The ultimate book for skeptics.
I just finished Flim-Flam! by James Randi. You may have heard of “The Amazing Randi” — he’s the one offering a $1 million prize to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal phenomenon under controlled conditions. (You can learn more about Randi’s challenge on the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Web site.)
The book details many attempts to claim the prize — which was only $10,000 when the book was written — as well as the facts behind many of the things commonly believed in popular culture: The Bermuda Triangle, Chariots of the Gods, UFOs, astrology, psychic surgery, etc. Randi is relentless in his quest to expose charlatans, especially those who prey on believers with cash to “donate” to his efforts.
Although this book is now 25 years old, it’s an extremely timely read — especially with fakes like Uri Geller appearing on television to con viewers. (Randi is also the author of The Truth About Uri Geller, which exposes many of Geller’s tricks.)
Nowadays, people are willing to believe almost anything; it’s good to read something that brings reality into the equation.