Saturday, December 15, 2018

Review Philosophy

Requests for reviews.

I am open to receive recommendations for books to read, but considering my time schedule and and my commitment to my PhD program, I cannot accept any requests for review. Even if I have the time to read a book, I still prefer to not feel obliged to read and review. I may change my mind later, once I am done with most or all of my PhD obligations.

Goals

Inspired by Russ Albery’s book review philosophy, these reviews are mostly for myself. These reviews help me internalise the books I’ve read and pass on conveniently to friends and family my impressions of the books I’ve been reading. The idea is that by doing these reviews I can read more carefully and be able to return to my reviews later and recall what was my impression of each book accordingly.

Genre

Nearly always non-fiction. I seldom read fiction, even though from time to time I may consider picking a fiction title. My interests are quite diverse and the books I choose to read may range from broad topics such history, politics and business to more specific areas such as productivity and creativity. In my judgment, the selected titles should have the potential to improve my life and me as an individual (or provide some entertainment at the very least) and therefore it may worth committing the time to read through. I wouldn’t want to waste my time on a book that would not contribute anything to my life, let alone the pleasure of reading.

Review Length

I do not impose to myself a strict word count, however I like to think that 300 words at least should be a good number to capture what did I think about the books I’ve read. I shall not commit to a consistent length, as these reviews are something of a mixture of notes to myself as well as my public opinion of these books. I may have to say more on some books and I may have to say the bare minimum for some others.

Format

For the time being I am using the following format. If you have suggestions on a better format, please reach me out!
1. Name of Book, Author, and other relevant info that helps fellow readers identify the book
2. Link that directs users to obtain the book (from Amazon or elsewhere)
3. Summary of the book, about 3-4 sentences about the content. I try to avoid providing any spoilers, even though this shouldn’t be an issue in non-fiction literature.
4. My personal experience. In this section I point out if there is anything from my life encounters that made me to relate to this book, or perhaps any conceptual items that I thought were fascinating. As mentioned earlier , I choose books that I suspect can improve me as a person. This is the section where I describe why this book has improved me (or why it didn’t but I kept on reading anyway).
5. My opinion. This is where you can read about what was my favourite part or idea from a book. If I have suggestions or there was something I disliked, this is where you can find this piece of info too.
6. My recommendation. Would I recommend this person to someone else to read it? What type of person would that be, and why this person should read it?
7. The bottom line. A one line sentence that is trying to capture the essence of the book.

Commercial issues

These reviews are meant to be a hobby and for my own use. I intent sharing them with my friends and family but I don’t mind if other readers have a look at them, if they can get some value out of them. I didn’t receive any payments and don’t expect you to pay me for them. If you find my reviews useful the best payment would be to drop me an email with your gratitude. If some reviews have information that is conflicting, or you’ve discovered two reviews that have conflicting positions and therefore each other

Conflicting issues

If some reviews have information that is conflicting, or you’ve discovered two reviews that have conflicting positions and therefore cancel each other out, please let me know. I care about my integrity and do my best to be consistent in my word, but it may happen that some of the things I write are conflicting. That would be an unintentional, humane error.

Offensive issues

While I absolutely do not have any intention to offend anyone, people always discover minuscule things and get offended by them, so I guess it is rather unavoidable or impossible to be 100% politically correct these days. If you read something one of my reviews and you found it offensive or you discovered a section or a sentence that offended you, please do let me know. I would like to take notice.