New cheap paperback edition of Bad Science is out now

April 9th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 31 Comments »

Just so that your visual search strategy is correctly callibrated for bookshops and friends’ living rooms, here is the cover of the new and cheaper edition of Bad Science. It features both an index and a new chapter, which I will post for free on the web in a minute. More below.


If you’re wondering why there is a new paperback, the previous was a “trade paperback”, and this is a normal one. Basically I didn’t want to have a hardback as I think they’re stupid fetish items when books should be cheap, convenient devices for transporting words around, but the best I could do was trade paperback first, and I’m pleased to see that this new edition is already turning up for as little as £3.50 on Amazon marketplace.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t a new edition, and I’ve not run through and updated or changed things, but it does have a new chapter, on Matthias Rath, which I will post in a minute, and which we’re releasing (after a bit of chat) under a creative commons license, so you’re free to post it on your blog or wherever you like. There is also an index, and although the pagination is a bit different I’m thinking around ways to make one for the old edition and bung that online too.

Here’s the publisher review round up blurb:

‘There aren’t many out and out good eggs in British journalism but Ben Goldacre is one of them!Fight back. You could start by reading this book.’ Telegraph

‘Unmissable! Laying about himself in a froth of entirely justified indignation, Goldacre slams the mountebanks and bullshitters who misuse science. Few escape: drug companies, self-styled nutritionists, deluded researchers and journalists all get thoroughly duffed up. It is enormously enjoyable.’ The TImes (Book of the Year)

‘It is an important book and if you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year you’d do well to make it this one’ Benjamin Beasley-Murray, Daily Mail

‘Duck the health quacks with a brilliant new book that debunks medical nonsense.’ Metro

‘The book’s light-hearted tone is a help to the reader nervous of science and statistics! This is a fundamentally good book.’ Druin Burch, TLSimage

‘The most important book you’ll read this year, and quite possibly the funniest.’ Charlie Brooker

‘One of the essential reads of the year so far.’ New Scientist

‘From an expert with a mail-order PhD to debunking the myths of homeopathy, Ben Goldacre talking the reader through some notable cases and shows how to you don’t need a science degree to spot “bad science” yourself.’ Independent (Book of the Year)

‘His book aims to teach us better, in the hope that one day we write less nonsense.’ Daily Telegraph (and a Book of the Year)

‘For sheer savagery, the illusion-destroying, joyous attack on the self-regarding, know-nothing orthodoxies of the modern middle classes, “Bad Science” can not be beaten. You’ll laugh your head off, then throw all those expensive health foods in the bin.’ Trevor Philips, Observer (Book of the Year)

‘[A] hugely entertaining book!This isn’t just an essential primer for anyone who has ever felt uneasy about news coverish of faddish scientific “breakthroughs”, health scares and “studies have shown” stories — it should be on the National Curriculum.’ Time Out

‘A fine lesson in how to skewer the enemies of reason and the peddlers of cant and half-truths.’ Economist

‘”Bad Science” introduces the basic scientific principles to help everyone to become an effective bullshit detector.’ Sir Iain Chalmers, Founder of the Cochrane Library

‘This book reawakened my love of science.’ BBC Focus

‘Read this book.’ Sunday Business Post

‘It is an important book and if you were to pick up just one non-fiction book this year, you’d do well to make it this one.’ Daily Mail

For my own use really, there are links to more reviews here:

Time Out, Spiked, Times Higher Education, Student BMJ, International Journal of Epidemiology, British Medical Journal, British Journal of General Practice.

If you’ve reviewed it on your blog, let me know and I’ll try to update the post with a list of those too.

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

31 Responses

  1. Dr Jim said,

    April 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Fantastic. I’d all but bought everyone I know a copy of your ‘trade’ version, but did lament the absence of an index. People can now have the snazzy red number for their next birthdays!

    In the same way that Greg Mortenson’s ‘Three Cups of Tea’ is now required reading in the Pentagon and officer-circles of the US military, ‘Bad Science’ should be required reading in governmental science committees, journalism schools and across the board in big pharma.

  2. Paul said,

    April 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Is that Daily Mail review quote there twice just to rub it in? :o)

  3. djw said,

    April 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I noticed an advertisement in today’s Metro in London. I liked the advert very much – I found it eye-catching and memorable (but I may be biased here). I’m looking forward to reading the ‘previously unpublishable’ chapter.

  4. dancinbean said,

    April 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Strange how the Daily Telegraph is the only one to take your mission on the nose: ‘His book aims to teach us better, in the hope that one day we write less nonsense.’

  5. Dom said,

    April 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Good work. As per usual, the review in the sBMJ is copied from its grown-up counterpart.

  6. lenny law said,

    April 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I’m half way through the original version and squirming with delight as I turn each page. More power to you, sir!

  7. StooBush said,

    April 9, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    D’Oh! I just bought a copy of the original paperback on! Two bloody weeks ago…right after my son got his MMR shot 🙂

    That new chapter is gonna eat at me forever.

  8. gregpye said,

    April 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    You asked for blog reviews – here was mine. The book remains one of my top 5 ever … irritatingly though I’ve lent it to someone who has yet to give it back! Now for the missing chapter.

  9. patnpm said,

    April 9, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Could you point out to your publishers that it is pure insanity to have the paperback on sale at Waterstones for £6.29 but the ebook version, on the same website, is “£10.36 – List price: £12.95 – You save: £2.59”.

  10. trigfa said,

    April 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Well now that the cheaper version is available, I think I’ll get a couple of copies to lend out to friends.

    I think this is the first book I’ve ever considered doing that with.

  11. Ben Goldacre said,

    April 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    done, thanks.

  12. EnglishInBaltimore said,

    April 9, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Nice, I shall get it.
    Incidentally, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the mild criticsm expressed in the TLS review (especially as your caricatural view of journos doesn’t really chime with your understanding of the role of psychological and sociological problems in dealing with issues of public health).

  13. rra said,

    April 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    My review of Bad Science (the trade paperback edition) is at:

  14. Sili said,

    April 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Has there been any word from Private Eye?

  15. Tam Pollard said,

    April 9, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    eBook prices are crazy – they should be a fraction of the paper equivalent but the publishing industry is so terrified that they don’t seize the opportunity. Not to mention the fact that an ebook from Waterstones will be loaded with Adobe DRM so won’t work on plenty of readers – you couldn’t read it on your iPhone for instance.

    Sorry – rant over (it just makes me very cross – I want to adopt ebooks and pay for them but the publishing industry just doesn’t want me to).

  16. Steve Page said,

    April 10, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Cheers for the new chapter, Ben. “Bad Science” was one of my favourite books of last year, so I look forward to reading the section on Rath. Incidentally, has he responded since his case against you was thrown out? I hope so, simply so you could write about it, using the title “The (sour) grapes of Rath”. 🙂

  17. mikewhit said,

    April 10, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Many thanks for at last letting us know what was different about the new book (unless I missed a reply in earlier columns, if so – sorry !)

    I trust any typos were cleaned up too – the only one I saw was “silicon” for “silicone” (also on previous postings … but I am persistent !)

    Have been wanting to send out copy to ex-pharma friend in medical publishing but was waiting to see what was updated in new edition, will now specify the new edition.

  18. Dr Aust said,

    April 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Re. the comment from Steve Page, Herr Dr Matthias’ surreal (but entirely in character) response has simply been to claim that he won. I posted a comment about this on the other thread, or you can read about it on my blog in the post from a few months back on “Keeping it unreal“.

  19. Steve Page said,

    April 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Cheers, Dr Aust. 🙂 I missed that at the time. His ability to deny reality is truly remarkable.

  20. EleanorC said,

    April 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    You’ve still got the old “Load of Rubbish” cover at top left up there – worth changing that when you have a mo.

  21. Tyler Durden said,

    April 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I read ‘Bad Science’ over the weekend, superb! The quacks really haven’t a leg to stand on. Ask them for their, ahem, “data” and they run a mile…

    Loved the chapter on stats, significance etc, but then again, I’m currently studying inferential stats, and preparing for exams 🙂

  22. JQH said,

    April 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Since you ask, I reviewed the trade paperback at

  23. JQH said,

    April 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    BTW. Recently read the Rath chapter. I hope you do a whole book on him sometime soon.

  24. NorthernBoy said,

    April 15, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I agree with the eBook comments; publishers really, really seem to want this format to fail. Not only is the electronic version more expensive than the hard copy, but it is much less asy to get a hold of. I can’t believe that you can buy the reader from Waterstones, but that there is then no facility instore to dump the books onto it. Several times recently I’ve been browsing in a shop, seen a book that I want, and then ended up buying the paperback, as the staff were unable to even tell me whether it existed in e-format, let alone put it onto the reader.

    I’d buy an electronic copy even though I already have a paperback version, but not at over £10.

  25. ijsbrand said,

    April 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I’ve written a review, in Dutch, on my booklog.

    Bad Science deserved the label ‘aanbevolen'(recommended) easily [an honour it now shares with Gerd Gigerenzer’s Reckoning With Risk, coincidently].

  26. cedrs said,

    April 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I also wrote a review on my personal blog, in Spanish:

    Reviews in Dutch, in Spanish… any translations on the way?

  27. said,

    April 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I may have to buy this after all: I got two trade paperbacks for christmas, lent one out and gave the other one away just a week ago. Turns out the one I loaned to a mate has gone missing.

  28. said,

    April 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    …we suspect my mate’s stepdad (a scientist by trade no less) has pinched it.

  29. DS said,

    May 8, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Bought it. Read it. Liked it a lot.

    You do have a bit of a thing about humantities graduates though, don’t you? 🙂

  30. wardin said,

    May 8, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    29. DS
    Yes he does but just a bit : )

    Being in the USofA I’d like to know how I can get my hands on the new cheap paperback! Amazon USA doesn’t even have the first release stocked….any UK book sites with free/cheap shipping to the US? I should probably get 10 so I can pass it around!

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