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Alfred

Raleigh, NC, United States | Member Since 2000

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 743 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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  • The Numerati

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Stephen Baker
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Every day, we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, and shop with credit cards. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the 21st century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to profile us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists, even lovers. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior.

    Stephen says: "Good but not the best of the genre"
    "The Numerati want to model you"
    Overall

    "The Numerati" is an exploration of the ways math and data are influencing the world, and what that might mean for business and for our privacy.

    I thought one of the most interesting takeaways is that number-crunchers are working toward a world in which each real human can be modeled electronically, representing a multitude of characteristics. This model will be used to predict how the person will behave in various contexts -- economic, social, political, medical."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18489)
    Performance
    (16458)
    Story
    (16418)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "I really wanted to like this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    At last I thought there might be a Stephen King book I could enjoy. I avoid the supernatural fiction he's known for, but I thought a time-travel story would give me an opportunity to sample his writing in a content genre I could stomach. Unfortunately, this book was so filled with profanity I couldn't make it through the whole thing. Too bad -- it started out as an interesting story. Can't recommend it for anyone who likes a good story but doesn't want to have to listen to the obscene language some people think is normal.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • WWW: Watch

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Marc Vietor, Oliver Wyman, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1145)
    Performance
    (619)
    Story
    (620)

    Webmind is an emerging consciousness that has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But Webmind has also come to the attention of WATCH - the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States - and they're fully aware of Caitlin's involvement in its awakening.

    Jerker says: "Nice idea driven sf"
    "Tries too hard to make a point"
    Overall

    Great premise about an artificial intelligence that arises on the Internet. Unfortunately, the author tries way to hard to push personal agendas. The novel is very talky with a lot of tiresome soapboxing from an evolutionistic perspective.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2617)
    Performance
    (1546)
    Story
    (1521)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "Is God really on your side?"
    Overall

    An engaging and useful look at randomness. A good education on the history of the study of probability.

    One important takeaway is that as humans we can deceive ourselves -- we often think we are experiencing a pattern when in fact we are experiencing a random event that had to happen to somebody or was bound to happen to us sometime or other.

    As I sometimes say, When all the lights are green it's easy to think God is on your side.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    Overall
    (2028)
    Performance
    (895)
    Story
    (888)

    Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.

    Kenneth says: "Brilliant, Obnoxious, Narcissistic, Brilliant"
    "Think you know what the future holds?"
    Overall

    A pretty scary book by one of the most scarily erudite people I've every run across. A true eye-opener about the hazards of prediction in a world where so much is unpredictable.

    One key takeaway is the distinction between what Taleb calls "Mediocristan" and "Extremistan."

    The idea here is that some things in the world fall into the predictable, bell-curve-type occurrences that can be observed in the physical world -- Mediocristan.

    But when it comes to human behavior and society, Taleb maintains, we are living in Extremistan -- the unpredictable realm where black-swan random occurrences are the rule. Taleb reserves his greatest contempt for economists who pretend they can predict what's going to happen in the world.

    In his epilogue, Taleb discusses what he thinks we can individually do to cope with the increasingly unpredictable world we live in. One takeaway for me (I think) is that we can't predict the exact black swan that will occur, but we can take actions to minimize the harm these kinds of Extremistan events will do to us.

    To Taleb that advice speaks to investments. His advice is to place most of your savings in treasury bonds and then small bets in high-risk venture-capital-type investments

    For me, it speaks to the value of preparing now for possible disasters of all kinds. For example, it makes a lot of sense to have a "jump-kit" packed and ready to grab and go in case of natural disaster and evacuation. T-bills have their value, but in an emergency so does t-paper.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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