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:
- Say why I decided to use the thing. This helps my reader compare the goals I had with the goals they have.
- 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.
- Describe the thing’s strengths—what I liked about it or learned from it.
- Note any salient flaws.
- 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.