Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It

Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It

by Evan Davis


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'A Malcolm Gladwell-style social psychology/behavioural economics primer' Evening Standard

Low-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us 'your call is important to us'. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not just rife but apparently so effective that it's become the communications strategy of our times?

This brilliantly insightful book steps inside the panoply of deception employed in all walks of life and assesses how it has come to this. It sets out the surprising logic which explains why bullshit is both pervasive and persistent. Why are company annual reports often nonsense? Why should you not trust estate agents? And above all, why has political campaigning become the art of stretching the truth? Drawing on behavioural science, economics, psychology and of course his knowledge of the media, Evan ends by providing readers with a tool-kit to handle the kinds of deceptions we encounter every day, and charts a route through the muddy waters of the post-truth age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781408703311
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,243,118
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Evan Davis is a presenter of the BBC2 current affairs programme Newsnight, a role he began in September 2014. From April 2008 up to then he was a presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. He is also well-known as the presenter of the BBC2 business reality show Dragons Den. And on Radio 4, he hosts a weekly business discussion programme The Bottom Line. Prior to the Today programme he was the Economics Editor of the BBC, the most senior economics reporter in the corporation. Evan Davis was the Political Studies Association broadcaster of the Year; he won a bronze Sony award as Speech Broadcaster of the Year and the Made in Britain programme won the Harold Wincott Foundation Business Television Programme of the Year award.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Section 1 What

1 Truth, Post-Truth and Post-Fact 3

2 Nonsense and Gibberish 30

3 Gestures and Phoney Behaviour 53

4 Bullshit: The Theory 67

Section 2 Why

5 Hidden Messages 91

6 Being Human 121

7 Short-Termism 159

8 Culture and Norms 185

Section 3 How

9 Limits to the Power of Persuasion 215

10 Better Bullshit 246

11 The Discerning Listener 273

Final Words 298

Notes 303

Acknowledgements 333

Index 337

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