What core elements make for a good book review?
It has often been said that those who can't create will critique. Perhaps there is some truth to this but since the dawn of time we have sought the silky words of those who can paraphrase those who produce. Whether it's recommendations from our friends, the yellow paperback Cliff's Notes or the likes of Yelp, we place some value on the perspectives of others.
Key number one to a good book review
A good book review does not require a good book, but it does require a book to review. One can compose a good review of a bad book. Any effort to review should start with the goal of extrapolating any nuggets of beauty, wisdom or functionality that can be gathered from the composition of the author. Benjamin Franklin said, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." A review therefore should seek to bring out those values.
Key number two to a good book review
If you are going to write a book review you must first review a book. In essence we are all reviewers, unless we never read. Yet, some of those who review and help to bring light to a book worth reading or further draw out those concepts that add value to our experiences. Stephen King states it this way, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
Key number three to a good book review
As a good book should be informative, inspiring and/or helpful, so should a good book review be. If the purpose is to summarize, do it well. If the purpose is to criticize, do it with clarity. If the purpose is to glamorize, do it with perspective. Erica Jong wrote about the anxiety of writing, "I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged." Writing and review should also be composed with charity.
Social media has created a cyber veil between the harsh words we furiously finger hack into the ether and the negative impacts those haphazard paragraphs can have on fellow humans. When the indignant take to their devices to rap out negative commentary, there is an assumed additional layer of separation as we often feel like we are taking on the evil corporations rather than the individual humans who operate that entity. Our economy is global, our words are social, yet the implications of our rants always hit locally.
Remember that as a human, our actions as humans impact other humans. If we have a good experience with an establishment, our words can filter through to affirming the good work of humans building that organization. Conversely, in those times when our persons are offended and we lash out at the monstrosity of some name brand organization, those verbal fires burn down to the the local level as our feedback finds its way to impacting humans. For good or bad the layers of separation between our words and their impacts on humans are only imaginary, the only veil is that we cannot see when the embers of our outrage reach flesh.
From recent memory there was a particularly harsh winter in our local area that impacted power to many residents, ourselves included. While people were being inconvenienced by nature, many of them were taking to social media to decry the service of their local facilities providers. The local impact was such that emergency crews were being transported in from across the region and even some assistance from the other coast. What many humans were not taking into account while their fingers were raging was that humans were the ones out in that same weather that was impacting their homes. Humans, who were likely living with similar scenarios in their homes, were leaving their families to work around the clock to serve others. Humans were entering boom lifts to address downed power lines in extreme weather. While humans were raging against the machine they were missing the reality that their words were impacting humans who were helping to solve the issues, whether the offended humans felt it was happening fast enough or not.
When an experience with an organization is less than satisfactory, rather than storming the gates of social media with indignation, if one wants to make an impact email or call the offending company directly. Remember as a human that other humans make mistakes, humans sometimes have bad days and humans sometimes need more training when they are put in positions they are not ready for. Humans can still send emails and make phone calls directly to the establishments causing offense, providing the humans in that organization the opportunity to respond as humans and potentially make earnest recompense for their actions that have offended fellow humans. Without the input of humans to other humans, humans are unable to act as humans towards humans. Be a human.
There are few things in life that cost you very little and yet can have significant positive collateral impact in the life of another human. Paying someone a compliment will only cost you a few seconds of air and yet it has the potential to be a seed or a watering that flourishes in the life of a fellow human. We are well aware that words have the power to bring us to our knees, but words from the same stink filled sources also have the power also to lift spirits, raise confidence and inspire momentum.
We recently had a very pleasant experience at a local eatery with a new waitress. What this young lady lacked in experience she more than made up for with the eagerness of a human who enjoyed helping fellow humans. Our waitress was personable, she smiled as she worked and greeted patrons with cheer. Our waitress was busy but she did not allow that to inhibit her from communicating with care. For example, we had requested non essential items from the kitchen, she politely stated, "I will grab those for you as soon as I clear this table so these customers can be seated." We made sure to inform her manager of her value, to tip well and to express our gratitude for this customer service professional in the making.
For many industries, service is an essential component of the product offering. Those who interact with customers communicate with their attitudes, personas, body language, word choice, pronunciation, etc. When service providers create a positive experience for customers they create an atmosphere where patrons become those who will want to return to spend their dollars in the organization.
We try to celebrate our positive customer feedback as we understand how many layers are baked into the process of bringing a positively finished customer experience confection from the project oven. When a patron chooses to hire our company, appreciates the process, enjoys our people's efforts, awards our team with a payment in full and then ices that cake with positive feedback, that's a party. We keep those nuggets of human positivity on our Wall of Fame and incorporate the details of their experience in our weekly meetings. For those out there who have taken pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and have joined the positive posting fans of an organization that has done them right, many thanks!
As consumers of service and as humans of the same race, it is important that we vocalize our gratitude. The paying of an earnest compliment has few equals on return in human value. The example of paying an earnest compliment has the potential to create a tsunami of positive momentum, as those that directly experience its effect are awakened to a universe as it should be. Life can be simplified as well as dignified when humans treat humans as humans. Enjoy the art in life, positive practitioners of customer service are artists with a human pallet.
Get your compliment check book out and start making some payments.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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