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Podcast Review: If Books Could Kill

If Books Could Kill is a podcast that provides critiques of best selling books. The hosts are Michael Hobbes and  Peter Shamshiri. Hobbes and Shamshiri analyze and critique various books that were enormously popular when they were published. I listened to their episodes about Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steve D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner; Rich Day, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyoaski and Sharon Lechter; and Men Are From Mars, Women are From Vensus by John Gray. If Books Could Kill is hilarious and disproves myths once taken as facts.

In the first episode of this podcast, Hobbes and Shamshiri discuss Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. They question the comparisons of certain data in the book. One example is that more children die by drowning per year than by gun violence, which infers pools are more dangerous to children than guns. Not only is this an irresponsible statement but the data generalizes drowning cases. In an absurd section of the book, Levitt and Dubner list supposed names of African American children. The hosts talk about how a simple Google search disapproves this information. There are numerous of other ‘facts’  that are disputed, which I found to be shocking because of the esteemed credentials of the authors.

Another book that was reviewed was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book is regarded as one of the top financial advisory books. However, Hobbes and Shamshiri have sharp criticisms of it. Hobbes immediately disliked after reading that the author describes Robin Hood as being a villain rather than the hero most people see him as. The hosts have serious doubts that the stories described in the book are true. One is about how a young boy demonstrates  entrepreneurial spirit by making coins out of melted aluminum toothpaste tubes. They are also skeptical of Kioyaski’s expertise on financial advising and they talk about some of his failed businesses. You will scratch your head at his supposed credentials as a financial expert and question his advise.

The last episode of this podcast that I listened to is about Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus. Hobbes and Shamshiri are baffled by the stories written in this book. One is the story of a husband and wife that get into a fight five days after the wife gives birth. The woman is in pain and she gets upset with her husband when he does not answer his phone call about getting pain medication for her. He is about to storm out of the hospital room his wife is in but she convinces him to stay. One has to agree with Hobbes and Shamshiri when they talk about the lack of empathy of the husband for his suffering wife. They describe an odd section in the book that lists the best ways for a woman to ask her husband to do chores without offending him. They talk about how incredibly petty this is and even suggest that being asked to do chores is a point of contention for the author.

If Books Could Kill is an entertaining podcast that makes you question how certain books became so popular. Hobbes and Shamshiri are an excellent duo and they are equally funny. They make you think critically and laugh at the same time. I recommend this podcast to anyone interested in book reviews or who enjoy satire.

Due to the language in If Books Could Kill, this podcast is recommended for adult audiences only.

You can listen to If Books Could Kill online or through apps such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.


Michael Walsh

Adult Services-Will Branch

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