Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them
*Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, high-powered consultants, health officials, and more
By David H. Freedman
Publisher: Little Brown (6/10/2010)
Source: From Publisher
From the cover:
Our investments are devastated, obesity is epidemic, test scores are in decline, 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 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. And, according to acclaimed business and science writer David H. Freedman, such expert counsel usually turns out to be wrong–often wildly so. Wrong reveals the dangerously distorted ways experts come up with their advice, and why the most heavily flawed conclusions end up getting the most attention-all the more so in the online era. But 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 right within a vast avalanche of misleading pronouncements.
Although it was quite pessimistic to read at times because it makes you feel like you can’t trust anything you read anymore, Wrong is an eye opener for those who are gullible enough to believe everything they hear and read even if it comes from reliable sources.
And while I did enjoy the book and the clarification it brought to experts’ opinions, I don’t think I needed a book to tell me to look at those opinions with a critical eye. Anyone who used google to research something would know that depending where you look you will receive different opinions. Nothing is ever written in stone and there are many opinions that are passed off as fact when they really aren’t. I’ve had plenty of discussions with friends and professors over controversial articles and how one expert in the field would believe in one thing while another expert in the same field would support another.
With that said, the book did provide an insightful look at how misleading some of the best experts in the fields of science, medicine, economics, politics, etc. can be. The book does a great job of discussing the various pressure faced by these experts and what causes them to commit fraud and fabricate their data to fit their theory. Despite attempts to prevent fraudulent articles from reaching the public, many of these articles fall through the cracks of the peer review system and end up in the hands of the public.
At the very least, Wrong will make you look at advices from experts different and hopefully help you determine which ones you should follow.