Richard G. Petty, MD

I am a bibliophile. Always have been. I started collecting books when I was twelve years old and now have somewhere between twelve and thirteen thousand. I try to read at least one book a day and sometimes a lot more. That being said, there are some books that can take weeks to finish.

So I am a good customer for

Over the last year or two I’ve started submitting a few book reviews and book lists on things that I think might help people.

I recently got a letter from a delightful person who asked me why I go to the trouble of writing book reviews.

This was my response,

“I was rather reluctant to do reviews at all, but then discovered that some people found my comments helpful. I am often told that my forte is being able to extract the essence from a book or program and then summarize it. I hope that is true. For more expensive books I also like to provide detailed contents. I will have bought and read them, but before someone spends fifty or a hundred dollars, I would like to give them a good idea of what they will get for their money. Or even if it might be better for them to go to a lending library.

I see my reviews as complementary to my occasional Amazon lists: to help provide a reading list or bibliography. I also write articles, a blog and books, and these Amazon reviews support all three. I often have people contact me and say, “That’s interesting, where can I find out more?” These reviews are part of my response. I read many books that I don’t care for, but unless they are saying something dangerous or untrue, I prefer not to review them at all. I certainly belong to the “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” school. So it is no accident that the reviews are virtually all four or five stars.

I have been sent only two books to review and I know the occasional author: I always try to ensure that I reveal that. After a lifetime in medicine and research, I am very hot on “full disclosure.” There have been some cases in which people have offered reviews to boost sales of books, while negative reviews have been removed. There was a book last year for which there were a number of reviews purporting to be from people working in a non-existent medical school. I stay on the lookout for the people who have only written one laudatory review.

It is said that there are thirty million spiritual seekers in the United States, and many more who would like impartial advice on wellness and personal performance. The reviews are designed to offer these good people whatever assistance I can.

My only reward has been personal satisfaction, and the occasional kind letter like yours!”

As I started doing reviews I noticed several things. Apart from the occasional vanishing review and the rave reviews from vanishing reviewers! There are obviously some people who have their own fish to fry. Someone canned a review that I wrote about a book on metabolism and nutrition and asked about my qualifications. That’s just fine with me: I’ve spent my professional life in academia! But then I saw that he has attacked every positive review about the book and keeps citing an article that doesn’t seem to be relevant. So he obviously just has something against the author: you can’t please everyone.

The other thing that amazed me was the sheer number of reviews written by some people. The number one reviewer at says that she is a speed-reader. But once, in an idle moment, I found that she had reviewed over fifty books in one day. Assuming that each of her short reviews takes ten to fifteen minutes to write, well, you can do the math. Being a naïve soul, I just assumed that she had a bit of a backlog.

But now I’m not so sure. An investigative reporter named Vick Mickunas has had a look to see what is going on

He has written three blog items that make very interesting reading:

  1. The Mysterious Harriet Klausner
  2. Bogus book reviews on
  3. book reviewer shakeout

Some people will think that this is just a storm in a teacup, and perhaps it is. But if there is something fishy going on with some of the reviews at it is worrying. So many people base their buying decisions on these reviews and it is essential that people can have confidence in what they read.

Obviously publishers like positive reviews, but only if they are credible. I know a number of people in the publishing world and they most certainly do not want reviews from people of questionable integrity.

As a company Amazon has always impressed me, and I am sure that if there is something going wrong with the review process, they will deal with it.

Or am I being naïve again?

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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