We live in the Information Age, with billions of bytes of data all just two swipes away. But how much of this is of value? How much is mis-, or even dis-information? Lots. And your search engine can’t tell the difference. As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the rational discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it — indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to long survive on this crowded and finite planet.
"A Survival Guide for the Misinformation Age" is an impassioned plea for science literacy. Given the state of the world today, in which scientifically under-informed voters elect scientifically illiterate politicians, Professor David Helfand has written the right book at the right time with the right message. Read it now. The future of our civilization may depend on it."
--Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist
American Museum of Natural History
David Helfand’s Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age gives readers a chance to spend time with one this country’s clearest and best critical thinkers. Helfand channels Steven Pinker’s ability to dissect language with John Alan Paulos’s ability to explain numbers with Richard Dawkins’ ability to explain our existence (to obtain food, to avoid being food, and to reproduce) with George Carlin’s ability to make us laugh. Using personal anecdotes (he’s a Red Sox fan), Helfand teaches us how to think through questions as diverse as why the moon doesn’t make us lunatics to why it only takes twenty-three people to have a 50:50 chance that two will have the same birthdays. A real pleasure.
--Dr. Paul Offit
University of Pennsylvania