Coming soon… + Thumbs up: ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre

During January I cut right down on unimportant activities to finish off editing my vitamin D book, and, I’ve done it. Two years and one month exactly. However, you won’t find it anywhere yet as I’ve yet to create its artwork, compile it into an ebook (I don’t think you’ll see a physical version until a few more months, but I don’t think many will mind this – lots of people surely got ereaders or tablets for Xmas), and give it a final quality-assurance read. In general, the bulk of it is over and it’s just the somewhat more fun manufacturing part now. Because this is a book with references and an index (yet to be generated), it’ll take a bit more effort than making a fiction one. Jutoh will guide me through this process from tomorrow.

Anyone expecting a huge book will be disappointed. It is virtually average non-fiction length (I suspect about 300 Kindle pages) but as potent as a juice-packed orange. Most layman books on the subject are slender (I had the chance to see a popular selection of them at conferences last year) and the more scientific ones are full of details that don’t matter to you as a person. My book, like most self-help books, answers three questions: What? Why? How? That’s all you need to know. Quality not quantity. The time I took was needed to wait for data, get my facts right (as much as possible) and think about the narrative. And I’m also somewhat neurotic.
A lot of vitamin D books talk solely about the health side, but I also discuss the very interesting socio-political effects of the problem, which scaffolds the subject very nicely. Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say about it now. You’ll get to read it quite soon, for a cost that won’t burn your pocket.

If you haven’t signed up to the mailing list, please do so now as I’m not going to promote this book much further on this blog. The only reason this post hasn’t appeared on my mailing list is because I don’t want to bore most subscribers with ‘yeah, it’s coming’. Again.

As I began drawing this project to a close I also picked up a digital copy of Dr. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. At various times over the years I’ll admit that in looking into vitamin D my paranoia over some aspects of the medical world grew, and I was hoping that the highly-respected Goldacre would pop some of my beliefs, but surprisingly he seemed to confirm the majority of them. I do have some disagreements with his viewpoints (one of which is very large indeed – if I were to debate about it with him I could hold my argument very well into a deadlock at minimum; and no, I don’t believe in homoeopathy past the placebo effect), but as a whole Goldacre is a very sharp, clever, writer who details that profit-driven malice and incompetence are rife. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to learn about how you should properly read medical papers and how you should be wary of certain media reporting, not to mention people that want to sell you a dubious pill for everything. His next book in August will be called The Drug Pushers and will probably go for the jugular of what we call Big Pharma; I look forward to that.
Though Bad Science only alluded to it with a sarcastic short paragraph, I get the feeling that Goldacre doesn’t think much of the cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease either.
It’s an entertaining read and should kit you up from many bold claims we can all fall into.

This year I hope to blog a bit more regularly, but remember, when you look at the reverse of many of my promises, they have no real cash value; that’s my only consistency.


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