About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds
of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it
dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for
reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have
to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such
reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of
people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a
problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards
such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about
the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I
remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review
contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader
about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but
revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book
About your reviewer
- Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I
listen to audio books.
- Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too
short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no
substance. That leads into my next point...
- In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
- I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher
submitted it to the local paper.
- For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left
that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that
publication (and for other publications).
- No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm
presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing
than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I
stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000
articles ago! (It's been a while).
- I have an engineering degree and an MBA,
among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my
methodical approach toward reviews.
- You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect
score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for
whatever it's worth.
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate.
But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as
you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed
reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is
great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in
graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading,
and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.