Thursday, July 15, 2010
*Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEO's, high-powered consultants, health officials, and more
By David H. Freedman
OVERVIEW: Our investments are devastated, obesity is epidemic, blue-chip companies circle the drain, and popular medications turn out to be ineffective and even dangerous. What happened? Didn't we listen to the scientists, economists, doctors, management gurus, psychologists, and other experts who promised us that if we followed their advice, all would be well?
Actually, those experts are a big reason we're in this mess. According to the acclaimed business and science writer David H. Freedman, experts' professional wisdom about everything from what we eat, to how to raise our children, to the medicine we take, to school improvement, to how to run a business, usually turns out to be incorrect--often wildly so.
Fortunately, there's hope. Wrong spells out the means by which every individual and organization can do a better job of unearthing the crucial bits of rightness within a vast avalanche of misleading pronouncements--some of which are literally a matter of life and death.
AUTHOR: David H. Freedman is a science and business journalist. He is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine and has written for The Atlantic, Newsweek, the New York Times, Science, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Wired, Self, and many other publications. He is the coauthor of A Perfect Mess, about the useful role of disorder in daily life, business, and science, and the author of books about the U.S. Marines, computer crime, and artificial intelligence.
MY REVIEW: I did not, like many of you, need David Freedman to convince me that experts are often, and possibly usually, wrong. But I was very happy to have him educate me about why expertise goes wrong and how we may be able to do a better job of seeking out more trustworthy expert advice. This is very important to me and Freedman does an excellent job with this subject. This is not the kind of material I usually read and so it did not flow for me like a book on theology would. However, I feel this is a book that will be of interest to many and that you will find it easy reading. I want to close my review with two quotes from the book. The first one from Albert Einstein and the second one from Bertrand Russell: "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?" "Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken."
WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK
The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for three (3) copies!
- Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please. You do not have to be a blogger to win.
- I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
- Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
- I'll close the comments July 29 and pick the three winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).