A Book Review: Constipation, or, When You Can’t Give a Sh*t

Doctor and Teacher (Credit: Google images)

Doctor and Teacher (Credit: Google images)

Hi Anonymous Author,
(hereafter I will call you simply, AA, or nothing at all.

I will call you “AA” because I want to protect your identity.

I want you to know that what you are about to read may seem like it is severe, or harsh, or maybe even cruel. I assure you it is not.

But as you read this, “AA”, remember that nobody knows who you are, only me, and I am not going to tell anyone, I promise.

Under no circumstances, not even torture, will I ever tell anyone who you are. OK?

Consequently, you have an opportunity to improve your book, or you can leave your book exactly as it is, and nobody will ever know who you are.

Since you came to me for an honest review in exchange for a free copy of your book, here is my honest review:


Firstly, thank you for asking me to review this book.

I have acquired the book at Smashwords, using the free coupon you provided me, and examined the book in two formats, a pdf file and a mobi file (Kindle).

Your book was well formatted. I found no problems with your work, and had no trouble reading it on the Amazon Kindle for PC.

In my case, for example, when I wrote and published my first books, I honestly had no clue what I was doing. Everything I did was self-taught, step-by-step, trial and error, hit and miss. It was extremely difficult (for me), but I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to self-publish a book. I persevered, and bit by bit, failure after failure, slowly improved. It was always one step forward, and two steps back.

After self-publishing 62 books, I’m much better at this now, but there are still some things I have not learned how to do yet. But I keep getting better and better. I share this with you because I want to encourage you to keep working to improve as a writer, as a publisher, and as an entrepreneir.

Guy Kawasaki calls people like you and I an APE. I suggest you follow him on Twitter, because he is very informative about many topics. He’s the CEO of a company called Alltop. He is also an author.

Oh, what’s an APE?

An APE is an Author, a Publisher, and an Entrepreneur.

In other words, an APE is only one person, doing three jobs. We usually get pretty good at writing and publishing. Most of the time, however, we have difficulty promoting our work well enough to sell a lot of books.

We are writers who have learned how to publish, but basically lack knowledge of salesmanship in the 21st century. That’s another story for another day. I recommend you get his book, because it contains valuable information about how to be a better Author, a better Publisher, and a better Entrepreneur, or in its essence, simply a beter APE…

I highly recommend this book. I’m not the only one either. This book has five hundred and thirty nine (539) five (5) star reviews (*****). This is what every author should strive to accomplish, perfection…

Anyway, in your case, your work writing and publishing is excellent. I commend you on your book. It looks great, and it reads well. You have a bright future ahead of you, you truly do. Smile, this is not as bad as you thought it was going to be, is it?

I also examined the book on Amazon Kindle. I did this using the “Click to Look inside” preview option they provide potential customers.

Firstly, it was obvious that you have engaged in extensive research. I commend your efforts in bringing together such a vast, diverse and comprehensive amount of information for the readers of your book. It is a job well done, and I congratulate you on that.

However, a major problem for me is that the main argument of the book rests on the basis that all it is intended to do, is be informative, informational, to inform the reader about constipation, or, when you can’t take a s**t.

Since you are not a doctor, you are therefore unable to provide any information which is intended to be a diagnosis, a treatment, or a maintenance of constipation. I say this because you do not provide any credentials that indicate you are a doctor, a nurse, or in any other way a qualified medical professional.

The legitimacy of your book rests solely on the fact that you suffered from constipation.

You have experienced the negative effects of constipation on your own body, physically, psychologically and emotionally. Out of this experience, you wish to share the information you found with others who suffer from constipation, including people who have a need to know more about this medical condition.

Your experience is the fundamental support, the foundation, you could have used to underpin everything you talk about in the book. Your own experience, if told in a more personal, conversational tone, would have given this book some human interest value. The readers would have opened up their emotions to you and your story, had empathy with you, while at the same time learning from your experience.

Unfortunately,you did not write the book in this manner.

What you did write is a book full of informational material. I must be frank with you about this.

I sincerely believe that someone who suffers from constipation should receive the kind of information, which you provided in the book, from a qualified medical professional; i.e. a doctor (MD), a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or a Physician’s Assistant (PA).

In this sense, there would be a high level of reasonable confidence that the information you provided represents the best available knowledge, evidence based, exhaustively studied, scientifically grounded, and able to withstand scrutiny from the public and from regulatory agencies designed to protect the public.

You actually circumvent this process, you go around this, you get by all of these public protection mechanisms.

For example, in your disclaimer statement, you deal with this issue.

You make it absolutely clear that the information you are providing is not intended to replace a doctor’s due diligence. In other words, you are not practicing medicine, you are merely providing, “information”.

Consequently, what you are doing is helping the reader to “self-diagnose” and “self-treat” the medical condition of constipation. As you well know, based on your own experience, constipation is a serious medical problem, not to be taken lightly. To do so would be foolish.

Thus, the reader of your book must personally assume all of the responsibility, completely, for whatever happens.

In other words, the reader voluntarily gives up all of the public health protections that the regulatory laws regarding the practice of medicine would have otherwise legitimately provided. It’s 100% risk to the patient, and 0% risk for you.

When we are talking about human lives, in terms of quality of life and eventual longevity (or not), governments make laws to protect the health and well being of their citizens by regulating the medical profession.

Again, for anyone who resorts to your informational material, they are assuming 100% risk for whatever happens to them. It is unacceptable, because the only people who would do such a thing are the poor, underprivleged, underinsured or uninsured person. Everyone else would go to see a medical doctor.

Your book has a very real possibility to have a disproportionately negative effect on poor people. Again, people who can pay for health care will go to see a doctor, and not turn to your book for help. For a poor person, you are all they have.

In simple terms, you involve yourself in the health matters of another human being, but assume no responsibility and no accountability for the potential harm that might happen to the human being as a result of your “information”.

My dear author friend, I am sorry, but that’s why I can not recommend your book, not to anyone.

I will not even write a negative review.

What I suggest is that you rewrite this book, in a different manner.

I believe you have a story to tell, about the time when you suffered from constipation. You can tell your personal story about what it was like to not be able to take a s**t.

The information you discovered about constipation, although extensive and comprehensively researched, is not the story your readers need to know from you.

What they need to know is more about you. That’s a book worth reading, a book worth writing.

What was your life like before you had constipation? How did constipation affect your life? What was it like for you to live, day by day, with constipation? Was your constipation chronic, or did it happen suddenly, in an acute fashion, without warning?

How did you alter your diet, your exercise, your fluid and fiber intake? How did you overcome your constipation?

What kind of support did you get from your family? Emotional? Psychological? Economic? Were they “there” for you? Was anyone with you in this time of suffering, or did you have to go through this nightmarish problem all alone?

That’s the story that has value, and it’s the only story you can tell. So take the time to tell the real story about what it’s like to have constipation. Take the story out of the toilet and bring it out into the light of day, where everyone can learn something useful from it.

Questions, yes, but these questions are ones that only you can answer. You have a very rich story, with lots of relevant points of departure, and I do believe it is definitely worth your time to rewrite this story. I know I believe it was worth my time to try to encourage you in this way. Now it’s up to you my friend.

Write a story that people will care about. Write your story.

Leave the information for the doctors and nurses…

Best regards,

Thank You


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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