Monkey see, monkey review

By Phil Plait | April 6, 2010 2:32 pm

It’s a little tardy– my first book came out in 2002, after all — but Barrel of Monkeys just reviewed Bad Astronomy.

The conclusion?

In fact, I move that Bad Astronomy be a recommended text book at secondary schools everywhere, or even primary schools, for that matter. Scratch that. Everyone in the world should read this book. Phil Plait manages to break things down to an easily understandable level, so that people without a background in physics or astronomy* can grasp the core concepts.

I agree. In fact, I’d be happy to reduce my royalty to a mere one penny per book if that would make what he wishes come true. I suspect $60M would be a sufficient and acceptable paycheck. You can start now if you’d like, and if it does sell six billion copies, I’ll send you a refund for the difference*.

*Disclaimer: No I won’t.

MORE ABOUT: Bad Astronomy

Comments (29)

  1. You wrote a book? 😛 (Let alone 2?)

    Woot, looks like I beat IVAN3MAN. 😀

  2. Donnie B.

    Everyone in the world is going to read your book. It’s just that we’re passing one copy around, so it may take awhile.

    (Suggestion: don’t wait up nights for the royalty check.)

  3. What are these “books” of which you speak?

  4. Sili

    That Sean Carroll fella’s written one, NBWW. Quite good, I gather.

  5. As long as it is not that first printing that has all those errors in it 😛

  6. Rick
  7. One of our profs assigns it (at least part of it) as required reading for her “Science and Pseudoscience” class. So, there ya go :-)


    Dagnamit, Larian! I leave my computer for a half-hour to make some coffee, and Phil chooses that period to post this!

  9. Joey Joe Joe

    Oh, dammit, Phil! The correct disclaimer is “cheques will not be honored”.

    Has your Simpsons quote memory debigulated?

  10. Wow! Someone actually beat IVAN3MAN to the punch! LOL.

    And I agree, Phil, it should be required reading in secondary school (or even younger!) It’s good stuff! I remember when I first read it, when it came out, I decided to try to stand an egg on end – and it wasn’t the equinox and I was successful! It was fun :-)

    I even took a picture of the egg standing on end along with the book.

  11. The fact someone beat IVAN3MAN to the punch just proves that person has less of a life then IVAN3MAN.

  12. Dinosaur Teacher

    I wanted to do that for my 8th grade astronomy class next year, but the chapter on anti-creationism made it iffy politically in my area. Sigh. And this in a school only twenty minutes from the JREF.

    I’m still going to still use it in the curriculum, which will be structured mainly around our textbook Death From the Skies! The kids always love it when I give them your breakdown of what happened after the K-T Impact.

    Speaking of buying your books, once the final approval process gets finished, would you be willing to mention my page to help me get funding for it? 60-120 copies of Death from the Skies don’t come easy to a school that had a six-figure budget cut.

  13. Alareth

    As if your book would ever make it past the Texas BoE …

  14. I’m guessing Texas schools wouldn’t be interested, though.

  15. Hey, I resemble that remark Davidlpf!

  16. Monkey

    Canadian schools are n dire need of a skeptical class. Introduction to Rational Thinking, cross-linked with philosophy, science, history and english…math even if you toss in a basic stats unit. Books like this are the perfect medium as a course reader, but not text. I think that teachers, as professional development, would also be prime to take part in rational thinking as it relates to their area of expertise. Teacher conferences always have speakers, monthly Pr0-D days always have many, many speakers. Phil, lace up the boots…contact all school boards, get on as a speaker, flog the book (the first specifically) and get these people thinking…just plain thinking. Too many teachers are caught up in mysticism and the like, conspiracy theories and myths (bigfoot), and astronomy or simply science is a prime area where people would be interested and could take away a message. They just need a messenger. Mercury has one…cant we?


  17. JT

    I just gave my copy to the creationist astronomy teacher next door (I teach chemistry). So far he’s raving about it. Now I need to get a new copy.

  18. MadScientist

    I swear I have a copy of Bad Astronomy somewhere, but as I was reorganizing my book shelves I could only find “Heavenly Errors” by Neil Comins.

  19. Colin Jagoe

    There was a copy of it on the shelf in my classroom where I taught physics and astronomy. More than one student borrowed it and read the whole thing. Can’t do that with an iBook. Although Phil didn’t get any $$ from those kids. Sorry bud. :)

  20. jcm

    It is an excellent read for anyone, not just students and a first step how to identify woo (such as astrology, etc).

    By the way, “Darwn’s Darkest Hour” originally aired on PBS on October 6, 2009 can now be watched online:

  21. Wayne Robinson

    This posting has reminded me that I actually have 4 copies of “Bad Astronomy” (is that a record?)
    One paperback copy and 3 copies on my two Kindles and the Kindle for Mac. I’m pleased to say that I have only paid Phil Plait 2 lots of royalty (and I understand that the royalty for paperbacks and ebooks is less than a penny per copy anyway). So there ….

  22. Jon

    That’s the Sooper Seekrit Project, you see. Getting “Bad Astronomy” approved by the Texas School Board.


  23. mike bukhart

    Yes I agree Bad Astronomy should be read by all . I think it is required reading for all astronomers .

  24. Neil Haggath

    #17 JT:
    A creationist astronomy teacher????????????
    Please, please tell me that’s a joke!!!!

  25. Charles T. Monkey has a reply for you Dr. Plait! 😀

    @Neil Haggath (#23), if they are American, I wouldn’t be surprised… Light was created 6000 years ago already on it’s way and all that you know. It’s magic!

  26. Greg

    The Astronomy teacher at my high school was a Creationist so they’re out there.

  27. You wrote a book?

    Speaking of being a little slow on the uptake, but also being better late than never I want to take this opportunity to announce that I have just finished reading Death From The Skies! (a book written by Phil Plait, for those who may not have realized). Besides being a very easy, enjoyable, and informative read, I want to also say that I particularly liked Chapter 9.

    Without spoiling it for the 12 people who haven’t read the book yet, it will suffice to say that Chapter 9 brought up some very cool concepts that I had not considered before. It was one of those, “Why haven’t I thought about that before?” moments.

    Good going, Phil. Thanks for getting my cognitive gears running in new directions. I love it when that happens.

    Also, thanks for the shout out in the Acknowledgements section to the BAbloggees. I know you meant me, but didn’t want to play favorites.

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    It’s a little tardy– my first book came out in 2002, after all — but Barrel of Monkeys just reviewed Bad Astronomy.

    So … How long till they review ‘Death from the Skies’ then? 😉

    & … when is your *next* book coming out? 😉

    Another good review – I’m sure its nice to hear however belated it may be.

    On which topic have I noted that I’ve read and really loved both your books yet? 😉

    @ 27. PsyberDave :

    “Also, thanks for the shout out in the Acknowledgements section to the BAbloggees. I know you meant me, but didn’t want to play favorites.”

    Actually he meant *me*! 😉 😛

  29. @PsyberDave @Messier Tidy Upper:

    Eek! Don’t scoop me! I’m not far away from putting up a review of ‘Death from the Skies!’. Late, sure, but I review them when I read them.



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