Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits


Why I Don’t Read Reviews of My Books or Profiles of Myself.

April 12th, 2015

Episode 37 of 540 episodes

Yay! Better Than Before was reviewed this weekend in the New York Times, in a piece by Hanna Rosin. You can read it here. Here’s the illustration that accompanied it — flossing seems to be one of the paradigmatic habits-that-everyone-wants. I was thrilled to included — these days, very few of the books that are published get a review there. But I don’t know what the review says. Years ago, when I was just starting out as a writer, a novelist friend’s book was reviewed in the Times. I wrote him an email to say, “Great review, congratulations!” He wrote me back, “I don’t read reviews of my work, so I don’t know what it said, but I’m happy to hear that it was a good review.” I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t understand this at all. How could he not read a review of his own book? But now I understand, completely. And these days I don’t read reviews of my books, or profiles of myself. For a long time, I forced myself to read reviews and profiles, even though I hated doing it. It always upset me (weirdly, even a terrific review upset me) and certain phrases continued to ring ...

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