Mumbo–Jumbo wins

18 04 2006

Book front cover

How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions
Francis Wheen
4 out of 5 stars

Not quite the ‘hilarious’ read promised by Paxman on the cover but pretty good nevertheless. The best and possibly the hardest thing to deal with about it is just the consistent level of scorn poured on cranks over time and around the world.

He covers/trashes:

  • Reaganomics and Thatcherism (voodoo economics)
  • Management ‘gurus’ (snake oil sellers)
  • Post-modernism
  • UFO believers
  • Catastrophists
  • Hypocrisy about and misrepresentation of Islam in the west and on the left
  • The new Labour project
  • The nonsense written about Princess Di after her her death
  • The dotcom bubble (more voodoo economics)

Overall – wonderfully scathing – among the best bits are his demolitions of the management gurus (‘so called because charlatan is too long a word’) and when he is being fairly and rightly critical of those on the left who refuse to accept reality (eg Soviet Union under Stalin).

(See also earlier review of ‘Bad Thoughts’ to which this is something of a companion.)




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