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Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style Paperback – August 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
(Carl Zimmer author of Microcosm and the award-winning science blog The Loom)
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Top Customer Reviews
But this book is too autobiographical--to the point where some sections should have started "Dear Diary"--to be of much practical use to scientists looking for clues how to communicate better. For those handful of scientists actually interested in filmmaking, sure, this is absolutely a must-have book. But for the lab denizen looking for ways to maybe spice up that presentation a little, there are tips and key principles presented in "Such," but perhaps not enought to provide enough help. I would recommend a more general book on how to create a memorable presentation if that's what's being sought.
As a critique of science's pitiful position vis a vis inspiring, motivating, and educating the public, "Such" probably has more value.
And let me add that apart from what I took to be an overabundance of sentences that began with "And," "But," and "Well," the writing of the book, the actual prose, is a paradigm of what Olson is trying to promote: A style wed to substance that helps pull an audience along with humor and stories and a refreshing nontechnical approach. Much as I liked that sort of element in the book, I closed it thinking there is still a need for another book, perhaps from a medium other than film, to provide additional perspective.Read more ›
This book picks the issue apart scientifically, but (thankfully) is not written scientifically. I find scientific writing to be dense and, well, a little difficult to read (making me sleepy and blurring my vision a little). Olson practices what he preaches and presents his rather strong argument through compelling anecdotes and current examples that are common knowledge. His conversational writing style is a pleasure to read, and this is a must-read for all seasoned and aspiring scientists.
This book is a long overdue shock to the complacent college educational environment, and a must read for young scientists studying any curriculum. Randy Olson has combined his experience as a PhD professor of biology, training from USC Film School, and experience as a movie/mockumentary director to write a book that outlines a list of guidelines (not steps or rules) for scientists to use in order to make their work better understood to the masses. As Mr. Olson intimates and this reviewer would agree, what is the purpose of studying science to further the knowledge of man, if the scientist is the only one that understands the usefulness of their work?
It is the opinion of this reviewer that scientists have a moral obligation to become good communicators. Randy does a great job of outlining guidelines to better ones self as a communicator. These guidelines (chapters) include: Don't be so cerebral, Don't be so literal minded, Don't be such a poor story teller, Don't be so unlikeable, Be the voice of science. I would also add "Don't be afraid". Though not a chapter, Randy addresses this idea throughout.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend it to anyone trying to communicate and idea or a plan with a broad audience. Well worth readingPublished 1 month ago by GB
Essential reading for young career professionals. I love the facts but the audience generally wants more. Read morePublished 5 months ago by LPhillips
Randy Olson has a PhD in marine biology, and he worked as a professor before moving to Hollywood and going to film school. Read morePublished 6 months ago by StayAtHomeCocktails
Something every scientist and science teacher should read. I teach science and may need to rethink how I approach teaching.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
One line review: Essential book on effective science communication for scientists.
[Disclaimer: I received the book from netgalley and read it on kindle, so my review refers... Read more
Well worth reading for anyone trying to communicate factual information to the public. The message is simple: show what you have to say in well told stories. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Edwin Lee
The author, a PhD in marine biology , left his professorship after 20 years to learn to be a filmmaker. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Reg Nordman
Book is about writing for a broad, not strictly academic, audience. It is engaging and offers good ideas to try out in your own writing practices.Published 17 months ago by Sarah