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David

Hoeilaart, Belgium | Member Since 2010

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 17 reviews
  • 19 ratings
  • 302 titles in library
  • 57 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Thomas S. Kuhn
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (372)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (178)

    Named one of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War" by the Times Literary Supplement, and one of the "100 Best Nonfiction" books by the Modern Library, Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a landmark of scientific thought. Written in 1962, Kuhn's book took an entirely different view of how scientists perceived and achieved changes in basic theoretical assumptions - what he termed "paradigm shifts".

    Matthew says: "Better than prior reviews led me to believe"
    "Maybe not for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an important book in 1963 when it was first published. I thought it sounded interesting. Unfortunately, I found it to be a very scholarly work, which overworked it's thesis again and again in fine detail. The author seems to insert a paranthetical comment or subclause into every sentence. I could have gotten everything I needed to know on this subject in a ten-page article.

    I suppose that I should have read reviews beforehand to understand better whether the work would hold my interest.

    At least the narrator makes it easy to follow the author's dense terminology and phrasing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Iliad & The Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Homer
    • Narrated By John Lescault
    Overall
    (644)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (295)

    Little is known about the Ancient Greek oral poet Homer, the supposed 8th century BC author of the world-read Iliad and his later masterpiece, The Odyssey. These classic epics provided the basis for Greek education and culture throughout the classical age and formed the backbone of humane education through the birth of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity.

    Sam says: "Worth the price, worth the time"
    "Mediocre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This work suffers from using an old translation that has many archaic words, and which fails to bring across the adventure and excitement of the stories.

    The narrator also seems to be merely reading rather than telling a great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prince of Tides

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2225)
    Performance
    (1381)
    Story
    (1385)

    Spanning 40 years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

    Ella says: "A "Prince" amongst novels"
    "A jewel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a wonderful book. The author brings this unlikely story to life with such care and skill that I really felt for the characters. His knowledge of the way of life in a southern shrimping community gives it all a genuine feel.

    I have rarely read an author with such a gift for the crafting of a phrase. "The funeral parlor smelled like dead flowers and unanswered prayers". Some passages made me laugh aloud, while other moved me to sadness.

    Mr Muller narrates the book in a way that does justice to the work. He really seemed to be the voice of Tom Wingo.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Them: Adventures with Extremists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (582)
    Performance
    (529)
    Story
    (526)

    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!"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is only the second Audible book that I have rated poorly. For one thing, there is hardly any adventure in it. It consists simply of a series of encounters that the author/narrator had with extremists back in the 90's. Some aren't even extremists.

    We get a very small glimpse into the conspiratorial paranoia of these people, but not much. Mr. Ronson is surprisingly uninsightful into what makes these people tick; there is no more information about their inner workings or the shared culture of these groups than you get from popular magazines.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (795)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (497)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
    "Clever but dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Joyce is a very clever author. He has a mastery of the language that is at times very funny, and at times very engaging.

    On the other hand, he just doesn't know how to tell a story. There is no narative here, no suspense, no climax. It is just an account of a man's thoughts and trivial actions going through a day.

    Joyce badly needs an editor. I found myself looking to see how much longer I was going to have to suffer through a chapter.

    The reading, I have to say, was excellent, which is probably what made me stick with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Powersat: The Grand Tour Series

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ben Bova
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (96)

    Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And in its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of spaceflight.

    Greg says: "Great book but substandard recording"
    "Poor editing gets in the way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As noted already, there are several places where the narrator re-reads lines. It is quite disturbing.

    Otherwise, the story is entertaining, but not really in the science fiction genre. You could imagine it taking place five years from now with no great stretch of technology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tim Wu
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (785)
    Performance
    (470)
    Story
    (469)

    Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information? Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate.

    Neil says: "Very interesting history, biased conclusions"
    "Good History, Bad Economics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a history of the development of telephony, radio, film, televsion, and the information age, this book is terribly interesting. It brings alive the periods and the people that brought us to the present point. It contains interesting trivia without getting bogged down in detail.

    As economics, however, it falls flat. I will limit myself to three examples. First, the author feels that these industries would have remained fragmented and creative, if not for the rethlessness of certain men. But every industry goes through a period of consolidation, including cars, airlines, and mobile phones.

    Second, he constantly bemoans that radio went to an advertising-based model, but does not really present an alternative. Even European governments that supported broadcast media with taxes have now gone to an advertsing model. Where is the alternative?

    Finally, he makes a fundamental mistake by viewing Google as a search engine company committed to openness. Google is an advertising company that uses search ond other tools to sell advertising. This mis-understanding of Google's business colors everything that the author writes about the future of the internet.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History)

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Craig L. Symonds
    • Narrated By James Lurie
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (155)

    There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever. In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds, paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice.

    Jeremy says: "A unique tale of tactical wars"
    "A solid book to listen to..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author writes the history in a very clear narrative style. The amount of background is sufficient, and introduced in the proper way. In the end he explains not only the Battle of Midway, but the thinking, strategies, limitations, and advantages that eventually led to the US victory at Midway and in the Pacific War.

    Mr Lurie has a smooth speaking style. He is the kind of narrator that makes you forget that he didn't actually write the book - he is only reading it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of One

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (2993)
    Performance
    (1790)
    Story
    (1796)

    Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.

    Bob says: "Compelling story lifted higher by the narration"
    "This is what an audio book should be!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A wonderful, moving story, narrated in an engaging way. The story of the young man is very well-told, with expressive wording and mental images. The characters are natural and sympathetic.

    The narrator not only pronounces the difficult words in Afrikaans and native languages correctly, he consistenly uses a different voice for each character. This adds real value to the audio book beyond just the reading of the text.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One: Second Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Thomas Sowell
    • Narrated By Bill Wallace
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (75)

    Applied Economics is an accessible guide to how our economic decisions develop. It explains the application of economics to major world problems, including housing, medical care, discrimination, and the economic development of nations. The book is based on an international view of economics, includes examples from around the world, and shows how certain incentives and constraints produce similar outcomes among disparate peoples and cultures.

    Eunice says: "Look at the long term...it's important!"
    "Flawed book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is actually two books, somewhat intertwined: When the author discusses the develoment of civilizations or migration patterns he is interesting and insightful. For that, the book was worth it.

    But then there is the second book, in which the author promotes extreme free-market libertarianism. His argumentation has two flaws. First, he uses evidence selectively to support his own thesis. First, he says that you cannot critisize the US healthcare system based on life expectancy, because there are other factors. Twenty minutes later he critisizes the healthcare system under the Soviets, partly based on life expectancy.

    Second, and more fundamentally, he assumes that all government actions represent a failure to "think beyond stage one". He seems unable to understand that people might accept that political decisions arrive at sub-optimal economic results. It is possible that free markets might have eliminated Jim Crow laws after another hundred years, but that is not what people wanted.

    The narrator is mediocre, tending to drag out the end of words in an annoying way that stresses the condecension of the author in his arguments.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5682)
    Performance
    (3620)
    Story
    (3648)

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After about 20 hours it was clear that this was going to continue to be a predictable and repetitive book, with shallow character development. In place of dialogue, characters make long soliloquies about the glory of greed and selfishness. All this leads to the climax, a three hour (!) speech that repeats every point ad nausem in case you haven't got it by then.

    There are only four basic characters: rich people that agree with the philosophy, rich people that disagree with the philosophy, and non-rich people that agree or disagree with the philosophy.

    Those that agree with the philosophy are good in every way - apparently even their sex is better. Never mind that they might subvert the justice system or other dirty tricks. Those that disagree are naturally portrayed as weak and worthless. Basically every character is depraved.

    The narrator follows this characterization by only using four voices, one for each of the character types. He runs through transitions so that only after a couple lines do you realize that the scene has changed.

    It is hard to believe that important people view this book with its silly philosophy as the basis of their moral beliefs. Still less so that people of faith would say this about a philosophy that is hostile to any faith.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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