Sir Ben of Goldacre

Buy this book. If you understand why you need to buy this book, then buy this book. If you don’t understand why you need to buy this book then – for the love of all that’s worth a damn – buy this book.

Just don’t listen to the author talk, because he’s got an unfortunately whiny voice – one of those chaps who makes those of us who’re ‘prettiest on the radio’ briefly view that as a compliment…

4 thoughts on “Sir Ben of Goldacre”

  1. Oooooo, I particularly enjoyed hearing him talk. If you don't do so, you might miss gems like this:

    ‘What [media stories regarding reductionist explanations for medical ailments are] about really is a right-wing individualist message on health. These stories are about the deserving sick and the deserving healthy as much as any story in the past was about the deserving poor. “These people are dying young, they’re unhealthy, they’ve got bad skin, they cough, they hack, they look like crap because they don’t look after themselves like I do” is the story… The difference between blokes in Kentish Town [where male life expectancy is 71.6] and blokes in Hampstead [where male life expectancy is 78.8] is not that blokes in Hampstead are careful to eat a handful of Brazil nuts every day and make sure that they’re not deficient in selenium, nor is it that they buy goji berries… from the health store there. This is a completely different social class with a completely different set of risk factors for ill health…. We [ought to] be talking about addressing social inequalities that produce health inequalities. We’d be looking at work style, we’d be looking at exercise… we’d be looking at how [we can] modify the benefits system so that families will stay together, so there’s an interest in people supporting each other and working communally… and bolstering society. What we wouldn’t be talking about is bogus, childish, fantastical, reductionist, mechanical explanations for what are clearly political and social problems.’

    (yes, I had it transcribed)

  2. That is excellent, indeed.

    I'd love to see a breakdown of life expectancy differences between someone working-class who drinks, smokes and eats bad food and someone middle-class who does the same.

  3. Michael Marmot's studies have effectively done that: even controlling for smoking, drinking etc, a social gradient still exists in things like coronary heart disease.

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