Donald at 2Blowhards reacts to "staff recommendations" in bookstores.
I'm inclined to consider a staff recommendation if the person seems to like the type of books that I enjoy. On the other hand, if the person gushes over a writer whom I consider to be less than admirable, then that serves as a reverse-recommendation. I knew one bookstore employee who purposely recommended books that would contrast with the usual politically correct choices.
It can also be fun to try a book on a whim. That's how I found "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman and that was a pleasant discovery indeed.