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Three Dave's No Waiting

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In which I review a book.

From time to time I will be reviewing on these pages books, c.d.s, movies and the like. Today I will be reviewing Date or Soul Mate? by Neil Clark Warren, the founder of eharmony.com. I am not sure if I have ever disliked a book more than this one. (If you haven't figured it out yet, this will not be a positive review.

The subtitle of the book is How to Know if Someone is Worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less. By that title, I expected a corrective if not an indictment, of the current dating system. Since I hope one day to write a book questioning the efficacy of dating in choosing a mate, the title had me at hello. The problem was that after hello, he lost me.

One of the many problems of this book is the author really never tells you how to know if someone is worth pursuing in two dates. His book reminds me of the old Steve Martin stand up routine:

Martin: Tonight, I am going to tell you how to make $1,000,000.00 and never pay taxes.
First, make a million dollars. Second, don't pay taxes.

Illuminating isn't it? Clark Warren seems to be saying in this book I am going to tell you how to meet your soul mate in two dates or less: First, meet your soul mate. Second, do it in two dates or less.

I actually agree with the author's main premise that many young people cheat themselves and their potential "soul mates" by staying in prolonged relationships which they knew very early would not lead to a successful marriage.

That premise would make an excellent magazine article. As a book there's not enough material. So the author advocates an unnecessary system that takes the majority of the book to explain.

He equates finding a soul mate to shopping and says that each single person should have a ten item list of must have qualities and a ten item list of must not have qualities they are looking for in a marriage partner. Further they should bring that shopping list on every date.

Even though the author admits that the number 10 is an arbitrary number he counsels strongly that you should not continue in a relationship unless the prospect has all 10 of the positive qualities and none of the negative. In later chapters he advises if the have none of the 10 negative qualities, it is sometimes okay to look for "a diamond in the rough." This is not the only confusing and contradicting advice he gives. While he says you can know in 2 dates if the person is worth pursuing he still suggests at least 2 years of dating to know for sure.

Dating in my opinion is a flawed system that can't be fixed by arbitrary rules. His rules seem superfluous to me. More than once the author tells stories of people who knew early on that the relationship they were in was a troubled one. If they "knew" this without benefit of a shopping list, why do they need one now? If dating relationships are to continue the way they are (something I hope to address in future posts) we should learn to not settle for less than God's best for us, but that does not mean by creating arbitrary rules to govern our actions.

Next Time: Take me out to the Ball Game.


  1. Hahahaha! I just had this wonderful image of trying to sneak a date through the ten items or less cashier!

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. i am laughing, great review dave! I am more than impressed that you pressed on, and finished this book! The ultimate, "do these 10 things" but "you don't have to do exactly what I did"... so very legalistic, yet NON commital, like the speaker/author doesn't quite believe HIMSELF... :) thanks for the heads up!

  3. Thank goodness I won't be loosing any sleep over my not having read this book. AS if, lol. I stopped thinking Eharmony was a good thing when I heard people were getting 'dear john' letters. As anika said I too am impressed that you actually finished this book.



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