Thursday, 12 February 2009

Life Cycles: Neil Killion

LIFE CYCLES is a ground-breaking new theory on what life is all about. It is both controversial and evidence-based and states that we live our lives in symbolically repeatable twelve year cycles. There are two important years and this is where we see fate take a hand in unusual ways.

Designed to entertain and inform; details from the public record are used to dissect the lives of world leaders, showbiz personalities, criminals and ordinary citizens. You will learn about your life's symbolic meaning and be introduced to a whole range of new terms and icons.

You won't read anything quite as original and intriguing and you will never look at your life the same way again.

This book has an eye-catching cover which I liked, despite the lack of information it gave me about its genre; and its central premise—that the same twelve-year cycle resonates through all our lives—is interesting enough.

However, the book is let down by poor writing, confused and sloppy logic, the author's preference for rhetoric over substance, and the lack of any real information in the text, which is all based on rumour, conjecture, supposition and hype. I counted six clichés in the back cover copy alone. The book lacks any real substance and I didn't even finish the prologue before finding my full quota of fifteen errors in this one.

Number of pages read: three


Neil Killion said...

I would like to place it on the record that I didn't seek a review of this kind, rather the owner of this Blogsite requested a copy of my book from me. I certainly would not have agreed to the terms of such a cursory and perfunctory process.
"Life Cycles" is a dual Finalist Awards Winner in the USA Book News 2008 contest for Best New Age Non-Fiction and Best Website Design. It can be accessed at It has 5 official reviews at an average 4 1/2 stars. Again this can be accessed through the TCM Reviews/Reviewyourbook/Liamatel.tripod/BookPleasures websites.
After only 3 pages (meaning to page 1 of the prologue) there is scant opportunity to display what the book is strongest on:- statistically relevant evidence of a kind that simply cannot be matched by any other esoteric theory.It is a pity that my style (which I make no apology for) was not well received.
I have 2 50 minute radio interviews at (go to the Tony Kay Show archives) and (go to Archives/Lillian Cauldwell) and I suggest if the the reviewer can't find it possible to read about my theory then at least she could listen,

Neil Killion

Jane Smith said...

Neil Killion wrote, I would like to place it on the record that I didn't seek a review of this kind, rather the owner of this Blogsite requested a copy of my book from me. I certainly would not have agreed to the terms of such a cursory and perfunctory process.

That's not true, Neil: you sent me a press release on 22 December 2008 in which you asked if I'd be interested in reviewing the book.

If you weren't happy to submit your book to my review process, then perhaps you should have vetted your mailing list more carefully: the whole point of this blog is to review self-published books according to mainstream publishing's standards, and I've never pretended otherwise.

As for not liking your style: well, a lot of what I didn't like was the lack of logic and evidence in your arguments. Poor style can always be improved; a lack of substance cannot be disguised so easily.

neil killion said...

Lack of logic and evidence in the first 3 pages? I stand by every word I wrote. You would have to get down to actual phrases and one by one we could discuss and debate them, which I'm sure is not worth doing... but I'm more than happy to do it. Of course I'm somewhat polemical!...after all you don't come up with an entirely new esoteric theory of life every day. The last time I checked this was previously done thousands of years ago. Anyway I think it easier to agree to disagree.

Jane Smith said...

Neil, if you have a look on Amazon you’ll see hundreds, probably thousands, of books which hope to reveal “a new esoteric theory of life”, many of which have been published in the last decade or so: if you aren’t aware of your market then perhaps you need to research it a little more.

You are obviously unhappy with my review of your book: but I make no secret of my methods: you knew what you were getting into before you submitted (and if you didn't, why on earth did you send me the book?).

As you are so unhappy I thought I'd have a second look at your book. You disputed that I had found errors of logic or research in your first three pages and so I've given you the benefit of the doubt, and have looked for them elsewhere instead.

Let's take a look at your chapter "Obituaries - How to Read a Person's Life Like a Book" (incidentally, you've used a hyphen where that title appears in the book, and you should have used a dash), which begins on page 93. You state that obituaries "are a very sound test for the theory, because I am totally relying on the text of another author, who knows nothing of what I would be interested in." So you feel that using obituaries as a resource is an excellent way to research your theory, right?

The problem is that you've been far too selective in your use of these obituaries. You write,

"by no means has the majority of obituaries skimmed through resulted in a closer reading. However, in every case where there was an examination, more and sometimes much more detail was revealed. The odds on any of this correlating by chance would be truly astronomical.

"It would also be true to say, that the examples presented in this chapter do represent quite a significant minority of the initial group that was overviewed. I did not keep exact count, but if asked I would say in the order of 25-30%." Your reasoning here reveals the major failings in your research.

You didn't use all the information that your sampling provided, and instead selected the 25 to 30% of obituaries which supported your theory. But what about the 70 to 75% which either didn't directly support your theory, or which actually contradicted it? As you only considered the part of the information which supported your own theory, then you can't actually know what point the whole sample proves. And I see no evidence that once you had arrived at your hypothesis, you tested it by looking for material which disproves it.

It's clear to me that your research fails on two very major, and very basic, points which even my 13-year-old son knows to avoid. As your entire book rests on this deeply-flawed hypothesis then your entire book is also deeply flawed. That's not to say it's an irredeemable nonsense (although I feel very strongly that it is): just that you've done nothing to show that it has any substance at all and frankly I'm not surprised that you published this book with AuthorHouse as I doubt that any mainstream publisher would even consider it as it stands.

Kristen said...

This is not a remark on any of the comments above, or even on this particular review. Just want to stop by and say I like your style, as harsh as it is. You make me want to come back and read more.

Anonymous said...

"I counted six clichés in the back cover copy alone."

Why don't you do us a favor and print these "cliches" so we can judge if they are cliches or not. I say this because this is far from being the only book you have criticized like this. Personally I think you are being jaded and anal. You are slamming a book, show your proof. You don't even show the cover on this one.

Jane Smith said...

Anon, in some of your other comments here you accuse me of "raping" books and unjustly criticising them: now you want me to underline the faults I found in my review by showing proof. But according to your accusations, wouldn't that just be adding insult to injury?

Tell you what. I'll provide that proof when you have the decency to post using your real name, and link to your own blog so that I can come visit and pay my respects. I think that's fair. I'll even look forward to it. And I promise you: I'll be polite, which is more than you've managed to be here.

BuffySquirrel said...

I think it was Darwin who wrote that he made very careful notes of any evidence that seemed to contradict his theories, as he knew otherwise he was likely to forget about it.

Unfortunately, he wasn't alone in this; we all tend to weight what validates our beliefs and dismiss what doesn't. However, most of us do this unconsciously, not deliberately....