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Michael

Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States Member Since 2002

I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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7
  • "Loads of Information but problemati..."

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    This is an excellently supported book that goes into extraordinary detail of the US economy from the period leading up to the great depression to the present. This is not a quick or easy listen. The author may be an expert in economics but he is not an expert writer. The book is very long and filled with annoying mixed metaphors (that are sometimes so bad they are funny), cliches repeated ad nauseam, and jumps wildly between temporally distant causes and effects and from one subject to another. Thus I can’t say this was a pleasure of a listen. Nevertheless the author makes quite a few really excellent points. The author shows extreme political independence casting blame and praise regardless of party. The book is also quite a downer, filled with doom and gloom with almost no way out. This book is filled with facts and statistics that are key to understanding our economic past and future. I did not agree with everything the author proposes (the gold standard), but I was surprised by how much I found quite convincing. Clearly this tomb is not for everyone. This is more than a bit dry and detailed oriented, yet I found it a very rational alternative view of modern economics,

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    The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By David Stockman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    David Stockman was the architect of the Reagan Revolution that was meant to restore sound money principles to the U.S. government. It failed, derailed by politics, special interests, welfare, and warfare. Stockman describes how the working of free markets and democracy has long been under threat in America and provides a surprising, nonpartisan catalog of the corrupters and defenders. His analysis shows how both liberal and neoconservative interference in markets has proved damaging and often dangerous.

    Michael says: "Loads of Information but problematic writing"
  • "Flawed but Important"

    Overall

    This book should be read by anyone interested in the history of the CIA. I have rated this five stars, but this is not the perfect book, just a must read. The author clearly focuses only upon the failures of the CIA and glosses over any successes. Nevertheless, there is substantial value is focusing on failures (of course there is also value is focusing on successes, but that would be a different book). This book also does not seem to go out of its way to suggest tangible changes to improve the CIA.

    The material is somewhat dry, and there is some jumping around. The narration is quite good, which helps keep the book interesting. This is not the best book about the CIA, but it is an indispensable viewpoint for anyone who wants to understand the agency.

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    Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tim Weiner
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (1908)
    Performance
    (515)
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    (513)

    This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For the last 60 years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America's confidence.

    Michael says: "Flawed but Important"
  • "Shockingly Great"

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    This was a great book. I really found myself unable to put this down. I somewhat expected a dry, one sided, hatchet job. Instead this was detailed story starting with the early life of the clearly troubled founder of Scientology and continuing to the present day. I fully enjoyed the reading of every footnote. I did not really expect to, but I learned a lot. The writing and the narration were both quite compelling.

    I have not been a fan of Scientology since a friend of mine joined, and after a few years called me having just escaped penniless and only wearing his underwear out of a window after a many hour auditing session with several people pointing out body thetons on him that were visible to them but not visible to my friend. I agree many of the ideas of Scientology are no weirder than any other religion, and I always thought the basic idea of auditing sounded interesting and potentially useful, but there does seem to be a pattern of secrecy and intimidation not seen elsewhere. This book presents a pattern of paranoia, violence; control, and hypocrisy with an intensity that is truly shocking. I would recommend anyone thinking about Scientology to read this book first.

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    Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (999)
    Performance
    (892)
    Story
    (880)

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
  1. The Great Deformation: Th...
  2. Legacy of Ashes: The Hist...
  3. Going Clear: Scientology,...
  4. .

A Major New Account

Stranger Than Fiction

What's Trending in Nonfiction:

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    Darwin8u says: "Making the system deliver on its promise."
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    Michael says: "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
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    S Prabhu says: "Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format"
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    Gary says: "An ode to science by making you feel the science"
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    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
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    Marian Hanganu says: "Exceptional!"
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    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
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    • By Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald
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    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
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    Liz says: "encore!"
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    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 6 mins)
    • By Joaquin Sapien, Hanna Trudo, Joe Sexton
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    • Narrated By Dan Savage
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    Dan Savage eviscerates the right-wing conservatives as he commits each of the Seven Deadly Sins himself (or tries to) and finds those everyday Americans who take particular delight in their sinful pursuits. Combine a unique history of the Seven Deadly Sins, a new interpretation of the biblical stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and enough Bill Bennett, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Laura, and Bill O'Reilly bashing to more than make up for their incessant carping, and you've got the most provocative book of the fall.

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    • By George Saunders
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    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jo Becker
    • Narrated By Jamie Leonhart
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    A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring follows the historic legal challenge mounted against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a remarkable lawsuit that forced the issue of marriage equality before the highest court in the land. For nearly five years Becker embedded with the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, was given free rein within the legal and political war rooms where strategy was plotted, and attended every day of the trial and every appellate argument.

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    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Matthew Vines
    • Narrated By Matthew Vines
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality.

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    • By Nikil Saval
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    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
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    A profound expansion of David McCullough, Jr.’s popular commencement speech - a call to arms against a prevailing, narrow, conception of success viewed by millions on YouTube - You Are Not Special is a love letter to students and parents as well as a guide to a truly fulfilling, happy life. By acknowledging that the world is indifferent to them, McCullough takes pressure off of students to be extraordinary achievers and instead exhorts them to roll up their sleeves and do something useful with their advantages.

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  • Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By John Paul Stevens
    • Narrated By Daniel Hagen
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    By the time of his retirement in June 2010, John Paul Stevens had become the second-longest-serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Now he draws upon his more than three decades on the Court, during which he was involved with many of the defining decisions of the modern era, to offer a book like none other. Six Amendments is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.