Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 04

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Volume 22, No. 4
Pages 255 - 257

BOOK REVIEW • Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance In An Age of Style

Jonathan H. Sharp
First Paragraph

The number of Americans who believe [sic] that our climate is changing has dropped 20 percentage points to 57% in the past two years. This figure should be a clarion call that we, as environmental scientists, are not effectively communicating with the public. Here is a book that addresses the problem with excellent suggestions on how to improve our communication skills. The book might be viewed by some established ocean scientists as overly critical of them and supportive of our students becoming inaccurate emotional environmental advocates. This should not be the case. Over the past two decades, I have seen increasing numbers of prospective graduate students who were passionate about environmental problems and wanted to “save the world.” In our traditional academic training, we tend to squelch this passion in favor of developing quiet, objective, incremental researchers. In the end, our trainees become like us; if they speak out in public at all, it is with guarded, qualified statements. They appear to the more cynical public to be boring “talking heads.”


Sharp, J.H. 2009. Review of Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance In An Age of Style, by R. Olson. Oceanography 22(4):255–257, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.120.