My Kindle library holds a multitude of "science" books aimed at a lay audience. Dr Harris's Surgery: The Ultimate Placebo is one of the more successful. In terms of audience, it credits its readers with intelligence. Harris, more than most writers in the genre, struggles to make understandable concepts and techniques we would normally never have to wrap our minds around. But academically he feels he has to present them and convince us of their legitimacy. In this case
statistically. The detail is comprehensible but OMG boring. Harris at least succeeds better than most. To be "popular" does not mean he has to justify himself to his peers. Usually there are peer-reviewed papers for this. Making radical ideas clear to the great unwashed is a rare gift in its own right which few have. It requires time and dedication and not the thin sneers we so often see in the academic community. Harris tries truly hard - and succeeds. It could be shorter and punchier, treading on a few toes. But there you go! - John.Stackhouse
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