty arguments - ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. Infoliteracy means understanding that there are hierarchies of source quality and bias that variously distort our information feeds via every media channel, including social media. We may expect newspapers, bloggers, the government, and Wikipedia to be factually and logically correct, but they so often aren't. We need to think critically about the words and numbers we encounter if we want to be successful at work, at play, and in making the most of our lives. This means checking the plausibility and reasoning - not passively accepting information, repeating it, and making decisions based on it. Listeners learn to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection.
Levitin's charming, entertaining, accessible guide can help anyone wake up to a whole lot of things that aren't so. And catch some lying weasels in their tracks!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very disappointing. So mach bias...

Would you try another book from Daniel J. Levitin and/or Dan Piraro?

Perhaps. I want to know more about this author. Narration was no issue, rather good.


What do you think your next listen will be?

Similar topic without hidden agenda


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Basics of statistics were interesting and fairly presented without too much detail that could confuse casual listener. But again the problem is in his examples....


Any additional comments?

It left me really bad taste after reading half way through... So much propaganda and bias for the pharmaceutical, medical & GMO industry. Author should've used his own knowledge of statistics and fairly apply it to the subject of vaccine and others. He is not an expert on subject, and he start the whole assertion with faulty logic with wrong assumption. The biggest issues about vaccine & GMO is that the studies (so called scientific by proponents) were done without proper scientific procedure and many findings were manipulated and/or misrepresented by using various statistics and dishonest way of reporting. The author who mentioned all of the danger of such shady/ignorant practice suddenly becomes the one...

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- Sae

Not the real daring eyeopener I hoped for

After a good start about statistics, to build credibility, the author continues to build the argument of authority that the NYT is a reliable source of information. He also emphasizes the government is more reliable as a source of information than commercial companies, because it lacks a profit motive (although I would not think so looking at my pay slip). But later he claims that politicians are lying since Roman times. And the government of Iran is not reliable source of information (although they also do not have a profit motive)
He is a liberal and I can't find a lot of courageous, critical thinking considering who his peers are. No controversial lie within his peer group is exposed by this author.
Peer review is also a strong plus for reliability according to him, although halve of peer reviewed research can not be replicated according to the replication crisis.

I would argue that the false aura of reliability is exactly why scammers take something over as sufficiently proven by governments,academia and main stream media.

He also tells us to look for who pays someone before believing their claims. I can not find a free market job in his CV. So I must assume his authorities are leaning towards government, academia and main stream media.
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- peter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2016
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio