Belle Gibson convinced the world she had healed herself from terminal brain cancer with a healthy diet. She built a global business based upon her claims. There was just one problem: she'd never had cancer.
In 2015, journalists uncovered the truth: this hero of the wellness world, with over 200,000 followers, international book deals, and a best-selling smartphone app, was a fraud. She had lied about having cancer to her family and friends, to her business partners and publishers, and to the hundreds of thousands of people, including genuine cancer survivors, who were inspired by her Instagram posts.
Written by the same multi-award-winning journalists who uncovered the details of Gibson’s lies, The Woman Who Fooled the World tracks the 23-year-old's rise to fame and fall from grace. Told through interviews with the people who know her best, it unravels the mystery and motivation behind this deception and follows the public reaction to a scandal that made headlines around the world.
The Woman Who Fooled the World explores the lure of alternative cancer treatments, the cottage industry flourishing behind the wellness and ‘clean eating’ movements, and the power of social media. It documents the devastating impact this con had on Gibson’s fans and on people suffering from cancer. Ultimately, it answers not just how, but why, Gibson was able to fool so many.
‘It gives me great pleasure that this story has been told in such a compelling and readable way, as this surely means that it will reach the wide audience it deserves to. Not only does The Woman Who Fooled the World detail the sordid story of a young woman lying her way to fame and fortune, it also savagely exposes the wellness industry that enabled her rise. Although Belle Gibson has now been exposed, this brilliant book reveals how many others were complicit and culpable. I hope they are all thoroughly ashamed, and that this book serves as a powerful reminder, helping to ensure that this sort of deception is never allowed to happen again.’ Anthony Warner, The Angry Chef
Nick Toscano is a multi-award-winning journalist based in Melbourne, who specialises in federal politics, business workplace relations, and the labour movement for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
He has been awarded the the Grant Hattam Quill for Investigative Journalism, and has twice received the highest honour in Australian journalism, the Walkley Award, for exposing the country’s biggest-ever underpayment scandal. Toscano has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Journalism from RMIT.
Beau Donelly is a multi-award-winning journalist who covered social affairs for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. His news-breaking and investigative skills have been recognised by the United Nations and the Melbourne Press Club.
Donelly has been awarded for an exposé on illegal brothels, coverage of clergy sex-abuse trials, and reporting on disability issues. He has also been a finalist for Australian journalism’s highest honour, the Walkley Award. Donelly has a Bachelor of Journalism from Monash University, and is based in Europe.
Hoaxes & deceptions
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