Does knowing that a book was "ghostwritten" decrease your enjoyment of it?

I recently read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, with Larry Sloman. Honestly, I didn’t even notice the “with Larry Sloman” part until I was halfway through the book, because it was in very small type. But it didn’t make the book any less enjoyable to read. Why? Because, first of all, the book read pretty much like an interview without questions - i.e. extremely detailed and personal, flowing very naturally, and I’d guess that Kiedis and Sloman spent a lot of time just talking and that the book is more or less a dictation. And not, say, a “I’ll give you some notes about my past and some newspaper clippings and shit, and you write the book.” Secondly, Anthony Kiedis does not seem like the kind of guy who would be able to sit down for hours and write something, but he does seem like the kind of guy who could talk for hours - I mean, not everyone has the patience and concentration to write a 464-page book, so I don’t fault him for getting someone’s help in putting the thoughts onto the page.

So does knowing that a memoir was “ghostwritten” decrease your enjoyment of the book? I’m assuming there are varying degrees of ghostwriting, ranging from virtual fabrication to simply writing down what someone else is saying and organizing it better. What are your thoughts on this?

Doesn’t bother me as long as it contains the facts. If I were famous, I’d need someone to ghostwrite for me. I’m pretty bad at wandering when I write.

I’ve ghostwritten a book, though I at least got “and” credit rather than “with” credit. (The difference? A larger percentage of the take.) Believe me, you never in a million years would have want to read anything written by the name that went first on the title. Never.

Ghostwritten nonfiction books as a general rule are always better. Ghostwritten fiction books, however, as a general rule are always worse.

If I had believed the person was an author, my opinion of him would be diminished. My opinion of the book would be pretty much determined by its contents.

If the person was famous for some other thing than writing, my opinion might be diminished, assuming I had not already decided he was an egotistical poser. Given that I already thought that, naah, take your fifteen minutes, and your million.


Most celebrity “autobiographies” are going to be ghost-written. Musicians and athletes are often not the most articulate wordsmiths. I have to say that Mick Foley got my respect for firing his ghostwriter and writing his own book, which was supposedly surprisingly good.

I don’t think so. If I were enjoying it to begin with, who wrote it probably wouldn’t matter to me. Not quite true. If I were enjoying it I would want to know who wrote it so that I could get more by that author.

All of his books are pretty good, even the fiction. I guess that’s my feeling on it, I’m not dissuaded if there’s a ghostwriter, but I’ll be more impressed if there isn’t one involved.

Not if it’s well done. I sort of figure that any book by a celebrity is ghostwritten. Fiction that’s ghostwritten will get on my nerves if it’s a big departure from the author’s usual style. But hey, if it’s good enough for Dumas, why not? The Count of Monte Cristo is largely ghostwritten; Dumas just outlined each chapter and approved final products.

Ghostwritten as in someone else assists - I don’t mind, especially in autobiographies. Ghostwritten, as in using a Ouija board to contact the “ghosts”? Yes, it did. There was a book that I truly enjoyed, but discovering that it was “channeled” diminished my enjoyment of it significantly. Oddly enough, the rest of the author’s writing is quite different, and, in IMHO, much poorer quality than the “channeled” stuff.