What’s The Catch? How to Avoid Getting Hooked and Manipulated (Second Edition)

WHAT’S THE CATCH? How to Avoid Getting Hooked and Manipulated

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By David Sobel, M.D.
Illustrated by Jeff Jackson
Foreword by Robert Ornstein, Ph.D.
Ages: 12–18+

ISBN 978-1-953292-32-2 (paperback) $18.95, 156 pages
ISBN 978-953292-33-9 (ePub) $8.95
ISBN 978-953292-34-6 (Kindle) $8.95

The third book in Hoopoe’s “All About Me” series, What’s the Catch? explores the ways in which our thinking, feelings and behavior are influenced by those around us. Sometimes this kind of influence is helpful, but at other times it ends up “shortchanging” us. Readers will learn to distinguish between the two kinds of situations, so that they can more easily tell when they’re really being helped and when they’re merely being manipulated, brainwashed or tricked.

Written in a clear and accessible style by physician David Sobel, What’s the Catch? is illustrated by Jeff Jackson with an appealing cast of teen characters, who act out and embody the various ways in which we’re influenced by others. Readers will learn to become more aware of the forces nudging and pushing them, as well as how to protect themselves from unwanted and unhelpful influence. By coming to understand their own reaction patterns, they’ll be able to avoid getting “hooked.”

In What’s the Catch?, readers will discover all that scientists and researchers know about the topic, and will also explore questions that have yet to be answered. Illustrative quotes from real-life teens, as well as simple activities the reader can do to relate to the concepts presented, make the book truly come alive for young people. Also included are suggested activities for teachers to use in the classroom. What’s the Catch? can be used to supplement a high-school psychology course, or as a standalone unit in grades 8 through 12

This new edition has been revised to incorporate the latest research findings and meet the American Psychological Association’s National Standards for Psychology at the high-school level, the College Board AP Psychology standards and the National Board Standards for Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood.

“How are teens supposed to make good health and life decisions, now and in the future, if they don’t understand themselves and how influential people and social media can manipulate them? What’s the Catch? … is strong preventive medicine – equipping teens with the insights, tools and skills to avoid questionable influences, pressures and stress.”
Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco and author of Change Your Genes, Change Your Life

Mark Twain once said that it is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Sobel successfully takes on the even harder task of helping teens learn to separate facts from non-facts and how modern media makes this difficult. By bringing them into the conversation with a light touch, he supports their understanding the science of persuasion and how to make use of information, rather than be used by it.
—James Fadiman, Ph.D., cofounder, Sofia University

Our teens swim daily in a rushing river of media and What’s The Catch? provides essential, accessible tools for kids, and their parents and teachers, for understanding and navigating this cascade of information. As a long-time Media Literacy and SEL teacher, I was impressed with the ways in which Dr. Sobel invites students into a reflective conversation using science and specific, relatable examples. This intelligent and engaging approach of the All About Me book series supports students in developing their own internal compass for understanding their own reactions as they set a thoughtful course through their media saturated world.
Renee Fadiman, M.F.A., Media Literacy and SEL Educator

“What’s The Catch? gives readers specific exercises to help them be better prepared for recognizing temptations that can easily derail their long-term goals. My students loved learning about themselves. Susan Josephs, literacy teacher, the TEAK Fellowship (a New York City-based program that helps talented students from low-income families achieve their potential)

… a guide for younger readers on how to resist the influences and pressures that lie all around us. Author David Sobel encourages children to understand the reasoning behind their actions and to remember to act for yourself, and avoid being a puppet. With a strong message for readers, What’s the Catch? is a solid and highly recommended read.
Midwest Book Review

What’s the Catch? is an essential book for teens and tweens that do not want to be manipulated by advertising and authority. Chock full of useful and interactive activities … What’s the Catch? is a great book. … I highly recommend (it) to middle school and high school-aged teens and tweens … All middle school, high school, and public libraries should own a copy.Kids’ BookBuzz

“Four new and updated editions to the outstanding ‘All About Me’ series from Hoope Books are exceptionally relevant and recommended for teens and young adults. … All four of these informative and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ titles comprising the ‘All About Me’ series are especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, high school, and community library collections for young readers.” Midwest Book Review 


Education Standards
Common Core State Standards

Grades 6–8: What’s The Catch Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects

Grades 9–10: What’s The Catch Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects

Grade 11–12: What’s The Catch Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects

APA Standards

APA National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula for What’s the Catch

California School Health Standards

California Middle School and High School Health Standards for What’s the Catch

California School Life Science Standards

California State High School Life Science Standards for What’s the Catch

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards – Health for What’s the Catch

Adolescence and Young Adulthood Science Standards for What’s the Catch


Grades 6–12 Hoopoe titles have been correlated with the The Protocol for Review of Instructional Materials for English Language Learners (PRIME) through the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) tool ( Click here for a copy of the report.


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