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Joshua Kim

Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States Member Since 2005

mostly nonfiction listener

HELPFUL VOTES
566
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8
  • "Driving Towards Traffic"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "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.

    More

    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
    (352)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (145)

    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"
  • "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.


    More

    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
    Overall
    (436)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (349)

    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"
  • "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
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (251)

    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"
  1. Traffic: Why We Drive the...
  2. Why Nations Fail: The Ori...
  3. Aftershock: The Next Econ...
  4. .

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What's Trending in Nonfiction:

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UNABRIDGED) by Piper Kerman Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

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    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
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    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
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UNABRIDGED) by Bryce G. Hoffman Narrated by Pete Larkin

    American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bryce G. Hoffman
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    At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dys­functional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.

    Michael says: "The best business book I ever read"
  • Outliers: The Story of Success (






UNABRIDGED) by Malcolm Gladwell Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell

    Outliers: The Story of Success

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9788)
    Performance
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    (4317)

    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"
  • Language A to Z  by The Great Courses, John McWhorter Narrated by Professor John McWhorter

    Language A to Z

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John McWhorter
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
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    Linguistics, the study of language, has a reputation for being complex and inaccessible. But here's a secret: There's a lot that's quirky and intriguing about how human language works-and much of it is downright fun to learn about. But with so many potential avenues of exploration, it can often seem daunting to try to understand it. Where does one even start?

    Jacobus says: "A genious Miscelany of linguistic topics"
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  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (






UNABRIDGED) by Susan Cain Narrated by Kathe Mazur

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    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
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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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    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Glenn Greenwald
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    In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security....

    Dean says: "Excellent! Engaging, thoughtful, and illuminating"
  • Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain (






UNABRIDGED) by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner Narrated by Stephen J. Dubner

    Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
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    The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. The topics range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain.

    Nancy says: "Only if you don't listen to the podcast....."
  • You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself (






UNABRIDGED) by David McRaney Narrated by Don Hagen

    You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By David McRaney
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (329)
    Story
    (328)

    You Are Now Less Dumb is grounded in the idea that we all believe ourselves to be objective observers of reality - except we’re not. But that's okay, because our delusions keep us sane. Expanding on this premise, McRaney provides eye-opening analyses of 15 more ways we fool ourselves every day. This smart and highly entertaining audiobook will be wowing listeners for years to come.

    A. Yoshida says: "Not a lot of guidance"
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  • The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing, or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off (






UNABRIDGED) by John Perry Narrated by Brian Holsopple

    The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing, or, Getting Things Done by Putting Them Off

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By John Perry
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    John Perry’s insights and laugh-out-loud humor bring to mind Thurber, Wodehouse, and Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit. This charming and accessible audio educates, entertains, and illuminates a universal subject. Procrastinators will be relieved to learn that you can actually accomplish quite a lot while procrastinating. In fact, the book itself is the result of Perry avoiding grading papers, refereeing academic proposals, and reviewing dissertation drafts. It also has a practical side, offering up advice that listeners can put to use.

    G-Man says: "Doing everything except what you should"
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UNABRIDGED) by Malcolm Gladwell Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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    • By Malcolm Gladwell
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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.

    Marian Hanganu says: "Exceptional!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Jean Shinoda Bolen Narrated by Jean Shinoda Bolen

    Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jean Shinoda Bolen
    • Narrated By Jean Shinoda Bolen
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    In Jean Shinoda Bolen’s bestselling, game-changing Goddesses in Everywoman, myths came to life in a whole new way that resonated with our own lives. Even fictional character Bridget Jones was reading that book. Now comes Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman, a groundbreaking new audiobook that explores the archetype of the activist. Indomitable means untamed, unsubdued. It is the one-in-herself quality in girls and women who will not be victims, no matter what.

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UNABRIDGED) by Dane Ladwig Narrated by Alex Hyde-White, Punch Audio

    Dr. H.H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Dane Ladwig
    • Narrated By Alex Hyde-White, Punch Audio
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    Serial killer doctor Henry Howard "H.H." Holmes was the most viable suspect for the 1888 Whitechapel London murders attributed to the enigma we have come to know as "Jack the Ripper". The research in this nonfiction true crime investigative journal of documents and case file historic accounts reveals startling information that leads the listener to perhaps the most hidden secrets behind the crimes.

  • The Saddest Girl in the World (






UNABRIDGED) by Cathy Glass Narrated by Denica Fairman

    The Saddest Girl in the World

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Cathy Glass
    • Narrated By Denica Fairman
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    The Sunday Times and New York Times best-selling author of Damaged tells the true story of Donna, who came into foster care aged 10, having been abused, victimised, and rejected by her family. Donna has been in foster care with her two young brothers for three weeks when she is abruptly moved to Cathy's. When Donna arrives she is silent, withdrawn, and walks with her shoulders hunched forward and her head down.

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UNABRIDGED) by Ndongo Sylla Narrated by Don Bratschie

    The Fair Trade Scandal: Marketing Poverty to Benefit the Rich

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ndongo Sylla
    • Narrated By Don Bratschie
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    This critical account of the fair trade movement explores the vast gap between the rhetoric of fair trade and its practical results for poor countries, particularly those of Africa. In the Global North, fair trade often is described as a revolutionary tool for transforming the lives of millions across the globe. The growth in sales for fair trade products has been dramatic in recent years, but most of the benefit has accrued to the already wealthy merchandisers at the top of the value chain rather than to the poor producers at the bottom.

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  • Men Explain Things to Me (






UNABRIDGED) by Rebecca Solnit Narrated by Luci Christian Bell

    Men Explain Things to Me

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Rebecca Solnit
    • Narrated By Luci Christian Bell
    Overall
    (0)
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    In Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit takes on the conversations between men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't. The ultimate problem, she shows in her comic, scathing essay, is female self-doubt and the silencing of women. Rebecca Solnit is the author of fourteen books about civil society, popular power, uprisings, art, environment, place, pleasure, politics, hope, and memory, most recently The Faraway Nearby, a book on empathy and storytelling.

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UNABRIDGED) by Theodore Rosengarten Narrated by Sean Crisden

    All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Theodore Rosengarten
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    Overall
    (0)
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    Nate Shaw's father was born into slavery. Nate was born into a bondage that was only a little gentler. At the age of nine, he was picking cotton and plowing behind a mule. This triumphant autobiography, All God's Dangers, assembled from the eighty-four-year-old Shaw's oral reminiscences, is the plainspoken story of an "over average" man who witnessed momentous changes in the lives of Southern people, black and white, and whose unassuming courage helped bring those changes about.

  • A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster (






UNABRIDGED) by Rebecca Solnit Narrated by Emily Beresford

    A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rebecca Solnit
    • Narrated By Emily Beresford
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    A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster's grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of what society could become - one that is less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.

  • True Courage: A Trilogy of True-Life Survival of POWs from Vietnam, World War II, and Cambodia (






UNABRIDGED) by Made for Success, Gerald Coffee, Kelly Estes, Būn Yom Narrated by Gerald Coffee, Dan McGowan, Bill Chandler

    True Courage: A Trilogy of True-Life Survival of POWs from Vietnam, World War II, and Cambodia

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Made for Success, Gerald Coffee, Kelly Estes, and others
    • Narrated By Gerald Coffee, Dan McGowan, Bill Chandler
    Overall
    (0)
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    Full of action-packed experiences from world conflicts, this collection of war stories - some true, some not - tells tales of POWs surviving in Vietnam, World War II, and Cambodia. These stories of grit and strength put you in the middle of the action and will leave you with a respect for true war heroes. Beyond Survival is a journey into the invincible human spirit that unites heart and mind in a compelling and unforgettable experience.

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  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking (






UNABRIDGED) by Rebecca Solnit Narrated by Liisa Ivary

    Wanderlust: A History of Walking

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Rebecca Solnit
    • Narrated By Liisa Ivary
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    Drawing together many histories - of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores - Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers.