Verified: How to Think Straight, Get Duped Less, and Make Better Decisions about What to Believe Online (Paperback)
An indispensable guide for telling fact from fiction on the internet—often in less than 30 seconds.
The internet brings information to our fingertips almost instantly. The result is that we often jump to thinking too fast, without taking a few moments to verify the source before engaging with a claim or viral piece of media. Information literacy expert Mike Caulfield and educational researcher Sam Wineburg are here to enable us to take a moment for due diligence with this informative, approachable guide to the internet. With this illustrated tool kit, you will learn to identify red flags, get quick context, and make better use of common websites like Google and Wikipedia that can help and hinder in equal measure.
This how-to guide will teach you how to use the web to verify the web, quickly and efficiently, including how to
• Verify news stories and other events in as little as thirty seconds (seriously)
• Determine if the article you’re citing is by a reputable scholar or a quack
• Detect the slippery tactics scammers use to make their sites look credible
• Decide in a minute if that shocking video is truly shocking
• Deduce who’s behind a site—even when its ownership is cleverly disguised
• Uncover if that feature story is actually a piece planted by a foreign government
• Use Wikipedia wisely to gain a foothold on new topics and leads for digging deeper
And so much more. Building on techniques like SIFT and lateral reading, Verified will help students and anyone else looking to get a handle on the internet’s endless flood of information through quick, practical, and accessible steps.
For more information, visit the website for the book.
About the Author
Mike Caulfield is a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, where he studies the spread of online rumors and misinformation. Creator of the SIFT methodology, he has taught thousands of teachers and students how to verify claims and sources through his workshops.
Sam Wineburg is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education, Emeritus, at Stanford University, and the founder of the Stanford History Education Group, whose state-of-the-art curriculum on digital literacy has been distributed freely to schools all over the world. He is the author of Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone), also published by the University of Chicago Press.
“Lively and pithy, suitable for students. . . . Engaging, insightful, and useful.”
— American Biology Teacher
"Fortunately, a new book from two leading academics has arrived to help arm us against the flood of deliberate attempts to sow distrust and separate us from our own senses of what’s real and not.”
— Chicago Tribune
“A much-anticipated book by two leading experts of the field, Verified goes beyond defining the problem and offers readers clear advice on how to navigate a world of spin, trolls, and lies. Wonderful to see this guide published!”
— Maria Ressa, winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for work to safeguard freedom of expression
“Verified is the book and mindset that society needs right now. This is, of course, assuming that you want society to survive."
— Guy Kawasaki, Host of "Remarkable People and author of The Art of the Start
“As the value of information literacy becomes increasingly clear, Verified offers timely, research-based solutions to the ever-present and elusive problem of misinformation run amok.”
— Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia, author of Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning is Hard and How You Can Make it Easy
"Verified is a sorely needed intervention into today’s chaotic, often deceitful, information environment of influencers, ChatGPT, deepfakes, viral videos, and distrust. Offering ways to combat the mindset of knee-jerk cynicism, it responds to a world in which political power, not truth seeking, has too often become the ultimate arbiter of truth. Verified will be a treasured resource for debunking internet disinformation to instructors, students, and for you (to hand to parents and skeptics)."
— André Brock, author of Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures
“An indispensable guide for students and citizens of all ages and backgrounds.”
— Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University, and author of The End of History and the Last Man and Liberalism and its Discontents
“This book should be required reading for students, journalists, content creators, and anyone else who regularly consumes and shares information (i.e. pretty much everyone). Rich with actionable guidance and real-world examples, Verified helps readers learn the skills to stay out of the weeds of online misinformation and find the best available evidence for any claim. I’m so grateful to Caulfield and Wineburg for creating this resource.”
— Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, author of The Wellness Trap
“Verified offers an ethos that can help all of us understand and confidently use what we find online. This book belongs in every backpack, classroom, library, workplace, and home.”
— Phillip Jones, Grinnell College Libraries
“Verified does more than preach against the dangers of misinformation and online mischief, it provides clear, focused strategies for navigating and researching online that should become part of every literate person’s repertoire of skills. Every educator whose students touch the web—which is to say all of us—needs this book.”
— Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director, National Writing Project
“Verified is a lifeline. With research-verified and surprisingly simple techniques, the authors show us, step-by-step, how to sift the real, useful, true information from the tsunami of online bogosity. Read it, give it to parents and their high school-age children, give it as high school graduation gifts, and please teach it at colleges and universities.”
— Howard Rheingold, internet futurist and author of "Net Smart: How to Thrive Online"
“Anyone who wants to avoid being duped by all the fake news, distorted videos, and stealth ads that populate today's online universe needs this book. Verified offers a multitude of user-friendly tools for navigating our digital new world in which we cannot always trust the seemingly trustworthy sources we encounter.”
— Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, authors of "They Say, I Say"
“The internet accelerated the spread of misinformation but has also given us veritable superpowers for vetting the information that we encounter. This is the genius of Caulfield and Wineburg’s approach. We don’t have to be passive dupes of online misinformation. We can use the wonders of an online world to become better information consumers than ever before.”
— Carl Bergstrom, coauthor, Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World
“Caulfield and Wineburg have gone remarkably deep into how our children—and all the rest of us in America—think and learn. At the moment we are losing the battle against ignorance and misplaced assumptions, but this wonderfully written book could save us. Among many wise pieces of advice, they recommend we not only be critical thinkers, but savvy critical IGNORERS. That means learning how to detect crappy sources of information quickly and efficiently. We all need to read this.”
— Jay Mathews, education journalist
“Under a deluge of disinformation and conspiracism, our modern world faces an epistemological crisis— an inability to parse reality from fiction, truth from lies. Verified offers readers the invaluable tools they need to navigate the flood; to regain clarity and attachment to the real world of facts, logic, and reason; and to restore the foundations of democratic discourse. It's essential reading for our chaotic times.”
— David Neiwert, author of The Age of Insurrection: The Radical Right's Assault on American Democracy
“With humor, clarity, and real-world examples, the authors illustrate both simple and nuanced strategies for making sense of an increasingly complex digital realm. Students, everyday citizens, and educators at all levels will find their varied examples relevant and applicable.”
— Andrea Baer and Daniel Kipnis, Librarians at Rowan University
“As the value of information literacy becomes increasingly clear to society at large, Verified offers timely, research-based solutions to the ever-present and often elusive problem of misinformation run amok.”
— Rob Detmering and Amber Willenborg, University of Louisville
“Verified will help librarians, students, and anyone else move beyond well-meaning but oversimplified checklists to be better at sifting the wheat from the chaff when looking for good information online.”
— Brad Sietz, Director LOEX