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How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions Paperback – July 26, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1616143978 ISBN-10: 1616143975 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1 edition (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616143975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143978
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Faulty reasoning is frustrating and has become ubiquitous—astonishingly even in academic circles. Do your part to help stem the tide of pseudoscience and other breathtaking absurdities by reading and enacting the shrewd ideas of How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass." --Brian Alters, PhD, author of Defending Evolution

"This is a wonderful introduction to the art of thinking. DiCarlo is to be commended for presenting philosophically challenging material in an engaging and accessible manner, while demonstrating both the relevance and the moral significance of critical thinking. It is well designed to prepare the reader to be 'a really good pain in the ass,' and to convince you that this is a good thing to be." --John Teehan, professor of religion, Hofstra University, author, In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence

"Chris DiCarlo's How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass, is certainly different from your typical logic book. For one thing, it ranges from Aristotle to Steven Spielberg to Shakespeare to Tom Nagel to...well, you get the idea! Anyone who reads through this book is going to emerge with a broad education, and with a solid acquaintance with a great many principles of elementary logic, plus an introduction to epistemology, the philosophy of religion, and a lot more (including, recent and prominent findings in evolutionary biology and biosociology drawn from serious sources). DiCarlo combines real erudition with a very down-to-earth, upbeat expository style, which should attract many readers." --Jan Narveson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, philosophy, University of Waterloo

"Lively and entertaining in an informal but important manner, this work on critical reasoning should be read by students in all fields." --Michael Ruse, director of the program in history and philosophy of science, Florida State University

"A perceptive, incisive critical thinker is the very best pain in the ass there is. This book is DiCarlo's enlightening master class in critical thinking, couched in language any curious reader can profit from. From an introduction to formal logic that everyone can understand to a guide to the big questions about knowledge, meaning, ethics, and purpose in life, it's all in here—buttressed by exemplary unpackings of religious, paranormal, and pseudo-scientific bunkum." --Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, and editor of The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief

About the Author

Christopher DiCarlo, PhD, (Guelph, Ontario) is an award-winning lecturer on bioethics and philosophy of science. He is a fellow, advisor, and board member of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers and the Center for Inquiry–Canada. He is a past visiting research scholar in the Stone Age Laboratory at Harvard University.

More About the Author

Christopher W. DiCarlo, PhD, is an award-winning lecturer on bioethics and philosophy of science. He is a fellow, advisor, and board member of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers and the Center for Inquiry-Canada. He is a past visiting research scholar in the Stone Age Laboratory at Harvard University.

Customer Reviews

I'm now on my second reading of this book and have markers in hand.
D. Grendahl
Considering the topic, the book is quite easy to read; without sacrificing quality.
Book Fanatic
Maxy Maultsby has an invaluable book on Emotions that I highly recommend.
Lmeta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider this book a very worthwhile introduction to critical thinking for those new to the topic and a useful refresher for the rest of us. Considering the topic, the book is quite easy to read; without sacrificing quality. It is an interesting combination of instruction in the principles of critical thinking and what the author calls the "Big Five Questions". I enjoyed this approach and I think most others will as well.

The author begins by describing arguments and how to understand them. He follows that up with chapters on biases, context, and basic ideas of logic and the various types of evidence and methods of reasoning. He has an excellent chapter on the most common fallacies. The final section of the book asks the big five questions and contrasts a naturalistic answer with a supernatural answer. Make no mistake, the author is not simply splitting the difference. He comes down very heavily on the side of methodological naturalism. In providing the supernatural answers he shows how they come up short.

This book has a very good look inside content and I recommend you check that out. You will thereby get a good idea what you are getting before you buy. This book was well done and I recommend it.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. Bristow on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Pain in the Ass to be an interesting read: not as good as I had hoped but not a complete waste of time either. The book is divided into three parts--Pt I is a very excellent review and explanation (depending on the reader's experience and knowledge of critical thinking literature) of critical thinking, debate, persuasive discourse, and argumentation skills and principles. Fairly complete and well done. Not to deep on theory and very readable. This portion alone makes the book worth the read if this is a subject in which you are seeking more information. Pt II is a discussion of the Socratic methodology and history of the Skeptics principles. I found this section disjointed and hard to read in spite of considerable training in the subject. Its style is such that the author appears to be trying to put forth an academic import to the work and missed badly. This section is overpacked with minutae which does not flow and does not improve any of the points. This is a '1-star' section. Pt III is the application section in which the author attempts to use the framework built in parts 1 (successfully) and 2 (less so) to answer the "5 Big Questions". I was not a fan of framing the entire premise of critical thinking with the 5 Big Questions (nor are they what I consider the "Big 5"); however, the section is useful in its discussion and seems to be without glaring problems. Chapters 10 & 11 have several very minor inconsistencies in their discussions of genographics, evolution and climatology but this is not a treatise on those subjects and they do not detract from the premise. My only problem with Pt III is not liking the '5 Question' framework makes this section less interesting. I read some chapters fully, carefully and critically and found others that were barely worth a light skim.

Overall, I am glad I read the book but I would only recommend it to friends with caveats and explanations.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tiger Ridge on September 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dr. Dicarlo's book is very fun to read and informative. It teaches the reader how to construct and map arguments, spot logical fallacies, be aware of your own cognitive biases, and ask the right questions. While doing this, it maintains a fun tone. I wish we would have used this book in my critical thinking class.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By dragon lady on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is just what anyone interested in becoming a critical thinker needs to set them on the path of understanding the basis of other's arguments and what questions to ask in order to spot faulty reasons for the things they believe. Beginning answering five key questions: What can I know? What am I? Why am I here? How should I behave? What is to become of me? it is possible to learn a great deal about yourself and others. Those answers in large part determine why people believe certain "truths" even though there is no scientific basis for doing so. DiCarlo goes on to demonstrate how to argue effectively, ways of overcoming the biases we all have, what makes for sound science and so much more. Whether it is common fallacies, dealing with conflicting perceptions or belief in the supernatural, DiCarlo clearly demonstrates how a person's experiences and belief system (or lack of) color their view of themselves and the world around them.

Rather then a dry dissertation, this is a light, approachable read that can be enjoyed by anyone with an open mind and a willingness to look at their beliefs with a critical eye. Matters of the supernatural, religion, pseudoscience and philosophy are given the same insightful evaluations that tie age-old beliefs with the latest research findings. It's too bad a copy of this can't be presented to all first year college students because with the tools provided, it would be possible to develop the necessary lifelong skills to have more productive arguments and reasoned responses to those around them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Clark on October 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was hoping for a little more on logic, fallacies, and biases of judgment. Too much of the book focused on ontological questions rather than epistemological questions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathie Marko on August 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Dad suggested this book to me and I have told other people about it too. It's really a great read, but pay attention to what you're reading. Who doesn't want to become a critical thinker?
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