Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
one of the good guys
on June 17, 2014
In some sense this book is more about the importance of the free press than "bad science". Chapter 10 did not appear in the original version of the book because Goldacre was being sued for libel at the time; while its publication is vindication, one can imagine that others without Goldacre's tenacity and backing would have given up. While media's misrepresentation bears the brunt of Goldacre's wrath throughout the book, that the book ended up on many "best of the year" lists indicates that there are two sides to this story, and there is good and bad media just like good and bad science (but you knew that). Goldacre's book is really aimed at journalists - if those covering science and health issues would read this and take it to heart, we might all be better off. (On the other hand, I think that it's likely that those enlightened journalists would just be replaced, as their publishers are mainly interested in making sales. Goldacre points out that the status quo is not to have true science journalists cover "big" science/health stories, because they tend to drain the sensational and erroneous b.s. out of them.)
Aside from all that, for the rest of us it's still a very worthwhile read, because we can never hear too many times that we should use the scientific method and embrace evidence-based medicine, and we rarely hear it in a voice as entertaining as Goldacre's. Like some of the less-favorable reviews point out, the book is a bit repetitive and shrill at times (Goldacre seems to have a particular ax to grind with yuppies with humanities backgrounds), and very Brit-centric, so some might say five stars is a stretch. If the subject matter were less important I'd probably agree, but taken as a whole package the combination of importance and readability makes it a standout. Strongly recommended.