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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 15 February 2004
This is a post I sent to Slashdot, related to the 'list-stuffing' that has appeared on Amazon.co.uk in connection with this book:
"I've seen what I believe to be an example of this on the Amazon.co.uk site, involving Listmania lists (user-generated lists of favourite books, recommended to others). The object of the deception in this case appears to be a book called 'The Wisdom of Shepherds' by one 'R. Ellis' that has garnered mediocre reviews (3 stars), although at least one reviewer saw the deception and mentions it in their (one star) review. It appears to be one of these generic inspiring/insightful story things (to quote the blurb: 'Out of the much-loved tradition of wisdom literature comes The Wisdom of Shepherds, a story full of astute observations and deep insight. Like all great wisdom literature, The Wisdom of Shepherds touches on the themes of self discipline, patience, understanding, and fulfillment. Like all great stories, The Wisdom of Shepherds will keep you guessing until the end.' Yech.)
This product appears at the top of a number of recommendation lists, all of which appear to have used a similar formula for their generation.
Examples:
Brilliant Minds Need Brilliant Books - A list by seanpc11, Consultant: 'Truly Unique and Enjoyable Book. Excellent on Every Level. Do click The Wisdom of Shepherds icon.'
Know What Others Know - A list by shelleysmith319, Administrator: Extraordinary book. Best wisdom-book on the market. Be sure to click the Wisdom of Shepherds icon.
Intelligent People Only - A list by erjones3, Management Trainer: You simply MUST Click this book's icon. Truly excellent. A must read, and a must click.
A List for Smart People to Click - A list by Michael, Administrator: Excellent story, deep wisdom. If you click no other icon on my list, let it be The Wisdom of Shepherds icon. Truly.
Smartest List on the Net - A list by Michael, Administrator: Excellent story, deep wisdom. If you click no other icon on my list, let it be The Wisdom of Shepherds icon. Truly. (Hey, were did we read that before??!)
Hmm. Can you see a pattern? :) I imagine the author and maybe some deceitful (and not very bright) friends are trying to pump the sales of this turkey...
Perhaps this 'wisdom book' includes sage advice on the morality of ballot stuffing. Too bad I'll never read it."
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2004
A tacit irony. I read, as must have many "mugs" a wonderful write up of what, at least in prospect threatened to be an illuminating and insightful journey. The irony being that the wisdom of this book is clearly associated with the way it had been presented on amazon. In fairness it is written clearly, and is offered in a pleasing style, but with no real thread, plot, insight, or intrigue, -- let alone wisdom. You are constantly asking the pages - "yes but where does it start?". Indeed those that were expecting some degree of intellectual stimulation will probably (as I did) end up over analysing the simple prosaic form looking for some hidden underlying meaning.... Unfortunately in stark contrast to its "Abstract" (read tongue in cheek - title) the book is bland, to say the least and though I am a little sore to have fallen into the trap, I am glad that the exercise has offered me the wisdom to be more sceptical of "wizard" reviews. Avoid unless you have a three year old who needs to learn about the (until recently unknown) ability latent in all shepherds. They name their sheep - there I Just saved you a tenner - - - No really!
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on 21 January 2004
I was interested to see this book appear on a number of recommendations lists on Amazon.com. On further investigation, it became clear that all the other books on the list were best-sellers - a random selection ranging from Tolkien to Delia Smith.
I haven't read the book, and don't plan to, but it seems pretty clear that the author and/or his friends have quite cynically created a group of recommendations lists which would appear whenever someone clicked on the page of a best-selling book, with this book at the top of the list. I suspect that any book which requires such transparent 'marketing' probably isn't worth bothering with. At least one other reviewer above, who had the misfortune to buy the book on the strenghth of its recommndations here, appears to share this opinion.
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on 17 November 2003
I was really disappointed with this book. I felt that little effort had been made with characterisation, that there was a general lack of descriptive prose, and that the 'suprise ending' was quite predictable and a bit of an anticlimax. I am sorry to say I would not recommend this book. Nice cover though.
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on 27 November 2003
I had this on my wish list (and consequently was bought it by a friend) due to it appearing on another customer's recommended list in which it sounded interesting, with a possible mystery content.
However, it turned out to be fairly predictable and very simplistically written - as if for children - and with definite allegorical/religious overtones, which I was not expecting from other reviews.
I'm not sure where other reader's ideas of a surprise ending came from - there were no surprises in the whole book. Certain parts of the book could have been exciting (encounters with organised dog-fights etc) but were pretty tame.
I suppose if you're used to this "Wisdom" genre which I have never heard of, you might appreciate it, but otherwise it's just a pleasant but predictable story.
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on 13 November 2005
I've noticed this book being consistently 'pumped' on various reviews and Listmania lists throughout Amazon's sites both here and in the US. The 'reviewers' never seem to use their real name ('A reader from Hammersmith', 'A reader from Scottland', 'A reader from Brighton' to give three examples) and they all consistently hype the book. The only other reviewer who honestly gave his name came to the same conclusion as me - it's a dodge to try and shift this turkey.
I've never heard of the author, and this seems to be a tactic employed to push a third-rate tome on enlightenment, empowerment or somesuch twaddle.
This is undoubtedly bargain-bin trash, and best avoided.
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on 11 February 2004
So sickeningly sweet this story is smothered by its own sappiness. Like an unsatisfying meal it left me with two questions: where’s the beef? And why did I eat the whole thing? One thing I learned was that when considering a book purchase it is a prudent to read more than the first few reviews. Doing so may have saved my time and expense budget from this piece of drivel.
I have nothing against simple writing and have enjoyed petite and profound pearls in the ‘wisdom’ genre such as JL Seagull and the Tao of Pooh. Buoyed by review comments, I had expected to find in this book some snippets of esoteric or metaphysical sagaciousness. However after the first few pages, I rightly suspected those hopes would be dashed. I grant that young readers may find some interest in this tale but those with a mature intellect will find little more than platitudes, exposition, and juvenile moralism. Judgmental, violent, and rather mean-spirited, the protagonist is wholly unlikeable with a decided dearth of compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Come to think of it, all of the characters are cliched one-dimensional caricatures.
And what is there to be had for wisdom? For example we learn: meat-eaters (at least the four-legged variety) are to be hunted down and killed; tips should not be left to overly friendly waitresses; women are generally more trouble than they are worth; a little lust leaves a leaching soul; and women in scarlet dress are to be avoided.
Whoah...........Deep..........Gag me with a spoon!
I could but shan’t go on further. Suffice it to say that if you hungry for wisdom are not a naive closed-minded pre-teen Christian, read a mixture of reviews on this page and then take a pass on this course.
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on 5 October 2004
Read all the reviews before purchasing. Looks to be a group, probably students, messing about and attempting to ramp this title into the Bestsellers for their own amusement.
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on 9 February 2007
I recently bought this book to see what all the fuss was about! I found it a nice story. Nothing ground-breaking or surprising, just an okay tale you might read to your kids. Don't expect high drama or twisting plots, complicated characters or detailed descriptions and you will be okay. I enjoyed it for what is was, but do not feel fulfilled or enlightened or indeed any wiser because of it.
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on 22 June 2004
I am a very picky reader so four stars is actually a good review. Why four stars? The storyline was absolutely brilliant-- one of the best and most intriguing stories I have ever read. Unfortunately, I thought the writing was weak in places. Maybe it's the American literary style that I found disagreeable, but whatever it was I felt the writing could have been much better.
I recommend The Wisdom of Shepherds but not to literary types. If you can enjoy a good story for what it's worth. Go for it.
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