One Star Reviews

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There comes a time on the journey of every author when something happens that has the potential to crush their spirit. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded one star review.

Somebody really dislikes my book and they want everyone to know. Ouch!

A few weeks ago, within a very short space of time, I was confronted with not one but two reviews of this kind, for my latest book, Big Ideas from Ancient Greece.

I have never had a one star review before for any of my books, so getting two in one go was a bit of a shocker. But praise God for the humility check!

The book in question is composed of twelve short chapters, each one looking at a big idea from a philosopher from ancient Greece. It’s based on the Friday Philosophy series I ran on this blog last year, which some of you will have seen. In the book, after discussing each big idea I present a reflection on that idea based on my own philosophical perspective.

One of the reviewers who disliked the book claimed that it had no academic merit. Well, it’s certainly not a heavily academic book, that’s true. I intended to make it accessible. Another complaint was that each chapter was just a lead-in to a theological argument. I make no apology for that; it’s one of the purposes of the book.

The reason why I released a short book of this kind is because I wanted there to exist on Amazon a free introduction to my philosophy. The plan was to make the book available for free periodically, as a way of introducing readers to my work and hopefully persuading some of them to explore my other books.

Big-Ideas-from-Ancient-Greece-KindleBig Ideas from Ancient Greece was professionally edited, and I created it with the same care and attention to detail which I strive for with all my books. Yes, it’s short, and yes, it’s not especially academic, but I do believe it’s a great introduction to both ancient Greek philosophy and my own philosophy.

As the two one star reviews are the only reviews the book has had so far, I considered pulling the book from the Amazon store, because I don’t want it to reflect badly on my other work. But then I prayed about it, and God brought to my mind an idea: Why not ask the blogging community to help me out?

So, I have hatched a plan. I’m going to offer free copies of the book (either printed or as an eBook) to anyone reading this who is interested in giving it a read. If you enjoy the book, please leave a positive review! If you don’t enjoy the book, just do nothing β€” you don’t even need to tell me. No big deal.

If a few of you who are reading this leave 3, 4, or (hopefully!) 5 star reviews, that will mitigate the damage and make me feel a lot more confident about keeping the book on sale, which is really important to me.

Are you willing to help me out and get a free book in the process? Please let me know by either emailing or leaving a comment below.

This is a small bump along the road of being an author and, looking on the bright side, I now know there are two people in the world who think I’m a star…

Thank you for reading! 😁


  1. I bought the paperback. I simply wanted a short reminder of the various philosophers. Perhaps, in your blurb, you could stress that it is a lay person intro, written for people to know that these guys exist, and what they said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Virginia! Thanks so much for that, very kind of you to make that suggestion. I’m pretty sure that I have said nothing misleading in the book or the blurb… in fact, looking back over what I wrote I’m very happy with it! I think that these two reviewers were possibly atheist academics who frown down upon theism. And even if they weren’t, there’s no pleasing some people!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a problem in philosophy of being overrun by atheists. I have a friend who studies Neo-Platonism and is a polytheist. He gets it with both barrels trying introduce religion into the ideas.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Steven. It’s one thing to get negative reviews, but it’s another to get them when your motives are misconstrued. I agree that you wrote these as brief introductions, and you made your intentions clear. These reviews were unfair. Anyway, I enjoyed your short pieces very much. Does your book consist of all the posts? If so, then, in essence, I read your book. Get back to me and let me know if this is the case (that your book contained all of the online posts). If so, I’ll be glad to give you an excellent review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David! Yes, I believe that the one star reviews were primarily due to anti-theism in general, rather than directly criticising any other aspects of the book.

      The book has twelve main chapters and each one is drawn from the Friday Philosophy series which I know you followed and kindly engaged with! So yes, in essence, you have read the book. I did of course make some changes during the editing process but nothing too substantial. So, if you’re willing to leave a review, that would mean the world to me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I just checked the Amazon US store and it seems that the one star reviews aren’t showing in the US. I don’t know if you’re able to leave a review in the UK store (I suspect not), but if not, a positive review in the US store would of course be very helpful and much appreciated, anyway!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Steven. I just wrote your review. And yes, the new 1-star reviews are here for view in the U.S. In fact, for now, they are the only ones. HOWEVER, I have just written you a lovely 5-star review. I thought my review would post right away, but I received a notice that it was under review (a lot of uses of the word “review” in this post), and could take up to two days to appear. If I knew that was going to be the case, I would have cut and pasted the review and posted it here for you. Anyway, keep checking periodically and hopefully it will show up soon.

    Best of luck with the book, Steven, and have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David! Oh, that’s curious because when I checked the US store I couldn’t see the one star reviews. But in any case, THANK YOU! (I barely ever use upper case text, because it feels like shouting, but in this instance it is deserved!). Honestly, I’m so grateful, you have made my day. I will keep checking for the review periodically β€” hopefully it will be approved without issue 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t read it yet but I personally applaud you for both making it short, not over heavy with academia and inclusive of a comparison because that’s exactly what will light an interest in someone who may never have considered or read about this before and how great is that! I honestly never pay attention to peoples less appealing reviews of things because I just assume there will people for and “less” for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you, yes I do try to write in a way that’s accessible because I don’t see the point of writing books that might only appeal to a small number of academics! And that’s good that you ignore the negative reviews, we should probably all take a lesson from you in that respect!

      Liked by 1 person

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