What a review really means / an article



You may choose a product because of a great review: super ~ Amazing ~ worth it! ~ 5 stars ~ 4.6/5 ~ 9 people out of 10 agreed this is brilliant…

We see these every day, it’s marketing, designed to make us (potential customers) believe in the product, it’s about creating trust.

I have seen a review of a book/film and thought: I believe! Sounds great, I’ll go for it. Happy to make an informed decision and hand over my cash. But often these rave reviews have left me deflated when the item hasn’t been (to me) that great.

There is a book that is in the top 5 on Amazon’s bestsellers, I got it; it had great reviews and… I hated it! I felt disappointed. How could this story get such favourable comments when to me it was predictable, one-dimensional; full of clichés…?

The answer is simple. The book is aimed at a specific market and those consumers already have a ‘deal’ with the writer. They know what they like to read and she delivers it. So of course they’re happy 🙂 and so their reviews are good. The book fulfilled their expectations.

For me – the book didn’t deliver what I want from reading. I like challenges, puzzles, mystery, weird stuff! And so I felt let down.

My review would be a paltry 2 stars – I didn’t like it. But is that fair?

It’s my opinion, of course. But the book is aimed at readers who want something predictable, safe almost – no big surprises, a little suspense maybe but with the certainty that ‘everything will end Happily Ever After‘ because that’s what they want.

Another example recently was a review on a book by a celebrity – an endorsement. Again, it’s about Trust. You trust that person, so you believe their comments on the book “…best read in the last decade” but again it’s their personal opinion. And often the celeb is somehow connected to the author: friends, relatives, shared the same agent/publisher…

Don’t be cynical, everyone is influenced by others, by experiences and friendships. Would you be able to give a loved one a poor review? If they had worked hard for months, a year and sought your honest opinion, would you really be able to be brutally honest?

So what I am getting at is that a review is based on that individual’s personal taste, experiences, relationships to the author & expectations so unless you match their ‘likes’ you have no guarantee that their review will mean anything valuable to you.

My advice? Trust your instinct. Go for what you like, what sparks your interest… if you do try something else, be prepared that YOU may not like it and that’s not the Reccomender’s fault, it’s just what makes us all individuals.

… we can’t all like cheese, or almonds or rock music or hamsters.


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