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Do you tell yourself “I’m no good at languages”? If you do, you are fooling yourself. The real reason you failed is not because you are no good at languages, but because you are no good at being consistent. Mark Forster
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« Amazon five-star reviews | Main | Diigo - A really useful program »
Thursday
Dec132007

A Great Way to Get Sacked

It was too good to last! The unbroken run of 16 five-star reviews on amazon.co.uk of my book “Do It Tomorrow” has been followed by a review that only gives it one star (the minimum).

Entitled “A Great Way to Get Sacked” the reviewer R. Lakey gives some trenchant criticisms of the book without, it appears, actually having bothered to read it - since all his (her?) points are fully covered in the book.

Amazon now allows comments on reviews, so I have pointed this out. And so can you, if you’ve read the book and can’t understand what he’s talking about. Of course if you agree with him you can say that too!

 

Reader Comments (15)

Good for you for commenting in response. (Quickly and concisely, too!)

I use Amazon a lot. I'd trust a 17-strong 4.99 more than a 5.0. And I'd check out the one negative.

Anyone doing the same will see your response and give his negative review the respect (cough, cough) it deserves.

That 1-star review did you a great favor. It was written without much punctuation or formatting, and gave you the opportunity to respond. I bet its net effect will be to increase sales.
December 13, 2007 at 12:51 | Unregistered CommenterJuggling Frogs
P.S. Kudos also for pointing out the negative review in this forum.

P.P.S. That review gave you a blog post, too! Will the dividends never end?
December 13, 2007 at 12:53 | Unregistered CommenterJuggling Frogs
Thanks for your comments, JF. I think you're quite right. In any case two people have added their comments to mine, both saying they can't understand the negative review.
December 13, 2007 at 14:26 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
P.S. Love your blog. I hadn't seen it before.
December 13, 2007 at 14:35 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hello,

I've ordered your book precisely because of the review R. Lakey posted on Amazon UK. That might sound paradoxical but I believe that confronting different point of views often yields to a better overall understanding. After reading Mrs Davis' comment to Mr/Mrs Lakey's critism I decided to read the book.

Of course that reader used a strongly negative title and one unfortunate word ("idiotic"). I would attribute that to a "Stimulus-response" behavior. But I believe it would have been better to edit, not delete, Mr/Mrs Lakey's review because many people will have the same kind of reaction to some of the book's recommendations (notably : do not prioritize by importance).

Again, argumented comments to that review would have added value to the understanding of the books general principles, IMHO,

Thanks for this blog. I am looking forward to read your book.

Arnaud, Paris.

P.S.: Sorry for the English. Not my mother-tongue.
December 13, 2007 at 18:37 | Unregistered CommenterArnaud
Dear Arnaud

Yes, I think you are probably right - though editing someone else's comment is not an option that Amazon gives - I rather regret now having had the comment removed. But the truth is that I wanted to see what would happen if I pressed the "Report as Defamatory" button!

I hope you enjoy the book.
December 14, 2007 at 0:17 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Wow, thank you! I'm glad you liked my blog, and flattered that you took the time to look at it.

I think you touched a nerve with that negative reviewer. Methinks he doth protest too much. He's probably stressed and overwhelmed with his unmanageable to-do list, and would have thrown a cranky tantrum at anyone offering sensible suggestions.

If ever another ad hominem negative review pops up, I think you should keep it (unless it is obscene or abusive.)

People often judge favorably when something is irrationally criticized.

When an author responds (well), he is transformed from "author" to a real person in potential buyers' imaginations.

I hope that guy gets a vacation and a chance to calm down, and that your book sales never do.
December 14, 2007 at 13:54 | Unregistered CommenterJuggling Frogs
As a slightly scatter-brained and very stressed scientist and academic, I would like to take the opportunity to report that this book has changed my life. After a long string of ineffective and complicated procedures I found in other books, I finally found the missing link. "Do it tomorrow" addresses a fundamental issue that is the main cause of disorganisation (and, dare I say, dysfuncation), which is: "how do I overcome my resistance to performing simple, silly tasks and just get on with it".

I have had several bad colds and associated chest/ear infections this winter. Thanks to this book, I have not missed a beat in my "management" activities, and have hit the ground running once recovered. Of course my productivity fell due to these illnesses, but I kept my inbox clean and I can pick up all my tasks where I left them.

On a daily basis I now have better incoming/outgoing task flow, remember and hold in mind where each of my projects stand, am less resistant to "cold calls" and initiating new projects or communications, have a tidy and organised office, am plowing through a long backlog list, and have somehow managed to prioritise everything in my head even though this issue is not addressed in the book. My trick for this is simply to have a large email folder called "projects" with different folders for different projects, with a number indicating priority at the start of the name "1 project XY", "4 project YZ" etc. The priorities fluctuate with time and I can then change just the number to reflect this.

Thank you Mr Forster!
December 14, 2007 at 14:28 | Unregistered Commentera UCL academic
ugh, I meant "ploughing" of course! (though English is my second language too)
December 14, 2007 at 14:35 | Unregistered Commentera UCL academic
This is like communist China! Don't like an Amazon review? Then censor it. My trust in both you and Amazon has fallen as a result of this.

Personally, I look at the overall balance of reviews on the web and 1 bad one wouldn't dissuade me if there were 17 good ones.
December 18, 2007 at 13:52 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
Dear Dave

No, I didn't ask for the review to be removed because I didn't like it. I asked for it to be removed because it was defamatory. In other words it said negative things about my book and about me which were not just a matter of opinion - they were factually untrue. There's a big difference.
December 18, 2007 at 16:03 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Well, if the reviled Lakey really did describe the ideas in the book as "balmy", I would have to agree. Whilst I am probably beyond help, they have applied a soothing balm to my stressed and erratic working day.

:o)
December 19, 2007 at 10:50 | Unregistered CommenterWill Ross
Good point, Will. Perhaps I misunderstood him (her?)and he was trying to be complimentary!

I think he meant to write "barmy".
December 19, 2007 at 11:09 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'm really disappointed that the negative review has been removed; now I have no chance of reading it and being amused! I personally like to see a mixture of review ratings for a book as it shows a more realistic spread of opinion. You can't ever please everyone. BTW I loved the book myself.
January 4, 2008 at 17:14 | Unregistered CommenterMartin
Dear Martin
You aren't missing much by not seeing the article. It actually sounded much like an adolescent trying to sound like a *critical* adult. His mild ravings actually made me feel some pity for him....His ill-conceived rantings were baseless and obviously foolishly presented....but so much so that you couldn't really laugh at him....because it was actually sort of pitiful. (He obviously didn't read the book AT ALL!) He wasn't trying to be humerous or even rational! He was, simply put, spewing out baseless rantings! That's the only way I can describe it. Noone over the age of eight would even consider it for a nanosecond.
learning as I go
January 5, 2008 at 22:03 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go

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