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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Monday, 2 March 2015

"Redirect" by Timothy D Wilson

This is a book about the social sciences. It starts off by giving a number of examples where treatments for social and educational ills have been implemented, sometimes at the cost of billions of dollars, without being subjected to careful scientific testing. It shows which of these treatments are ineffective or, worse, counter-productive; the author compares these to the blistering and blood-letting treatments of quack doctors which were either unpleasant and useless or dangerous.

Some of the treatments are:

  • Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing which results in a higher incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Self Help books which suggest that positive thinking will get you want you want (implying that "if you are poor, or if, God forbid, you contract a serious illness - well, it's your own damn fault")
  • Bribing kids to read which might work for kids that don't read but actually turns kids who do read off reading
  • Just say no to drugs or underage sex; a better way of preventing these is to encourage kids to volunteer
  • Getting convicts to scare kids off crime which increases the chance that they will commit crime
  • Diversity training

The author's panacea (OK so I was getting a little cynical by this time) for all these is to encourage people to rewrite their inner monologues so that they saw themselves as empowered.

He also emphasises the need for randomised control tests for all such programmes before the politicians spend vast amounts of money on them.

A very readable book which demolishes a lot of shibboleths. Not sure if his message on rescripting lives was quite as clear.

March 2015; 240 pages

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