Have the court jester taste my meal for poison

“I heard the reviews were bad.”

The moment somebody makes that statement, my desire to continue the conversation will evaporate.

First of all, you didn’t read the review, you heard a review of the review.

Secondly, all reviews, whether from real customers or professional critics, are never an accurate reflection of objective quality of the product. It’s like those people who ask their waitresses for a recommendation of what to order for dinner.

What are you thinking? You don’t know if she’s a vegetarian, allergic to shellfish, or had traumatic tomato related injury as a child. Maybe she’s being pressured by the head chef to upsell as many of the porterhouses as possible. Maybe she’s paying off her student loans and just needs the check average to be higher.

There are too many potential variables in play. Just pick something off the menu and move on.

Harvard once reported that the systematic problem with many online reviews is that they tend to over represent the most extreme opinions. Amazon, for example, has a distribution of opinions that is highly polarized, with hundreds of thousands of extremely positive or negative reviews, and a few moderate opinions.

What’s more, people who actually leave reviews have voluntarily decided to share their opinions, which means they often give a distorted view of products, services and companies.

Even that study itself is probably biased and should not be trusted.

The point is, in the age of online user reviews, in the age where anyone can be an expert on anything for nothing, it’s time for people to start shifting their locus of trust internally.

Because if you’re refusing to expose yourself to something solely because you heard the reviews were bad, what you’re really saying to me is, you can’t think for yourself, you don’t trust your own judgment, you suck at making decisions and you’re a hostage to expectation.

Dalio, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, says it best in his brilliant point book on first principles:

Many opinions are bad and virtually everyone is confident that theirs are good. Opinions are a dime a dozen and nearly everyone will share theirs with you. And many of them will state them as if they are facts. Be your own person and go find out for yourself.

Whether it’s a movie, album, restaurant or electric nose hair trimmer, just pull the trigger on something and move on. You don’t need the opinions of snobby industry professionals and angry armchair warriors before you make an informed decision on which pair of socks to buy.

Stop reading the reviews and go take the risk of actually experiencing life with a clean slate.

It’s the easiest way to decrease stress, increase joy and have agency over your own experience. 

Who do you need to stop listening to?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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