In a world full of disinformation, this book is a great primer in critical thinking. Hector Macdonald covers 13 challenges to truth including partial truths, subjective truths, artificial truths, and unknown truths, giving the reader clear guidelines on how to spot the different tricks used by people to deceive you.
As he points out, the internet combines two contradictory truths: it “makes the world’s knowledge widely available” and, at the same time, “accelerates the spread of misinformation and hatred”. Reality is complicated, but humans dislike ambiguity and are drawn to certainty.
The book has interesting chapters on history, context, and morality, covering the little known history of Fanta, Humphrey (the Downing Street cat) and other great stories. This is a great read, and its key lesson can be summarized by Jim Pickard’s famous quote about journalism, “If someone says it’s raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out of the window and find out which is true.”