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Publisher's Summary

The Irish Times Top-Five Best Seller. 

Why did revolutionary China consider the sparrow an 'animal of capitalism' - and what happened when they tried to wipe them out? With a cast of murderous popes, snake-oil salesmen and superstitious pigeons, find out why flawed logic puts us all at risk and how critical thinking can save the world.

It may seem a big claim, but knowing how to think clearly and critically has literally helped save the world. In September 1983, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union's early warning system showed five US missiles heading towards the country. Stanislaw Petrov knew his duty: he was to inform Moscow that nuclear war had begun, so that they could launch an immediate and devastating response. Instead, he made a call to say the system was faulty. He'd assessed the situation and reasoned that an error was more likely than such a limited attack. 

We may not have to save the planet from nuclear annihilation, of course, but our ability to think critically has never been more important. In a world where fake news, mistrust of experts, prejudice and ignorance all too often hold sway, we can all too easily be misled over issues such as vaccinations, climate change or conspiracy theories. We live in an era where access to all the knowledge in the world is at our fingertips, yet that also means misinformation and falsehoods can spread further and faster than ever before. 

In The Irrational Ape, David Robert Grimes shows how we can be lured into making critical mistakes or drawing false conclusions and how to avoid such errors. Given the power of modern science and the way that movements can unite to protest a cause via social media, we are in dangerous times. But fortunately, we can learn from our mistakes, and by critical thinking and scientific method, we can discover how to apply these techniques to everything from deciding what insurance to buy to averting global disaster. 

This book, packed with fascinating case studies and examples, helps ensure we are ready for the modern world. 

©2019 David Robert Grimes (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic Reviews

 "...If our leaders were forced to read this book, the world would be a safer place." (Richard Dawkins)

"A beautifully reasoned book about our own unreasonableness." (Robin Ince)

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  • Williams and Company R Stafford
  • 04-02-2020

At best a pedestrian summary of cognitive biases.

The first few chapters were a reasonably workmanlike re-heating of descriptions of well known cognitive biases. However Ralph Dobelli has done that in a much more polished and entertaining way in his "The art of thinking clearly".

As soon as the author started to equate political choices like voting for Trump or Brexit with anti-vaxxers, it became a naked political polemic, and I could no longer take it seriously.

A waste of an audible credit.

Avoid.

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  • Freneticmonk
  • 13-02-2020

A good book but...

I liked it really but there were a few sections where the author’s bias came through loud and clear. I would have thought that an author of a book about rational thought would try to eliminate as much emotive context as possible.

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  • Paddy McHugh
  • 07-11-2019

Should form part of the school curriculum

Essential reading required for everybody. Everybody should be made to question their beliefs and thoughts.
This book is excellently well put together and thought out.

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  • S. Macken
  • 31-10-2019

Thought provoking and needed.

While this book may never be read by those who most need to read it, those that are so wound up in their ideological beliefs that they define their sense of self by those ideologies, it is an invaluable exploration of why we think the way we do and how to counter the flaws in our thinking. It, and other books that promote reason and critical thinking, should be prescribed reading in schools but, unfortunately, the book burners amongst us would happily add it to their bonfires at the first available opportunity for promoting rational thought that questions their ideologies, and prevent these books from appearing on school curricula.

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  • Gary Turner
  • 28-05-2021

Essential reading.

Even better than expected. very well researched across a wide range of areas. Brilliant.

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  • Phillip
  • 28-05-2021

Outstanding from beginning to end !!!

I loved this book, one of the best I have ever listening to in this category. Amazingly written and narrated by Mr David Robert Grimes, thank you so much for writing this book and giving us hope!! I'm going to purchase some paperbacks to give to a few of my friends !!!

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  • Jw
  • 15-12-2020

Superb!

Fabulous book. In a world of faith and illogical thinking this is essential reading, if for nothing more than a glimpse into what you dont know and how smart you are not. Well writern, well read. Wellworth the time and money.

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  • Sherman O'neill
  • 31-10-2020

Thought provoking

An astute and compelling argument. This spells out the importance of keeping your mind open to the world around you. Thank you.

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  • Glynn F.
  • 12-09-2020

A page turner

A truly excellent book that uses lots of real-life examples. A real page turner. Highly recommended.

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  • ICB
  • 09-07-2020

A brilliantly insight into human stupidity.

My headline above might seem harsh but a lot of humans are stupid. And this well written and well read book gives many examples. The most emotional and saddest part of the book was when discussing the utterly irrational anti-vaccine movement and how it seriously damaged the uptake of the BPV vaccine in in Ireland. This is the sort of book which people who can think critically and analystically will read/listen to and be bewildered by how some people's ability to think a health benefit like a vaccine is really an evil plot, even when people then start dying due to the lack of vaccine.

A brilliant, well written book that is also very well read by the author.

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