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Interesting book. Not, as I had thought, a take down of the pseudoscience pushed by various celebrities but an examination of why we believe them. Written in a pretty engaging style for the subject matter, and referenced fully. A boon in the days of “People are saying...”
3.0 out of 5 starsA two-fer that shouldn't necessarily be a two-fer
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2016
While I have to say that I mostly enjoyed this book, I'm not entirely sure that Caulfield had a coherent sense of what he wanted the finished product to be. It starts out exactly as the title suggests: It examines the crazy fads promoted by various celebrities, and argues persuasively that they have no scientific backing whatsoever. And some of this stuff is truly weird (I could've gone my whole life not knowing what people do with "colonics"!). I appreciate that Caulfield is fair in his judgement of the (mostly) women celebrities that pitch this stuff, acknowledging that women are held to impossible standards in Hollywood, and aging is the death knell for their careers. So the first half of the book, fun, entertaining, and very informative.
Then came the second half...Caulfield was still entertaining in his self-deprecatory writing, but the second half of the book is basically a screed about how trying to become famous isn't worth the trouble because it's not likely to happen. Here is where I think the author lost the theme that the excellent title of his book promises. Sure, a lot of people want to become famous. But I don't think those are the people who bought this book. Being a great believer in science, I was interested in how celebrities clash with science when they peddle crap, so I was disappointed that I only got half a book that stayed on message. Caulfield is still a fun read, but some readers may find the gear switching aggravating.
4.0 out of 5 starsI would Really Like to Recommend This to Certain People
Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2020
This has long been a favorite point of mine. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean they are experts in all topics. It doesn't mean their opinions should be taken over researched facts or over you doctor's. Caulfield does a good job exploring how celebrity influenced our culture has become and how that obsession may be harming people's lives. It's a short book but one that is probably best read a chapter at a time.