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Steve Jacobs

New York, NY | Listener Since 2009

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 ratings
  • 198 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • Them: Adventures with Extremists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (532)
    Story
    (529)

    Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and more.

    aaron says: "Dated but VERY Good... and FUNNY!"
    "Fantastic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Them: Adventures with Extremists the most enjoyable?

    Jon Ronson's narration. Typically I speed up my audible narrations, but this is more like a performance. Ronson gave a TED talk where you can sample his performance style (re: the Psychopath Test) if you're on the fence.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing and narration. I wish I could articulate this better, but the way Ronson interacts with his subjects is wonderful. His approach is gentle and inquisitive which opens his subjects up to be who they truly are--the result of which is we're able to connect* and identify with people we'd otherwise compartmentalize as crazy or, per the namesake of the book, 'them'.

    For instance there's a great scene where an Islamic radical, Omar, describes his daughter's name as translating to 'The Black Flag of Islam'. Ronson is taken slightly aback, prompting Omar to claim that their cultures will never understand each other. Five minutes later they're watching The Lion King on VHS while Omar bounces his daughter on his knee singing 'Hukuna Matata'.

    (*We're able to connect in small doses)


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There is a scene where a KKK member is speaking in public and attempting to promote white love instead of black hate--re-branding if you will. However 'attempting' is the operative word because after he's met with the sneers of protesters his vitriol bubbles up and spills out in a diatribe of bigotry which may not seem all that funny (after proof reading this review I'm suspicious how well I've sold it) but Ronson absolutely nails it. I've forced friends to listen to this scene alone.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Sure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Matt Ridley
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (233)
    Story
    (240)

    Life is getting better at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before.

    Darkcoffee says: "Delightful Case for Things Looking Up"
    "Absolutely fantastic"
    Overall

    Like another reviewer I've listened to it twice because I love it that much. It's clear, rational, and really thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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