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A few months back I was looking for an introductory book for a course I am going to teach. I picked up 10 books based on their reviews on various sites, but they were all terrible. Basically they were $15-40 poorly written versions of what you could get for free in the official tutorial and documentation. In the end I ended up looking up authors I knew from previous books to see if they had one covering the content, one of them did. It had mediocre reviews, and deservedly so because the editing isn’t great and there are flaws I needed to correct for my courses, but it was still miles ahead of any of the 4.5-5 star reviewed books.

This is very anecdotal of course, but it did get me wondering. I have never written a customer review myself, but I always put that down to being busy/lazy and never saw myself as representative for that. But I asked around among my peers, people I would have wanted to read a review from, and it turned out I wasn’t the only one who’s never written a positive review. A lot of them, it turned out, write negative reviews for poor services quite frequently, but almost no positive reviews had ever been written.

All completely anecdotal, but it seems to correlate with what other people on HN have experienced. Maybe we shouldn’t have outsourced book reviews to the anonymous population of the internet?

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