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jim@mindofmen.com

ratings
3
REVIEWS
3
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HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brandon Webb, John David Mann
    • Narrated By Jon Bailey
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (487)

    Brandon Webb's experiences in the world's most elite sniper corps are the stuff of legend. From his grueling years of training in Naval Special Operations to his combat tours in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, The Red Circle provides a rare and riveting look at the inner workings of the U.S. military through the eyes of a covert operations specialist. Yet it is Webb's distinguished second career as a lead instructor for the shadowy "sniper cell" that makes his story so compelling.

    Robert says: "Decent story, narration left a lot to be desired."
    "Details, Details, and More Details"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    First of all, the author comes across as extremely likeable. The addition of chapter intros in the author's own voice only adds to the experience. Brandon seems like a great guy to have a beer with. What I really loved is that despite the amazing things that Brandon has done in his life, you never get the feeling that this is one of those "Why I'm so great" books. Sure, Brandon tells of his accomplishments and exploits, but it is in kind of an "aw shucks, 'taint nothing sort of way. I also like the detail that Brandon put into the accounts of BUD/S and his other experiences. He never gives away any specific details on operational methods that could compromise security, but he does go into a lot of detail in areas that are not strategically significant, but very interesting to the reader.


    What other book might you compare The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen to and why?

    I also read "Inside Seal Team Six" by Don Mann. That book was sketchy on details, and really was a "Why I'm So Great" book. Plus, Mann left in all of the redactions made to his book to show us how he knows much more than he can tell us. In the audiobook, these redactions result in a beep. A good author would simply rewrite the book around redactions which Brandon clearly did.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is an inspirational book first and foremost to anyone and secondly to anyone who is interested in the shooting sports. Brandon gives a lot of useful details that lets anyone who wants to follow up to learn more about the topic on their own. Besides being a great story, it is a fantastic starting point for people looking for an inspiration to improve some area of their lives.


    Any additional comments?

    If you only have time to read one book this year, this is the one. You will take a lot of good information and inspiration away with you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America's Elite Warriors

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Don Mann, Ralph Pezzullo
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (68)

    When Osama bin Laden was assassinated, the entire world was fascinated by the men who had completed the seemingly impossible mission that had dogged the US government for over a decade. SEAL Team 6 became synonymous with heroism, duty, and justice. Only a handful of the elite men who make up the SEALs, the US Navy's best and bravest, survive the legendary and grueling selection process that leads to Team 6, a group so classified it technically does not even exist. There are no better warriors on Earth.

    Carlos says: "I hated the darn Bleeping!"
    "Bleeps were annoying - couldn't listen to it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This could be a good story. I'll never know. At the start of the book, the narrator says that whenever classified information had to be redacted, the listener would hear a beep. So here's my first problem - if you have to have info redacted, just re-write the parts with the redaction. This is not a formerly classified memo that was released under an FOIA request that needs to be presented in its original format with just the sensitive parts blacked out - it is a story and can be presented however the author chooses. If the DOD has a problem with details on one part, then simply edit it, don't leave it in and sound some stupid tone over it. The noise totally interrupts the flow of the story. Listening to this book made me feel like I was watching a Jerry Springer show.

    There must have been at least a dozen parts that were bleeped out in the first 15 minutes which is as far as I got. Furthermore, some of the parts redacted are just silly. One example was when the author was being shown the equipment of a young Seal. They bleeped several parts out. Anyone with an Internet account and access to Jane's military site or for that matter Wikipedia can obtain a reasonably close idea of what the Seals are packing today, so redacting this information is just stupid. And, if you are required to redact it, just modify the list of items in his kit so that the classified ones are not mentioned at all.

    The whole reason that I listen to audiobooks is to be immersed in the story. The incessant bleeping took me out of that immersion far too often to be tolerable. Maybe as the author gets further into his tale, the beeping will be less, but I'm not willing to listen that far. As one other reviewer mentioned, "Inside Delta Force" was probably also full of redaction, but the author had the good sense to write his story around them so the reader never knows. Don Mann should have done the same here.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Areas of My Expertise

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By John Hodgman
    • Narrated By John Hodgman
    Overall
    (1097)
    Performance
    (344)
    Story
    (343)

    In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true.

    Margot says: "Wow!"
    "I really wanted to like this book but..."
    Overall

    First of all, I like John Hodgman. He is the perfect character for the Apple ads, so I was enthusiastic about this book after hearing Leo Laporte sing its praises on one of his recent podcasts.

    After listening to about half of the book, I just had to turn it off. While it starts out with some funny spots, it just goes downhill from there. Most of the content sounds like something that I might have come up with after a night of heavy drinking with some friends. It's almost stream of consciousness material and most of it is simply not that funny.

    I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but this book just left me cold. A shame that I wasted a credit on it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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