an academic book reviewer???

I just noticed two recent and highly negative reviews of Monte Carlo Statistical Methods on amazon:

 1. I was trying to read this book in details on importance sampling. It wasted me a few hours looking at the detailed mathematically formula in the corresponding section in the book without getting a clear high level picture. The convoluted examples given the section is more than necessary. Eventually, I found this series of video lecture from mathematicalmonk on youtube.

If you compare the book with this series of video, I believe you will agree this book diverse a 2 star. Technically this book may be sophisticated. But just by sampling the important sampling section and checking a few other sections in the book, I think that I can conclude fairly safely that if there is anything that a reader don’t understand in the book, it is the author’s fault but not the readers.

and

2. This review is about the material quality of the printing in the copy I received. This is not about the content.

I have access to a real copy of this edition in the local library. It is the usual high quality hardcover: it has a matte cover with texture, beautifully bound; the paper inside is high-quality, very soft and slightly off-white; and the printing of the text is very sharp. The version I received from Amazon claimed to be exactly the same, but was very different:
– The hardcover was shiny, did not have texture, and had a natural tendency to bend strongly outwards, it even cannot stay opened if I leave it alone, it will close.
– The paper inside is whiter, horribly white, like standard printing A4 paper;
– The text printing looks like a cheap photocopy of the original. It don’t even match a home laser printer. Some formulas are difficult to read. Moreover, some pages are not even centered.

It looks and feels like a cheap knock-off photocopy done in a garage. When I pay a lot of money for a hardcover edition I want the real thing, not a cheap knock-off. Authors should avoid their work being degraded with this cheap printing.

and I thought the ‘Og readers might be interested! The second reviewer’s complaint may be about a scam my friend Julien also fall victim to, people pretending to sell the original and making cheap copies. The reviewer should have asked for a refund or else should have returned the book, that’s all.  Nothing us authors can do anything about. Now it may also be a case of poor print-on-demand output from the publisher itself. I have enquired with Springer to see if this may be the case.

The first review from “academic book reviewer” is much more hilarious. And not only for the grammar. The on-line course by mathematicalmonk is a nice explanation I would also recommend to students. However, this on-line course uses about the same arguments as ours and, at some point, the reader (of a graduate mathematical text) needs to get to the foundations of the method(s) and this requires some advanced mathematics. This is missed by a reader who is apparently not much of an academic [reviewer]. (Most of his/her reviews are of the same whining nature.) Still, I love the above line “if there is anything that a reader don’t (sic) understand in the book, it is the author’s fault but not the readers“! I will certainly keep that in mind for future book reviews.

3 Responses to “an academic book reviewer???”

  1. […] reader of Monte Carlo Statistical Methods had trouble with our Example 3.13, the very one our academic book reviewer disliked so much as to “diverse [sic] a 2 star”. The issue is with computing the […]

  2. “Academic book reviewer” doesn’t understand a graduate level text that describes quite an abstract method for solving difficult problems using high level mathematics? Clearly it’s your fault, Xian.

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