Click to return to homepage
Click to order
Click to read more about the authors
Click for early reviews and advance praise
Click for book excerpts
Click for reviews and press
Click for information on what to talk to your doctor about (the RCT)
Click for video or audio clips
contact us

Advance Praise

Advance Praise for The Illusion of Certainty:  Health Benefits and Risks

 “There is nothing more effective than real stories, well-told, to engage readers, expose them to issues and help them to understand the complexity and subtlety of concepts.  This book does just that, and it does it well.  I doubt that anyone – especially a parent – will be able to put this book down after reading the first paragraph of Chapter 1. 

In my view, a book like this is long overdue, and we all will be better for the reflection and debate it is likely to stimulate among scientists and policy-makers.”
--Jared Cohon, Ph.D., President, Carnegie Mellon University


“In my 19 years as an environmental professional, I have observed numerous instances where newspaper or television reporters have misrepresented statistics and/or facts regarding environmental risks.  For this reason, I applaud the efforts of Drs. Rifkin and Bouwer.   Their work serves to set the record straight regarding the true meaning of environmental and other health risks.  The authors use of case examples to illustrate incorrect and correct use of environmental and health risk numbers is engaging, illuminating, and simple to understand.”
--Neal Durant, Ph.D., GeoSyntec Consultants


“I receive daily inquiries from patients about the side effects and interactions of their medications, the benefits and limitations of materials I use such as amalgam compared with composite and the dangers associated with dental radiographs.  After reading excerpts from "The Illusion of Certainty", the information I have used as the foundation for my answers I now find questionable and realize that additional investigation is required on my part.”
--Henry Honick, III, D.D.S.


“In their useful and important book, Drs. Rifkin and Bouwer peel away the “veneer of certainty” which many of us attach to risk information given to us in our daily lives.  Most importantly, they convey practical information and tools necessary to enable individuals to probe beyond conclusory risk communications they receive so that better informed decisions can be made as to whether the likely risks of certain actions -- whether they be taking prescription drugs or drinking water with low levels of contaminants -- outweigh the benefits of those actions.  The Illusion of Certainty is a “must read” for those of us concerned about the wide range of dangers to which we often expose ourselves and our loved ones in this modern age.”
--Karl Bourdeau, JD, Beveridge & Diamond, PC


“This book does an excellent job of describing how health risks are calculated and how different ways of communicating these risks can dramatically change how people view these risks.  The book is written in a way that most interested people can understand.  The use of the Risk Characterization Theatre (RCT) is innovative and helps explain complex concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand fashion.  The case studies are particularly informative and instructive.”
--Gene Parkin, Professor, University of Iowa


“The Illusion of Certainty is likely to make a few waves as it reaches the reading public.  This would be an excellent and welcome outcome, as it is the unexamined conclusion that holds the greatest threat to well-being.  By forcing the discussion of risk appraisal and the ways risk is presented to the public, Rifkin and Bouwer provide the discussion of risk with the counterpoint that is necessary to its careful consideration.”
--Patricia Bender, Professor, Washburn University


“Even though I consider myself to be well-informed about health issues, their explanation of what they call “the illusion of certainty” was a real eye-opener for me…. This book is “must” reading, as patients and their families get more involved in making medical decisions and as citizens face critical questions about the environment.”
--Bob Cooke, Writer, Creative Director, Cooke Communications


“On the medical front, consumers are barraged with direct advertising by drug companies with information about the “latest and greatest” new product available.  Consumers also hear about and read about the latest medical research on the daily news shows and in their morning newspapers.  On the environmental front, consumers are exposed to a steady diet of reports from the government, industry, and advocacy groups on the potential risks of a wide range of agents.  How is the average consumer to make any sense of this?  Rifkin and Bouwer provide a clear and succinct discussion of the basic concepts necessary to adequately analyze the deluge of data being discussed and published.  Through the use of their Risk Characterization Theatre (RCT), they provide a tool to turn often difficult to relate to statistics into clear visual examples.”
--Bob Sheff, M.D., retired radiologist