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sarah

san francisco, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

ratings
18
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
13

  • Moonwalking with Einstein

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Joshua Foer
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1468)
    Performance
    (992)
    Story
    (985)

    Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives. On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget.

    Christopher says: "Got the Ball Rolling"
    "Great narration, subject, story-- Loved This"
    Overall

    I am not one to write reviews, and when I do they are usually to highlight what is wrong with a book. However, I can't say enough good things about this book. The writing is really funny and well done. The author seamlessly weaves between understanding of memory and cognition and the amazingly entertaining storyline of him being coached to enter the US Memory Championships-- challenging "mental athletes'" claim that "anyone can do this". The book blew my mind. Part anthropology, part brain science, part Toad's Wild Ride, I could easily listen to this book again just for the sheer pleasure. You won't be disappointed with this.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies - How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Michael Shermer
    • Narrated By Michael Shermer
    Overall
    (762)
    Performance
    (549)
    Story
    (547)

    In this, his magnum opus, the world’s best known skeptic and critical thinker Dr. Michael Shermer—founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and perennial monthly columnist (“Skeptic”) for Scientific American—presents his comprehensive theory on how beliefs are born, formed, nourished, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished.

    Leigh says: "Great material. Not-so-great narration."
    "agree with other reviewer's complaints-terrible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been on a cog-sci kick for a few months now and as I am in a grad program that incorporates spirituality and psychology, I was interested in hearing specifically some of the science and open to how belief mechanisms and superstitions work.

    This. was. terrible.

    Shermer is not just a skeptic, he is someone with a grudge against anyone that believes anything except the cold, hard facts. I have imagined him punching any child still dumb enough to believe in the tooth fairy or scornfully mocking and spitting on a child still hoping that Santa might come in the night. I mean, this guy doesn't just not believe, he wants to make an ass out of anyone who is stupid enough to have faith in anything.

    Sadly, the book is little more than a diatribe about how smart and rational he is and how shockingly stupid and naive everyone else is--- even nobel laureates are nincompoops if they hold the horrifically moronic delusion that God exists! I mean, what idiocy! The vitriol becomes tired and boring and eventually I was listening at 3x speed and then I just gave up.

    If you're looking for a good science book, I recommend The Brain that Changes Itself.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Man's Search for Meaning

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Viktor E. Frankl
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1966)
    Performance
    (941)
    Story
    (951)

    Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning.

    Ann Marie says: "I will isten again and again"
    "Frankl's best is great on audible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning and being incredibly bored, I got this audiobook, as I was determined to read MSfM, but didn't have the mental patience (after getting burned by MSfUM) to sit down with it. These are two entirely different creatures and I am so glad I got this.

    MSfM is beautifully written and achingly eloquent. The stories are wonderful and the explanations of logotherapy at the end are just redundant enough to make the whole thing stick in the mind. The book is highly quotable, which would be the main reason one might want a hard copy either in addition to or instead of the audible version. Because the text is so clearly and lushly descriptive and profound, and the reading so clear, I ended up playing a section in school for a class.

    I could listen to this a few times and be satisfied.

    I don't love British narrators and the pomp of the accent gets on my nerves, but it felt appropriate in this case and worked well. Despite being a short read, it was worth the credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • In Cold Blood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2197)
    Performance
    (996)
    Story
    (997)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s a story that most people know, told here in an unforgettable way – an audio masterpiece that rivals the best thrillers, thanks to Capote genre-defining words and Brick’s subtle but powerful characterizations. On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

    Lisa says: "Still the Best"
    "easily best audiobook so far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am squeamish. I don't like horror films and a even Buffy the Vampire Slayer has kept me from sleeping on occasion. I was worried from other reviews that the book might be gory or disgusting and that I wouldn't make it through. Not so. I also worried that the book would drone on, as others had complained. Not for a second. Finally, my biggest worry was that the writing would be poor or the narration bad (side note: ALWAYS listen to the sample read before purchasing an audiobook). No and no.

    Scott Brick is masterful. I mean, I don't know where this guy might go for a little recognition, or how he acquired such a skill, but his reading is superb.

    Capote's writing is masterful and the language and detail he chose to include are so literarily perfect it is hard to believe that he is relying on quotes and facts. Brilliantly executed. Capote's quotes of the real people put Steinbeck's fictional characters to shame. On this count, the book is a gem in the American cannon.

    Finally, there is an beautifully walked line between giving us the details and putting the reader in touch with the the truly horrifying events, without the melodrama and theatrics that most authors can't help but fall into.

    This was an audible that after a long draught, got me finding reasons to take the dogs out or go for a long car ride. I was listening first thing in the morning and before I went to sleep (no problems sleeping!). I devoured this and now want to see the movie.

    I am a scrooge when it comes to my credits. This one was perhaps the best one I have spent to far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Personal Triumphs from the Frontiers of Brain Science

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Norman Doidge
    • Narrated By Jim Bond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (962)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (372)

    In this revolutionary look at the brain, best-selling author, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., introduces both the brilliant scientists championing this new science of neuroplasticity and the astonishing progress of the people whose lives they've transformed.

    Introducing principles we can all use, as well as a riveting collection of case histories, The Brain That Changes Itself has "implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history."

    CAT says: "Text book"
    "Great read if you're already interested in science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Part Gladwell, part science history, part brain science upper division, this is a great intro to neuroplasticity. Now, if you aren't already interested in this subject, it probably isn't going to feel very relevant and so I wouldn't recommend it to my mom or a few of my friends. But if you are already interested in the subject, Doidge takes you on fun journey with twists and turns along the way (I was not expected him to go in depth on a famous sadomasicist/exhibitionist).

    Reading is great, presentation is great, stories are great. I didn't give it five stars because the book teeters a little bit between being a resource (if your child has a learning disability or someone you know has had a stroke this is an essential read) and a lay book and the result is that I now feel under-informed about a variety of things I knew nothing about previously.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Coyle
    • Narrated By John Farrell
    Overall
    (718)
    Performance
    (355)
    Story
    (355)

    New research has revealed that myelin, once considered an inert form of insulation for brain cells, may be the holy grail of acquiring skill. Journalist Daniel Coyle spent years investigating talent hotbeds, interviewing world-class practitioners (top soccer players, violinists, fighter, pilots, artists, and bank robbers) and neuroscientists. In clear, accessible language, he presents a solid strategy for skill acquisition.

    Stephen says: "Anecdotes presented as data"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you consider yourself a lay reader and are just looking for a little motivation to start taking those piano lessons again, this is a great book; something you might find in Readers Digest. If you are a brain science geek, this is a pretty light book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Robert Whitaker
    • Narrated By Ken Kliban
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (89)

    In this astonishing and startling book, award-winning science and history writer Robert Whitaker investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of disabled mentally ill in the United States tripled over the past two decades? Every day, 1,100 adults and children are added to the government disability rolls because they have become newly disabled by mental illness, with this epidemic spreading most rapidly among our nations children. What is going on?

    Strachan says: "Good Science, Great Journalism"
    "Paradigm Altering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this based on the high reviews it received on audible and I was not disappointed. As a book geek with four undergraduate degrees and working on my second masters, it is not very often that I am told something I don't already know but this book totally blew my mind. The brilliance of it lies in Whitaker's meticulous research and presentation. The basic thesis is: psychiatric drugs are largely marketing ploys, not science. This is a bold crazy claim, but by the time you are halfway through the book and have heard hundreds of snippets of the outcomes literature from big pharma's horse's mouth (and heard from eight major sources that no one has ever been able to provide evidence of a "chemical imbalance" occurring in the brain), you aren't just convinced, you are utterly terrified at what the future will hold for the next generation, all growing up right now on these noxious drugs. As someone getting their master's in psych, I purchased the book after listening to it, as it is the most relevant reading I have done so far in my studies.

    If you or anyone you know is on, has taken, or has ever considered taking medication for depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, or ADHD, or you plan on living in this country for the next 20-40 years, you really owe it to yourself to read this book. It will light a fire.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • My Life as an Experiment

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By A. J. Jacobs
    • Narrated By A. J. Jacobs
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (64)

    Best-selling author and human guinea pig A. J. Jacobs puts his life to the test and reports on the surprising and entertaining results. He goes undercover as a woman, lives by George Washington’s moral code, and impersonates a movie star. He practices "radical honesty", brushes his teeth with the world’s most rational toothpaste, and outsources every part of his life to India—including reading bedtime stories to his kids.

    Jean says: "Incredibly entertaining anecdotes"
    "Exactly the right speed for my tired brain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After several heavy science books and a full load of school reading, I was ready to take on a lighter subject. This was perfect. Jacobs, the author, also does the reading and he has a great voice- even tone, lots of intonation, and clear. His stories are varied and all funny. The chapters are all stories of experiments he has done for articles in Esquire. These are great in themselves but Jacobs goes one step further and adds a Coda at the end of each chapter reflecting on the experiment, how much it changed his life, and how it compares to some of the other stories in the book. Some of the chapters might not seem that interesting at first glance (acting like George Washington), but Jabobs makes them interesting through his combination of facts, stories, anecdotes, and attitude.

    This would be ideal for a long car ride with a friend or a summer read. It is not heavy material but it is poignant and funny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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