Why I Rate Every Book Review 5 Stars

Mark S. Mandell says:

Isn’t there any flaw or weakness you ever come across in your review of the available non dual literature out there, Jerry? This isn’t meant to criticize but I find it interesting that you never post less than the maximum star ratings of every non dual book you review.

Jerry Katz says:

I give your comment 4 stars. But seriously, there are two reasons why I give 5 stars. First, I don’t like rating things, so I give them all five stars. I don’t like reducing nonduality books to a number of stars.

Second, for me, each book stands on its own and gets five stars.

However, my reviews often critique, disagree, and qualify. You just have to read them.

I try to convey the texture of a book so that the reader can sense whether they’d like to read it. For example, in my review of The Most Direct and Rapid Means to Eternal Bliss I made very clear that this an intense, focused, precise, almost fundamentalist book. I wrote:

By virtue of its intensity, commitment, declarations of greatness, and specificity and concentration of instruction, this book is scriptural in nature.

No number of stars communicates what I have included in the review:

Michael even places scriptural values on the book: “This book is a new doorway for humanity.” “There are more than fourteen hundred sentences in this book. Those sentences describe a very precise formula. If the formula is changed, the formula will usually no longer be effective.”

I feel that by such description, the reader of the review can sense whether this book would be worth reading.

How can I rate a book? In comparison to what I like? In comparison to what I believe is the right nondual approach? In comparison to the way some famous sage speaks?

It’s not up to me to tell a reader that this book is five, four, three stars. It’s not up to me to give my personal tastes (although sometimes I do.) It’s up to me to communicate what a person is getting into if they buy the book.

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