Review: How to Be Right by James O’Brien

Okay, you’re either going to love or hate the title of this book – but I promise it is so worth the read.

James O’Brien is a British radio talk show host and podcaster, known for his ability to unflinchingly call out people with prejudiced opinions live on air. In How To Be Right…In A World Gone Wrong, O’Brien has used transcriptions from these heated discussions to form a handy how-to guide for when you find yourself in the impossible situation of trying to rationalise with the irrational.

Each chapter of the book addresses a particular topic that receives (or causes) hostility and prejudice in today’s world – Islamophobia, Brexit, ‘Political Correctness’, the age gap and Trump are just a few of the topics. These are interspersed with snippets of conversations had with callers where O’Brien dissects their opinions and reveals their fallacies, inconsistencies and double standards.

His mission is not to embarrass ordinary people, it is to point out the mistruths that have been fed to them by very powerful people. O’Brien suggests that people have lost the desire to question what they are being told. They do this by accepting headlines blindly if it gives them someone to blame for the state of their own lives, and dismissing unequivocal facts as ‘fake news’ if they don’t fit this narrative.

I don’t love the title as it gave the media an opening to fob the book off as O’Brien saying “I’m right and you’re wrong” for 227 pages, which is just not the case at all. What you really get is a highly educational, passionate and thoughtful plea for the return of humanity to an increasingly polarised political world.

Rating: 4 out of 5. I highly recommended this book  to anyone wanting to learn more about politics (without any jargon or agenda), and how to reason with the prejudiced.

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