Penguin, 2008

‘Astonishing, iconoclastic and humorous ... both useful and funny’ Matthew Parris, Spectator
‘Gloriously deft in their rebuttal of some of the more egregious cases of media-fuelled herd idiocy’ Observer
‘A cool and intelligent look at such issues as bird flu, global warming, terrorism, species extinction and so on’ Tibor Fischer, Sunday Telegraph

This is a book about the mad science of media scare stories - and how you can survive them. Did you dare give your child the three-in-one MMR vaccine? Worried that Tesco/Walmart will swallow up your local store, or will we all be hit by an asteroid first? Are you more fearful of gun crime or getting fat (or both - fat people make bigger targets)?

Every day, the press warns us of some new calamity that will threaten our lives. The risks of simply being alive apparently grow ever more alarming. Life has never been better, yet we live in fear. Why do we work ourselves up into such a state? Because these stories are a potent mix of journalistic hype and scientific data.

Panicology is here to help you make sense of the jungle of threats and explain why things are seldom as bad as they’re painted. Luckily, my friend Simon Briscoe was able to write the boring bits about debt, pensions and immigration. That left me to cover sex, asteroids, climate change and bird flu. In all, we looked at more than 40 recent media scares. Now, we’re not worried about a thing. Read the book, and you too may find you’ve no worries.

Panicology You can buy Panicology direct from Penguin, or from Amazon in the UK, or from Amazon in the US, or support your local bookshop by ordering from them.