Following are some miscellaneous excerpts from mostly one-star reviews (the worst rating possible) on Amazon.com that I extracted for this article.
“Seven Ways to Waste a Day. There is not a single new idea in the whole book. If you don’t know already what is in this book, you are too stupid to understand it. The whole Covey program is an overpriced waste of time.”
Obviously referring to a book that didn’t make it in the marketplace, right? Not quite. How about the biggest-selling motivational book of all time, according to The New York Times! That’s right, it’s Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey not only has built a career on this book, but a huge company to boot.
“The only good news is the book has so little substance it took me only an hour to read it.”
Another loser, right? Hardly. The reviewer is referring to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, listed by The New York Times as one of the biggest-selling motivational books of all time. Since writing this book, Harvey Mackay has written many other bestsellers and has gone on to become one of the highest-paid, in-demand speakers in the world.
“At times, Kiyosaki himself reminds me of a presenter from Amway, Primerica, or some other MLM pyramid scheme … With the constant plugging of his other products, Kiyosaki tries to hook readers into thinking that he knows the ‘secret’ of being rich, and if you keep buying his stuff, eventually you’ll ‘discover’ it.”
You guessed it — it’s the landmark book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Kiyosaki’s book is loaded with great ideas and, as a bonus, is cleverly written and enjoyable to read.
And on and on it goes. You can find negative reader reviews for Will Durant, Eric Hoffer, and many other literary giants. And as much as I know this will shock you, you can even find negative reader reviews for books written by (sigh) yours truly.
My favorite bad review for one of my books (can’t remember which one it was) was from a guy who said that what bothered him most was that I was using my book as a platform for my own opinions. I’m not kidding … someone actually wrote that. Duh … helloooo … the whole purpose of writing a self-development book is for the author to convey his opinions to the reader!
Don’t get me wrong. People have an absolute right to give their honest opinions about any book they read. I’ve certainly read many best-sellers that I didn’t like. It’s just a reminder that you can’t please everyone.
The small sampling of reviews I’ve shared with you graphically illustrate that even the most successful among us not only get criticized, but are often disliked by huge numbers of people. Just imagine how hated super-successful people such as Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh are. If you look at how they made it to the top, I think it’s fair to say that none of them would be there if they weren’t hated by millions of people.
Why so? Because the other side of the hate coin is that there are millions of people who also love them. The only way I know to avoid negative opinions is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.
All this should be comforting to you, because it’s a reminder that the criticism people aim your way — which can sometimes include slanderous and defamatory remarks — is part and parcel to the game of success. And, I would argue, to the broader game of life. Making it to the top doesn’t make you less vulnerable to criticism; it makes you more vulnerable.
Remember, you cannot force people to like you or your work. You cannot even force them to stop saying bad things about you — unless you want to spend the rest of your life involved in lawsuits that require you to prove damages.
The sad reality is that human beings, to one extent or another, tend to be jealous of the success of others. Accept that reality and simply write it off as a fact of life. The only thing you have the power to change is how you react to criticism.
When someone tries to twist your words, change your meanings, or restate your intentions, you may instinctively feel like lashing out and defending yourself. There’s a natural inclination to want to prove to the world that what has been said about you is false. Unfortunately, once your emotions reach that point, the slanderer has won.
There is a great deal of bitterness in our world due to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and failure, and the neurotic individual often feels that he can vent his frustration only by tearing down others. Don’t take the bait.
It is within your power to ignore the criticism and ugly remarks of others. If you want to drive your detractors crazy, simply ignore them. I find that the less you talk about someone criticisms, lies, or slanderous comments about you, the more quickly they tend to fade away.
The reality is that you are going to be criticized — and sometimes slandered and lied about — so best you learn not to allow it to throw you into a state of emotional turmoil when it occurs. Take heart by reminding yourself that it happens to high-profile people all the time.
The impact of a negative remark aimed at you will very much depend on how you handle it. The perfect mind-set is: “It’s no big deal — just a part of life.” Just don’t allow it to become a major part of your life.
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Robert Ringer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. His recently released work, Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty, is a clarion call to liberty-loving citizens to take back the country. Ringer has appeared on numerous national talk shows and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times. To sign up for his e-letter, A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World, visit www.robertringer.com.]