Criticism isn’t Cynicism

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” (George Bernard Shaw)

If you’re going to accuse an honest critic of cynicism, then be sure to also call out the raving fans and cheerleaders for their hype as well. Hype can be more harmful than the harsh truth — it’s just generally more acceptable to lie when you hold back the negative and inflate the positive.

When I want to buy a book on Amazon, I’ll be sure to read a few 1 and 2 star reviews. I don’t dismiss them as “haters”. Negative reviews are more likely to reveal honest truths nobody wants to admit publicly — though, I realize, some harsh critics take things too far.

Some are reacting, not reviewing. Some are just trolls. But, I don’t have to let a mean-spirited review deter me from buying or enjoying a book.

Criticism doesn’t have to deter you just as hype doesn’t have to brainwash you.

To observe both the good and the bad is just a part of objectivity.

And while being objective is a part of the critiquing process, it’s not all of it. Whoever said criticism had to be 100% objective doesn’t get it. Every book is read by a unique person with a unique life experience and a unique worldview. A critique is expected to have a little personal opinion into the mix.

I can’t tell you how many respectable negative critiques I read that offer a good balance of objectivity and personal opinion that get brushed off into the ‘cynic’ or ‘hater’ category.

Criticism isn’t cynicism. If you’re unsure, a dictionary helps.

The critic is also not necessarily a skeptic, hater, downer, negative nancy or nelly, or any other label that serves as some sort of shameful dunce cap placed on the critics head before he’s stuck into the corner.

Reserve strong words for actions that merit them — not as an easy way to silence those who are expressing an opposing viewpoint.

Be Interesting When Your Name Sucks

Gary Vee, as he is affectionately called, is gifted with many things including wit, charm, and charisma. His name on the other hand was definitely a hurdle for this loud and sometimes obnoxious (meant with love) social media champion.

He started his early online career with Wine Library, a brilliant and easy to remember name. When launching his first video blog Wine Library TV I’m sure he was faced with the retching decision on how to handle his own name. Most hoping to make a career on screen and being faced with a difficult name would opt for a much easier to remember screen name.

But not for Gary… this little fireball decided to tackle online media with sucky name in tow.


His tenacity has turned the liability of his name into a household word… at least for us geeks and social media freaks. For those of us who follow his wisdom, we couldn’t imagine him with any other name. The name Gary Johnson just wouldn’t fit.

He built a brand on his name right down to How can you have success on a domain that can’t be spelled correctly by 99% of the world?

Easy, Gary’s favorite word ‘hustle‘.


The first thing your eyes go to on his website is his name. His last name is broken down by syllables vay-ner-chuck. When he introduces himself on video he pronounces his last name Vay… ner… chuk drawing out and dropping dead air in between each syllable.

Not afraid to laugh at himself, Gary is constantly making fun of his own name. Making it possible for the rest of us to laugh with him.

Gary worked tirelessly to make his name as easy to understand as the message he was preaching. The end result of this is a near impossible name that we can remember. He has successfully turned his liability around.


Gary’s success wasn’t overnight. Too often we want to go through the motions for a while and when success isn’t beating down our door we give up. Of course, we blame the failure on our liabilities.

Embrace your liabilities and turn them around so you too can also claim success. Quit hiding them under your bed hoping the world won’t notice. Trust me they will.

What makes you different is what sets you apart. Frankly, I’m tired of all the sameness out there. The web is becoming as boring as the traditional world. Everyone is more concerned with a formula for success rather than being yourself and doing what you love (wisdom stolen from Gary Vee).

Be unapologetic and be yourself… liabilities and all.

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