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An Archived Managed World This blog has moved to http://www.managed-world.com/blog

First of all, I've been in a pretty pissy mood all day. I have no clue why, I just have. Luckily, what I am about to bring to your attention made me laugh.

I think by this point, a lot of people realize that there are a surprisingly high number of book reviews at Amazon that are absolutely atrocious. I don't mean reviews giving a book one star. I am talking about reviews that don't actually review anything about the book. A good example of one I saw today (although not the one I was referring to above):

5 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, April 27, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from Albuquerque, NM United States
This is a great book. I got what I want from it.

How is that a review? The reviewer doesn't even say what they wanted from the book in the first place. As a quick side note though, I do usually find the whole Amazon review system useful because I like to see what other programmers like me have thought about the book.

This next review is the one that made me laugh. One thing I definitely don't miss about college is all the pseudo-intellectual snobs using their all-high-and-mighty vocabulary in order to sound smart and sophisticated. Case-and-point, this following review, believe it or not, is from a technical book on object-oriented development:

2 out of 5 stars Shrill propaganda for software anarchists, April 27, 2004
Reviewer: A reader from Redmond, WA USA
Useful, but not terribly original, content undermined by smug self-congratulating boosterism. Alternates between run-of-the-mill thinking on domain modeling, pseudo-intellectual philosophical tangents, and foaming-at-the-mouth extreme programming propaganda. Deeply slanted, with a degenerate view of software engineering.

Ha! In all that rambling, no where did the reviewer actually state what was wrong with the book. Granted, he did spout off some philosophical mumbo jumbo that could be construed as applying in some weird way to the actual book at hand. If you feel the book was deeply slanted and contained a “degenerate view of software engineering”, I want to know *WHY*! And give me a break, someone using the phrase “Shrill propaganda for software anarchists” is either 1) an anarchist them self or 2) someone just looking for a religious debate. Now, I will be the first to admit that if the reviewer was playing a game of Boggle, he would have whipped up on me pretty bad. But he wasn't playing a game of Boggle, he was giving a book review.

The point I'm trying to make here? Well, I'm not actually trying to make a point, just pointing out how some people will seek out a debate and/or fight just for the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks of it. Ciao!

Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 5:03 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Sometimes you just gotta laugh

# re: Sometimes you just gotta laugh
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I really like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/cm/member-reviews/-/AA9IP6AYACFK5">this guy's reviews</a>. Don't expect useful info from them, though :)
Left by Ken on Jun 30, 2004 5:24 AM

# re: Sometimes you just gotta laugh
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Left by Ken on Jun 30, 2004 5:32 AM

# re: Sometimes you just gotta laugh
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An interesting collection of books he reads too.
George Bush paper dolls, how to make love, teach your dog to poop on command, understanding youth, the art of flamenco, astrology, overeating, divorce and probably the most relevant -- "The Insider's guide to mental health resources online"

Left by TomB on Jun 30, 2004 11:58 AM

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