The best books about fake news 📚

Browse the best books on fake news as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth

By Jonathan Rauch

Why this book?

If humans are the rational animal, why does the world seem to be losing its mind? Why the fake news, the conspiracy theories, the post-truth rhetoric? Rauch explains that truth is a precious commodity, which none of us is smart enough to discover on our own. We depend on institutions and norms – like science, with empirical testing, and journalism, with editing and fact-checking, and democracy, with checks and balances, and academia, with peer review and freedom of inquiry – to make us collectively smarter than any of us is individually. This infrastructure of truth is constantly being corroded –…
From the list:

The best books on rationality and why it matters

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Book cover of Everything Is Bullshit: The greatest scams on Earth revealed

Everything Is Bullshit: The greatest scams on Earth revealed

By Priceonomics, Alex Mayyasi, Rohin Dhar, Zachary Crockett, Dan Abramson, David Raether

Why this book?

I found Everything is Bullshit to be so interesting that I wasn’t able to put it down once discovered in a random, one-off, used bookstore. This book is a sleeping beauty. It opened my eyes to all the scams that big companies use and how they have the money and power to keep getting away with them. The explanations for why many of our society’s most cherished traditions are actually based on bullshit reasoning are well-researched and compelling. The book helped me understand why diamond engagement rings are so expensive, why wine is so expensive, how art becomes “art”,…

From the list:

The best books on thinking about and detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news

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Book cover of Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

By The Onion

Why this book?

I discovered The Onion late in life as well, and also through their website. Which, yes, I have bookmarked as well—I love most just their headlines. And discovered, again, they'd actually published a book of headlines! 'Nuff said.

From the list:

The best books of funny bits to make you laugh out loud

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Book cover of Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

By Henry Hemming

Why this book?

I have a vivid memory of opening the file on Britain’s efforts to bring America into the war, declassified only recently, and being astonished at the things that had gone on. Hemming’s book tells this amazing story and raises the ethical question of whether Britain’s end – defeating Hitler – was justified by its means – spreading fake news in the US and even interfering in its politics.

From the list:

The best books on secret wartime histories around WW2

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Book cover of Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling

Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling

By James E. Alcock

Why this book?

James Alcock is the only social psychologist I know who could write a clear, accessible, and comprehensive volume on the psychology of belief—particularly how our thoughts and feelings, actions and reactions, respond not to the world as it actually is but to the world as we believe it to be. No matter how much you think you know about beliefs, and no matter what you actually believe, any reader will find surprises in Alcock’s treatise, such as why so many people cling to beliefs that are foolish, self-destructive, and wrong, believing them to be wise, self-protective, and right. Belief convinced…

From the list:

The best books on thinking about and detecting bullshit, misinformation, and fake news

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Book cover of Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

By Kurt Andersen

Why this book?

The co-creator of SPY magazine, Kurt Andersen was my hero in high school. He’s been an NPR radio host, a novelist, a magazine editor, and a co-author with Alec Baldwin on their Trump book. But this book feels like all the thinking he’s done in those places put in one place. It’s a textbook of American history from the Puritans until today, through the lens of our special predilection for conspiracy, con artists, and fabulists, both on the left and the right, and how it all culminates in the 1960s. So smart, so funny, so jealous.

From the list:

The best books on saving democracy from populism

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