Calling Bullshit (2020, Random House) 3 stars

Bullshit isn’t what it used to be. Now, two science professors give us the tools …

A catalog of misinformation pitfalls

3 stars

I celebrate any a book focusing on scientific literacy and I congratulate the authors on trying to reach an important audience: people who already (try to) think critically but could use some guidance on methods and pitfalls.

The book style is not for me, though. Like other generic best sellers on the 10's and 20's, it uses a random swear word to refer to things that have proper descriptors used by specialists who are serious about this field. It abuses the elasticity of slang to lump together things that are tangential and makes the book longer than it should. Sometimes I started getting semantic satiation from all the bullshit jokes and metaphors going around.

The very end of the book reminds the reader: the book is about calling out "bullshit", not just identifying it. But the majority of the book feels like a textbook that defines exhaustively all the modern types of "bullshit" through examples. This was a bit disappointing because like any anecdotal exposition, the majority of it is bound to be forgotten very quickly and the reader is left with very little in terms of long term behavioral changes.

If the book is about preparing readers to engage on questionable information, I think the book betrays the promise by investing so much on categorizing and exemplifying and so little in coaching the readers to do that by themselves. But of course if the point was to tell people to rely on fact checking agencies and reverse search images, there would be no book to write.

I do highly recommend the companion website ( as an evergreen resource, specially the Tools and Case Studies sections.