Saturday, June 18, 2011

On Book Reviews, and Making Lemonade From Lemons


I got my first negative book review on Amazon. Of course it was only a matter of time. Sales (to my surprise) have been twice as strong in the last few weeks as usual. That means the book is finding a wider audience, and the law of averages says someone is bound to dislike it.

In the spirit of making lemonade from lemons, however, I thought I'd make a few points about what Saving My Knees is, and what it isn't. So if you're thinking of buying the book, heed well.

First though, let me clarify two things:

All the reviews on Amazon (good and bad) are real and (I assume) honest. So rest assured that you won't be lured to buy Saving My Knees through a bunch of phony reviews my family or friends or publicist wrote. I don't do that sort of thing.

Also, I was rather puzzled that this unhappy reader would remark, regarding the condition of my knees, "in the end of the story he seems to be worse." Hmmm. Did anyone else reach that conclusion? I tried to drop some clues that I got better. The subtitle, after all, is "How I … Beat Chronic Knee Pain." There is a chapter called "Recovering." And, on the last page:
As I write these closing words, in what should be my last revision to this book, it’s now more than two years after my experiment to save my knees began. I’m cycling every week again, as intensely as ever, and my knees feel good. No, I’ll risk jinxing myself by telling the truth: they feel great.
In case any ambiguity remains, let me put it to rest on this blog: I healed my bad knees. If you could experience what my knee joints are like today, and compare that with four years ago, you would not even think of questioning that assertion.

But, to be charitable, perhaps this person got confused because healing from chronic knee pain isn't a linear process. I had ups and downs. And that's a big part of my message: people with bad knees often don't improve because they can't navigate the many ups and downs and inevitable setbacks. In telling my story, I felt it was imperative that this idea come through.

Now, for people on the fence about buying Saving My Knees, let me be clear about those who probably won't like it:

1. If you believe experts in a given field -- doctors, physical therapists, for example -- must be always right, if you believe it's morally wrong or inappropriate to question authority, Saving My Knees may be too much cognitive dissonance for you.

When my experience with constant knee pain began, I was a model patient. Later I questioned the advice/treatment I got when my condition failed to improve. By daring to question the wisdom of the experts, I made many interesting findings that helped me to recover.

2. If you want a book that contains a specific, exercise-by-exercise breakdown of how to save your knees, Saving My Knees may not be for you. It's a story -- my story -- about what I learned on my way to healing. And I did learn a LOT (which I share).

I explain what worked for me (and what didn't), give some insight into why, and offer general tips on good knee health. Still, if you want an exercise guide, try Doug Kelsey's The Runner's Knee Bible. Doug is a very smart guy with many good insights who deviates from conventional (and failed) thinking about how to heal knee pain. His writings were an inspiration to me.

3. If you want an "other-directed" solution to your knee pain, this may not be the book for you. An "other-directed" solution is, for example, a pill or surgery that makes all the pain go away while you just sit back and basically do nothing but marvel at how well it works. Sorry, can't help you there. I discovered a lot, but not the magical bowa bowa root from the Amazonian jungle that restores knees to instant health with no effort. :)

4. If you think your knees can be healed overnight (or in a few weeks), and you want a book that shows you how, keep shopping. Don't waste $9.99 on Saving My Knees. Because I found out that healing the injured soft tissues in the knee joint is possible, but it does take a fair bit of time. My recovery took the better part of two years. The good news is, who cares as long as you're getting better?

Last, if you're unsure whether the book is for you, Amazon does allow a sample to be downloaded. Read it. Judge for yourself.

At the very least, I promise you it's not as boring as the other knee books out there. :)

In the meantime, keep movin'!

1 comment:

  1. I read that review. It is quite funny, actually, in how completely off it is. It's so crazy how people can come from such different perspectives. He wondered if the other reviewers read the book, but I wondered the same about him. --Jenni