Chamblee, GA, United States | Member Since 2009
The title of this book suggests it is about how to set up a viral marketing campaign. In reality, it is a very lengthy history of viral marketing. If viewed in that light, it is somewhat interesting and might merit at least a three star ranking. If you are looking for a "how to" book, this is not the one for you.
The narration by Richard Allen really drags the book down. Yes, I know he has a familiar voice and I know he has been nominated for awards. However, Mr. Allen has an almost comical tendency to mangle words. If Mr. Allen does not know how to pronounce a word (or someone's name), he just mispronounces it and goes on. And he mangles a lot of words. This leads to a really shoddy production value that, to me anyway, is pretty irritating for a premium-priced audiobook.
If the producer had reviewed Mr. Allen's work and had him re-record the mangled parts, it would have greatly helped the audiobook. Apparently, however, no one cared enough to do this.
This is the book Isaacson was writing that was interrupted by his very fine biography on Steve Jobs. Although a bit long and tedious at some points, the book provides a really interesting history of the development of computers and digital technology. It's amazing how far ahead of their time some of these people were. A description of a computer demonstration from1968 is amazing--at least 30 years ahead of its time. The stories are interesting, but the author's main point is that most technology does not develop as a result of a solitary inventor in a garage, but as a result of collaborative efforts that build on the work of others. His discussion of the tension between closed and open systems--which is weaved throughout the book--is very interesting. As so today we have Apple and Google. A good read. Could have been a bit shorter.
This is a really interesting book that chronicles the rise of various information technologies, starting with the telephone and ending with the Internet. Wu presents a strong argument that information technologies tend to start free and then wind up being controlled by monopolies, the government, or a combination. His discussion of how AT&T suppressed important technological developments (such as the answering machine) for decades is both fascinating and a bit depressing. The same thing happened to FM radio and other technologies. So far, the Internet has been different, but the Obama administration has just announced plans to regulate it. So, despite Wu's hope that this time might be different, it looks like the cycle is on the verge of repeating.
This is really a helpful book. In a little over two hours, DeSouza offers practical and actionable tips on prospecting, selling, and getting referrals. His tips on communicating effectively with customers are very thought-provoking. I'm not sure there is a lot here that has not been written before, but I don't think I've ever seen anything like it in such a compact and actionable presentation.
This is an important book for anyone interested in contemporary geopolitics. Friedman takes us on a quick tour of European history which focuses on the rise of Germany three times: As an economic and military power leading to World War I, as a military power under Hitler, and as the greatest post-war economic power. Now being a rich, but militarily weak, country, Friedman explains the many challenges that Germany faces for itself, and that it creates for the rest of Europe. His discussion also chronicles the reemergence of Russia, and its need to move its "buffer" to the west, having been re-positioned far to the east after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Friedman also weighs in on the enigma of France and how it is neither really a northern European economic power or a weak southern European country, but a curious mixture of both. And, of course, Great Britain's role is analyzed. No longer a world power, Britain needs Europe and keeps a watchful eye on it, but does not really want to commit to the European Union. Friedman's most incisive discussion, however, involves borderlands across the quilt of many nations that form Europe. Some borderlands are peaceful and will likely remain that way, while others--most notably Ukraine--form the flashpoint for future conflicts. Friedman's main point is that the contention that the European Union ushered in an age of prosperity for all that made conflict and war a thing of the past is simply not true. Very thought provoking. I may listen again.
This is a first hand and fast moving account of the disastrous events in Benghazi Libya on the night of September 11, 2012, as told by the surviving members of the Annex security team. If this was fiction, it might be criticized as pure fantasy. However, it really happened, and four Americans died.
It is pretty clear from the account that not enough security was in place in the beginning. It is also clear that Ambassador Stephens decided to go forward with a dangerous trip with an inadequate security team. It is also clear that bad decisions were made by the CIA when the attack started. It is somewhat unclear whether additional U.S. assets or friendly forces could have been brought in during the attack (perhaps a story for another book), but one gets the clear impression that not enough was done.
Six men were essentially left on their own to try to retrieve the Ambassador and, when that brave effort failed, to defend the Annex. Draw your own conclusions, but I strongly suspect things would have been far worse with almost any other group.
Compelling. Also very sad.
This book has been out for a while and has received numerous accolades. They are all deserved. Louis Zamperini's story is unbelievable. If this were a work of fiction, it would be described as fantasy. Louis lived an amazing life. To survive what he did seems like a true miracle, and maybe it was.
The book is incredibly well-written. Hillenbrand is just a great writer. Time and again, she will leave a little clue as to a later part of the story. Even though the story is long, it moves very well, always leaving the reader to want to read (or listen) just a little bit more.
Herrmann is a fantastic narrator, and his performance here is worthy of Louis' story and Hillenbrand's writing.
Just excellent all the way around.
For even the casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, this is a great read. Mick's highly improbable life reads a little bit like a fairy tale that came true. The story of the beginning through the Peter Green era is very interesting and provides those of us who became familiar with the band only during the Buckingham Nicks era with a more complete picture.
The book confirms, more or less, much that has been written and suspected of the excesses during the Rumours era. From the free-flowing drugs (how did they not get busted?) to Stevie's demand that her hotel suite be painted pink with a piano, almost anything went and it was all over the top. It really is a bit of a miracle that the entire band has survived, when, as Mick notes, many of their contemporaries did not.
What the book particularly provides is an opportunity for Mick to reflect on his life, warts and all. For the guy who was supposed to be "Big Daddy" with all the answers, Mick is still looking for answers in his own life at 67. Fortunately, he seems to be closer to finding them and largely at peace. He is clearly elated that the entire band, including Christine McVie, is back together.
Mick calls the band's current tour their "victory lap." Given the age of the members, that is probably an apt description. It is truly difficult to believe that the band's original reunion, with The Dance album, happened 17 years ago in 1997. It's equally difficult to believe they are still going, and, by most accounts, sounding great. But they won't be doing this 17 years from now. If the band is coming to your area, this might be the last chance to see them.
Regardless, they have left an incredible catalogue of music that remains popular today. That is not only a tribute to their music, but an indictment of the current music scene. Mick promises another album with new material will be forthcoming. It may be the band's curtain call, but it will probably be a good one.
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.
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