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Should you believe what you read?



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  #1  
Old December 24th, 2008, 11:32 pm
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Should you believe what you read?

Hello, I love to read fiction mostly but I do read some non-fiction. I was just wondering about if you think that just because some thing is nonfiction means you should believe it?

Just because something is marked non-fiction do you think that you should believe every thing in it? Non-fiction doesn't mean real or true it just means it's not a fictional story.

Do you think that nonfiction means that everything in it is true?


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  #2  
Old December 25th, 2008, 12:05 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

I used to read a lot of nonfiction, and while most of the information is fairly accurate, but especially in science, older books have some variations and scientists don't have everything right, and same in everything else. There are a lot of variations to many stories and supposed facts, so while doing research it's always good to get a lot of different sources


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Old December 25th, 2008, 12:18 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

I don't think you should believe every nonfiction book you read. Some subjects deal with things that don't have a definite answer, like philosophy and certain sciences. Some nonfiction works are just people putting forth their own ideas.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 3:45 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

I think that nonfiction is based on fact, but the important thing to remember is that even purported non biased history books can show their true thoughts. It's opinion that rules current nonfiction, and I don't ever see that changing. Free speech is great, don't get me wrong- but nonfiction must be taken with a pinch of salt because people write primarily what they think. The facts behind something might be correct, but embellishments are a part of modern books.

I like that though, it allows me to read something and form my own opinions.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 3:52 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

In other words, everything's biased no matter where you go so it's always good to get a second opinion


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Old December 25th, 2008, 6:27 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

You can't believe everything in non-fiction. A lot of these non-fiction works have foot notes and I think it is important to look into them.They tell you sources and help verify facts.

But like someone's said already, getting a second opinion is important. I've read so many books about the same issue( like partition of Indian and Pakistan, for example) and each book tells something new or contradicts the other book. So, always take it with a pinch of salt.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 6:34 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Absolutely not. Question everything, and if you come across a subject in a nonfiction book that you find interesting, research it further to find out what the real deal is.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 6:35 pm
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Take everythig with a pinch of salt (authors like to exaggerate), and do not trust anything to be true before you have further proof. That's my advise on non-fiction books.


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Old December 25th, 2008, 6:45 pm
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliope View Post
Absolutely not. Question everything, and if you come across a subject in a nonfiction book that you find interesting, research it further to find out what the real deal is.
Couldn't have put it better!


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Old December 26th, 2008, 1:06 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Non-fiction does not equal truth. In many cases, it is the author's own opinion, perspective, or understanding. Mistakes also occur often in publishing, and are sure to appear in non-fiction. Always be apprehensive about what you read.


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Old January 17th, 2009, 12:17 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

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Originally Posted by gipro2003 View Post
Non-fiction does not equal truth. In many cases, it is the author's own opinion, perspective, or understanding. Mistakes also occur often in publishing, and are sure to appear in non-fiction. Always be apprehensive about what you read.

I agree. Being a university student means I am constantly reading non-fiction and almost every book that is on the same subject has different facts and the author has put their own spin on the facts. Its actually pretty interesting to see how people can spin facts into something that fits each of their separate agendas


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Old July 5th, 2009, 9:32 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliope View Post
Absolutely not. Question everything, and if you come across a subject in a nonfiction book that you find interesting, research it further to find out what the real deal is.
Definitely. "Question everything" is my personal motto.

Even when reading books by people I know are considered experts on their subject, I still research further to make sure. No one is infallible. People make mistakes, and are driven by emotions and strong opinions, so books can be biased or they can be flat-out wrong, even if they sit in the non-fiction section.

That said, there is something to be said about the trustworthiness of the writer. For example, autobiographies are much more trustworthy than biographies written by a third party, IMO. Or, if a book has a thick section full of references, it is much more trustworthy than one with few. I take these things into account while reading a non-fiction book.


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Old July 5th, 2009, 9:39 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

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Originally Posted by LilyDreamsOn View Post
That said, there is something to be said about the trustworthiness of the writer. For example, autobiographies are much more trustworthy than biographies written by a third party, IMO.
Have to totally disagree. All autobiography and memoir are self-serving to a greater or lesser extent.


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Old July 5th, 2009, 9:50 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

IMO, memoirs in particular are usually written to be engaging stories, and so some details are likely to be exaggerated or emphasised and others omitted in order to keep the audience interested/stick to theme/etc.

Plus, much of how a situation is portrayed in the work likely reflects what the author thinks of the event, and may not be the objective truth (if there even is an objective truth).


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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:06 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

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Have to totally disagree. All autobiography and memoir are self-serving to a greater or lesser extent.
Perhaps I shouldn't have said "much more trustworthy", as I don't believe either to be all that trustworthy. But bias can play a role in both autobiographies and biographies. The person writing the biography would have to have a strong opinion of the person to devote a book to them, and with any strong opinion comes a bias. And, naturally, some people writing autobiographies would want to paint a certain image of themselves for the public. I think it varies from person to person. Some will be brutally honest in self-reflection, whereas others will omit things they dislike. Same goes with biographies; some will weigh both sides of the story, whereas others will highlight the good or the bad to make the person out to be whatever they imagine them to be. I suppose I would just rather read the autobiography, considering if the person is being honest, the insight would be much greater.

That said, I don't really read either. The non-fiction I read is almost always about astronomy, physics, math, or general science. :P


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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:17 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

I think most non fiction books should be taken with a grain of salt. And utobiographies while they are more trustworthy, I think that they have variations too,. It all depends on the writer. Sometimed the writer may be too close to the subject and they do not manage to stay objective.


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Old September 26th, 2009, 12:46 pm
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

We shouldn't believe everyhting that is written and published. Instead, we should judge for ourselves whether a certain detail sounds accurate or not.


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Old February 2nd, 2012, 5:30 pm
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

A good many non-fiction books are opinions. You obviously can't agree with every opinion you come across. But some non-fiction is the reporting of observations of phenomena, and depending on the source, is more likely to be objectively accurate.


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Old March 6th, 2012, 10:27 am
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

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Originally Posted by LilyDreamsOn View Post
The person writing the biography would have to have a strong opinion of the person to devote a book to them, and with any strong opinion comes a bias.
They could just be offered a big fee and be indifferent about the subject. There's also the fact that a great many "autobiographies" are ghost-written.


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Old August 12th, 2012, 10:37 pm
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Re: Should you believe what you read?

Sometimes its tempting to believe everything you read in a nonfiction book on the basis its nonfiction but you should still be careful. Non-fiction is meant to be accurate but sometimes it might not be (this is especially true for science because as technology and such improves, lots of new theories come up and the old ones are discarded). Another issue with nonfiction books is when they are presenting facts on a touchy subject (for ex. abortion): Although the facts may be accurate sometimes the author has a biased opinion and they'll present the facts (or they'll only present certain facts) in a way that agrees with their opinion. Thats not necessarily a bad thing but if your looking for a wide range of opinions and POVs, its best to look at different sources.



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