Synopses & Reviews
"You think too much!and#160; You mother F@$#%and* think too much!and#160; You're nothing but an arrogant, pointy-headed intellectual and#8212; I want you out of my classroom and off the premises in five minutes or I'm calling the police and having you arrested for trespassing." and#8212; Hollywood acting teacher to Randy Olson, former scientist and#160; After nearly a decade on the defensive, the world of science is about to be restored to its rightful place.and#160; But is the American public really ready for science?and#160; And is the world of science ready for the American public? and#160; Scientists wear ragged clothes, forget to comb their hair, and speak in a language that even they don't understand.and#160; Or so people think. Most scientists don't care how they are perceived, but in our media-dominated age, style points count. and#160; Enter Randy Olson.and#160; Fifteen years ago, Olson bid farewell to the science world and shipped off to Hollywood ready to change the world. With films like Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (Tribeca '06, Showtime) and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest '08), he has tried to bridge the cultural divide that has too often left science on the outside looking in. and#160; Now, in his first book, Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker.and#160; In Don't Be Such a Scientist, he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. and#160; In a book enlivened by a profane acting teacher who made Olson realize that "nobody wants to watch you think," he offers up serious insights and poignant stories. You'll laugh, you may cry, and as a communicator you'll certainly learn the importance of not only knowing how to fulfill, but also how to arouse.
"In 1997, marine biologist Olson recognized that scientists needed better communications skills to address a growing backlash against 'rational data-based science.' Inspired by the 'power of video,' Olson gave up a tenured professorship and went to Hollywood to reach a broader audience through filmmaking. The crucial lesson he learned was how to tell a good story, a largely absent concern for scientists, who focus on accuracy rather than audience engagement. It was a lesson Olson learned the hard way, after his intelligent design documentary, Flock of Dodos, flopped for lack of a lively story line. By 'starting with a quirky little tidbit' about his mother and the intelligent design lawyer she lives next to, Olson found the hook he was missing. Olson values motivation over education, looking to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth ('the most important and best-made piece of environmental media in history') for a hugely successful example of his principles in action. As if to prove all he's learned, Olson packs this highly entertaining book with more good stories than good advice, spurring readers to rethink their personal communication styles rather than ape Olson's example." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Don't Be Such a Scientist
is a stinging critique, yet it's also a funny, heart-felt account of one scientist's efforts to make non-scientists care about the natural world."
"If you are a wildlife professional who has ever been faced with hunters not believing your data and questioning your management recommendations, or have had to deal with angry property-rights advocates questioning not only your results but your integrity, then Don't Be Such a Scientist
should be on your professional reading list."
After twenty years as a marine biologist, a Ph.D. from Harvard, a tenured professorship at the University of New Hampshire, and more than twenty published research papers, why is Dr. Randy Olson telling readers, “Dont Be Such a Scientist” ? The hard-earned advice comes from a fifteen-year career transition to filmmaking, culminating in the acclaimed documentaries Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus
and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy
In his first book, Olson makes clear what those glued to their microscopes and climate models may not recognize: the general public doesnt speak science. For better or worse, most of us rely not on intellect, but on what Olson terms the organs of mass communication: the heart, the gut, and even “the lower organs.” Why else do some still question the existence of global warming
or evolution when the evidence is irrefutable?
Drawing on his own hilariousand at times humiliatingevolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker, Olson shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human.
In a book enlivened by profane acting teachers and earnest scientists, serious insights and poignant stories, Olson walks the walk. Youll laugh, you may cry, and youll certainly learn how to communicate critical scientific and environmental issues using your heart as well as your head.
Drawing on his own hilariousand#8212;and at times humiliatingand#8212;evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker, Olson shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human.
In a book enlivened by profane acting teachers and earnest scientists, serious insights and poignant stories, Olson walks the walk. Youand#8217;ll laugh, you may cry, and youand#8217;ll certainly learn how to communicate critical scientific and environmental issues using your heart as well as your head.
Drawing on his own hilarious--and at times
About the Author
Randy Olson earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University and became a professor of marine biology before moving to Hollywood for his second career as a filmmaker. Since obtaining an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California School of Cinema, he has written and directed the critically acclaimed films Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (Tribeca, and#8216;06, Showtime) and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest, and#8217;08), and co-founded The Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project, a partnership between scientists and Hollywood to communicate the crisis facing our oceans.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Don't Be So Cerebral
Chapter 2. Two: Don't Be So Literal Minded
Chapter 3. Don't Be Such a Poor Storyteller
Chapter 4. Don't Be So Unlikeable
Chapter 5. Be the Voice of Science!
Appendix 1. The Sizzleand#160;Frazzle
Appendix 2. Filmmaking for Scientists
Appendix 3. Randy Olson