One of the great (and potentially humiliating) things about Amazon.com is that its Web site enables absolute strangers to publish reviews of your book. Caveat author.
In April, one of my friends wrote the first review of my book on Amazon. I was thrilled–especially because she liked it and made me see the book in a new light. The funny thing is I didn’t ask her too. She did it completely on her own volition, without any bidding from me.
Well, after reading her post, I started to get ancy about those darn reviews. I wanted more of them. I began to compare the number of reviews my book had generated with other books I’d been following. Amazon has a knack for exposing your insecurities as an author–writers’ obsession with the Amazon’s sales rankings is only the most obvious illustration of the site’s quasi-evil ability to inspire high anxiety.
So I began asking a few other family members to pen an Amazon customer review. I pitched the task as a sort of family obligation. The result: deafening silence and inaction. As I checked my sales ranking in April and May, that lonely review became a thorn in my side. In June, though, I started to kick my daily addiction to the Amazon author page. Now, I only check my site once or twice a week.
Here’s the happy ending: While I regained some balance in my life, two people published reviews of my book on Amazon like little elves in the night spreading happiness and joy. The first review from Harvard Business School student Franklin J. Seker came on July 7; and the second, from HBS student B. Beatty, popped up July 9. Thankfully, my patience was rewarded: both gave Creative Capital five stars. See the two reviews below:
An inspirational mentor — General Doriot, July 9, 2008
By B. Beatty “cirencester” (Winston-Salem, NC United States) – See all my reviews
I was in the General’s class at HBS in 1961. When he discovered that I was an active duty military officer, he took an obvious personal interest in me (although he did not call me “Bernie”, as he called Samuel Bodman “Sammy”). Nevertheless, I will never forget the inspiring interactions with him and his varied guests from many walks in life, including Jackie Cochran, pioneer aviator. The author has done a first-rate job of pulling together details that shed light on a great man, as well as his wife. I finished the book in record time.
HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL’S BEST, July 7, 2008
By Franklin J. Sekera – See all my reviews
I was General Doriot’s student at Harvard in 1960. He and his views had a profound impact on my life, both in business and personally. His emphasis on ethics, patience, creativity and freedom led me, in my various roles in life, to pass on these same qualities to all my associates.
The book is well written and provides a useful insight on the private man. It’s too bad that this information was not available in 1960.