A contributing writer at New York magazine chronicles several dubious enthusiasms that permeate our culture. Along the way, he tries to show why they are so widespread ... Even if fad originators were sincere at first, and most appear to have been, they often become too personally invested in what they are promoting ... Each chapter of The Quick Fix presents accessible explanations of the research that was eventually shown to be 'half-baked,' as Mr. Singal puts it. The problems, he shows, often derive from dodgy statistical analysis or faulty experimental design ... Mr. Singal’s analysis is thus a quick fix for readers who want to be more enlightened and thoughtful consumers of psychological science. It is also a bracing reminder that social realms in which there are Big Problems—such as crime, education and poverty—are beyond the reach of fads and quick fixes, no matter how seductive.
[An] impassioned yet disappointing debut ... Though Singal accurately identifies many problems with 'fad psychology,' most of the topics he addresses have already been widely debunked, and his analyses of where the science goes wrong are often too convoluted for the lay reader to follow. This well-intentioned takedown comes up short.
A journalist questions the shoddy research and pseudoscientific claims of 'popular behavioral science.' ... Though Singal’s broad-reaching exposé is well documented, the less-than-compelling narrative fails to convey the significance of the issues. The author builds his often pedantic arguments on long stretches of accumulated research findings, citing seemingly every applicable study (more rigorous editing would have helped) ... this book lacks a similarly engaging voice. The result is a well-researched but long-winded exercise. An insightful yet plodding critique of faddish trends.