I have read two contentious and highly critical book reviews in the Wall Street Journal from the past 30 days.

The first review is about a book by an author who is a great friend of mine.

Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom
Here is the not so flattering review, in WSJ

The second review was on the book The Secret thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young, E.d. D.
Secrets of Successful Women
No love affair here
either, WSJ

As an author who knows the kind of blood sweat and tears that goes into writing a book, my first thought was extreme sympathy and a big felt ouch!!! As I’m sure both book authors were feeling the sting of a public scolding as millions of readers and potential book buyers were exposed to this one reviewer’s negative opinion.

Granted these reviewers have earned an elite spot as book critics for an international media venue like the WSJ, congrats to them, but does their opinion really matter? Does it hurt or help the book and author? and what should the receiver of such a public work product beating do next?

I suppose it’s no different than a movie review. I’ve read many scathing movie reviews and then I went anyway and totally loved the movie.

I’ve got a new book coming out in a couple of weeks, Brand Turnaround and I hope my book is not added to this list of WSJ bad reviews, but if that’s in the cards, it’s not going to kill me if every single person doesn’t love my book as much as I do.

My views on not so nice reviews
Criticism comes with success, accept this.

  • This goes for brands too. The more famous your brand is the more you will get shot at from both legitimate, credible critics and plain old grumpy, angry people.
  • I believe at least 50% of all critics have not earned expert stature to be a credible reviewer. With the Internet, anyone can post opinions about a book or product with not an ounce of relevant expertise.
  • Even bad reviews draw new attention to a product and can generate sales. After I read the bad review on The Secret thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young, E.d. D.
  • I bought the book and really liked it. I’ve also recommended it to several friends.
  • You can never please everyone.
  • Take politicos who taste victory with a land slide win and 49% of the voters didn’t like them.
  • If you give your work your all, do your homework and use your best creative thinking, that’s really all you can do.
  • Sometimes as the creator of the work under fire, you can actually pick up a few gems of good insight that will make you even better, and that’s always a good thing.

And should that big bird drop a lump of poop on your parade, whether you are an author, singer, film producer or you gave a presentation and got some bad reviews, shake it off, shower it off, feel proud that you finished something and know that it’s very likely the cranky reviewer has never even started a piece of work and never will.