What they say

(All the immodest stuff)

The Hidden Half

Judgement is in from the boss:

A review by Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (April 20th, 2019)

Highly original… Makes you look at all that you know in a different way. Sometimes it’s a bit disturbing. But so be it. Once you have read this book, you can’t unread it.

Fascinating and provocative. Blastland is one of the most original thinkers around. Tim Harford – Financial Times columnist and author of The Undercover Economist

Elegantly written and mind-expanding, The Hidden Half will enthral you with its storytelling while educating you with its scientific depth. Daniel Pink – bestselling author of Drive

Excellent. Blastland makes a compelling case that God is fond of playing dice with the cosmos – and the list of unpredictable things keeps growing, not shrinking. Phillip Tetlock – bestselling author of Superforecasting

Brilliant. Blastland provides an explanation of the need for humility in the face of the inevitable limits to knowledge and our all-too-human temptation to tell stories about the world that go far beyond what the evidence will support. Diane Coyle – Bennett Professor of Public Policy, Cambridge University

and from her blog (at The Enlightened Economist): This couldn’t be more timely… the book is a terrific read with many examples from different domains of research and policy. It’s a model of clarity of exposition.   

What a terrific book! – I read it quite literally in one sitting. Blastland makes a powerful case that sheer obliviousness to complexity and unpredictability is our collective mental blind-spot.  His examples, ranging from cloned crayfish, to criminal life-histories and GDP figures, are a delight. A revelation.  Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, and author of The Mind is Flat.

Fascinating. As John Wooden said, it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.   Andrew Gelman, statistician, and author of Rich State Poor State Red State Blue State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do.

Beautifully written and often very funny. Anyone making decisions that matter should enjoy this book and profit from its lessons. Dame Frances Cairncross – Chair, Executive Committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies

Packed with fascinating examples of our shaky understanding of ourselves and the world. Bobby Duffy – Director, the Policy Institute at King’s College London


From this careful, serious book emerges a man with a quick wit and a far-seeing eye for what makes life so peculiar… (Joe) stands out as a work of rare enlightenment. Melissa Katsoulis, Sunday Telegraph

This is one of the best books on autism ever written … In a vividly engaging style, Michael Blastland writes about his experiences not only from a personal perspective, but also a sound scientific one. Nobody has come closer to describing the awesome elemental force of autism, and the breath-taking innocence of the autistic child. If you want to know what classic autism is like, close-up and personal – and how autism can provide deep philosophical insights about your own consciousness – then read this book. Dame Uta Frith, deputy director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London and author of Autism: Explaining the Enigma

A remarkably readable and compelling book, offering much of value, at many levels. Michael Blastland, an erudite, thoughtful and articulate BBC producer has provided us with an entertaining and educational account of life with Joe, his ten-year-old prototypical, severely autistic son. Read it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. It will haunt you. Bernard Rimland, founder of the Autism Society of America, technical consultant for Rain Man.  

Deeply personal and moving. Blastland’s beautifully written book offers us a glimpse of the torments endured by the growing number of children born with their cerebral pathways wrongly wired. Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

This is the best written, most thought-provoking book on autism I have read in years, suitable for anyone with an interest in humanity. Go out and buy it!  Communication Magazine, Autumn 2006 issue.

A far superior piece of non-fiction, both poignant and amusing, and instructive without ever becoming preachy. Scotland on Sunday.

A brave and frightening book. Nick Coleman, New Scientist

Michael Blastland has written a beautiful and deeply thoughtful book about his 10-year-old son Joe. Simon Baron-Cohen, The Lancet

Joe is a book that deserves to be read. It will speak loudly not just to those interested in autism, but to anyone who is fascinated by the full range of what it means to be human. Tim Hall, Catholic Herald

A voyage into the deep places of the human spirit. Ruth Rendell

The Tiger that Isn’t

Constantly sparks ‘aha!’ moments. The Guardian

Witty… fascinating… invaluable. David Dimbleby

Makes statistics far, far too interesting. Rory Bremner

This delightful book should be compulsory reading for everyone responsible for presenting data and for everyone who consumes it. The Sunday Telegraph

The truth is here. One, two, three. The Times

Every journalist should get paid leave to read and re-read The Tiger that Isn’tuntil they’ve understood how they are being spun.  New Scientist 

A very funny book. This is one of those maths books that claims to be self-help, and on the evidence presented here, we are in dire need of it. The Daily Telegraph

A book about numbers and how to interpret them doesn’t sound like interesting bedtime reading. Yet in the hands of Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, that is what it becomes… a reliable guide to a treacherous subject, giving its readers the mental ammunition to make sense of official claims. That it manages to make them laugh at the same time is a rare and welcome feat. The Economist (An Economist book of the year 2007).

A compelling case for building, at the heart of government, a culture that respects data. David Bell, permanent secretary of the Department for Children, Schools and Families

A very fine book. The Spectator

If every politician and journalist were required to read this engaging and eye-opening book before embarking on their career, we would live in a wiser, better-governed world. Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, former advisor to the Prime Minster.  

Should be compulsory reading. It teaches critical thinking about numbers and what they mean in a hugely entertaining way. Diane Coyle, enlightenmenteconomics.com

The Norm Chronicles

A witty, insightful, educational and wholly original book – and a wonderful achievement. Read it! Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and presenter of More or Less on BBC Radio 4

Fascinating. Daily Mail

A fast-paced, whizz-bang style. The Times

The statistics are presented with admirable lucidity, using an ingenious method devised by the authors, and may serve to reassure more neurotic readers … Witty and illuminating, The Norm Chronicles is essential reading for anyone wanting to know whether they should try skydiving, or accept that third glass of wine. Financial Times

Illuminating … eye-catching … a real achievement. The Economist

Perfectly pitched…laugh-out-loud funny…written with wit and elegance.