Calling Bullsh*t

we are all dealing daily with the eponymous “bullsh*t truth” and unfortunately we are inundated with it. we live in an age where opinions are treated as facts, and anyone who has access to the “mass media” suddenly becomes a great philosopher, thinker and scientist all rolled into one.

the beginning of the book gives a brilliant summary of the situation we are in:

The world is awash with bullshit, and we’re drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Silicon Valley startups elevate bullshit to high art. Colleges and iniversities reward bullshit over analytic thought. The majority of administrative activity seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit.

if you don’t know or cannot identify it yet, the book gives many examples of how the masses are manipulated using social media. why is this happening - again referring to the quote from the book:

Social media facilitates the spread of misinformation - claims that are false but not delibarately designed to deceive. On social media platforms, the first outlet to break a story receives the bulk of the traffic. In the race to be first, publishers often cut any fact-checking out of the publication process. You can’t beat your competitors to press if you pause to rigorously fact-check a story. Being careful is admirable, but it doesn’t sell ads.

while reading the book, you will also find descriptions of the phenomenon called “yeah, I read somewhere about it and”. in short, this is that the “bullsh*t” of the “fact” wrapped in additional translation or information just to make it more credible - with clever acronyms or other completely unrelated information obscuring the main message.

it is so dangerous, because we ourselves can become such “zombie” - repeating the “news” we have heard, and the reputation of us as a person additionally strengthens the message. and so nonsense is circulating faster and faster, not always and not necessarily with bad intentions. sometimes we “almost” understand what our friends tell us and, not wanting to look like idiots, we do not ask for details of the sensational message.

is it worth reading?

definitely worth it. the book shows in a practical way how to identify “bullsh*t truth” and deal with it.

I do personally recommend it!