For a baseball lover, especially a Stat Man, and particulaly for an Oakland A's fan, this book is a dream come true, a five-star holy book.
For the rest of us, it's OK. I gave it four stars because it is well-written and humorous at times. Sometimes I find myself hoping the A's win the game he's talking about, and I don't even like baseball much. Heck, I'm from Houston and didn't hardly watch any of the World Series this year.
I got this book hoping to hear about the money side of the sport, the odds and some analysis of what makes some teams win and some lose. And I got that between innings.
In some ways it's a social study, in other ways it's a sport's guy's book, in other ways it's a story about people, odds and money. And a good one at that.
I'd have given it five stars if I was a baseball fan. Since I'm not, I was hoping for less baseball talk and more sociology.
It might have made more sense if I could have listened straight through or read the book to keep all of the people straight in my head, but overall it was quite good, and gave a good insider's view into part of the story. I thought it might detail more of Goldman's dubious short sales that they are being questioned about now, but it doesn't go into much detail about that.
What it does cover, and very well at that, is the shorting of the market that some people did, and how they did it, what companies were willing to do it and how there was pretty much zero oversight to prevent this sort of thing from happening.
The interview at the end of the book with the author is really good, and he covers the most important aspect of the Big Short there: which is that the 'heros' of the book did a pretty wild thing, and made a lot of money, which is to be 'wowed' to some extent, but in the end that money comes straight from the public's purse to cover the losses of these companies that are supposedly too big to fail.
Basically, it makes you wonder- if these guys weren't all out there banking on the real estate crash, or there were regulations in to prevent the type of trades the big firms made with AIG's money, how bad would the crash have been? And I wish he'd had covered that to some extent rather than making it sound so great that these guys made out like kings by taking the taxpayer's money.
We just had a newborn son while I was listening to this book, and even without a lot of sleep, I finished it quickly. It is written and read very well.
I feel quite well read and am a very involved new father, but the material in this book isn't found in many other places, and I'm glad I came across it, for it taught me a lot about the way things are these days- things have changed since you and I went to school, grew up, dated, and all of that- and this book helps to prepare us for the world our kids are coming into.
If you have a son (or daughter), particularly a son though under age 5, but any child , I highly recommend this book. It makes many good points and offers suggestions on how to improve the life of your son- or daughter for that matter, because your daughter is probably going to come into contact with a few.
Evolution and Darwin have always made sense to me, but this book goes into exquisite detail (and some way too much to listen to for about half and hour) about things I had no idea about.
Although I had hoped this book would follow the lines of the God Delusion, whereby he would bring up the arguments for Creationism, which he would then shoot down (and he does from time to time), it is mainly a book about evolution, period.
He goes into detail about all of the types of dating techniques, and tells you how it's done. I knew you could chart time by counting tree rings, but I didn't know that they have been dated back over 10,000 years. So the Earth IS over 6,000 years old!? How about that. And he does get riled up that 40+% of the US population still believes God created US in his image, as we are now, without evolution, less than 10,000 years ago.
Good stuff- get it.
You see all the 5-star ratings because it's a great book. Just get it, and you will be happy. So many angles on so many things, I probably need to read it again. Some parts may be a little lengthy about some of the races for some people, but even as a non-runner, I found these parts rather enjoyable. The depth that the book goes into about evolution, shoes, feet, and endurance are what grabbed me. It made me think about what shoes I wear, and almost made me want to run (although I still don't). And it introduced me to a 'new' sport that makes me wonder- Ultras? And then I found out that a friend of mine runs these 100 mile + races, and I felt I could relate in some way to what he does because I read this book.
Great reader, and superb story. If only it were fiction. I had vague recollections of the supreme court ruling this book covers, and I remember being really upset about it. It reminded me of what the Chinese government was doing - taking peoples' homes and putting big malls up in their place. And that's what the US Supreme Court approved of! This story is much more intense, and more disturbing than that. But it is also an education well worth attaining. Highly recommended.
I'd probably get the 'book' rather than the audio version. Jimmy is starting to slur his words too much and it makes listening a little less enticing. The content is pretty good, and the maps are available on Audible it says [although I haven't seen them, nor looked yet], but like Peace or Apartheid it probably makes more sense to get the 'book' with the appendixes to refer to, especially since they are both quick reads.
I read In Defense of Food in about a day, but this is really hard to get through. There is so much detail- about everything. I'm not a hard-core farmer, just a gardener looking for some gems of information for my little yard. She goes into such detail about every little thing that it makes me wonder if it would go quicker as a 'read' rather than a listen, or if I should have looked for an abridged version first.
I heard the author on an interview with Amy Goodman and thought his book sounded good. The first half went pretty quickly, but then I found myself taking at least another week or two to finish it. There was something missing in this book, but I can't quite place it. It was good enough to recommend, but not good enough to read twice.
I'm not a Meditation Guru, but I do like to learn about and practice meditation once in a while. And I take deep breaths from time to time to de-stress. If you're kind of like me in that last regard at least, I think you'll enjoy this book. It's very down-to-Earth, and offers nothing more than what the title claims: Wherever you go, there you are. It's a simple truth, and like meditation, he does not make this out to be more than it is. His explanations of meditation are very good and will not lose you in the stars.
I've listened to parts of it several times, when I want to take my mind off of things and veg out - or fall asleep.
It's also nice to listen to once in a while to remind myself that this is really it, and we need to take advantage of our days- and sometimes the best way to do that is to sit back, acknowledge we're here and what we're doing, and just breathe.
I'm not sure where those negative reviews came from. The book was well written, informative and entertaining. It's really a history of 4 things from our daily lives: apples, tulips, potatoes, and Mary Jane.
But it's more than just a history of these four; like his other book(s), Botany of Desire makes you question things- in this case the theory that the food chain might actually 'desire' to be what they have evolved into. Although he argues this point seriously enough, and it did make me think about it, I find it difficult to equate evolution to 'desire.'
Anyhoo, I bought this book because I really like Omnivore's Dilemma. It wasn't quite as good in my opinion, but still very good. And the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I read OD before and had another of his works to compare this one to.
In short, if you like apples, tulips, potatoes or wacky tobaccy, you'll like this book.
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