How to write a review

Originally published 2021-05-31; last updated 2021-07-13

It’s not obvious how best to review a book, course, product, or whatever. To make my reviews consistently valuable, I aspire to roughly follow this procedure:

  1. Say why I decided to use the thing. This helps my reader compare the goals I had with the goals they have.
  2. Describe my knowledge or experience with the appropriate reference class for the thing. E.g. if I’m reviewing a book on a particular period of history, I should say whether this is the first book I’ve read on the topic or the tenth.
  3. Describe the thing’s strengths—what I liked about it or learned from it.
  4. Note any salient flaws.
  5. Describe the context in which I would recommend the thing.

This reviewing procedure is a modified version of what A. Jesse Jiryu Davis recommends in his post, Write An Excellent Programming Blog.

Caveat: the best review is the one you actually write. Better to write one sentence than zero.

Pages that link to this page