Invisible gorillas and indiscriminate doubt

22nd March, 2021

What Conspiracy Theorists Don’t Believe. I was delighted to be commissioned by The Atlantic to write about why indiscriminate doubt is at least as damaging as indiscriminate belief – and in particular, that a fruitful way to think about conspiracy theorists is not by pondering the strange things they believe, but by noticing all the things they have to doubt.

Ten Rules For Thinking Differently About Numbers. I put together a mammoth thread of threads on Twitter. Not sure if this is really the way to communicate but the cool kids are doing it. If you want to saunter over and have a look (and perhaps a retweet) then please be my guest.

Book of the Week: The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Dan Simons. I’d read snatches of this before and had been meaning to return and read properly. I enjoyed it – the invisible gorilla experiment itself is of course incredibly famous, but the book offers much more detail on inattentional blindness in chapter one – a very intriguing topic – before moving on to a range of other topics such as the fallibility of memory (and, again, our failure to realise how fallible our memories are). Authoritative but easy and fun to read.

In conversation with Robert Colvile. I’m speaking tomorrow (Tuesday 23 March) at the Centre for Policy Studies. Register here – it should be fun.

My new book, “The Data Detective” was published in the US/Canada on 2nd February. (Elsewhere the same book is titled “How To Make The World Add Up”.)

“Nobody makes the statistics of everyday life more fascinating and enjoyable than Tim Harford.”- Bill Bryson

“This entertaining, engrossing book about the power of numbers, logic and genuine curiosity”- Maria Konnikova

I’ve set up a storefront on Bookshop in the United States and the United Kingdom – have a look and see all my recommendations; Bookshop is set up to support local independent retailers.

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