And it doesn't matter if you're looking to buy a tech gadget, a stuffed animal, a book or jewelry. NEVER buy without checking the reviews first. It's as close as you can get to handling the thing in the store before putting it in your basket.
6. Learn to detect the fake five-star and one-star reviews.
It's okay to think "Good grief, what a moron," about everyone who falls into this category.
Many sellers get friends and other people to write glowing reviews of their products. These people have never read the book or used the item, and may have never actually seen the book or item. Many of them use prewritten text or stock phrases, provided by the seller. If you look at the reviewers' profiles, you will see that they have only written one review, for one product.
One great example of this type of review are the five-star reviews for "The Price of Silence," by William D. Cohan. Commenters have pounced on most of those reviews and exposed them as frauds.
Not surprisingly, some people get paid to write positive reviews. I guess that's one way to use your English degree to make money. These shills are more difficult to detect, but you will notice that their reviews are filled with useless, overly general verbiage.
Some sellers are also dogged by psychopaths who write negative reviews about anything they have to sell. Fortunately, they're not very subtle and you can spot them instantly.