Cover: Bullsh*t Comparisons

Bullsh*t Comparisons

A field guide to thinking critically in a world of difference
Andrew Brooks


£16.99 | 28 March 2024 | ISBN: 9781804440834


£12.99 | 28 March 2024 | ISBN: 9781804440841


28 March 2024 | ISBN: 9781804441084

Life is complicated, comparisons are easy. We consume enormous quantities of information every day from sources that are reliable, and those less trustworthy, including journalists, politicians, friends and social media.

One of the most commons tools we use to communicate is comparison. Are we suffering a ‘hurricane’ of migrants? Do dogs look like their owners? Is Oxford better than Harvard? Metaphors, models and metrics are used to compare anything from schools, to wars, to iconic people. But how helpful are they? What truths do they hide and what bullsh*t do comparisons propagate?

Looking across a fascinating range of situations both familiar and unfamiliar, serious and light-hearted, Bullsh*t Comparisons is a ground-breaking guide to the role of could-be-true but misleading comparisons. It is illuminated by examples spanning the globe from university league tables, to childhood rivalries, politicians’ tawdry analogies, the FIFA World Footballer of the year award and Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa.
Ideal for anyone interested in critical thinking or who simply wants to be able to spot bullsh*t at twenty paces, this thought-provoking, intelligent and often amusing book will challenge you to think critically about the use of comparison.

‘Showing neoliberalism relies on the edgy insecurity instigated by league tables, rankings and measures of pedigree, Brooks’ book is a timely reminder that the urge to compete is embedded in contemporary culture through comparisons that need to be debunked’Phil Hubbard, author of The Battle for the High Street and Borderland: Identity and belonging at the edge of England

‘This book is a must-read. A timely reappraisal of the very notion of comparing people, objects and places. The examples – from cities to sports stars, empires to dog breeds – are accessible, engaging and often funny. A highly enjoyable and personal perspective on the pitfalls, and potential, of making comparisons.’Aiden Sidebottom, Associate Professor, Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, UCL

About the Author

Andrew Brooks is a Reader in Uneven Development and Deputy Head of the Geography Department at King’s College London. Andrew’s work is equally praised for its rigour and accessibility.

His books include two editions of the popular Smithsonian Children’s Illustrated Atlas and Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes, which was long listed for the Bread and Roses prize. He was an Editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies for four years and his work on global development and fashion has reached international media including Al Jazeera, BBC News, CNN, The Economist, The Guardian, Le Monde, The New York Times and Newsweek.

Author Andrew Brooks