I have a policy about judging books based on reviews: a well written positive review is a good sign, and a badly written negative review is also a good sign. To put it another way, if an idiot hates a book, I’ll probably like it.
That came back to mind yesterday. I’m reading Isaac Asimov’s science fiction classic Foundation right now, and I wanted to get some other perspectives on it, so I looked it up on Amazon.
Pretty sure I’ll love it. Check out some of the Einsteins who gave it one star.
“A sci-fi book on people who want to create an encyclopedia?” That sounds…awesome!
“like reading dozens of books each with its own characters and new plot” Again…awesome.
This was enlightening.
Dwight: It is your birthday.
I love reviews that downgrade a book because their copy fell apart.
One of my goals for my year of being 40 is to eat at 40 new places, and I’m up to 17. Four of the first Mexican places I went are reviewed here. Here are the most recent eleven:
7. La Casita De Doña Machi, 1/18. I saw this on the drive from work to my son’s basketball game, and stopped in. I loved the atmosphere right away–the TV was tuned to a Spanish language news station. I had a burrito, which was so different from the fast food I’m used to–not nearly as mushy and juicy. Though that made it seem a bit dry to me, it was tasty, and washed down well with some hot sauce and soda. Very nice place–would definitely go again.
8. New China Cuisine, 1/26. One of a few Asian places near my house that I’ve never gone to. It doesn’t look like much from outside, near the edge of a middlebrow strip mall, but on the inside the atmosphere wraps you up and draws you in. I took my wife there on a date night–she likes Chinese food even more than I do. The waitress had solid suggestions for us–I tried some excellent sweet and sour shrimp. The appetizer was egg drop soup, which I love and haven’t had for years. It made me find some recipes online and try to make it at home–alas, not nearly as good as theirs.
9. Tacos El Gordo, 2/1. This came recommended from an old colleague, and I’m seriously grateful. The counter setup inside is a bit odd, but the food is sweet and solid. It’s like an In-N-Out Burger for genuine Tijuana tacos. Almost as good as the tacos was a creamy orange soda called Bang! Totally have to go back again soon.
10. El Nopal Mexican Grill, 2/3. Continue reading
Today a student told me that he’d ordered a copy of The Grapes of Wrath to read for my class, but the wrong book had been delivered. Turns out that some yahoo published a book with the same name as the Steinbeck classic. Maybe he thought he could get some sales through accidental purchases by students looking for school supplies.
There are clues that this is not the book you’re looking for. For example, it was published just a few months ago. Notice that people get the wrong book so often that Amazon suggests bundling this with another Steinbeck classic, Of Mice and Men.
But the reviews are priceless! Angry people feeling ripped off, confused people searching for meaning, and at least one reviewer who posted five-star praise about Steinbeck, for some reason.
I’m a 7 Habits guy. Though it’s been about eight years since I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, its impact on me has been indelible. For the first couple of years after reading it, in fact, I would stop myself before starting many activities and ask myself, “Wait, is this really a quadrant two activity?”
So I was excited about the release of The 8th Habit, which I’ve checked out of the library a few times…but haven’t really been able to get into. A few weeks ago I saw that Covey had recorded a lecture of himself teaching the 8th habit to an audience, so I checked that out, hoping a visual abbreviation would help me get the gist of it. Even better, the version that I picked up had an audio version on CD, and since my time to listen to things in the car is far more substantial than the time I might find to watch things at home, I cheerfully popped the CD into my car and listened to the whole thing in one day.
It. Was. Terrible. The whole presentation reeks of touchy-feely affirmations with vague, watery, new-agey platitudes that have little utilitarian value. What I’ve always liked about the 7 Habits (and I presume what millions of others also appreciate) is its practical, down-to-earth applicability. This one comes across as a whole lot of bloviating puff about some simple, obvious concepts (“serve and inspire others”), some of which are already well defined in the original 7 habits (“set goals”). This 48 minute lecture of weak fluff is supposed to represent the essentials of the 8th habit? This does not do anything for my desire to finish the book.
I’ll be proactively shunning this waste of time for the foreseeable future. If anyone wants to defend the 8th habit book, please do–I’d hate for my opinion of Covey’s work to be so sullied as it is by this embarrassing tripe.
Final Grade: D