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 lines…it 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 …

5 comments Add yours
  1. Hee – amusing indeed! Thanks for posting those!

    Especially the last one (a shill?) who is oh so proud of his 40 wpm! I do feel a bit sorry for the first one, though, for not getting what he needed when he got a book on "stenography".

  2. Too slow!! Do 70wpm at least?

    The thing about Gregg is that after a few lessons you can write at least 60 or 70. Build it up over a year or two and you're writing at 160.

    EasyScript is for the beginners. It's slow but easy to learn. You can only really get it up to about 80~100. Still, we all know which one is better.

  3. In fairness, that was after only half a day. A shill, indeed. I glanced through some of the introductory material on the EasyScript website a while back. This review could almost have been copied and pasted from it. And really, that "long list of non-alphabetical symbols" is about the same length as the English alphabet.

    I do feel a little sorry for the first reviewer, but it was a lot cheaper way to learn there is more than one system of shorthand than buying a book for the wrong machine stenography system. I have not made any real study of the subject, but I know there are at least a couple of different ones.

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