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How to write a book review 精选

已有 8338 次阅读 2008-12-8 09:23 |系统分类:科研笔记

Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends”,  please read my 公告first.

If you ever achieve some distinction, however minor, in a subject matter, then sooner or later you will be invited to write a review of a book written by others related to your expertise. This is somewhat like making a comment during the Q&A period following a talk. (see http://www.sciencenet.cn/blog/user_content.aspx?id=34434 How to make comments in meetings 在会议上發言(原文及译文). Some of the principles stated there apply also except here you can take time to write a longer essay and be more deliberate. Since this is an opportunity to be of service to your community and to show off your expertise, you want to do it right and not to disgrace yourself.

 

I follow the “a,e,i,o,u” criteria, i.e., -accessible, entertaining, informative, opinionated, and understanding. By accessible I mean you write the review such that ordinary reader who have not read the book (or even may not be interested in reading the book) can follow your review. Your review should also be entertaining very much like a movie trailer 电影預告片. Informative is of course a primary requirement of a good review. Readers want to know if this is a good book and its content in order to make a judgment. But you should not be afraid to express your opinions, good or bad. This is the duty of a book reviewer. Finally, be understanding of the author and where s/he comes from. Criticisms are much easier than creation in general. You can be critical of a bad book. But do it professionally and avoid personality issues.

 

At the risk of being blowing my own horn, forty three years ago, the system control field more or less never heard of the subject of differential games (typical example of a differential game would be two aircrafts engaged in a dog fight). I wrote a review of the book on differential Games by Rufus Isaacs in 1965 (Ho, Y. ,.”Review of the book –Differential Games – by Rufus Isaacs, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Volume 10, Issue 4, Oct 1965 Page(s): 501 – 503. However, unfortunately, you need to be an IEEE member to access the IEEE Explore website to read the full text. This was the days before PC and I don’t have an electronic copy I can display for ScienceNet readers (Note added: reader  Xie LI of Beijing Institute otTechnology has kindly sent me an electrponic copy of my 1965 review which is attached here for you), which had the distinction of being often referenced and credited with starting a wave of research on Differential Games by control theorists and engineers. By hindsight, the review also satisfied the “aeiou”criteria above.

 

Differential Game -HoYC



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