Chamblee, GA, United States | Member Since 2009
I really did not care much for this book. Let me preface that by saying that Ms. Hunt does make a lot of good points and she covers a lot of ground. Here are my reservations: (1) there really is not much new here. Most of the content is covered in other books (David Meerman Scott, Seth Godin, for example); (2) the book really could have used a good editing: It could easily be 30% shorter. I found it very repetitive; (3) I really found the book preachy; Ms. Hunt espouses many extreme left coast views and, to me anyway, goes over the line about getting in your face about it (the word count for "community" is off the charts). The following is a minor point, but the narrator (who has a pleasant enough voice), has an annoying habit of very loudly inhaling to get a breath. After 30 minutes, it becomes really noticeable.
This course is very interesting, although it could be better. The first two parts of the book are excellent with a wealth of historical information about the historical development of the English language going, well, back to the beginning. Really fascinating, and I felt like I learned a lot.
When the book gets to the later stages, however, it slips a bit. The professor lapses into more than a little political correctness, which is probably not surprising given his background. If you can take it or leave it, the discussion is still interesting.
The professor is not a bad lecturer, but he has one incredibly irritating habit: He says "if you like" all the time. It becomes glaringly obvious, especially given the length of the recording. Maybe the professor can fix this in the third edition.
Another irritation--although certainly not the professor's fault--is the trumpet music announcing each new chapter along with the fake applause (which also closes each chapter). Straight out of 1950s sound effects. Just plain awful and prevalent in the "Great Courses." But, fortunately, a small part of the recording.
This is an absolutely fascinating book that covers Mossad missions from the formation of Israel to the present. The book is well written and the story moves quickly. The narration is excellent. It is very hard to put down.
The book is generally positive about the agency, but not fawning. Flawed missions are discussed candidly.
One comes away with a very definite view that the U.S. owes much to Israel and the Mossad, especially given our fumbled foreign policy of the last ten years through two diametrically different administrations.
This book begins like a mystery novel and expands into a wide ranging expose of the NSA documents disclosed by Edward Snowden. It then concludes with an expansive analysis and critique of the NSA, government officials, and, especially, the mainstream media.
I began this book with few preconceptions where it would lead. I was highly disturbed by revelations regarding the NSA, but also cognizant of the real danger posed by terrorism.
One thing that comes through from the outset is Snowden's sincere belief in what he did and his courage. As Greenwald points out repeatedly, Snowden made no effort to conceal his involvement and knew that doing so would almost certainly ruin his previously comfortable life.
The revelations regarding the NSA and the prior deception regarding the scope of its program--and the rather complete lack of meaningful oversight--are highly disturbing. Why does the NSA believe it needs to "collect everything" instead of using a targeted approach focusing on likely sources of danger?
Greenwald is at his best in making the case against mass surveillance. As he points out persuasively, people modify their behavior just by the threat of surveillance, and mass surveillance is the antithesis of a free society as history should have already taught us time and again.
Greenwald also makes impressive indictments against politicians who regularly and reflexively defend surveillance no matter how absurdly broad and unfocused it may be. And the Constitution gets lost in the wringer of life inside the Beltway.
Greenwald also swings for the fences and delivers in his indictment of the mainstream media. The mainstream media consist of lapdogs, pliantly doing the bidding of politicians. As Greenwald points out, the Obama Administration has not only carried on the Bush era programs, but has expanded them, with rarely an eyebrow raised in the media, especially a fawning media that (until recently at least) was willing to swallow and parrot whatever drivel the Administration chose to peddle.
Greenwald gets off target, in my judgment, in criticizing the NSA for studying the economic interests of foreign nations and industries in foreign nations. Of course the NSA (and the State Department) need to be fully aware of the such interests, as they often define policy interests and drive foreign policy decisions. This is far different than spying on all Americans.
Greenwald also, in my judgment, loses momentum in minimizing the threat posed by terrorism, particularly violent Islamic terrorism. While it may be true that a person (at least to date) is more likely to die of a lightning strike than in a terrorist attack, Greenwald ignores the damage that, for example, the 9/11 attacks did to the U.S. economy and our way of life. The reality is that it made a big difference. Greenwald's argument also pales--if not seems somewhat naive--in light of ISIS and other powder kegs around the world.
So perhaps Greenwald overstates in a few instances and gets off track in others. That does not detract from the importance of this book and the importance of what Snowden--with the help of Greenwald--revealed about what our government is doing to us.
This book is a great summer read. It is very well written, and the story moves along well from the beginning.
Klein has been criticized for re-creating scenes based on off-the-record or background interviews. Fair enough, I guess, but the overall narrative seems very consistent about what is well-known about the Clintons and the Obamas. It also seems highly unlikely that sources would have spoken on the record.
How do the four main characters fare? Not very well: From flawed but competent to flawed but incompetent. Bill Clinton is definitely the most interesting character and clearly is the only one who seems to have the pulse of middle America. This is not surprising since he grew up Arkansas, while Obama grew up in Hawaii, and Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton both came from privileged backgrounds in Illinois.
One thing that is absolutely clear from this narrative is that both the Clintons and the Obamas live like royalty; actually, probably better than royalty. The Clintons have multiple palatial residences in New York, D.C., and Little Rock and fly wherever they want (with Secret Service protection) on private jets. So much for Hillary putting her foot in her mouth about being "dead broke." The Obamas command Air Force 1 like they owned it, jetting off to Hawaii, Martha's Vineyard and other playgrounds of the rich. Michelle Obama, in particular, seems to have no reluctance about spending the taxpayers' money.
My conclusion: Unfortunately, our country has suffered from making some bad choices. You probably have to be a bit of a narcissist even to run for president, but this crew takes the cake. Bill Clinton, for all his flaws, is a brilliant politician who was practical enough to make a deal with the other side. Obama is a brilliant campaigner who is out of his league as an executive, being led around by Valerie Jarrett and Michelle, paying attention only to a leftist political agenda when he pays attention at all. Hillary Clinton is a good manager, but has none of Bill's political talents, and has a heap of scandals in her past. Both Clintons have serious health issues.
The country deserves better.
Charles Krauthammer is a great writer, and this collection of is work over several decades is well worth reading. Of modern political writers, Krauthammer is probably the best at laying out an organized, thoughtful, supported, and convincing argument. At he is entertaining to boot.
The book is not limited to politics and some of the most entertaining selections are about the author's family and passions (I'm glad he likes baseball; sorry he is a Nationals fan!).
The narration is inexplicably split between the author and another narrator. I don't know why it was done this way, and it is a bit distracting.
This is not a bad book. I could probably give it 3.5 stars if the rating system allowed it. The book is well organized and covers a lot of information regarding the process of re-inventing organizations and yourself. If you need a pep talk, it is a good book and it has a lot of good ideas.
Why not a higher rating? The book simply does not cover much in the way of new ground. There really is not much here that was not covered decades ago by Napoleon Hill and there are many other newer books that cover much of the same subject matter in much the same way.
Still, the book moves well and the stories included for inspiration and explanation, although some are familiar, are good.
The narration, by the author, is not bad. However, as is so often the case, a professional narration probably would have been better.
One word of warning: The author is from Detroit, and a lot of the examples are about Detroit. The author earnestly believes that Detroit will re-invent itself as a great American city. If you do not want to hear repeatedly about that, this book is not for you.
I read Younger Next Year about 5 years ago and have followed quite a bit of it in my personal life. Work pressures did not have me on a good path, and this book was an inspiration to do better. I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm a lot better off because of this book.
In January, I decided to revisit the book -- the audio version this time -- for some inspiration for the new year. The audiobook is even better than the paperback. The narration is really well done, and an example how the medium can actually enhance a publication.
There are not very many books I have bought for friends and family, but this is one of them.
The authors have built quite a franchise with their Aftershock series, which, like a number of others, predicts that the Fed's money printing and bond buying will end badly, essentially in a depression in which the economy will ultimately re-set. There certainly is plenty to worry about and the authors make a good case for their position.
What is disappointing is that the authors really do not present a lot of actionable investment advice or other advice. It might be summarized as buy gold and learn a useful skill that involves repairing things. To that end, I think the title is a little misleading. It should be noted that there is an Aftershock mutual fund (SHKNX), although it has high expenses and its performance has been pretty awful as of the date of this review (February 1, 2014). Of course, that does not necessarily provide a means for judging it because the market boomed in 2013 -- the authors would argue as a result of a fake recovery pumped up by Fed stimulus -- and the fund is presumably built to do well in a crash or the aftermath.
Another disappointment -- although not surprising -- is that the book seems to offer a lot of recycled material. I'm going on memory here from the original Aftershock, but there is a lot here that will be very familiar if you have read the authors' prior works. Further, it seems to me that there are parts of the book that are very repetitive. My impression after listening is that the book could really use a good editing.
In terms of actionable advice, there's not much here. To me, the overall economic thesis of the book is persuasive, and it makes sense to be cautious and to keep a very close eye on things. Readers might want to consider "The Permanent Portfolio" for more actionable advice.
This book is really an outstanding example of how subjects on which volumes have been written -- networking and business development -- can be simplified into a straight-forward, common sense system that really works.
The book is great for lawyers because Nick was one and now works with lawyers. The book was written for an English audience, but it still translates well for application in the U.S.
The book is well-paced and the narration is well-done. If you don't like selling and business development, this is a good book to get you started, and is a reference you can come back to again and again.
Don Rumsfeld has led a long and fascinating life. This book contains his rules to live by, and anyone can benefit from listening.
The book is filled with entertaining stories and history. The book is not particularly political, although Rumsfeld is, of course, a Republican. One thing that really comes through in the book is how Rumsfeld is willing to take hard looks back at his decisions, and he is more than willing to admit mistakes or to discuss how something might have been handled in a better way. This increased my level of respect for him.
Rumsfeld narrates the book and does a good job. Sometimes, authors are not the best narrators, but not a problem here.
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