FUN, GAMES, AND VICTIMS

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 142–143. Comments on Warren Bennis's review (see record 2006-06395-048) of R. Lance Shotland's book, University Communication Networks: The Small World Method (1976). In reviewing the book the reviewer reminisces that he had once thought that “reviewing a bad book would be easier (and certainly more fun) than reviewing a good one. Equating” fun “with spoofs of the professional detective in the” Pink Panther “series, Bennis produced a caricature of professional, collegial criticism through six columns of his own fun and games. The victims of this approach are Shotland, CP readers, and CP itself. CP readers are deprived of the opportunity to consider the book for what it is, a monograph. CP is victimized by a review that violates its own guidelines for serious criticism and fairness. Further, such a review of a book like Shotland's may promote an end that CP could not want–the discouragement of young authors and of publishers from contributing to the waning pool of original research monographs. As” a professional behavioral scientist, “the reviewer presents a role model who systematically and selectively distorts the scope, contents, and purpose of the volume. In the present author's opinion, CP should respond to a review giving blanket condemnation by sending the book to a second reviewer, publishing both after enduring a delay if necessary. The reader who has not seen the book could then evaluate the reviewers as well. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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