There have been some comments in the Amazon.com forums that seem to imply that many of the reviews of the 4HWW Book (especially the five-star positive ones) are posted by paid shills, fake reviewers, or otherwise are unrepresentative of the actual reader population. Is this true? I have no idea. It’s hard for me to verify. I for one posted a 4-star review, but it never appeared on Amazon.com (grumble).
I feel that the book does its purpose: help change the mindset that 40 hours a week is necessary to run a successful business and maintain high income. However, I can easily see how many of the ideas in the book are shallow and immature, and as well, one can tell that Tim Ferriss does prefer to bend the rules rather than follow them (the win-by-default kickboxing incident, anyone)? However, is this truly bad? While breaking the rules in an unethical or immoral (or illegal) way can never be condoned by anyone, any good entrepreneur knows that the “conventional wisdom” or common knowledge is rarely wisdom and is too common.
Sometimes it pays to break the rules and play outside the lines. However, is this the case with the Amazon.com reviews? Is it fair to use Amazon.com as a marketing tool (rather than a reader-led consumer-oriented site)? Is it ok to pay reviewers in the way that many are paying bloggers? Are we facing an ethics battle for the soul of the Web?
Also, I was pointed to the PodTech interview with Tim and comments that are less than favorable. I posted a comment on the blog, but not sure if it will appear. Here it is:
- “Wow. It sure looks like the tide is turning against Tim Ferriss (or am I just noticing more of the skeptical posts). I for one have found the book interesting enough to try it myself and see if it will have any impact on my life. I am even baring my experiences for the world to see on my blog (at http://www.fourhourworkweekdiary.com). If it is a hoax, if it is a sham, if it is a failure, the world will see, and I will be responsible (and ethical) enough to show it. If it has merit, however, I want to find that and share it too.I believe that the core lesson in the book is one of time management and rethinking the 40-hour workweek. I think there’s merit in that. As for the rest and Tim’s claims about himself, that’s for Tim to defend. Just like you all, I take self-motivated claims with a grain of salt. ”
I don’t want to pass judgment here. If the reviews are all real, then we have to acknowledge the popularity of this book. And if you believe me, I’ve contributed to some of the positive Amazon.com reviews. I am NOT a shill. I haven’t received a penny or any sort of back-scratching from anyone to say diddly poop about this book. And if I get ticked off or bored, I’ll just drop the site altogether.
Just comment on this blog and let me know. Do you think the Amazon.com reviews are real? Do you care? Does it matter? What do you think of folks that game the blogging / web-based economy for their marketing purposes? Is this to be expected? commended? frowned upon? worth penalizing? I’d like to know.