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  • Published: 8 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781473585041
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $30.00

Learning to Think.

A broken system kept her trapped, education helped her break free

From writer and science communicator Tracy King, a startling memoir about poverty and superstition and the very human need for answers.

Poverty and superstition go hand in hand, a way to reconcile the unfairness of the universe. How else can you explain why some families have everything and some have nothing?

Tracy King was raised in a house of contradictions. Her home was happy and creative but it was marked by debt, by her father's alcoholism and her mother's agoraphobia. When her father died at the hands of a local teenage gang on the streets of their Midlands council estate, superstition gave way to a deeper and more dysfunctional reliance on the born-again Christian church to which Tracy and her family belonged. In the chaos of loss, the paranormal became paranoia.

In a bid to find definitive answers, Tracy followed one belief system after another. After accepting then rejecting spiritualism, witchcraft, and eventually conspiracy theories, she accidentally stumbled across a book by scientist Carl Sagan. It opened the door to a world of critical thinking, scientific thinking. Ultimately, it taught her to think for herself.

Learning to Think is a memoir about belief. It's about poverty, religion and superstition, grief and healing. But most of all, it's about the liberating power of a scientific view of the world.

  • Published: 8 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9781473585041
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

Tracy King

Tracy King is a writer, producer, science communicator and ‘debunker’ and has written for The Guardian, The Times, Stylist, and many more. She has been a regualr contributor to national media on subjects ranging from science to feminism to videogames.

Her science and critical thinking animations have millions of views including a collaboration with Tim Minchin, Storm, which has 4.8million views on YouTube and was adapted into a best-selling graphic novel published by Orion.

She writes for the popular women-in-science podcast Nevertheless, and is a regular contributor to New Statesman and The New European, providing critical analysis on a range of medical, scientific or cultural claims.

She also campaigns on feminist and political issues, working with the like of bestselling author Caroline Criado Perez, MP Jess Phillips and author Konnie Huq. Her television and radio credits include Sky News, Good Morning Britain, and BBC Radio Five Live.

Praise for Learning to Think.

King's memoir is heartbreaking and hopeful; a devastating true story that teaches us how the pursuit of knowledge can be a path to both freedom and breathtaking grace.

Tim Minchin

A raw and unflinching account of growing up in poverty which tackles the false narratives we tell ourselves to survive.

Caroline Criado Perez

A brilliant writer

Adam Kay

What would you do if you began to suspect the events of your childhood didn't happen as you remembered them? In this evocative memoir, Tracy King confronts the stories we all tell ourselves in order to live.

Helen Lewis, author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights

You won’t often read a book so driven by raw emotion. A book of tragedy, hope and ultimately of triumph.

HH Wendy Joseph KC, author of Unlawful Killings

I loved Tracy’s extraordinary book. It’s compelling and courageous, and it couldn’t be more timely. It’s written with such clarity and compassion, and I think it will leave every reader wiser and stronger.

Daisy Buchanan, author of How to be a Grown Up and Sisterhood

Fantastic - could have been me, could have been you, could have been anyone, so we all cheer for Tracy King's brave escape.

Lee Child

Learning to Think is eloquent, brutally honest but also warm. Life and events are complicated and she unfolds this learning process in seamless prose.

Elizabeth Buchan

A compelling tale of how the power of science and reality will always win. How Tracy King battled against all the odds to become a brilliant science advocate and a fantastic writer too!

Konnie Huq

A stirring account of one woman’s staggering climb through grief to independence and a page-turner to boot, King is an exciting, brave new voice in memoir.

Courtney Maum, author of The Year of the Horses

Impossible not to read in one sitting.

Stylist: Best Non-fiction for 2024

An astonishing account of a father’s violent death, exorcism and religious superstition…. Learning to Think is, in many ways, a book about demons: the addiction, violence, mental health struggles and, yes, superstition, that so often accompany poverty. But it’s also the story of an extraordinary family, full of energy and joie de vivre. It’s a story that brims with life and hard-won hope… Well structured and punchily told.

Christina Patterson, Sunday Times

A memoir you read with the same breathlessness as you read the most gripping of novels ... An account of a family both torn apart and trapped by a broken system. A story of poverty and hardship, religion and superstition, but also an incredibly hopeful tale of how King got out of it.

i paper

Reflective and compassionate, King gently reminds of the complex ways poverty wreaks havoc on people's lives.

Woman & Home

A powerful depiction of a challenged but enterprising, intelligent and resilient family.

Times Literary Supplement

An earth-shattering, hopeful memoir.

Woman’s Own

Reflective and compassionate, King gently reminds us how little we understand the ways poverty wreaks havoc on people’s lives.

Woman magazine

Compelling ... a devastating yet hopeful read

Irish Daily Mirror

A truly devastating yet hopeful read, which dives into some of the most heartbreaking experiences. Seeing King come out the other end with a new perspective on life is something we can all learn from.

Press Association