Good Thinking: What you need to
know to be smarter, safer, wealthier, and wiser (2015)
skills are essential for life in the 21st century. In this follow-up to his
introductory guide Think, and continuing his trademark of hopeful
skepticism, Guy Harrison demonstrates in a detailed fashion how to sort through
bad ideas, unfounded claims, and bogus information to drill down to the most
salient facts. By explaining how the human brain works, and outing its most
irrational processes, this book provides the thinking tools that will help you
make better decisions, ask the right questions (at the right time), know what
to look for when evaluating information, and understand how your own brain subconsciously
clouds your judgment.
Think you're too smart to be easily misled? Harrison summarizes scientific
research showing how easily even intelligent and well-educated people can be
fooled. We all suffer from cognitive biases, embellished memories, and the
tendency to kowtow to authority figures or be duped by dubious 'truths'
packaged in appealing stories. And as primates we are naturally status seekers,
so we are prone to irrational beliefs that seem to enhance our sense of
belonging and ranking. Emotional impulses and stress also all too often lead us
into traps of misperception and bad judgment.
Understanding what science has discovered about the brain makes you better
equipped to cope with its built-in pitfalls. Good Thinking--the
book and the practice-- makes clear that with knowledge and the right thinking
skills, anyone can lead a safer, wiser, more efficient, and productive life.
- “For all our vaunted intelligence, we human beings believe some really bizarre things. Guy P. Harrison takes us on a judicious, wide-ranging, and entertaining tour of the many dimensions of human mental weirdness, pointing out where we need to be particularly on guard against our poor decision-making processes.” —Ian Tattersall, curator emeritus, American Museum of Natural History
- “Harrison proves himself an excellent guide to reasonable thought in the ‘swirling, festering ball of lies and madness’ that is the modern world.” —Publishers Weekly
- “Nature gave us powerful brains but didn’t provide us with a user manual. Consequently, far too many people fail to use their brains optimally, often with catastrophic consequences. Thank goodness for Good Thinking. In this important, beautifully written, and well-researched book, Guy P. Harrison gives us the key tools we need to understand how our brains work, how best to use them, and how to take care of them. With clarity, eloquence, and unbridled passion, Harrison makes a compelling case for skepticism and critical thinking, and shows us why it is of vital importance to our species. Adding Good Thinking to your bookshelf should be a no-brainer!” —Julien Musolino, associate professor of psychology and cognitive science, Rutgers University
- “We’re drowning in information, but it’s as difficult as ever to make smart, fact-based decisions. As Guy P. Harrison shows, ‘good thinking’ doesn’t just happen—and he has crafted an engaging guide to the fine art of being wise.” —William Poundstone, author of Rock Breaks Scissors: A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody
- “Harrison explains why so many smart, well-educated people are capable of making terrible decisions for themselves and their children. It’s a ‘how-to’ book on how to get it right." —Paul A. Offit, MD, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Think: Why You Should Question
Everything (2013) This introductory book is a fresh
and exciting approach to science, skepticism, and critical thinking. My aim is
to enlighten and inspire readers of all ages. This book challenges everyone to
think like a scientist and embrace the skeptical life. If you want to improve
your critical thinking skills, see through most scams at first glance, and
learn how your own brain can trip you up, this is the book for you.
you how to better navigate through the maze of biases and traps that are standard
features of every human brain. These innate pitfalls threaten to trick us into
seeing, hearing, thinking, remembering, and believing things that are not real
or true. It will help you trim away the nonsense, deflect bad ideas, and keep
both feet firmly planted in reality. It really is in everyone's best interest
to question everything. My brand of skepticism is constructive and optimistic.
It's a way of life that anyone can embrace. An antidote to nonsense, quackery,
and delusion, this accessible guide to critical thinking is the perfect book
for anyone seeking a jolt of inspiration.
“Harrison's upbeat style nicely conveys some of the latest scientific research on how the mind functions… [His] inviting style serves the interests of skeptics and scientists who face the onslaught of nonsense, delusion, ignorance, stupidity, and bias that dominates today's muddled culture… Highly recommended.”
“If you are happy being told what to think, don’t buy
this book. However, if you want to learn how to think and be in control of your
health, your investments, and your destiny, then read this book now. In lucid and unbiased
writing, Harrison explains how you can enrich your life and that of your loved
ones by simply using your brain to think critically.”
—Dr. Donald C. Johanson,
founding director of the Institute of Human Origins and discoverer of Lucy, the
most famous fossil in history
want things to be true, but being able to tell the difference between fable and
fact is not just a nice idea—it will save you money, tons of time, and possibly
your life. Harrison’s wonderfully written reality check offers the most
valuable education you can get this side of grad school.”
Seth Shostak, senior astronomer, SETI Institute
50 Popular Beliefs that People
Think are True (2013)
is a skeptical grand tour of extraordinary claims such as ESP, ghosts, gods,
psychics, astrology, UFOs, doomsday prophecies, Roswell, faith healing,
Bigfoot, homeopathic medicine, and many more.
The book is not preachy or condescending and strives to show how we are all vulnerable to falling for unproven and unlikely claims
simply because of the way our brains work. We all believe silly things. What
matters is how many and how silly. Includes illustrations by Kevin Hand.
“What would it take to create a world in which fantasy is not confused for fact and public policy is based on objective reality? I don't know for sure. But a good place to start would be for everyone on Earth to read this book."
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist
“Rarely has a skeptic gone to battle against nonsense with the
warmth and humor found in 50 Popular Beliefs
That People Think are True.”
Skeptic, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2012
“Harrison has added to the growing body of skeptical literature a
contribution that will continue to move our culture toward one that openly
embraces reason, science, and logic.”
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic
magazine, columnist for Scientific
“Being a skeptic can be hard work, but Harrison makes it a lot
easier. . . . This is the book I wish I
—Phil Plait, author of The Bad Astronomer
Race and Reality: What Everyone
Should Know about Our Biological Diversity (2010) takes readers on a
far-reaching exploration of the idea of biological races, written for the
layperson. I show that these categories are inconsistent and illogical. Groups
such as "blacks" and "whites" do exist, but they are
cultural groups, rather than something that nature imposed on us. Races change
according to time period and culture, for example, and do not represent a
sensible and accurate picture of humankind’s real biological diversity.
Professor of sociology at
Stanford University, Dr. David B. Grusky, says the book is, "a tour de
force that conveys the current science on racial classification in a rigorous
yet readable way. Even those who think they know it all about race and racial
classification will come away changed."
"We desperately need a book that sets us
no-nonsense straight, and Race
and Reality is
just that book, a tour de force that conveys the current science on racial
classification in a rigorous yet readable way. A book so clearly written, so
elegantly crafted, so packed with nuggets that even those who think they know
it all about race and racial classification will come away changed."
–David B. Grusky, Professor of Sociology,
Director of the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, Stanford
“In the beginning of this exceptional book, Harrison laments that he ‘should never have made it through 12 years of schooling before entering a university without ever hearing the important news that most anthropologists reject the concept of biological races.’ Then in a clear, concise, and very readable manner, Harrison explains why the scientists who study this subject have come to the conclusion that biological races do not exist. He goes on to clarify the many misconceptions surrounding race and athletic ability, racialized medicine, race and IQ, and interracial love, marriage, and parenthood. This is a very important, profound, enjoyable and enlightening book. It should go a long way in helping disprove man’s most dangerous myth."
-Robert W. Sussman, Professor of Anthropology, Washington University. Editor of Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, and Editor Emeritus of American Anthropologist
50 Simple Questions for Every
Written in a respectful and conversational style this unique book is designed to promote
constructive dialogue and foster mutual understanding between Christians and
nonbelievers. I ask basic questions about Christian belief, not to argue but to
stimulate deeper thinking about this religion. What is the born-again
experience? Why would God want or need to sacrifice his only son for us? Does
this sacrifice makes sense in light of the Holy Trinity doctrine? Do miracles
really happen? How reliable is the Bible? What is the rapture? Why isn't
everyone a Christian?
Each question is followed by
commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough but never condescending.
Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their
apologetics, while skeptics should appreciate my rational analysis of religious
"Every Christian on the planet should read this book. They will be pleasantly surprised by Harrison's respectful tone and sincere desire to enlighten. Far from an attack or a series of arguments, this book explains, in plain English, why some people are skeptical of Christianity. This book is nothing less than a rare opportunity to close the gap between believers and nonbelievers, and to bring more light and tolerance to the world."
-Peter Boghossian, Instructor of Philosophy, Portland State University
Harrison's new book is a sober, thoughtful and engaging series of inquiries for
us Christians. . . . the kind of challenge we should embrace wholeheartedly.”
—Rev. Barry Lynn, author of Piety & Politics and The Right
to Religious Liberty
“A thoughtful, conversational, and eminently
engaging book. Harrison offers a respectful and yet frank and undauntedly
critical approach to Christianity. Believers and nonbelievers alike will find
this a worthy, provocative read.”
—Phil Zuckerman, PhD, professor of sociology,
“With persistent, but gentle, words, Harrison
injects logic, science and rational thinking into the discussion of Christian
religions, asking only for consideration of facts without the emotional
reaction of considering all questions as attacks. This book is another well written
and well thought out work by Harrison, and it deserves serious consideration by
believers and non-believers alike.”
—Nick Wynne, author
of Florida in the Great Depression:
Desperation and Defiance, former executive director of the Florida Historical Society
50 Reasons People Give for
Believing in a God (2008)
This is a skeptical analysis of various religious claims made within a
variety of belief systems around the world. Each chapter presents a common reason for belief
espoused by followers of various religions and then explains why there is
reason for doubt. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, calls the
book "engaging and enlightening." I wrote this book in a way that
respects believers, if not always their beliefs. I have no interest in winning
arguments. I only want to inspire people to think more deeply about what they
believe and why.
"Deep wisdom and patient explanations fill this excellent book."
-James A. Haught, author of Honest Doubt and Science in a Nanosecond
“Engaging and enlightening . . . Read this book to explore the
many and diverse reasons for belief.”
—Michael Shermer, founding
publisher of Skeptic magazine
“Religion is as universal as language, which hints at a biological
basis. Why did our ancestors evolve an attraction to the supernatural? The
fundamental question is not whether this attraction is rational or not – which
is the subject of a dozen recent provocative books -- but what exactly faith
delivers to those who possess it. The present book treats this question
respectfully, listening to the answer of the believers themselves, which seems
an excellent place to start.”
—Frans de Waal, primatologist, author of The Age of Empathy
thought-provoking book, Harrison makes a powerful case against religion without
the need for name-calling, contempt or condescension."
—The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland