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Will

Member Since 2009

77
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 535 titles in library
  • 47 purchased in 2014
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8

  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman
    Overall
    (725)
    Performance
    (610)
    Story
    (611)

    In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

    PHIL says: "Some good ideas, smart guy, not smart as HE thinks"
    "Taleb's Recipe for a Free and Affluent Society"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had a lot of wonderful "Aha" moments listening to this audio book about Antifragile vs. Fragile systems. The author has identified a key underlying paradyne for failure or success, whether personal, in business or with government programs.

    Long ago, another book: Leadership and the new science by Margaret Wheatley convinced me that nature is self organizing and business can be set up to be self organizing. Nassim Nicholas Taleb echo's that idea and states, the natural order is overwhelmingly Antifragile, while our manmade order tends to be Fragile. The earth and mankind have evolved all by themselves without some great leader calling the shots, because nature is Antifragile. If we listen/obey leaders who tell us how to live our own lives (which we already know intuitively and logically), we are likely to become Fragile.

    Fragility is all about risks. An activity is Fragile, if the downside (negative) risks predominate over the upside risks or the downside risks are greater than the upsize risks. Fragile is the property of most manmade systems. How does that apply to us? Modernity has created structures that allows certain groups of people, like corporate bankers, politicians and academics to take excessive risks without any skin in the game and thereby pass the downside consequences onto others, making them Fragile. One way avoid this Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues, is to make ourselves Antifragile by insisting all decisions makers affecting our lives have skin in the game. However, bankers, politicians and academics usually have no skin in the game. In fact, often they gain at the expense of the people they serve. So the solution is, limit the size and power of banks, corporations and government to minimize the damage.

    Taleb also points out that top down decisions by leaders who don't understand complex system, such as our economy, and have no skin in the game pass laws/regulations that make small problems large; for example our Financial Crisis:

    1. The Federal Reserve made our financial system Fragile when it tried to prevent a small adjustment/recession by keeping interest rates too low and ended up causing a housing bubble plus the great recession.

    2. Taxpayers became Fragile when large banks took excessive downside risk because the government protected the banks against that risk at taxpayer expense.

    There is a bit of fluff in the book, but overall Taleb makes a great case limiting downsize risk and how we can achieve it. He deserves Nobel Prize.

    19 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing Our World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By George Gilder
    • Narrated By David Cochran Heath
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (30)

    America’s struggling economy needs a better philosophy than the college student’s lament,“I can’t be out of money, I still have checks in my checkbook!” We've tried a government spending spree, and we've learned it doesn't work. Now is the time to rededicate our country to the pursuit of free-market capitalism, before we’re buried under a mound of debt and unfunded entitlements. But how do we navigate between government spending that’s too big to sustain and financial institutions that are "too big to fail?"

    Nick says: "Poetry"
    "Human Creativety creates Economic Growth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Economists usually talk in terms of supply & demand, return on investment, productivity, efficiency and so on; a rather materialistic approach. Humans are usually treated like machines, i.e. human capital or human resources.

    In "Knowledge and Power", George Gilder takes a different tack to economic growth. According to Gilder, economic growth is a first order function of human Creativity. The Creator is the Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneur knows his field and has rapid access to the information he requires. Therefore, he has the Knowledge required to realize his idea. However, he also must have Power over his project so he'll be willing to take the risk and start a new business. If we give him the Power, he'll create jobs and grow the economy.

    What an enlightening and simple concept. Give the Entrepreneur the Power to control his life and his project and he'll be off taking all kinds of risk to realize his dream. That means Power needs to be distributed to where the Knowledge is. If Power is centralized, bad decisions are made due to insufficient Knowledge and lack of skin in the game.

    Geoge does not engage in a Zero Sum Game like Marxist economists. He does not endorse the Keynesian theory of Growth though stimulus, which is just another Zero Sum Game. He goes beyond Supply Side Economics. He puts human creativity front and center. When creativity lies dormant, there is stagnation.

    Knowledge and Power is well researched. Gilder reviews many other books on the subject.

    Growth = f(Entrepreneur + Knowledge + Information + Power)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy’s Only Hope

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Allison
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    Did Wall Street cause the mess we are in? Should Washington place stronger regulations on the financial industry? Can we lower unemployment rates by controlling the free market? Answer: no. Not only is free-market capitalism good for the economy, it is our only hope for recovery. As the nation’s longest-serving CEO of one of the top 25 financial institutions, John Allison has had a unique inside view of the events leading up to the financial crisis.

    Jack Benadon says: "Banking Info Excellent"
    "Best analysis of the Financial Crisis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot has been written about the Financial Crisis, but nothing comes closer to an analysis of all the factors and their relative contribution to the crisis. What is more, John Allison's book is easy to understand for anyone, with or without a background in finance, and offers the necessary solutions to prevent a recurrence.

    You will be surprised to learn that the top 3 culprits aren't the ones touted by the pols and the media, but if you really think it through, you'll agree.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Dinesh D’Souza
    • Narrated By David Cochran Heath
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (151)

    In his controversial New York Times best seller, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, Dinesh D’Souza answered the question on everyone’s mind: why is President Obama hell-bent on seeing America fail? The reason, D’Souza explained, is Obama’s fervent anticolonial ideology. Here, in his blockbuster follow-up, Obama’s America, D’Souza shows how President Obama is applying his anticolonial ideology to unmake America and turn it into a country our founders would hardly recognize.

    Cristin says: "Compelling"
    "Fundamental Change of America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why is American Exceptionalism foreign to Obama? More elaboration on what motivates Obama by D'Souza, author of Obama's Rage. Obama is living his fathers dream of fighting against Colonialism. His hidden agenda is to achieve equality for the ex colonies by reducing the power and influence of ex colonial powers like Great Brittan, France as well as the US empire. Obama's domestic and foreign policies are often puzzling, but well explained by D'Souza.

    17 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • The Roots of Obama’s Rage

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dinesh D’Souza
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (367)
    Performance
    (194)
    Story
    (194)

    D’Souza explains that the reason Obama appears to be working to destroy America from within is found, as Obama himself admits, in The Dreams of My Father: a deeply hostile anticolonialism. Instilled in him by his father, this worldview has led President Obama to resent America and everything we stand for. D’Souza masterfully shows how Obama is working to weaken and punish America here and abroad.

    F. Ribeiro says: "Insightful Listen, But for the Glenn Beck Section"
    "An Enlightening Look Behind Obama's Mask"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought Obama was a closet Marxist, but D'Souza explains it better. Obama is living his fathers dream. His father was an Anti Colonialist/Imperialist with Marxist leanings and his mission was to fight the British Empire. Anti Colonialism is not well understood in the US (it is weel understood in the rest of the world), so Obama can follow in his father's footsteps without arousing suspicion. His hidden agenda is to achieve equality for the ex colonies by reducing the power and influence of ex imperial powers like Great Brittan, France as well as the US empire. So Obama's domestic and foreign policies are often puzzling, but well explained by D'Souza.

    3 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jesse Ventura, Dick Russell
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (49)

    DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans uncovers the truth about how corporations have bought the American electoral and legislative process through the power of lobbyists, campaign contributions, and political action committees. Using historical details, such as the development of the two-party system and the advent of third-party candidates throughout U.S. history, DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans exposes how the two major parties have allowed corporations, businesses, and politically-motivated wealthy individuals to manipulate elections.

    Shaun says: "conspiracy fact"
    "Buy Yourself some Influence or Get Screwed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jesse says. the rich get richer, because they buy themselves the right members of the 2 Gangs, the Republicans and Democrat Party. He has got most of the facts right, but he really does not understand the root cause of all that corruption. We cannot fix the problem by getting rid of the 2 parties or changing to a multiparty system, a la Europe.

    While Jesse supports Ron Paul for his push to reign in the Military/Industrial Complex, abolish Foreign Aid and Corporate Welfare; he is opposed to reforming entitlements or reign in excessive Union influence.

    What Jesse misses is that starting with Woodrow Wilson, the Federal Government has assumed powers far beyond those enumerated in the Constitution and the only way to cut the corruption is to shrink the Federal Government back to the enumerated powers and return those powers to the States.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David C. Unger
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In The Emergency State, leading global affairs commentator David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of America's obsessive pursuit of absolute national security. In the decades since World War II, presidents from both parties have assumed broad war-making powers never intended by the Constitution and intervened abroad to preserve our credibility rather than our security, while trillions of tax dollars have been diverted from essential domestic needs to the Pentagon. Yet ironically, this pursuit has not just damaged our democracy and undermined our economic strength....

    Matthew says: "A new and insightful take"
    "Do we want to trade liberty for security?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Why didn't we reign in military spending after the end of the cold war? Why do we accept unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act (allows the goverment to spy on us) and latest unconstitutional Defense Appropriation Bill (Lets the military arrest and detain civilians indefinitely)? Because the Military/Industrial Complex keeps us in a state of fear.

    We'll written history of how the government keeps us under control and the money flowing into the pockets of defense contractors.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • No, They Can't: Why Government Fails - But Individuals Succeed

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Stossel
    • Narrated By John Stossel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (360)
    Performance
    (325)
    Story
    (322)

    The government is not a neutral arbiter of truth. It never has been. It never will be. Doubt everything. John Stossel does. A self-described skeptic, he has dismantled society's sacred cows with unerring common sense. Now he debunks the most sacred of them all: our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems. In No, They Can't, the New York Times best-selling author and Fox News commentator insists that we discard that idea of the "perfect" government - left or right - and retrain our brain to look only at the facts, to rethink our lives as independent individuals - and fast.

    Daniel Cogan says: "Great Book, Must Listen"
    "The case for a small government"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stossel's book successfully argues that our government (1) uses its power to force us to live according to the ideas of Washington Bureaucrats, (2) it takes on many jobs that the private sector does more efficiently and (3) does things, we can do ourselves. He backs his findings with great examples.

    The most outrageous example is the FDA not allowing terminally ill patients to try new medications, because of possible side effects.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ann Coulter
    • Narrated By Elizabeth White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (243)

    The demon is a mob, and the mob is demonic. The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrate mobs - it is the mob. Sweeping in its scope and relentless in its argument, Demonic explains the peculiarities of liberals as standard groupthink behavior. To understand mobs is to understand liberals.

    Willis McLaughlin says: "Read your own book"
    "Great Insight"
    Overall

    Ann compares the American Revolution with the French Revolution. Why did the French Revolution end in failure and why did the American Revolution succeed. The difference, being an agnostic Mob in France vs. our Founders, who subscribed to higher spiritual values. Now the Mob has taken over America. They want the Creators and Producers pay ever more taxes, so that they can vote themselves ever more money. If we don't stop it soon, this will end in a failure of the Republic.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Condoleezza Rice
    • Narrated By Condoleezza Rice
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl - and a young woman - trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world, and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.

    Balakrishna says: "March without a march"
    "Extraordinary"
    Overall

    This is story, I can relate to. This is a biography, I could not stop listening to. Engrossing!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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