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Quantum Bullsh*t

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Quantum physics is amazing: amazingly accurate, amazingly powerful, amazingly misunderstood. Its reputation for counterintuitiveness and difficulty makes it seem mysterious and almost magical the layperson. This, of course, leaves the field open for scammers to slap the word "quantum" on whatever bullshit they're trying to peddle in the hopes of dazzling the ignorant long enough to rifle through their wallet.

In Quantum Bullshit, Australian physicist Chris Ferrie is here to cut through that bullshit and give us the quantum truth. By explaining what the buzzwords, such as "entanglement" and "uncertainty," mean, and thus show that they do not mean at all what the bullshitters claim, he aims to help us guard against this scammy nonsense. With humor and down-to-earth (and "earthy") language, he neatly summarizes quantum theory and shows how ludicrous the titular quantum bullshit peddled by scammers is.

I wish I could wholeheartedly praise Quantum Bullshit, but, alas, I cannot. I was looking forward to a proper skewering of the... well, bullshit that gets passed off as "quantum" these days. And, yes, there is definitely some skewering, but the strengths of the book -- humor and down-to-earthedness, and indeed "earthiness" (i.e., swearing) -- are also some of its weaknesses. There are genuinely good jokes and quips in this book. There are exquisitely placed and appropriate swears in this book. Unfortunately, both are outnumbered by the weak, extraneous, self-indulgent, and just plain unnecessary. Instead of complementing and putting emphasis on information, you're so distracted by the non-stop "fucks" and quips that the point is entirely buried. At one point, I literally wondered if he was trying to stretch out the wordcount, only for him to almost admit as much (in what I'm sure was meant as an off-hand humorous comment, but which contained more truth in it than I'd wager he cared to admit)!

But perhaps on a more fundamental level, there's a lot less of specific calling-out of bullshit than I expected or desired. I wanted more takedowns and specific products, but mostly it's generalities. Very disappointing.

However, I cannot wholly condemn the book. As I said, there's plenty of genuine humor. And its summary of quantum theory at the end is one of the most concise and clear I've ever encountered. All in all, Quantum Bullshit is frustrating, but perfectly serviceable, for anyone who wishes to combat woo-woo and scams.
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There is a lot of fluff stuff out there, alluding to some connection with ‘Quantum Physics’. This book purports to debunk attempts to largely hoodwink the general public by adding ‘Quantum’ to anything and everything such as ‘Quantum Love’, ‘Quantum Healing’ etc. 

Other than that, much of the key concepts, scientists & events you would read in most such books is there – Schrodinger’s cat, superposition, entanglement, Einstein’s discomfort and others. Right from the start, the author uses what one would largely consider street language – what you run into in groups of people chatting casually. I do like simple writing, and do not think street language makes things easier to understand in any way.
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This book was extraordinary. I learned some much needed facts. I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt I benefitted greatly from reading this book. I also discovered a new appreciation for quantum physics.  I'm definitely adding this one to my personal library.
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I've always been interested in Quantum mechanics and any topics related to it, even though biology is my more of my field and I kind of hate physics. That is why I wanted to read this book and it did not disappoint. I thought the author was funny and was made the topic approachable. However, you might need some science background or just remember your physics from high school to understand basics concept fast, as they will be more of a refresher in order to get to deeper topics.
Overall, I thought it was a great, interesting and informative funny read. I will definitely be on the look out for future books from this author.

I received this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book tries to do a lot. I think it does most of it well, but sometimes I am not sure I needed it all in one book. Ferrie combines a primer on quantum physics (80% or so) with a lament about scam pseudoscience products (maybe 20%), and a thick layer of jokes. I don't feel like we couldn't tell the scam products were scams without learning quantum physics, and I don't feel like the quantum physics primer needed to include the details about the scams. I could've happily read these as two separate books. I would happily read an entire Chris Ferrie book about Goop.

That being said, Ferrie is a very good narrator that successfully breaks up some very weighty topics in quantum physics with jokes, comparisons, and occasional rants. Numb3rs annoys me as a show more than it did before I started reading this book, for one takeaway. The only place where the humor really actively annoyed me was when Ferrie tried to insinuate he "tricked" the reader somehow, like he knew my thoughts and successfully "got me". This works as a joke, maybe once or twice, but not several times across the entire book.

I worry that this review might feel more critical than intended: Quantum Bullsh*t will teach you the basic ideas of quantum physics, it'll dispel some of your beliefs about quantum physics you picked up from popular culture, and most of the time, it will entertain you while doing it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Very Serious Disclaimer: This version of my review is missing all the italics, so I will be including a link to my Goodreads review, where you can see all the italicized words in all their glory.

So, imagine me for a moment. Scrolling through NetGalley, looking for fun books I can read, when I stumble across a book about… quantum physics. For a bit of background, I haven’t taken much physics in my life (although I am a STEM student, so I’ve had to learn... some). And I think to myself, Well, this could be fun. 

Spoiler alert: it was fun!

Chris Ferrie does a great job at explaining some of the fundamental basics of quantum physics, including theories, thought experiments, and other fun facts. I really enjoyed his writing style! The entire book was tinged with humour and had me snorting at my screen. Humour, methinks, is really important when you’re talking non-fiction (or fiction, really). And for the most part, the jokes landed. I could have probably done with fewer F-bombs, and that’s coming from me, a regular F-bomb user. 

I did agree with Dr. Ferrie on almost all his points, though there were a couple that I was iffy on. (Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in ghosts and crystals—but not quantum ones, so don't worry.) The tone of the book is a little bit cynical, but it’s definitely acknowledged, so it was mainly just funny. Also also also, I really liked how, by the end, we were pretty unhinged. The author, the reader, all of us. It was fun (seriously). 

As a closing statement, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a bit of quantum physics for fun. In my humble opinion, even the parts that make you go back and try to understand them are worth it! Go off, my little scientists, the world of Quantum Bullsh*t awaits!
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I have a very strong interest in reading books about quantum mechanics but Mr. Ferrie's book made me gag. His twist was to fill "Quantum Bullsh*t" with an endless stream of swear words that I found to be totally off-putting. Ferrie's potty-mouth book also contains countless failed attempts by the author to be cute. Pick a different book if you are interested in this fascinating topic.
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