Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era is Daniel J. Levitin’s crash course in critical thought that adapts to the modern world of social media and sensationalist news. This book contains much of what Levitin wrote in “A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age.” However, in this re-titled version, he decries quippy terms like “fake news” and “extremist.” He sees those terms as dismissing how harmful misinformation can truly be. This guide reveals that harm and teaches you how to assess words and data for their truth. He wants his readers to become investigators and always ask questions.
The subject matter breaks down into three main sections in this book. In the first section, Levitin gets readers more comfortable with the numbers. Then, he delves into words and their multitude of meanings and uses in the second part. The last section applies the teachings from the first two sections to real-world situations. He details fraud large and small in all areas of life. Readers learn why they should distrust any experts who step outside of their fields and always fact check them. Levitin even wants you to question what you encounter in this book.
Examples with notable figures such as Steve Jobs, Mark Twain, and Billy Beane help to drive home these lessons in logic. The author discusses the seductive appeal of anecdotes over probabilities. He teaches you to recognize your emotional response to data and overcome it. You will also learn what peer review entails and why it is so important. Additional topics include confusing terminology’s effect on and from truth, why the timing of info matters, and how to resist anti-science bias. Levitin wants you to become comfortable with not knowing everything; he explains that you must always suspect to have been misled and work to ensure that you are not.