wall st journal book review

wall st journal book review

The Power of Persuasion: A Review of Wall Street Journal Book Reviews

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1. Introduction

What value has the Wall Street Journal added to books over the years? Has it been particularly good at anything? A quarter century’s book reviews and “Taste” columns provide an occasion to consider these questions. The earliest and easiest to answer concerns scope. No other regularly appearing book review section in English is as large as the Journal’s. Wall Street Journal reviewing runs to about thirty column inches a week, equivalent to three or four book-length reviews. This is six or seven times the space devoted to a single review by most weeklies and monthlies, and perhaps twelve times that accorded by the New York Review of Books. The large space has of course been an invitation to cover most new books on economics and business, along with not a few old ones, but it has not been restricted to that. At least as much reviewing energy has been given to books in other fields which might have interest to economic and business persons, to books on public policy, writing with a business connection, and social and intellectual history, to fiction with business settings and business biographies, autobiographies and anything resembling the same. Step zero towards getting any benefit from books in a review section consists in reading them, and the Journal has obviously read an enormous number, no doubt in the many thousands. A high proportion of recently published books which fit with Journals are seen to be logged in review sections of competing publications, but if any economist or social scientist has had a book about anything remotely connected with business in the last twenty years, it has likely received its only attention from the Journal. This is bound to continue, as there is an infinite supply of books published, and the supply is always growing.

2. Key Insights from Wall Street Journal Book Reviews

To begin with, the overview of “The Silent Language” by George Watson is that language is one of the important tools to express and create relations with other people. Language can be used in many methods for many purposes: to express feelings or ideas, to influence someone, to build relations, and for many other things. This book also gave an explanation about the types of language and how people communicate among themselves and represent the meaning of certain words. This concept is related to my experiences in joining a big communication program several years ago. Usually, people from many countries will be given a similar topic where they will be given chances to discuss and create a paper relating to the topic. From my past experience, I found that people’s language use and word representation vary based on their culture and knowledge, and this sometimes causes misunderstandings among them. And at certain occasions, this also causes conflicts among the people. I agree with Hall that if we can see a face of emotion or hear a tone of voice, we tend to feel closer to someone, and sometimes the language that is used will also be accepted better. This situation usually happens to an immigrant who wants to blend with the society of immigrants. They usually come with the will to find a new opportunity better than the last opportunity at their old place. They talk about this in their family and children until the word is heard by the children. At this word, the children create a perception of the meaning opportunity and tell it to friends. Usually, the real meaning of the word that is heard and the perception do not match. If the parents have knowledge about the perception of the word, they usually feel that it is a good achievement and the children will have a good future. This situation sometimes causes someone to change their way to communicate with a friend and pretend that they want to be in a harmful way. This also happens to an immigrant. They create a perception about the job and environment in their new place that is good for their family, but the people already there have a different image of the cost of the work. As an immigrant, usually it’s not a proper cost and the way to contact the friend, maybe because an instance of chance his friend guy got a message from telephone from a friend to cut the cost of the work. The immigrant will think that the friend is furious because he said it with a high tone, but in fact, he does not understand what is said by his friend. This event has caused many misunderstandings among people and many need an education of language. Coming back to this book, in our current society, it is very important to have the ability to understand what the other person has said and have the ability to say something in order to be understood by the other person with the same meaning. If this ability can be done well, it will avoid many communication errors and bad impacts because it can create a harmonious relationship.

3. Evaluating the Impact of Book Reviews on the Literary Landscape

The study assumed that book prices remaining comparatively high or rising over time indicated strong demand relative to supply, reflecting pricing power and a relatively inelastic supply curve for the book. Conversely, prices at or below initial levels were considered to indicate weak demand and an elastic supply curve, reflecting price competition among a larger pool of available books. High and/or rising prices were defined as those above the two-year average price for books of comparable format and binding, while low and/or falling prices were defined as those below the two-year average.

For the purposes of the study, the “literary landscape” was defined as all works of fiction and general non-fiction. Book reviews were deemed successful to the extent that they influenced commercial success of a book in a positive or negative fashion, affecting either demand for the book among consumers or the price paid by consumers to read the book. Unfortunately, the difficulty of measuring the actual readership or purchases of particular books ruled out the possibility of using publishers’ sales data as a basis for selecting reviewed books and documenting their commercial success. Therefore, book price and availability were used as indirect, albeit imperfect, indicators of the commercial success resulting from review-induced consumer demand.

The main difficulty for The Wall Street Journal in conducting this study was defining the above mentioned article. What constitutes the “literary landscape”? Does it encompass all forms of published material, such as cookbooks and technical manuals, or does it refer specifically to fiction, and, if so, to what types of fiction? What is the measure of the “impact” of book reviews? And what are the criteria for “success” in a book review?

4. The Art of Persuasive Writing in Book Reviews

One of the intriguing aspects of this book is the light it sheds on the process of book reviewing. Having written a regular review column for the Wall Street Journal, the author knows whereof he speaks. The WSJ book review editor is depicted as a sort of intellectual entrepreneur, creating a mini printing press business, setting editorial guidelines, recruiting and training reviewers, and procuring and editing their copy. The book editors are the bridge between the reviewing professional and the writers whose books are reviewed. This relationship is the most pivotal link in the whole process, and is aptly called the dance of the publishers. A syzygy of self-interested roles pervades this dance: the author spinner attempting to monopolize the editors’ meager freelance budgets with high praise and puffery of his works; the attentive, sugaring editor angling for too many reviews by the spinner in the hope he will butter him up into a publishing contract, book editing job, or favorable treatment of his books by other reviewers; and the honest reviewer vying with book editor and writer-blinded editor for the battle of editorial influence on what books he will be assigned to review. This informed interpretation comes from a shrewd analysis of a complex system undertaken by a sympathetic and critical outsider who has engaged in it firsthand. With no little disappointment the reviewer of an academic book is said to sigh “I had hoped it would have been better” as he receives in the mail a popular book unsuitable to his expertise. The reviewer’s first loyalty should be to the reader and Eliot and his peers are urged to uphold traditionally high standards of literary reviews in a time when other print media are better off serving today’s popular tastes.

5. Conclusion: Harnessing the Influence of Wall Street Journal Book Reviews

The influences of a book review on a reader can be harnessed by utilizing the knowledge of the review’s influence and ensuring that the books that get positive reviews are marketed at a target audience. This can be done by examining the demographics of those who read the review in the Wall Street Journal. Advertisements for certain books can then be directed to the section of the Wall Street Journal where those who are most likely to purchase the book will read the advertisement. A study by The New York Times revealed that 60% of the adult readers of the New York Times would take some form of action after reading the review, with many visiting book shops and libraries. This gives an opportunity for those who are aware of the influence of the review on the reader to sponsor and display the book in various locations where the readers will see it. With a large number of people purchasing the book after reading a positive review, it is possible that the reader may hear of the book from someone else or purchase a gift for the book for someone else. This creates word of mouth or a gift purchase, effectively giving the book more readers. An individual who has friends and family who read the book will be more likely to discuss it with someone who has already read it, making the book almost a social requirement for its reader. Completing the cycle of purchase, reading, and extra readers, the influences of the review are looped right around to the sales of more books.

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