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Penguin Announced Drop-Ins January 2017

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Weaponized Lies
How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era
By (author): Daniel J. Levitin
9780143196297 Paperback, Trade English General Trade SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies Mar 07, 2017
$22.00 CAD
Active 5.4 x 8 x 0.7 in 320 pages LINE ART THROUGHOUT Penguin Canada
It’s raining fringe theories, fake news, and pseudo-facts. These lies are getting repeated. New York Times bestselling author Daniel Levitin shows how to disarm these socially devastating inventions and get the North American mind back on track. Here are the fundamental lessons in critical thinking (previously published as A Field Guide to Lies) that we need to know and share now.

Investigating numerical misinformation, Daniel Levitin shows how mishandled statistics and graphs can give a grossly distorted perspective and lead us to terrible decisions. Wordy arguments on the other hand can easily be persuasive as they drift away from the facts in an appealing yet misguiding way. The steps we can take to better evaluate news, advertisements, and reports are clearly detailed. Ultimately, Levitin turns to what underlies our ability to determine if something is true or false: the scientific method. He grapples with the limits of what we can and cannot know. Case studies are offered to demonstrate the applications of logical thinking to quite varied settings, spanning courtroom testimony, medical decision making, magic, modern physics, and conspiracy theories.

This urgently needed book enables us to avoid the extremes of passive gullibility and cynical rejection. As Levitin attests: Truth matters. A post-truth era is an era of willful irrationality, reversing all the great advances humankind has made. Euphemisms like “fringe theories,” “extreme views,” “alt truth,” and even “fake news” can literally be dangerous. Let’s call lies what they are and catch those making them in the act.

Publication History: Allen Lane, HC (09/16)

REVISED, REPACKAGED, REINTRODUCED: “Post-truth” was officially word of the year for 2016 (per Oxford Dictionaries) and this book has been revised to address all the dangers that represents. The Introduction is greatly enlarged and reframs, and the Counterknowledge chapter is revised.



BESTSELLING AUTHOR: #2 on the NY Times nonfiction list for The Organized Mind (Aug, 2014); #3 on NY Times Monthly Bestseller list for Education (Sept, 2015).

GROWING PROFILE: Levitin’s TED talk drew over 1 million views in its first week (Oct, 2015) and is now approaching 7 million. He is now affiliated with the Hass Business School at Berkeley, along with Minerva Schools in California and McGill University in Canada.

THE 3 ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES OF CRITICAL THINKING: Spotting lies told with numbers, storytelling, and pseudo-science—these are our best strategic defenses against weaponized lies.

PUBLICITY HOOKS NOW AND LONG TERM ACADEMIC POTENTIAL: A well-known deployer of weaponized lies will move into the White House weeks before the book goes on sale. And professors are already telling us they plan to use the book in their classes.

Daniel J. Levitin, PhD, is a neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, and best-selling author. He is Founding Dean of Arts & Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI in San Francisco, a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and Professor Emeritus at McGill University. He is the author of This Is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs, and The Organized Mind. He divides his time between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.

Author Residence: Orinda, CA

A Field Guide to Lies by the neuroscientist Daniel Levitin lays out the many ways in which each of us can be fooled and misled by numbers and logic, as well as the modes of critical thinking we will need to overcome this.”—The Wall Street Journal

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