But first — do you know jet.com?  Acquired last year by Walmart for $3 billion?

I love Amazon, but competition is important — and the glass-bottle Honest Tea varieties that are so hard to find in physical stores but that are just a click away with Amazon ($44.62 for a 12-bottle case of Moroccan Mint) are just a click away on Jet at $16.27 (for Cinnamon Sunrise or Ginger Oasis, my other two favorite varieties) — after the 15% new-customer discount on my first three orders but before the additional $4.31 they knocked off of already-free shipping for my willingness to wait a couple of days to receive it.  In all, $61.69, delivered, for 48 bottles, versus what would have been three times as much on Amazon.

Needless to say, that’s an extreme example — and I still love Amazon.  But “shop around?”

And now . . .

Okay, so this is about as self-indulgent as it gets . . . but I went over to the afore-mentioned Amazon recently to buy someone a copy of my investment guide — way easier to click for $10 than to actually have to put one in a jiffy bag, find stamps, and all that — and noticed a bunch of one-star reviews.

This is a little disheartening, so — being shallow and thin-skinned — I went to check them out.

My favorite, from G. Belmonte this past April 4th: “Book is great — however i received with the front cover torn….very disappointment.”  One star out of five.  (Don’t judge a book by its torn cover?) 

Then there was Matt, back in January: “Financial books shouldn’t get political. A great book whose advice is completely undone by a few sentences of rhetoric. Why? WHY?”  One star out of five.

Two people found that review “helpful.”

In fairness, not all ten of my one-star reviews call the book great.  In fact, only those two did.

Writing of an earlier edition in 2010, Chris called it “Worst book ever,” explaining: “This book was terrible. PLEASE do not waste your money on it. Anything of value in this book, you probably know already. PLEASE, in these tough economic times, find a better book to spend your money on.”

The current edition is not that much changed, so I’m afraid Chris would still hate it.

I actually challenged one guy (“What an idiotic set of advices“), who gave the book one star because it recommends that, when it comes to life insurance, most people should “buy term and invest the difference” — a point on which most consumer advocates and personal-finance experts agree.  Being a life insurance salesman (who earns a far higher commission on complex whole-life products), he calls this advice “stupid or simply irresponsible.”

We had a nice little back and forth (“It is the mark of a good salesman to believe passionately in his product, so hats off to Mr. Poletaev,” I began), and while he didn’t budge on the issue of life insurance, he agreed that maybe one star for the whole book, based on that one page, was “a little harsh.”  I like this guy.  But I’m still stuck with one star.



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