This thread seems to be mostly about educational books, or at least ones claiming to be educational, and I might be unpopular for introducing the world's all-time best seller, the Bible. (According to Guinness Book of Records, 50 billion copies and counting.)
It is an educational book of indisputably ancient origin, and it contains masses of historical facts, many of which have been previously disputed or even ridiculed until modern archaeology has proven them true.
Very few people bother to read the entire Bible, yet they are happy to criticize it on the basis of two things:
1. The opinions of others, most of whom have never read it.
2. Their own opinion, without reading it, but based on dislike of some of the fairy tale type doctrines taught generally by promoters of religion.
Originally an agnostic, I have read the entire book. In fact I have read it in its entirety well over 50 times, and the New Testament over 100 times. I never accepted what I was told by either critics or learned commentators to accept as its message, but I learned for myself.
Yes, masses of people hate or criticize the book, without a clue about its real message.
P.S. I have been an avid reader since being bedridden as a child. In my Featured User thread I mentioned that in hospital I read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. It has been rare for me to discard a book before finishing it.
BOOK Most liked posts in thread: Can I criticize (or hate) a book I haven't read entirely?
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I used to pride myself on finishing every single book I started, and I read 3-4 fiction books a week as a kid.
Then, when I was in my teens, I decided that was a dumb macho thing (for me) to do.
Now I drop it like a hot snot if it doesn’t get me in the first few pages. Authors know they should get people in the first few pages, and if they haven’t, then I figure “how you do anything is how you do everything”.
Sheeit. My attention and my time are some of my most valuable commodities (just ask my kids as they battle for my attention and time constantly).
I buy books to solve the problem in front of me. I often don’t read from the start but dive straight into where I want to. It could well be from having done IT support looking after mission critical systems. If a system falls over we don’t look for the relevant 300 page manual and start at page 1... we skim the contents and index trying to find the answer to our problem.
I used to also take pride that all my books were pristine. Now I love books being dog eared with pencil scribbles in them.
That’s what I think the author would like to happen to their book - read from cover to cover multiple times and carried around in a coat pocket for weeks on end with a pencil as the bookmark.
I’ll happily bin a book if nothing grabs me in the first few paragraphs and a subsequent skim.
If the author was in front of me talking crap or about something I’m not interested in then I’d politely extricate myself and be on my way. Why should I give that person even more of my time just because they wrote it down?
More insidious I think is that we can fill our heads up with nonsense that can take us days, months, or years to undo.
Nope, that door isn’t open just because a pen was put to paper.
I don’t think I pass judgement on books though. In the TAGR thread I just said “I skimmed it and put it down”. In the Goggins thread I just said “I bailed after a minute listening to it on Audible”. That’s me saying they didn’t grab me, and letting you know how much of a shot I gave it so you can form your own opinion of my opinion.
Goggins is the first book I've quit halfway through I think ever. I was inspired to quit by reading Nassim Taleb. After reading something high quality, it's really hard to read fluff. Also, Taleb talks about not reading "promiscuously". Basically - he says you're better off reading a good book 3 times than 3 mediocre ones, and if you're going to read 3 books, it's better to read "deep" than "wide". IE, use your reading time and effort to become a subject matter expert in something, rather than than have little factoids about 3 different topics.
I think, if the truth be told, most of the business and self-development reading that goes on out there, including my own, is "promiscuous" - mean wide, but not deep, at least not enough to be impactful.
If I don't enjoy a book and it's starting to drain me or I feel I get where the whole entire book is going I just wont go ahead with the rest of it 9 times out of 10. Time is your most valuable asset. Now where I would keep listening or reading to a book is if I have listened to a book from the same author before and found value within it. For example if MJ Demarco listed another book for sale and I got to a point where I'm thinking I can't get through this, I would keep listening purely for the fact the author has proven there value to me before so I am inclined to believe that it will turn around.
Same goes for other books I felt the same way about.
I got to chapter 7 of David goggins and I felt it was just going around in circles.
Again, they looked at the house and didn't like it, now they don't want to see the inside.
Not saying that's right or wrong, that's just life. Everyone makes judgements on first impressions, even if those aren't accurate.
If within the first 45 minutes of the day long seminar you heard "All engineers are introspective idiots who can't see the big picture" and "Women should never own businesses" and a variety of other things that you don't agree with, and can refute quite easily -- do you need to stay and hear the entire seminar?
It's interesting as I scroll through my Audible account and I look at the books that I couldn't finish. Here's a list of them and why I think I didn't keep listening to them.
Mastering the Market Cycle - felt kind of boring
Einstein: His Life and Universe - felt kind of boring
12 Rules for Life (jordan peterson) - Just didn't like the style of writing
Finding my Virginity (richard branson) - felt kind of boring
I listen to books while driving so if they put me to sleep while driving, I have to change and switch to another book. Some books, I get to my destination and I sit in the car to listen longer.
I think that's the sign of a good book to me. I rarely think a book is bad, meaning that I can't stand the content. I judge them more by if the kept my attention.
So although I didn't finish any of the above books, I wouldn't ever give them a poor review. But if someone asked me about them, I'd say, I couldn't finish them because they couldn't keep my attention, but you might like them. If they ask why, I'd elaborate.
What if the last chapter has something that will be life changing for somebody?
It’s just like what you wrote about in Unscripted, why would you take business advice from somebody who doesn’t own a business?
Why would you take book advice from somebody who hasn’t read the entire book?Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
here is what i do ..... i normally don't go into a book unless several people w/ some expertise in that area recommend it. if the first part sucks, i ask them if i should bail. if they say 'stick with it', i finish the book. then debate what i read with them. THEN form my opinion / decide what parts i can use.
as an engineer, i need to see enough data to be able to form a basis for an opinion.
@MJ DeMarco how do you know you got the entire message if you don't attend the entire seminar? what if someone only saw a small snippet of you on one occasion and formed a full opinion on you and used their influence sphere to spread that opinion to others with that being the only thing they saw of you?
maybe they saw a 30 sec youtube clip of you in the dark on your patio with your hat backwards ranting about the slowlane and decided you were a punk kid w/ bad ideas and told 1000's their take without ever looking more into your message.....
how long should they have stayed with your book? what if the good stuff in your book was at the end?
I'm pretty stingy with my time and what I choose to devote it to. I rarely read books in their entirety, and the idea of, "What if the good parts are in the last chapter" simply doesn't resonate with me. If the good parts are only in the last chapter, the author didn't do his/her job and I believe it's fair to criticize that book for wasting my time. I've never read a book where just the last chapter is good, and I never will -- I'll never make it that far.
That said, hopefully none of us criticize books without adding some detail. I can get 10 minutes into a book and decide I really don't like the author's writing style or the message doesn't resonate with me. Doesn't mean it's a bad book -- it's just a bad book FOR ME. Tony Robbins is that author for me. I won't criticize him or his works, but I may recommend that others (who I know are of similar mindset to me) not waste their time on his books.
That's completely different from getting three chapters into a book and realizing that I fundamentally disagree with the premise or the path that the author has laid out, and I believe I have enough background to be able to support a wholesale argument against what was written. In that case, I see no problem with criticizing the book, as it will both waste time in the reading and can send readers down the wrong path. In fact, I see it as my responsibility to steer people from those books/authors.
And both of those are different than a book I read where I get something completely different than what I believe was promised and expected, but I don't regret reading it. For example, Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Kiyosaki, in general. I don't believe he delivers what he promises, and I avoid most of his books, but he did provide some motivation and tips early on that led me down the path I'm on. So, while I'll criticize the book for not meeting its promise, I expand on that with some compliments as well.
As a funny example, I actually received a 1 Star review of my first book on Amazon with a comment to the effect of, "This book was just too dense with material and I couldn't get through it." That review is one of my very favorites! I hated the 1 Star, but the "criticism" was nicest compliment I could have received -- that's what I was going for and that's what my intended audience wants. I'm glad he took the time to elucidate his specific concern rather than just say, "Book sucked!"
Criticism comes in all shapes and forms, and as I'm sure MJ can attest, you can have a book that 95% of people rave about, but there will always be the 5% that it doesn't resonate with (or just want to complain).
You guys know me, I've always been the kind and loving friend who says "include everybody" and "treat everyone how you want to be treated" ...
... but I'll admit when I started seeing as many people as I do these days -- I'd talk about Tony throughout a whole seminar and people would run up to me after and say how inspired they were and how it was so great... and "have I read Dave Ramsey's book? Oh my god -- my husband and I have these envelopes -- look, here it is! We have cash in this one for this and this for this..."
And they'd go on and on... and of course I'm thinking "sooo... you going to buy a ticket to the seminar with those envelopes, lady? Or what?"
But what I saw in myself in those moments -- I didn't like.
I was judging these people for their beliefs.
I was outright upset that they couldn't see what I saw. "You guys are never going to get ahead working this job, if you goal is financial freedom you need to do XYZ ... NOT that!"
And honestly... who the hell am I to tell someone how to live their life?
Ramsey is one I run into a lot -- and from what I knew of him I didn't want to read his books but I picked up 2 of them (I forget what they were at the moment... Money makeover?) -- but my purpose of reading them was simply so I could relate to them because you can't influence someone when you're judging them.
It only took 2 or 3 times.... where I would say something not-so-positive about their favorite book and I could see the utter sadness in their eyes. They trusted me, they connected with me, they opened up to me... and here I came through and just punched them in the face.
These people who were trying so hard to change their lives and they finally found something to latch onto. Some life preserver... and here my dumb a$$ comes along and says "well that life preserver is square, not round like it should be... and don't you think you should've just worn a life jacket?"
SIDE NOTE: This is a conversation for another time... but isn't part of the reason we get so lost and lonely as entrepreneurs is because we feel like someone doesn't understand us? "You should go back to school, get a safe secure job, don't risk anything"
Maybe I'm rambling here but it's different strokes for different folks.
You want to read an entire book? Great.
You want to read a chapter? Great.
You want to read half? Great.
You want to throw it across the room after the first sentence? Great.
I think the only trouble comes in when we start judging people for liking something or not liking something...
And I'm guilty of it.
When we start telling other people something is awful and they should never try it because you didn't like it...
And I'm guilty of that, too.
There are 48,701 members of this forum looking for guidance, advice, ideas, friends, and just outright hope.
I don't think we can give any of those things unless we explore both sides of the coin.
The reason I like biophase's post here so much is because that's the mentality I admire.
I often tell people these days "I didn't get the chance to finish that one... tell me what you liked about it!"
Anyways... I guess my response is "who cares how much you read of a book... the real question is, how are you communicating about the idea, thought, book, or seminar. "
And all communication is either a loving response or a cry for help.
Give it a fair read and if it doesn't work out, then be realistic and say something like
"Disclaimer: I only read 4 chapters but the writing tone just didn't work for me"
"That book sucks"
Nothing wrong with judging if you're honest about what material you're basing your opinion from
I feel like after you consume enough media (movies, books, etc) - you start to recognize patterns of what you like and what you don't like
Pattern recognition / judgment is an integral part of evolution and the reason we're here today so of course we're going to apply it to like, everything
So of course you CAN judge a book, just don't act like your opinion is God's judgment from the Heavens
I wonder if this discussion would allow us to come to a definitive conclusion, or a method to follow when a book doesn't perform in a person's initial read of early chapters.
Read all of it? Half?
What would be a "life law" to follow?
Because I definitely agree ... hating the first half of a book (and getting nothing out of it ) does NOT mean that the latter half won't provide great value.
To the title of the thread, it's a definite YES.
If you can't even finish it without forcing yourself to for some external reason, then that by definition means its a shitty book (to you).
I can't remember any book i like that sucked in the beginning and got better later on.
Today I have had my one and only request for a refund resulting from the purchase of my two books on my Marketplace ad.
The buyer read the labeling book, but says he "skimmed" the importing book. He found the books "not what I expected."
Is that a criticism? I don't doubt its genuineness, but it is very general, and might not be the fault of the books. Anyone who takes up my suggestion before buying to view my book websites including the testimonials, would surely have a very complete picture of what to expect.
I just hope he doesn't tell others that Walter's books suck.
P.S. Refunded immediately and without question.
If I'm reading to learn something, I want it to teach me as efficiently as possible, without lying to me or misleading me.
If I'm reading for enjoyment, it better entertain me.
With most popular nonfiction, I'm after a little of both. On the education side, most books these days are pretty well-organized, so I can power-skim the TOC, the intro, and the chapter sign-posts to figure out if it's worth a damn. The Big Idea of a book shouldn't be hard to find or summarize. The presentation of the idea may help or hurt, depending on the author.
Fiction can be harder. Bad writers can make themselves clear in the first few paragraphs. Sometimes a story will fizzle later on and you won't notice without reading most of it.
I think it's entirely possible to understand the message of a book without reading it cover-to-cover. I used to be a perfectionist about books, but lately I've had to learn to say "bye bye" if they don't earn their keep. This isn't always because the book is bad. It might just be that I can digest the Big Idea without an extra 250 pages of narrative or boring statistics I don't care about.
Or it could just be a bad book.
I skip ahead.
If I don't like some part of a book I skip ahead to the end of that section and try to find the concluding summary.
Then it's on to the next chapter, section, whatever.
You don't have to read a book all or nothing and you don't have to read a book front to back.
There are a few books I don't re-read the whole book, I re-read select chapters.
My take on it is that the more books you read, the better you have a feel for if it's worth it.
So for instance, TMF got me from the first ten pages and I knew it would be good (still waiting to read Unscripted).
Mindset, got me in the first ten lines and I knew it would be a romp.
Recently Atomic Habits had me hooked from almost the first word, finished it and have started again.
Think & Grow Rich kind of got me, but then I just couldn't relate to the old timey feel.
Principles bored me to tears, and I was desperate to finish it because of the Bill Gates quote at the back.
Anyway the point is, if you read reviews of the books I've mentioned, some will love the ones I hated and vice versa. So the answer to your question is; that it depends on the reader and the book, some people with certain books need to get an entire overview, some can tell in a few pages.
I read Think & Grow Rich all the way to the end, because even though I was not enjoying it, I felt there might be some hidden gem that I'd miss if I stopped reading (I was wrong).
Whereas Principles I could tell after two chapters that I wasn't going to finish the book. I persevered, however I kept falling asleep as I read, so in the end I gave up. Although I've been told the second half is better, however I just don't like his voice, even his videos bore me.
Imo one has to read at least a part of the book to create a opinion on it.
I always try to read the whole book. That's what I learned at school and somehow it got in my system and in 99% of the times I finish every book I once started.
Also when I start something I like to finish it. But that's not always the best thing to do, which is also explained in Unscripted. Somewhere along the way you have to call you losses and decide to quit since it doesn't lead you to nowhere.
Back to the book that isn't worthwhile reading to the end. Imo one has to read at least a part of it to form one's own opinion. You can always be honest and say I didn't read the whole book since after chapter three i lost my interest.
Never I would criticize a book based on a opinion from others, not even if these others has my deepest respect.
However I could say. I didn't read the book since people I think are knowledgeable, didn't recommend it.
Putting down books is something that I have a very hard time with. I feel the need to finish, no matter how bad it was.
There is literally only one book that I ever stopped reading. I was about 13 and I had purchased it from a garage sale and planned on reading it for a school book report. It was about 350 pages long and I think it was called Reaper. I remember there being no "rave reviews" or any sort of praise on the cover.
There are several books in recent memory that I have read through to completion, and regretted every hour of it. I now review the books I read in a spreadsheet and a #/10. They get piss poor scores and I make sure no one else reads them.
I too am curious as to when I should be putting the book down. I need to do that more often
I used to feel bad if I didn't finish reading a book. Now, I don't care as much.
If I get bored, frustrated, etc., I'll typically read ~20% before ditching it. So, out of a 300-page book, maybe up to 60 pages.
Some books it's easier to decide--they're either really good (lots of meat), really bad (99% fluff), or so poorly written that I move on & get the info from a different source.
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