4 out of 4 stars
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If you've tried online dating, have you ever wondered what men were actually thinking? In his second book, Ladies, Read This First!: How Men Really Approach Online Dating, author Guy Johnson gives readers a glimpse into the male mind while offering guidelines for navigating dating websites.
In his previous book, Confessions of an Online Dater, the author directed his advice to men; this time, he addresses women. His sense of humor was apparent as he wrote this guide with the purpose of assisting women who are seeking happy long-term relationships. Though writing a book for women was out of his comfort zone, as an author who also dates online, he obviously has the male perspective. When he noticed that there were books in this niche written for women by women but none authored by a man, he rose to the challenge. He selected his focus group of 100 men he met outside a movie theater. After surveying 75, the author shared his initial impression, "I was getting depressed in realizing that my fellow man was rather shallow and caddish." However, he pressed forward, also surveying 20 women. He asked 28 questions related to their online dating approaches and created demographics according to their age, ranging from 25-45+ and status--divorced, separated, widowed, and never married. The book includes 10 chapters which cover a wide range of topics related to online dating such as how to get started, choosing a website, tips for posting profiles and photographs, and defining what you are looking for in a relationship. The author also addresses the importance of honesty, accurately describing yourself, and how to read between the lines for red flags when navigating websites. Chapters feature humorous anecdotes, dating dos and don'ts, informative learning curve highlight sections, and how to avoid mistakes that may turn away potential matches. The final chapter discusses exclusivity and cautions against the trade-up syndrome by always looking for someone better. The book concludes with two insightful appendixes. On a final note, the author encourages women to "put men on notice," by subtly mentioning having read the book.
With 94 pages, the book is a quick read that's well-written, informative, and downright funny. Though I haven't read the author's previous book, he mentions intentionally keeping the style and formatting similar in this one. Based on the clean visual design and organized formatting, I'd say that he made the right call. Each chapter features the key point subtitles in bold type and numbered highlight sections the author refers to as "Quick Learning Curves," which not only enhance the book but simplify referring to the content covered.
What I liked most about this book was the author's humorous writing style. Whether he was sharing online dating profile dos and don'ts or relating a funny experience from one of his dates, the tone was conversational and relatable. I found the two appendixes at the end of the book entertaining and enlightening--so much so that I recommend beginning with them. I won't reveal any spoilers here, but "Famous Quotes and Questions from First Dates That Make You Think (or Shout,) Check Please!" is amusing and the title is quite fitting. The second appendix is a glossary of terms and definitions. After the author referenced it a few times at the beginning of the book, I read both appendixes. I was glad I did, as I found both insightful, and some of the glossary term meanings weren't obvious from their names.
What I liked least about the book was an inconsistency I noted. From accurately describing your physical appearance to being upfront and truthful regarding what you are looking for in a relationship, the author repeatedly stresses being honest throughout the book. Additionally, he warns readers how to read between the lines to spot daters who are less than forthcoming. So, I was disappointed by his admission in the fourth chapter, "The Numbers Game," when he admitted to being dishonest when women inquire about the number of dates he has been on. He resorted to this after being called a player for answering honestly and wrote, "Finally I decided to always answer a dozen or so over the past year--this was the only area in which I was dishonest, but I figured it was my business anyway." I found the end justifies the means mentality inconsistent with the rest of the book.
Even so, the one inconsistency did not hinder my overall enjoyment of the book. Additionally, it was exceptionally edited and without errors. I'm pleased to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who are interested in learning more about online dating from the male perspective. It will also appeal to those who are seeking advice for navigating the websites.
Ladies, Read This First
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