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BOOK Can I criticize (or hate) a book I haven't read entirely?

Discussion in 'Education, Learning, Books' started by MJ DeMarco, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Roli
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    Roli Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    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.
     
  2. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    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.
     
  3. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I like this. Page 1 can do it for me too.

    "Bin."

    I don't do the expletives though... it's my way of saying it's not worth the bullet.
     
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  4. YoungPadawan
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    YoungPadawan Miles to go before I sleep Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I used to force myself to read an entire book, even if I thought it was trash.

    Now, I read the book normally, and if I think it's lame, I skim through the rest of the book and see if there is anything relevant to what I'm working on.
     
  5. rogue synthetic
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    rogue synthetic * Not actually Rutger Hauer Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Principles was a power-skim book for me also. I picked it up from the shelf at the library on a whim, figuring I'd get see what all the fuss was about.

    I guess there's good stuff in it, but all I saw was a bloated treatise. If I want to read bloated treatises, I'll read a German philosopher. (I don't want to read them either.)

    It definitely fell into the "not for me" category.

    Yeah. Popularity is a poor filter for quality, but popularity also drives a good % of choices. Promiscuity results from following the fashionable.

    The other thing is, it's so easy to get lost even in a single silo. "Business" devolves into "marketing" and "finance" and all that stuff, and each of those runs another 3, 4, 5 layers deep as you get more granular.

    You do need some balance between specialization and generality, otherwise you turn into one of those academics who is so hyper-specialized that they aren't aware of work done in their own fields 10 years ago.

    But the point is well-taken: you're better finding a niche and going hard instead of wandering all over the place. There's a big difference between getting Real Good in one area, and trying to be a generalist who can wow everyone in Trivial Pursuit.
     
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  6. Zcott
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    Zcott Bronze Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I guess it depends on the type of book you are reading.

    If it is fiction then stick with it. For example, George Orwell's '1984' isn't great at the start, drags on, but gets really good.

    Non-fictional is where it is different and you cannot have a blanket rule for all. I wouldn't treat a motivational/business book the same way I'd treat a history book. If you understand the synopsis of the book, example being a one about putting money into a savings account for 45 years, then I'd say it's fine to hate the idea of the book. If you are reading something which is going on and on and not making any points then it's reasonable to put it aside.
     
  7. ProblemOd
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    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 sh*tty book (to you).

    I can't remember any book i like that sucked in the beginning and got better later on.
     
  8. Saavik
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    Saavik Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Exactly.

    I'd say for a book, reading half of it before judging is a good heuristic - but I'm probably too generous with my time. As several people before me have pointed out in this thread, you'll never be able to reclaim the time wasted on a bad book.

    Also, entrepreneurship is all about making decisions based on incomplete data. When you work with someone who clearly under-delivers, do you wait another year before going separate ways? Or if someone with a great track record wants to work with you, do you keep reading other applications for three more months because you might just be missing the one person who is even a better fit?
     
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  9. Eisenstein
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    Eisenstein Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    I don't have problems with this anymore. It's because you invest time reading the book you'll never get back. So make sure it's worth your time!

    When the forum decided to read David Goggins, I joined and started reading. I had the expectation to learn something for my life. So the first chapter was a bit "Ok ... you had a bad childhood, I understand ... but what do you want to tell me?" I didn't get it. Then I found the little conclusion at the end of the chapter. That was quite helpful, but I knew that already. Besides that, I didn't find any connection with this conclusion and the first chapter. So I really had the feeling that Goggins just wants to tell his story no matter what. It felt like: "Me first -- you second." I started skipping the chapters and just looked for the notes and then I took a look in the thread in this forum. So after a short while I decided I'm not interested in his biography, so I handed it back to AMZ.

    To be fair, Goggins has value to deliver and life lessons to tell. He has achieved a lot. I watched the interviews that were posted in the thread and listening to him was valuable. I learned something for my life. So if anyone is interested, I'd recommend watching the interviews!

    I think, you write a lot better, @MJ DeMarco. You have the approach "You first -- Me second". You talk about the lessons first and when it fits, you tell something about your life related to that.

    I also handed back books that are written too complicated and books with a lot of text and almost no content (without finishing them). I think reading 10-50% is enough to know whether to continue or to stop.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  10. MJ DeMarco
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    Reading some of his stuff now, it's really a tough read. Great points, but I feel like the points are buried in a superfluous pig-pen of prose.

    Thank you. That is something I always try to remember when writing, you first, me second. At the end of the day, people buy a book to change their life, not to hear about mine.
     
  11. 404profound
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    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Fun fact, I recommended your book to my mail man, and two weeks later I had a new mail main.. HAHA
     
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  12. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    He does that for sure. I'm pretty sure he's very proud of his intelligence.

    BTW - currently reading unscripted a second time, so congrats on making stuff that's good enough to read more than once. I can only think of 2 other authors I've bothered to read more than once.
     
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  13. Kruiser
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    Kruiser Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    What I struggle with is when I have trouble getting through a book that someone or multiple people I respect strongly recommend. I think "this book freaking sucks" but then I think "well, so and so recommended it, so I must be missing something . . . maybe I hate it because I don't like that I'm reading exactly what I need to read." I still usually stop reading it. But then I wonder if I missed something critical.
     
  14. KLaw
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    KLaw Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Let's use your 1st book as an example. For me, I absolutely loved it. But guess what? I never finished it. Somewhere around the middle of it, I kinda lost interest. Was it because of your writting style? Was it because of the message? It doesn't matter. I got bored with it and didn't finish it. Does that give me the authority to have an opinion on the book? Hell yes it does.
    Thinking back and moving forward, I should read it again and skip the chapter that stopped the flow for me.
    Again, I only read about half but I still highly recommended it and am probably responsible for 20+ sales of your book.
    If I read one chapter and it sucks. Im allowed to claim the book sucks. Again, it's just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
     
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  15. Sebastya
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    Sebastya Bronze Contributor

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    I give it 3 chapters, the same way I give TV shows 3 episodes. If it's not somewhat interesting to me by then, it's gone.

    I can't go off others opinions because they don't know what I like/dislike...
     
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  16. Telamon25346
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    Telamon25346 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    In my honest opinion, everyone has the right to express how they feel about a topic or a book, even if they didn't completely read it. It's up to whoever conversing with the person to judge whether or not they trust their opinion.

    That being said, I think that there are some books out there where you don't need to read it to understand what people think about it. To this date I have never read fifty shades of grey, but I can understand the main story and the reason why people like it. I can express my opinion on how I feel about it, even if I haven't read it. I can, however, choose to read it to get a full understanding, and form a new opinion. With some books that's just how it is. You can read the first 10 pages of a book and basically get a feel for what the rest of the book is like, and give a review. Whereas some other books you might need to read a few chapters to really understand the book.
    I usually try to finish all the books I've read, but there are a handful that I just could. not. stand. One of them being "Rich Kids of Instagram: A Novel" . I don't know how I ended up with the book. But after reading about 2 chapters, I had to put it down. I recommend avoiding it like the plague, the book was a waste of time, and I personally didn't get any value from it.

    There will always be different opinions of something, but the good thing is that opinions can change, if you don't like a book you haven't read, go for it, tell everyone. But it would be better if you choose to then read the book and then reach an opinion. It makes your position on the book more trustworthy.
     
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  17. Primeperiwinkle
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    Primeperiwinkle Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I totes tried to make this well-organized. Take what you will.

    At what point in time can I hate a book and choose to stop reading?

    Whenever I want. No one’s forcing me to learn. I’m choosing to do it. Giving up on books that are newer is a lot easier than giving up on a classic that has stood the test of time for me personally though. If I hate a book that changed the world or influenced generations of people I should at least finish it to see if I’m changed by the time I get to the end. That’s happened for me a lot on harder books. I loathe them at the beginning and adore them by the end: the joy is in the struggle.

    At what point in time can I criticize a book?

    Whenever I want. But if I don’t hold the ideas in my mind and assess them through critique am I even really learning?!? Or am I just sucking down somebody else’s idea of Truth? The question really becomes how CAREFUL of a critique do I need?

    I think my time is better spent constructing ideas from whatever I did analyze/learn rather than tearing down the unhelpful drivel surrounding it. But we need both kinds of people don’t we? People who plow the hard, stupid earth, people who plant the seeds, people who encourage their growth. MJ I think you excel at breaking up the clods AND providing new ideas. It’s a good thing, a hard work.

    How do I want to use my energy? By building up new ideas and carrying them forward or by sifting through and taking out weeds? I like to launch forward, planting.. how do I apply what I did get today? How can I help you go forward with the one thing you learned from this (maybe crappy) book?

    My energy is completely drained by certain things. If I had to do it all on my own I’d get nowhere. I need the careful sifters so that my ideas can grow without constant illogical weeds. In other words, I need the careful, thoroughness of great minds. They help me self correct.

    I’m well aware that my role/gifting in life is only one part of what’s needed in an effective team. I’m a natural born encourager and I’ve honed that in considerable ways but I can be taken in by stuff a bit too easily. I deeply appreciate my critical-thinking friends who weigh ideas carefully and take the time to point out fallacies.

    I don’t mind criticizing the ideas, character or the writing in a book but criticizing the author seems.... impolite. It can be hilarious.. truly..but am I a better person for doing it? Prolly not. Which is why it’s a naughty pleasure, for me at least.
     
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  18. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    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.

    Walter
    P.S. Refunded immediately and without question.
     
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  19. KLaw
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    KLaw Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Gotta take the good with the bad. If they think your book sucks they should be able to voice that. Conversely, if they they think your book rocks, they should promote it.
     
  20. LuckyPup
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    LuckyPup Done Dicking Around Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I think one needs to read at least some of a book to form, much less articulate, an opinion of it, even if it's just skimming the contents. Otherwise, we're just outsourcing our beliefs. It's a "What he said" type of lazy thinking that's pervasive today, and online it devolves otherwise substantive debate into sniping and trolling. As is often said, "Opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody has 'em and they usually stink."

    I think if we're going to be exchanging opinions about something, the least we should do is inform those opinions with a primary source.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  21. LuckyPup
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    LuckyPup Done Dicking Around Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm with you on "Crushing It" and "How to Get Rich."
     
  22. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    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.
     
  23. Jello
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    Jello Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Exactly what I felt when reading it.

    And because I've the upmost respect for the man, think he's really sympathetic, knows what he's doing and love his quotes I would also say exact the same thing; it didn't grab me but maybe you might like it.
     
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  24. Saavik
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    Saavik Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for the rep,@MJ DeMarco! :)

    I do have a hard time finishing books whose writing style doesn't appeal to me, even if they contain valuable insight (that's why I never finished a book by "E-Myth" author Michael E. Gerber, his writing is just too esoteric for me). I read all of UNSCRIPTED almost in one go, though, within 3 days - it was both clearly written and very entertaining. I read its predecessor Fastlane a bit later, and even though it's a good book by any standards, if you use it as a baseline it also shows how you have further improved your writing chops in the meantime. :)
     
  25. 404profound
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    They probably lack the perspective of what "good" is.
     

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