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K. Schallitz

Livermore, CA USA | Member Since 2009

ratings
21
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
52

  • The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    Overall
    (862)
    Performance
    (707)
    Story
    (692)

    The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.

    Eric says: "Challenging textbook more than an enjoyable listen"
    "Not as impressive as some of Dawkins' other works"
    Overall

    I've listened to a few books by Dawkins and feel that this is the weakest of them so far. I particularly enjoyed the Selfish Gene, however I didn't really learn anything "new" in this book and found it to drag on. I started listening at 2x speed just to get through it. Nonetheless, there were a few points where I stopped, slowed down and listened intently and very much enjoyed those segments. There just were not enough of them for me to give the book more than a two star rating. Others may well enjoy the book, especially if they have not read any other works by Dawkins.

    8 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    Overall
    (1936)
    Performance
    (1123)
    Story
    (1125)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson has a talent for guiding readers through the mysteries of outer space with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. This collection of his essays from Natural History magazine explores a myriad of cosmic topics. Tyson introduces us to the physics of black holes by explaining what would happen to our bodies if we fell into one; he also examines the needless friction between science and religion, and notes Earth's status as "an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos".

    Lind says: "Well written and well read"
    "Cool read for the general public"
    Overall

    Niel Tyson is a great story teller. Most of this book was very interesting and well delivered. There were a couple of stories though that made me more or less fall asleep, so unfortunately I can only go with three stars here. I recognize that the book is more or less a compendium of magazine articles, however, this is also the other reason I'm going with three stars - many of the stories repeat a bit and I found that to be a bit clunky.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dreadnaught: The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel, Jack Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2883)
    Performance
    (2311)
    Story
    (2316)

    The first book of best-selling sci-fi author Jack Campbell’s new series Beyond the Frontier returns to find Captain John “Black Jack" Geary, the hero of the Lost Fleet series, awoken from cryogenic sleep to take command of the fleet. Geary’s legendary exploits have earned him the adoration of the people—and the enmity of politicians convinced that a living hero can be a very inconvenient thing.

    Jean says: "A welcome new series"
    "Best book of the series"
    Overall

    FANTASTIC. There's not much else to say. In my opinion this is the best book of the entire series to date. I cannot wait for the next. I love how the author blends in an alien society and makes us think about how human society interacts with each other versus how aliens might. The concept of water filled ships was just plain awesome. The interactions between the characters has been depened here more than I thought possible. Yes, I'm rambling now but I encourage everyone to read this book. It really is one of his best.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Anil Ananthaswamy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (118)

    In this deeply original book, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy sets out in search of the telescopes and detectors that promise to answer the biggest questions in modern cosmology. Why is the universe expanding at an ever faster rate? What is the nature of the "dark matter" that makes up almost a quarter of the universe? Why does the universe appear fine-tuned for life? Are there others besides our own?

    Michael says: "Physics ain't for wussies!"
    "Not for everyone, and VERY interesting"
    Overall

    I enjoyed the fact that the author did not dumb down the science and rather enjoyed some of the postulations on where we are going with our discoveries and how very little we really do know. However, this author reminds me of a senile old professor I once had in college. Each lecture he would go off on a completely random tangent but yet somehow bring it back to the topic of the day right before the end of the period and we all sat in stunned amazement. The following semester, not so much. The last semester, not at all; then he retired. That's how I felt when I read this book. I really don't care who the author knows nor do I care to learn about his lunch dates nor his travels. PLEASE just stick to the science. I know that stories make things memorable and entertaining, but NOT YOUR stories. Tell us about science, not your life.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Living Well with Bad Credit: Buy a House, Start a Business, and Even Take a Vacation - No Matter How Low Your Credit Score

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Geoff Williams, Chris Balish
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Feeling broke and battered? We know the feeling - heck, everyone knows it. According to the Wall Street Journal, 110 million Americans have bad credit - almost 50% of the adult population. But we don't have to be depressed or discouraged about it. There is life after bad credit. In fact, there's even life during bad credit. This expert guide is your ticket to a better life once again.

    K. Schallitz says: "Not bad for someone going into bad credit"
    "Not bad for someone going into bad credit"
    Overall

    BUT - I don't think it's a good book for someone who is already there.

    The book has a lot of good examples and strategies and websites for helping you avoid mistakes, but doesn't do enough in my opinion for those who have already made the mistakes. My credit has gone through a roller coaster over the last few years and is fortunately about where I would like it to be and I can see that the book would have been helpful for me about two or three years ago. However I have many friends who are currently struggling and I didn't see much in the book that they could use in any practical manner. In some regards one could say it's all common sense; but if this was true then more people wouldn't be in the mess they are in today. I particularly like the websites that the book uses and think these are very good references to have - but again, all that information is already out there.

    In summary - if you think you are in danger of going into bad credit - READ THIS BOOK! If you're already there, consider this book as it does have some useful references, but don't expect it to fix your situation.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4605)
    Performance
    (2244)
    Story
    (2247)

    In The Tipping Point, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in society happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.

    Marian Hanganu says: "Exceptional!"
    "A bit diffuse but likeable"
    Overall

    I'll try to be quick. The book is worth a listen, but only if you can get it cheaply. The author goes all over the place rather than keeping on topic. His examples start strong but then become increasingly weak and tangential at best. I've heard all of the stories presented here in various other works, all of which presented them much better. The one thing that connected the stories was the concept of the "tipping point", however, the author gets confused in telling us the definition of a tipping point versus its causes versus how to create one. In the end the book just didn't seem cohesive. Sad really, as I think it could be written well by another author perhaps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Sam Kean
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (2122)
    Performance
    (1334)
    Story
    (1340)

    Reporter Sam Kean reveals the periodic table as it’s never been seen before. Not only is it one of man's crowning scientific achievements, it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

    Ethan M. says: "Excellent, if unfocused"
    "Incredible stories that make you appreciate histry"
    Overall

    I absolutely LOVED this book. That was truly surprising to me based on the title, but the book was recommend to me by a friend. I in turn have recommended it to everyone I know! Each day I was retelling one of the stories to my colleagues and even to my own kids. Very detailed narrative that really makes you feel like the author knew these people. The audio narrative was also quite good. Do yourself a favor, download this book. You will not regret it!

    1 of 1 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
    (774)
    Performance
    (557)
    Story
    (554)

    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."
    "A reader's digest version of many other good books"
    Overall

    If you've not read anything by Dawkins or not a listner to NPR's Radio Lab, and haven't read books like "The Drunkard's Walk", or "Blink", or "The Disappearing Spoon", then this book might be alright for you. It's really nothing original, just citing many other stories from other very good authors. I would recommend this book to someone who has just started embarking on a journey of skeptical view points. But I would also HIGHLY recommend that they read each of the stories in the books mentioned by the author as the condensed versions do leave out quite a bit.

    For me it was mostly a rehash of things I've already read. As there was no new material I really can't give this book more than two stars.

    31 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Solaris: The Definitive Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stanislaw Lem, Bill Johnston (translator)
    • Narrated By Alessandro Juliani
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2196)
    Performance
    (1780)
    Story
    (1797)

    At last, one of the world’s greatest works of science fiction is available - just as author Stanislaw Lem intended it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Solaris, Audible, in cooperation with the Lem Estate, has commissioned a brand-new translation - complete for the first time, and the first ever directly from the original Polish to English. Beautifully narrated by Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Lem’s provocative novel comes alive for a new generation.

    Burns says: "A comment on negative reviews"
    "Well written, but a drawn out story without an end"
    Overall

    There were times when the book was fully captivating, and many, many times when I fell asleep while trying desperately to stay involved with the story. There are times when there is a true air of mystery and you want them to solve that mystery. They set off to solve the mystery and then the book just sort of ends without really ending. I actually was waiting for the little voice to say, "You've reached the end of a part, but not the end of the book"... unfortunately the end credits then played. I'd like to give the book more than two stars, but I just really can't. It is VERY good at times, down right fantastic even and just God awful slow at others and without an ending, it really only gets two stars.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vespers Rising: The 39 Clues, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and others
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (112)

    Fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her younger brother, Dan, thought they could return to their regular lives when they found the 39 Clues that safeguard their family’s great power. But they were wrong. Powerful enemies – the Vespers – have been waiting in the shadows. And they’ll stop at nothing to grab the Clues. Four powerhouse authors unite to expose the 500-year-old secret struggle between the Cahills and the Vespers. The Vespers are rising . . . and the world is in jeopardy.

    Raymond says: "Wonderful surprise!"
    "Major disappointment - loved books 1-10"
    Overall

    My family listened to books 1 - 10 during a long cross country road trip over Christmas and my kids really got into the stories. Last weekend we did a trip to Yosemite National Park and we were happy to learn that book 11 just came out. WOW - WHAT A MAJOR LET DOWN! My kids HATED this book... to the point that they asked to just turn it off and listen to music. I must say that I didn't like it at all either. It was basically just prequel info for the next set of books that could have gone into one of the "bonus" materials after all the other stories. I mean, this book was really just plain JUNK. Save yourself the money - skip this one you wont miss anything. The entire book can be summed up as: "there is a ring" - End of story. Following the ring through time was just not entertaining. Again - bonus material sure - a whole book - absolutely not.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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