The truth detective by Tim Harford

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Tim Harford, British economist, journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4's More or Less, has written his first children’s book, The Truth Detective: How To Make Sense of a World That Doesn’t Add Up. This book is described as 'an investigative adventure packed with tips and tricks to help you hunt down the truth about the world around you - using the power of numbers and your own brilliant brain.'

The book is divided into three sections: The Truth Detective Mindset, The Skills of a truth Detective and How to Crack Difficult Cases. There is a contents page and introduction preceding the sections and the book contains easily accessible information with plenty of white space surrounding the text. Throughout the book, orange, black and white are the predominant colours used, and draw the reader’s eye to bold headings, images, tables and important questions and information.  The reader is encouraged to observe, deduce, look at clues, use tips, tools and tactics, look at trustworthy sources and fake news in solving or understanding the situations posed.

One of the tables presented include the Hundred-Billionaires list of four, all men of course. The author then poses the question what does that tell us about the world? After this table he introduces the Forbes Fictional 15 list -the richest people in novels and films; which includes characters such as Willy Wonka, Lara Croft and Jabba the Hutt. His conversation then involves a discussion about wealth, poverty and uses the example of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and what it has achieved.

This book is not a quick read. So many examples and scenarios are shared that may interest older middle grade to secondary even adult readers. This book certainly makes the reader question and think deeply about what is going on in the world.

Themes: Numbers, Data, World Events, Truth, Investigation, Curiosity, Humour, Deep Thinking, Problem Solving, Money Issues, Justice.

Kathryn Beilby