Award-winning book critic Michiko Kakutani wrote a scathing review in the New York Times calling the book "sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull".
In a line that will cheer Clinton's harshest political critics, she wrote: "In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr Clinton's presidency: Lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectations, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration."
It devolves into a hodgepodge of jottings: part policy primer, part 12-step confessional, part stump speech and part presidential archive, all, it seems, hurriedly written and even more hurriedly edited.
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
John Harris of the Washington Post said Mr Clinton often complained during his presidency that his personal battles with his political foes overshadowed his policies and political accomplishments.
During his presidency, Mr Clinton thought it in his political best interest not to feed the insatiable interest in his private life.
"As author, he and his publisher have decided that their interests lie in revelations about adultery, marital crisis and coping with the adult consequences of childhood dysfunction," Mr Harris writes.
And the book suffers from it, he adds.
"Some Clinton aides who read advance copies of the book concluded that the half about his youth and pre-presidency was told with more flair and evocative detail than the half about his presidency, which was written this spring under the pressure of an approaching deadline," Mr Harris wrote, echoing common criticism in early reviews.