• 10 Books That Screwed Up the World

  • And 5 Others That Didn't Help
  • By: Benjamin Wiker
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (396 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites.

From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive; in fact, they might influence your own thinking without your realizing it.

Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker. In this scintillating new book, he seizes each of these evil books by its malignant heart and exposes it to the light of day. You'll learn:

  • Why Machiavelli's The Prince was the inspiration for a long list of tyrannies (Stalin had it on his nightstand)
  • How Descartes's Discourse on Method "proved" God's existence only by making Him a creation of our own ego
  • How Hobbes's Leviathan led to the belief that we have a "right" to whatever we want
  • Why Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto could win the award for the most malicious book ever written
  • How Darwin's Descent of Man proves he intended "survival of the fittest" to be applied to human society
  • How Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil issued the call for a world ruled solely by the "will to power"
  • How Hitler's Mein Kampf was a kind of "spiritualized Darwinism" that accounts for his genocidal anti-Semitism
  • How the pansexual paradise described in Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa turned out to be a creation of her own sexual confusions and aspirations
  • Why Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was simply autobiography masquerading as science

    Witty, shocking, and instructive, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World offers a quick education on the worst ideas in human history and how we can avoid them in the future.

  • ©2008 Benjamin Wiker (P)2008 Tantor

    What listeners say about 10 Books That Screwed Up the World

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    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars

    Some merit, but more religious masquerade

    I will openly admit that I wanted to kick myself for not reading the reviews prior to purchasing this audiobook. All the reviews would have kept me from stepping directly into the trap of this book, which in part, must have been deliberately set. The titles and book synopsis do not disclose the blatant reduction of nearly each criticism to a Christian fundamentalist viewpoint, which should be OPENLY DISCLOSED. The book was well written, flowed well and was interesting with each chapter until the abrupt drop into a religious sermon. What was disappointing was that the author, who is obviously intelligent and a good writer, describes some valid criticisms and makes some arguments that keep you just interested enough that you think, "well, maybe the next chapter will be better." I can only hope to save another person some time, as others in the review section tried to do for me. The single biggest statement that can be said about the reviews of this book is that you can be rest assured that anyone who gave it 5 stars and "bought extra copies for _____" is an individual with strong Christian fundamental beliefs...which should divulge this book's blatant bias. I have submitted a request to Audible that this book be moved to the religious section, as keeping it in nonfiction is misleading. I'm sure that if you purchase this book KNOWING it is a theologic book, you will enjoy it immensely and you will be glad you spent the money. 4.5 stars for the writing & text, but ZERO for the fact that it is a religious book masquerading as non-fiction literature.

    133 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Egotistical Rant By A Very Poor Academic

    I feel like I've been hoodwinked into buying this book! It is not a proper critique on the books in question at all. It is just a Fundamentalist Christian diatribe on why we should ignore anything that an atheist tells us.

    89 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Fundamentalist claptrap

    I want my money back on this one. What a load of peurile drivel. A great title that caught my eye and how good could it have been, had it not been hijacked to promote the authors fundamentalist Christian views. The Title certainly should have been "10 books that screwed fundamentalist thinking". The review was totally misleading.

    61 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Felt manipulated

    Clearly the author has some interesting and compelling perspectives on philosophical world views developed over the centuries however he sees all this through one lens - Christian fundamentalism.
    This was not apparent in the book description so feel somewhat duped.
    He does not fairly argue that a world view without a belief in a Christian anthropomorphised deity and a literal acceptance of the bible is not only specious but 'evil'.
    Without the religious self-justifying supercilious commentary it could have been an interesting listen.
    And I'll scream if one more creationist tells me about the great designer in the sky being responsible for creation and their convoluted logic in explaining the biological horrors that kill millions each year.
    This book should be under a 'Religious' heading.

    59 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      2 out of 5 stars

    Hard to get past the author's misguided premise

    Two starts because the author is clearly up on the subject matter he is writing about.

    Missing the other three because, well, I just can't get past the author's apparent assertion that one cannot be a moral person without religion. I find this somewhat amusing given some of the things done in the name of religion, but this isn't the place to go into that. Also, he's of the mind that a viewpoint cannot be valid unless it embraces some form of God as one of its major tenants.

    I agree with one of the other reviewers here - brand this clearly as religious content so that one knows what they are spending their credits on.

    59 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Christian Claptrap Masquerading as Philosophy

    For the first time, I feel cheated by Audible.com and will ask for a credit on this book. The description did not mention the author has a rightwing Christian Agenda--yes, with a Capital A--and views these books through that prism. I stopped listening after his ignorant and illogical discussion of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan.

    52 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    False colors

    The concept of this book was enticing. It sounded like an intellectual disection of some of the most toxic ideas ever introduced into human culture. I didn't get far before realizing it is a tract on the falsity of all moral systems that do not derive directly from religious belief. A toxic idea if ever there was one.

    52 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Trite

    I like to read thoughtful books with which I disagree. I picked this up expecting a sharp but intellectual critique of modern thought; instead I got the ramblings of a semi-defeated Culture Warrior. It would've been useful for me to know that the author is a fellow at the Discovery Institute, a creationist "think" tank. Do with that information what you will. Not to be overly unkind, but this is an extremely trite book. It reads a bit like an old man bemoaning the "kids these days", except in this case the "old man" is pre-Enlightenment Religiosity and the "kids" are all of modernity. If you want to read an interesting religious examination of the tension between human capacity self-transcendence and our inescapable mortal limitations, pick up some Reinhold Niebuhr. If you are depressed that the Religious Right didn't carry the day on Nov 4th and are looking for some comfort reading, then this is the book for you.

    49 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Misleading in the extreme

    This audiobook's title promised so much. What it did not make clear, however, is that the book is nothing more than a lengthy sermon by an angry religious zealot. It should have been called "10 Books That I Hate Because They Offend My Medieval Christian Worldview." Unless you think Hitler and Darwin belong on the same list, don't waste your time with this terrible book.

    46 people found this helpful

    • Overall
      2 out of 5 stars

    Flawed Premise

    While Dr. Wiker (Ph.D. in Theological Ethics) does a fair job in detailing why these ten books had some bad ideas, he is more interested in demonizing all things that have been influenced by these books. Now, many of them are based on non- and pseudo-science and deserve a good thrashing, but he is really launching his judgments from a traditional Judeo-Christian platform, which is also based on a non-science book (albeit one with a richer and thicker sheen of cultural strength).
    This is far more an attack on liberal ideas (some of which deserve attacking), than a serious intellectual treatise. And while I agree with many of the concepts, the premise is flawed and I feel disappointed by what I thought was going to be some serious logical thinking and all I kept hearing was, "this is bad because God says so".

    This book should be moved to the Religious section.

    41 people found this helpful

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    • Michael Stakounis
    • 04-20-22

    Pseudo intellectual nonsense used to propagate an undisclosed agenda.

    False logic, straw man arguments, ridiculous generalisations, and poorly defined presumptions based on what I can only assume is a USA American Christian perspective on the Bible, and laughably inaccurate misrepresentations off well-established philosophical concepts. This author obviously disagrees with the authors that he references because they contradict his understanding of whatever Christian sect he belongs to, but instead of saying that, he does a poor job of dismantling the philosophical and logical concepts in the books he references either because he assumes that all of his readers will have the same Christian background as him, or he is hoping no one will challenge his Christian precepts.

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    • shawn
    • 07-03-18

    Abrasive but succinct

    I really enjoyed the listen to this book.

    It covered the major though influencing books of the 1900's and 2000's.

    I found it quite helpful in overhauling what the book was preaching / teaching.

    I think that because I am not American, I could not work out if the author was snarky or being silly / sarcastic.

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    • Adam
    • 04-08-20

    This is the book that shouldn't have been written

    I have struggled with this book. it's a simplistic, black and white interpretation of some of the most influential books ever written ( even if they may have had a bad influence). The author colours everything with a conservative, anti-atheist, anti-abortion slant with many snide remarks about "liberals". Politics aside, the author only focused on the bad aspects of the books without explaining the books in the context of their times and why they were so popular/influential or suggesting what our world would look like if the books hadn't been written. Sure, we could probably have done without Hitlers Mein Kampf, but most of the other books were important philosophical or political pieces that have had huge influence, both good and bad, on our world. Some of the comments may have been written in jest but, if so, the sarcasm was too fine for me to appreciate.
    Narrator was okay but didn't distinguish between quotes from the books in question and from the actual narrative very well.

    36 people found this helpful

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    • Anonymous User
    • 08-20-20

    0/10

    Blatant Christian propaganda. if you're up for a sermon - this is the book for you. Atheists will find this preachy and a complete insult.

    25 people found this helpful

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    • Anonymous User
    • 11-13-20

    Wiker, 10 books that screwed the world

    Author reviews well known books and authors with religious logic.
    Describers Machiavelli as an atheist who is evil by renouncing god. (No doubt Machiavellism is unacceptable.)
    Describes Marxism as an evil idea because communism in Russia and China reveal awful casulties. His logics are rediculous because what is then Christianity if we judge it by the acts of Catholic pedofilic priests?!
    Really sad I wasted time and money.

    16 people found this helpful

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    • Dan Williams
    • 03-14-21

    Religious propaganda

    In a world where anyone can write a book this is a disappointing review of a number of important books in our history. While there were points throughout the book I did agree with, he manages to ignore the ongoing development of our morality and intelligence throughout time. According to him everything is an attack on religion and somehow Christian faith is the answer to all the ills of the world.
    There is a lot of black and white thinking, with everything atheistic is bad and any Christian thought is good. Almost every book is reduced to an oversimplification.
    If like me, you like your views to be challenged, by all means listen, but don't expect to find an argument which will alter your life views. - For the record, I am an atheist who was brought up Catholic.

    10 people found this helpful

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    • Anonymous User
    • 01-07-21

    terrible

    nothing more than religious bigotry a shameless attack on philosophy that ignores the wrongdoings of the church.

    10 people found this helpful

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      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Michael H
    • 05-25-19

    Deeply thought provoking

    This important book examines where so much pain in society comes from, it shows that ideas, especially those based on flawed science can hurt society. Even if people disagree with some points in this book the overall points are well worth considering.

    7 people found this helpful

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      2 out of 5 stars
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    • Anonymous User
    • 05-25-21

    Interesting, but a hidden underlying common thread

    I don't know much about philosophy or the books that were summarised by this book, so the summary that was provided was certainly instructional and educational to a point.
    The further I got through the book however, the more some familiar conclusions kept coming up. For the most part, all the weird perverse ideologies of the authors seemed to stem from one common factor: atheism. In the end, I found this common conclusion overly simplistic and coloured every other assertion that the author made.
    The orator certainly had a distinctive voice with a very authoritarian tone, but as other reviewers have mentioned, didn't distinguish enough between standard text and quotes which made it easy to drift off and lose concentration.

    2 people found this helpful

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    • Anonymous User
    • 02-22-21

    great informative summary

    Exellent read, summarises alot of influences that have contributed to the degeneration of western society that most people don't realise and gives an opportunity to investigate further.

    2 people found this helpful

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    • Andrew Wood
    • 04-19-22

    A nasty book squarely aimed at the christian right

    I expected an interesting analysis of several books that helped shape and form the world we live in.

    What it actually is a series of connected attacks on liberalism and specifically atheists. I like challenging books and books that challenge my world opinion but unfortunately the author's superficial arguments and major fallacies may challenge my world views but don't challenge my intellect.

    In summary - the books argues the horrors of the past 500 years and indeed our world today is thoroughly because of the decline of Western Christian views and the rise of secularism. Unfortunately, firstly this ignores the majority of "the world" and further more ignores the fact that the average human today is in a better condition then 500 years ago.

    A better title would be 10 books that screwed up Christian dominance and replaced them with something far better.

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    Profile Image for Gian Urbani
    • Gian Urbani
    • 01-14-22

    Big picture genius!

    I so enjoyed this book. Few people have the ability to distill complex issues into an entertaining Aha! Thank you.

    Ideas travel through time. Ideas have consequences and bad ideas are sometimes devastating.

    Some “truths” we believe are just so, are sometimes just imagined so this is a look behind the curtain if you will. If you have an atheist world view this book might cause more than a little discomfort though and that is not a bad thing at all.

    Highly recommended.

    .