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Joshua Kim

Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States Member Since 2005

mostly nonfiction listener

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49
  • "Driving Towards Traffic"

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    "Traffic" freaked me out. I knew that 40,000 people died each year on our roads. And I knew that a car accident was the most likely way that trauma would encroach into my world. Vanderbilt gives me lots more things to worry about (like Dr's have the 2nd highest accident rate, pick-up trucks are dangerous to everyone else, new cars have higher accident rates then older cars, and intersections are bad news for bikers, runners, and drivers.

    This is a book I'd like my girls to read as a prerequisite to getting their license (and I'll install the driver cam that Vanderbilt writes about being effective in teaching young drivers defensive skills).

    Read the book. Slow down on the roads.

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    Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Tom Vanderbilt
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This audiobook will make you think about it in a whole new light.

    Joshua Kim says: "Driving Towards Traffic"
  • "5 Concise Reasons to Read"

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    I love short books. Can you recommend any good, but concise, nonfiction? Great reads under 200 pages?

    Here are my 5 concise reasons to read Robert Reich's latest book "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future"

    Reason #1 - Conciseness: Most books are too long. Aftershock is a blessed 192 pages; 4 hours and 29 minutes short in audiobook format.

    Reason #2 - Originality: Reich's big argument is that out economy is fundamentally unbalanced. That the growth of inequality that has concentrated economic gains among the top 5 percent of the populations has resulted in an inability of most Americans to adequately consume. We cannot afford to buy what we produce (a problem near and dear to the heart of any parent who works in higher education).

    Reason #3 - The Higher Education Plan: Reich actually has a plan for higher education. He would make tuition free (to public institutions), and recoup the costs with a levy on future earnings for anyone who participated. His proposal is more complex than this description, and wildly unlikely to ever be enacted anywhere, but still fun to debate.

    Reason #4 - History: Reich was one of the first academic popularizers that I discovered. Back in 1992, he wrote The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism, in which he argued that economic gains and options would accrue to the "symbolic analysts" - those who manipulate and create information. Reich was ahead of the game in 1992, and if we had listened more carefully to his warnings we might be in better shape today.

    Reason #5 - Narration: Reich narrates his own book - and does it beautifully. Usually reading what you have written does not work out so well. Narration is a skill best left to professional readers. But in this case, Reich is the right person to read his own words

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    Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert Reich
    • Narrated By Robert Reich
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    The author of 12 acclaimed books, Robert B. Reich is a Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and has served in three national administrations. While many blamed Wall Street for the financial meltdown, Aftershock points a finger at a national economy in which wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top - and where a grasping middle class simply does not have the resources to remain viable.

    Chris says: "Very plausible assessment of our economy"
  • "Pros and Cons of "Why Nations F..."

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    I read Why Nations Fail this month while traveling in South Korea. The book was much on my mind as I looked across the DMZ at North Korea on the 38th parallel. South Korea, a country of about 50 million people, enjoys a per capital PPP (purchasing power parity) GDP of around $32,000. (The U.S. is $48,000 by comparison - wealthier but also with a less equally distributed income). In North Korea, the GDP per capita (PPP) is $2,400 - an incredibly low numbers that still probably understates how desperately poor (and hungry) are the people of North Korea.

    Why should North Korea be so poor, and South Korea so rich?

    The two countries share common cultural roots, geography, and access to natural resources. This is the question Acemoglu and Robinson attempt to answer in Why Nations Fail. They look at examples such as North Korea, as well as other natural experiments of societies that share similar exogenous traits (resources, climate, etc.) - such as the twin Nogales's in Mexico and Arizona.

    Acemoglu and Robinson's explanation as to why some nations are poor and others rich has everything to do with the elites. Poor nations are poor because the people who run these countries have made their subjects destitute in service of enriching themselves.

    North Korea can best be understood as being run by a criminal family. Mexico is so much poorer than the U.S. because of its history of being run by elites whose main goal was to extract wealth, and who did not need to redistribute economic production as for most of its history the country lacked pluralistic institutions that could check the power of the rulers.

    This argument, that some countries are poor because the powerful keep them poor, stands in direct opposition to the arguments that Jared Diamond makes in Guns, Germs and Steel. Diamond believes that the wealth distribution was largely pre-determined by immunity to disease (or lack thereof), access to domesticable livestock, and the raw materials and technologies to make advanced weapons.

    I am a huge fan of Diamond's writing, but Why Nations Fail has me thoroughly convinced that more deterministic view of development (as put forward by Diamond and others) is problematic. Why Nations Fail should definitely be on the syllabus in any economic history or development course, and on the bookshelf (physical or virtual) of anyone interested in global inequality, poverty, and why some nations are so much richer than others.

    Should you invest the time to read Why Nations Fail? The book is 544 pages, or almost 18 hours by audiobook (my reading choice). Acemoglu and Robinson would have benefited from a strong-willed editor, one who was willing to push them to provide less historical detail (the book has a ton from around the world across numerous societies), and more analysis of the implications of their arguments for countries like China and India.

    I came away from Why Nations Fail thinking that if the argument is correct then China's long-term economic prospects might not be as good as we assume, and India's may be better. But having spent time time in South Korea, which developed so rapidly at least partly under a repressive military regime, it is hard to square this conclusion with the recent facts of some of our fastest developing countries.

    Perhaps Acemoglu and Robinson next book will take outliers and implications, building on top of the theoretical foundations for development and inequality laid out in Why Nations Fail.


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    Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

    Ryan says: "Important themes, with blind spots"
  1. Traffic: Why We Drive the...
  2. Aftershock: The Next Econ...
  3. Why Nations Fail: The Ori...
  4. .

A Major New Account

Stranger Than Fiction

What's Trending in Nonfiction:

  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Michael Lewis returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street....

    Darwin8u says: "Making the system deliver on its promise."
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.

  • Outliers: The Story of Success

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

    S Prabhu says: "Excellent book; well adapted for the audio format"
  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Katty Kay, Claire Shipman
    • Narrated By Sandy Rustin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Working women today are better educated and more well-qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence.

    Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition - with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business - Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in".

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  • Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Hagee
    • Narrated By Dean Gallagher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    Over the last 500 years, blood-red moons have fallen on the first day of Passover three separate times. These occurrences were connected to some of the most significant days in Jewish history: 1492 (the final year of the Spanish Inquisition when Jews were expelled from Spain), 1948 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence) and 1967 (the Six-Day War). Every heavenly body is controlled by the unseen hand of God, which signals coming events to humanity. There are no solar or lunar accidents.

    ella says: "I believe"
  • The 48 Laws of Power

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Robert Greene
    • Narrated By Don Leslie
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    Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. This bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun-tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other great thinkers.

    Richard Leon says: "Not a how to guide .."
  • Hero: The Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Rhonda Byrne
    • Narrated By Rhonda Byrne
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    From Rhonda Byrne, creator of the international bestselling movie and book, The Secret, comes HERO, her latest world-changing project and the most important to date. What is your true calling and why aren't you already living it? Imagine if there was a map that showed you step by step how to get from where you are now to your true calling and the life you were born to live - the most brilliant, rich, fulfilling, and dazzling life you could ever dream of. You are holding in your hands such a map. HERO is the map for your life.

    Shivakumar says: "An Amazing Book from Rhonda Byrne,A Must to Read"
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In The Tipping Point, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in society happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.

    David says: "Makes sense to me."
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  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    In his landmark best seller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, in the blink of an eye, that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept?

    Liz says: "encore!"
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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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++++++++!!!!!"
  • The Workings of Energy in the Human Energy Field: A Psychic's Perspective

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 7 mins)
    • By Zorica Gojkovic
    • Narrated By Melanie Avalon
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    The Workings of Energy in the Human Energy Field: A Psychic's Perspective is a short explanation of how energy works in the human energy field, the human aura, as seen by a psychic. Before there is matter, there is energy. The energy in the human energy field is the cause of the reality the person experiences. When a person knows how this energy works, he has an explanation of why his life is the way it is, and he has the key to how to make it different, if he so chooses.

  • Sex and the Founding Fathers: Sexuality Studies

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Thomas A. Foster
    • Narrated By Todd Curless
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    Biographers, journalists, and satirists have long used the subject of sex to define the masculine character and political authority of America's Founding Fathers. Tracing these commentaries on the Revolutionary Era's major political figures in Sex and the Founding Fathers, Thomas Foster shows how continual attempts to reveal the true character of these men instead exposes much more about Americans and American culture than about the Founders themselves.

  • Jerusalem

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Simon Sebag Montefiore
    • Narrated By John Lee
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    Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day, and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism, and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East?

  • Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Brigid Schulte
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
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    According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is “that place in which we realize our humanity.” If that’s true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”?

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  • Religion in Public: Locke's Political Theology: Cultural Memory in the Present

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Pritchard
    • Narrated By Tim Lundeen
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    John Locke's theory of toleration is generally seen as advocating the privatization of religion. This interpretation has become conventional wisdom: secularization is widely understood as entailing the privatization of religion, and the separation of religion from power. This audiobook turns that conventional wisdom on its head and argues that Locke secularizes religion, that is, makes it worldly, public, and political. In the name of diverse citizenship, Locke reconstructs religion as persuasion, speech, and fashion.

  • The Illuminati's Greatest Hits: Deception, Conspiracies, Murders, and Assassinations by the World's Most Powerful Secret Society

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Frank White
    • Narrated By Mysti Jording
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    Born through Adam Weishaupt, in 1776, the secret society group known as the Illuminati have been wreaking havoc on the world ever since. They have fomented wars and have manipulated events from behind the shadows to diabolically implement their agenda of a new world order. People have heard of the Illuminati through popular culture, but most brush off their existence as nothing more than some "conspiracy theory" hatched by conspiracy theorists without doing any valid research that would perhaps discount their existence.

  • A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
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    Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men was written in response to a competition run by the Academy of Dijon answering the prompt: What is the origin of inequality among men, and whether such inequality is authorized by natural law? Rousseau puts forth the concept of two types of inequity: natural/physical and moral/political. He focuses on moral inequality and its link to power and wealth. He also covers the areas of self-love, compassion for others, and free-agency.

  • Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Diane Goldstein, Sylvia Grider, Jeannie Banks Thomas
    • Narrated By Cynthia Wallace
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    Ghosts and other supernatural phenomena are widely represented throughout modern culture. They can be found in any number of entertainment, commercial, and other contexts, but popular media or commodified representations of ghosts can be quite different from the beliefs people hold about them, based on tradition or direct experience. Personal belief and cultural tradition on the one hand, and popular and commercial representation on the other, nevertheless continually feed each other.