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Author Topic: nasty book review  (Read 18733 times)
larryc
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2012, 12:11:54 PM »

Get a friend to write a review for another journal.  Have them mention the first review's shortcomings.  - DvF

This sounds like the best course of action, by far.

Great idea.
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qrypt
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2012, 5:03:08 PM »

You might also try appealing to the reviewer's conscience.  Write the rebuttal in the most professional tone you can manage, and send it not to the journal but to the reviewer -- and then simply ask for his thoughts, "in advance of submitting it to the journal". 
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mended_drum
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2012, 5:11:34 PM »

To make the OP feel better, I'm linking to the single nastiest book review I've ever read.  It's a .pdf download, though, so don't click unless you want to read it. 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~humean/strohmingermcginn.pdf
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2012, 5:16:51 PM »

To make the OP feel better, I'm linking to the single nastiest book review I've ever read.  It's a .pdf download, though, so don't click unless you want to read it. 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~humean/strohmingermcginn.pdf

Heh. Is that for real?

The PDF downloaded very quickly for me. But for those of you who would like a synopsis, here are the first and last sentences.

"In disgust research, there is s***, and then there is bulls***.....Sometimes with
books, as with farts, itís better to just hold it in."

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neutralname
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2012, 5:24:10 PM »

To make the OP feel better, I'm linking to the single nastiest book review I've ever read.  It's a .pdf download, though, so don't click unless you want to read it. 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~humean/strohmingermcginn.pdf

McGinn is well known for his nasty reviews of other people's books, so he had it coming.  Here is the first paragraph from one of his reviews.

Quote
This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad.  It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed.  It is also radically inconsistent....The second half [of the book] tries to develop a new theory of consciousness, according to which the positive theses of the first half of the book are all wrong (not that this was signposted while the first half was assertively in progress) and the fact is only slyly acknowledged toward the end of the discussion--hence the radical inconsistency I mentioned.  Throughout, the book is woefully uninformed about the work of others and at best amateurish.  Honderich's understanding of positions he criticizes is often weak to nonexistent, though not lacking in chutzpah.  And the view he ends up defending is preposterous in the extreme and easily refuted.
(Source)
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2012, 5:46:13 PM »

I like DvF's suggestion, too.

I also think this might be an excellent occasion to create an Xtranormal video in which you quote snippets of the review and make the reviewer that robot made out of cardboard boxes.  Then the voice of your quietly reasonable and subtly sarcastic rebuttal could be embodied by the Xtranormal Tina Fey.  Don't put any identifying markers on the video.  Just send it out the link to all your friends and colleagues who might care.  Retired R1 prof. probably doesn't even know what Xtranormal is.

Revenge cocktails are always more effective with a few shots of humor.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 5:52:04 PM »

There's also public access cable TV.  You could do it in mime.
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sagit
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2012, 7:32:51 PM »

To make the OP feel better, I'm linking to the single nastiest book review I've ever read.  It's a .pdf download, though, so don't click unless you want to read it. 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~humean/strohmingermcginn.pdf

Heh. Is that for real?

The PDF downloaded very quickly for me. But for those of you who would like a synopsis, here are the first and last sentences.

"In disgust research, there is s***, and then there is bulls***.....Sometimes with
books, as with farts, itís better to just hold it in."



Huh.  I had no idea that there was an entire research field on the topic of disgust.  Fascinating.
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bud04
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2012, 7:44:42 PM »

I don't know a lot about book reviews but I wonder if you could ask for the editor to publish, not a rebuttal, but a correction?  The editor would issue in another journal a brief correction of factual information that was in error like they might do if there was an error in a journal article.  At least this could fix anything that was simply wrong in the review.  I don't know if the editor would go for it though, but at least it wouldn't look whiny as it would just be corrections.

+1 This is what I'd do. I've seen this done in my field and I thought it reflected well on the author. 
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2012, 8:25:08 PM »

Are you well enough know for many people to say, "Oh, great! Here's a review of Dr. OP's new book!  I wonder if it's as good as the last one?  Oh dear, it doesn't sound very good at all."  If you're not well enough known for that   (and since you don't need the book for tenure), the review will do your reputation little harm.  People will quickly skim the review, figure that this is a book they don't need to read, and therefore probably forget about it.  You remember the authors whose books you DO want to read, not the authors of books you don't intend to bother about.     
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luckychance
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2012, 6:50:56 AM »

Are you well enough know for many people to say, "Oh, great! Here's a review of Dr. OP's new book!  I wonder if it's as good as the last one?  Oh dear, it doesn't sound very good at all."  If you're not well enough known for that   (and since you don't need the book for tenure), the review will do your reputation little harm.  People will quickly skim the review, figure that this is a book they don't need to read, and therefore probably forget about it.  You remember the authors whose books you DO want to read, not the authors of books you don't intend to bother about.     
Isn't that an outcome the OP wants to prevent? I think it's a shame if you can't reply to reviews of your own book. Academic discussion should thrive on continuous discussion. That said, it's clear from reading the responses here that I'm in the minority and many would view the OP as a whiner.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2012, 7:08:07 AM »

I am going to say no more and go mulch my irises).

I first read this with entirely the wrong definition of "iris" in mind.  Not a pleasant mental image.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2012, 7:20:04 AM »

To make the OP feel better, I'm linking to the single nastiest book review I've ever read.  It's a .pdf download, though, so don't click unless you want to read it. 

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~humean/strohmingermcginn.pdf

Sorry for the double post.  But.  If any of those quotations actually came from the book in question, I think it deserved to be thoroughly lambasted.  A tumour and a wound?  You huh?  The review is nasty, but just based on the quotes given, I find it hard to imagine it's anything more than a collection of barely sane rantings about turds.  But maybe it really is the review making it look that bad?
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parispundit
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2012, 7:36:23 AM »


I learned a long time ago to consider a review just one person's probably erroneous opinion, unless I knew the reviewer personally. And even then, having seen some very positive blurb comments on terrible books, queried the blurb writers (when I knew them), and discovered they too thought the book was terrible, but wrote the blurb for reasons A, B, and C.... Well, if the topic is interesting, look at the book. Ignore the review unless you have special reason to trust the reviewer.
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luckychance
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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2012, 9:52:55 AM »


I learned a long time ago to consider a review just one person's probably erroneous opinion, unless I knew the reviewer personally. And even then, having seen some very positive blurb comments on terrible books, queried the blurb writers (when I knew them), and discovered they too thought the book was terrible, but wrote the blurb for reasons A, B, and C.... Well, if the topic is interesting, look at the book. Ignore the review unless you have special reason to trust the reviewer.
Why would they write the blurb then? They'd gain more exposure but they should have plenty of that already if they're being asked to write these blurbs.
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