Amazon Reviews of the Simplified Manual

I'm reading through the reviews of "The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified (Hardcover)" in Amazon, and while the reviews are mostly very positive, I found three of them hilarious. In the first one, the reviewer gave the book one star, and titled the review "Old Stuff!." It reads:

"The book is copyrighted 1955; it talks of using the shorthand system with a steno pad. In the Gregg system, certain symbols are identified by how much of a line they occupy in the stenopad, i.e.: half-line; whole-line, etc. Hardly useful for one about to begin studying to be a court reporter that uses a stenotype machine. There are no lines to use. The book was a huge dissapointment" 

I guess someone needs a clue ...

A "two-star" reviewer said the following:

"i've found this book good for learning what the shorthand symbols are, but when it comes to practicing writing them, it was seriously lacking. i used gregg-ruled notebooks to practice writing, but in the book, the symbols are shown without lines so it's impossible to learn placement of symbols. how do you know if symbols are supposed to extend above or below a line? you don't. learning to write english as a child, you were taught how to properly place letters on helps give perspective. otherwise an "h" could look like an "n" and vice versa. this book is very frustrating and i'm going to look into finding another that is more appropriate" 

A valid criticism, until you reach Lesson 6 (paragraph 43) where placement of outlines is discussed. So this person did not bother to study, not even the beginning lessons. I wish him/her good luck in "finding another that is more appropriate..."

But the one that won the prize was this one titled "Learn EasyScript!!!." The "one-star" reviewer wrote:

"I purchased EasyScript Express, EasyScript II and Gregg Simplified Shorthand books. I"ll keep the EasyScript books and return the Gregg book. The Gregg system is based on rote memorization of a long of non-alphabetical symbols. To me, it's like learning Chinese language which I will never be able to do. And could you justify in this age of high technology learning a method based on non-alphabetical symbols? The Gregg book does not provide abbreviations for a full vocabulary and you to create your own codes for the missing words. On the contrary, EasyScript method is based on English alphabet and it makes sense. I need to learn only 5 basic rules which took me literally 1 hour to understand and the abbreviations are easily read. I was able to take verbatim dictation 40 wpm after a half-day study. As opposed, to the Gregg system, with EasyScript you can abbreviate any word. In addition, EasyScript can be adjusted to your application or personal style and can be integrated with your own method. It's a very sound concept. Easyscript has helped to take fast notes and dictation very effectively. Also, the option of EasyScript with the computer increases the benefits of learning this method. Amazon should discount EasyScript books because they're better even though more expensive and as glossy as the Gregg book."

Great speed there, 40 wpm! Hey, at least is about 10 wpm faster than regular longhand ...

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