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PDL @ Amazon

I often find Amazon is an interesting place to get a guage on how people feel about books. Anybody is free to post a review there so popular books often compile several hundreds reviews. The Purpose Driven Life, which places 47th on the Amazon sales list, currently has a whopping 561 reviews with several more appearing every day. For what it’s worth, the average review is 4 out of 5 stars.

Buried near the middle of all those reviews is one I wrote at the end of January. One feature of Amazon is that people are allowed to give a “yes” or “no” answer to whether each of the reviews was helpful. I have found thus far that whenever I review a book negatively I get more “no” than “yes” answers and when I review one positively I get more “yes” than “no” answers. My review of PDL is a case in point. Of the 165 people who have answered the question, a mere 35 have indicated that they thought the review was helpful. If you are interested in seeing my review, you should be able to get to it via this link. You will need to scroll down to near the bottom fo the page.

I do not mean to boast but I thought my review was very helpful. As Christians were are called to be Bereans - to examine everything in the light of the Scriptures, and that is exactly what I did. I merely held the book up to the Bible and found it lacking. Compare my review with this one which had 46 of 49 positive responses:

With all of the crime going on in the world, I would think that this book is more valuable now than ever. Don’t just read it, apply it. Don’t just read it, live it.

The Purpose Driven Life was recommended to me by one of the elders in our church. I don’t know of anyone with a legitimate religious background who has not read and is impressed with The Purpose Driven Life.

Highly recommended. This book can change your life.

Now please tell me, which is more helpful? The review that really says nothing except that the author enjoyed it or the one that compares it to Scripture?

Or how about this one which scored 149 out of 155.

The Purpose Driven Life inspired me to make several changes in my personal and business life. For one, I am now more active in my church and in regard to family, I am now spending more time with family where previously I was a workaholic going for the money, spending way too much time at work and giving whatever was left (which wasn’t much) to my family.

The Purpose Driven Life is an OUTSTANDING book that will impact your life. This is truly a must read.

You should note that the other people who reviewed the book negatively also had a great imbalance of “yes” to “no” votes.

I guess this just goes to show that people are not actually indicating whether or not they find a review helpful, but whether they agree with the reviewer’s conclusions. Whether you love a book or hate it, you should be able to differentiate between helpfulness and agreement. I would like to think that Christians would have this ability and see the importance of it. Amazon seems to prove me wrong.