When many authors reach out to me to get help writing their books, I’m not the first ghostwriter they’ve talked to. They went googling around and for some freelancers and a few ghostwriting agencies who promised a deal.

“Seventy-five percent off all ghostwriting services. Forty-eight hours only!”

“Join our author accelerator scribe in a box book program, and you’ll be done writing a bestseller this weekend!”

“Get three books ghostwritten, all three books published, and all three books launched for one low price of $9,999.”

Evidently, these pitches raise some red flags, which is why these aspiring authors reached out to me. If your book is going to be the credibility-establishing cornerstone of your entire brand for the next three decades, is it really a good idea to try to get a book written on the cheap? What happens if you do? And what does that have to do with this new book out by Rubin Report host Dave Rubin, Don’t Burn This Book?

A lot more than you’d expect.

Before I give my hot take on Dave’s new book, I should let you tell you that we know each other. I’ve been a fan of Dave’s interview show for over three years, and I was even a financial supporter when Dave was on Patreon. I love Dave. He’s basically Larry King for millennials.

Which is what makes this video so sobering. When I started reading Dave’s book Don’t Burn This Book, I noticed it has all the distinct signs of being written by a ghostwriter who had no idea what they were doing.

Dave Rubin is a nuanced thinker who is able to straddle both sides of an argument. He’s willing to alter his opinion according to the facts. He’s earned a lot of respect. His first book promises a complete mindset for navigating our hyper-partisan world with reason, universal values, and classical wisdom.  Yet you Dave’s book offers just about none of that.

As the first reviews for Don’t Burn This Book are coming in, I’m not the only one who suspects that Dave’s ghostwriter or editor is to blame for why the book does not paint a picture of authentic Dave. Between misspelling the names of Dave’s good friends, contradicting himself, keeping the discourse shallow, and showing no signs of Dave’s trademark standup comic humor, I was left wondering . . . who the hell wrote this? I doubt it was Dave. Everything in here, you could have gotten from Dave’s highlight reel on his YouTube channel. There’s nothing new, and it doesn’t represent Dave’s actual ideas well at all. In fact, the book does the opposite. As The American Spectator wrote, “Don’t Burn This Book is not a serious work. It is, in fact, extremely lazy, bearing all the hallmarks of a project that was knocked together over a few wet weekends.” Which it probably was by somebody who had never heard of Dave before working on his book.

And this is why thousands of aspiring authors are leery of hiring any ole ghostwriter. The near-universal negative response that Dave Rubin’s book is getting online might happen to them if they picked a writing partner who’s happy to cut corners, twist the facts, and move on to the next low-paying project.

Do we have absolute proof Dave Rubin hired a cheap ghostwriter on Fiverr or Upwork? No, though having been in the publishing business for nine years now and having ghostwritten nearly fifty books, I can say with confidence that whoever worked on Don’t Burn This Book edited out the real Dave . . . or just never included him there in the first place.

So let the panned response Dave’s book is getting and how poorly it’s reflecting on his show and his reputation remind us the high stakes of choosing the right publishing professional who can do your book idea justice and make your literary dreams come true over hiring someone who produces a book that burns bridges and makes your reputation self-immolate. As we all know, you get what you pay for.

So while I’m not going to burn Dave Rubin’s book, I’m not going to finish it either.