13 Things That Don't Make Sense

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13 Things That Don't Make Sense

13 Things That Don't Make Sense - Paperback - USA.jpg

Paperback - USA.

Author Michael Brooks
Published 2008-??-??
Type Non-fiction
Genre Educational
Themes Science, Pseudoscience
Age Group Adult

13 Things That Don't Make Sense is a book about anomalies in scientific understanding written by Michael Brooks and published in 2008.

In the book, the author plays devil's advocate for 13 unpopular theories while exposing flaws in the popular ones.

Personal

Own?No.
Read?Audiobook read by James Adams.
Finished2010s

I read this book because it sounded interesting and I hoped it would list and explain various scientific mysteries, but it ended up mixing in a fair amount of woo which I didn't care for.

Review

Overall:

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Good

  • The book is mostly entertaining and occasionally enlightening.

Bad

  • The chapter on cold fusion seems suspiciously optimistic.
  • The placebo chapter is out of date considering several recent studies which explain it quite well.
  • The chapters about actual scientific mysteries were nice.

Ugly

  • The author is sympathetic to homeopathy. He doesn't openly promote it, but he's also not very critical of something that readily violates our current scientific understanding of the universe. I've read a fair amount of the studies cited both in favor and against it, so I know there are a lot of very well-conducted studies where it fails, and only a few poorly-conducted studies which show it succeeding slightly better than a placebo. From this, I conclude he was either selectively cherry-picking his data, or didn't do much research into the critical studies. Because of this, it makes me question his research into the other topics I know less about.

Links

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