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Paul

ratings
401
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
36

  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James Surowiecki
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (842)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (177)

    In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

    G Barth says: "Very worthwhile listen!"
    "The Wisdom of this Book is Grossly Overstated"
    Overall

    This book is crammed with many interesting anecdotes about the behavior of markets and the average "wisdom" of groups, and some of it actually has a sound connection to the title and premise of the book. However, as I listened further into the book, I became frustrated with the tedious overexplanations that were often poorly connected to supporting the author's premise. There are some interesting anecdotes, such as "academic" studies of irrationality of investment behavior. Other examples are weak, such as an early anecdote about a crowd guessing the dressed weight of a cow. The author claims that the accuracy of the group's average guess demonstrates the crowd is "smarter" more consistently than any "expert", but this ignores the likelihood that inexpert guesses will tend to cancel each other out and then we're left with whether the result of the "crowd" really boils down to simply averaging the guesses of a handful of experts. Many examples in the book simply demonstrate the type of statistical distribution one might encounter in any group, rather than providing insight into "wisdom" of the crowd.

    The best portions of the book deal with the author's categories of group decisions, and some of the pitfalls of small group decision-making. A few suggestions were given for avoiding or minimizing the impact of these pitfalls in small groups, though the treatment was so brief it bordered on being superficial. Still... we're introduced to some interesting ideas on this topic.

    The narrator did an adequate job, and generally made the book easier to listen to despite the tedious nature of the author's descriptions.

    This book may be worth a listen just for the interesting anecdotes, especially if you have little background with group decision-making, economics, markets, and basic statistical principles.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Believing the Lie: An Inspector Lynley Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (455)
    Performance
    (360)
    Story
    (353)

    Inspector Thomas Lynley is mystified when he's sent undercover to investigate the death of Ian Cresswell at the request of the man's uncle, the wealthy and influential Bernard Fairclough. The death has been ruled an accidental drowning, and nothing on the surface indicates otherwise. But when Lynley enlists the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James, the trio's digging soon reveals that the Fairclough clan is awash in secrets, lies, and motives.

    Joanne says: "Not Elizabeth George's best..."
    "Such a Long Story for So Little Payoff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This book was ultimately disappointing and depressing. After countless plot and sub-plot threads, there doesn't really turn out to be any mystery, except that the bull-headed main characters pursue threads not even related to the one death that has occurred, managing to lay bare family secrets that destroy families or even a life. Then the primary characters deal with their brief feeling of "guilt" by concluding that it was really the keeping of secrets that caused all the sad consequences, not that they pried where no one needed to pry. Truly an unsatisfying story at the end. I used to enjoy Elizabeth George's early mysteries, but several of her latest have been real disappointments. It seems as if the solving of murder mysteries is now just a backdrop for an endless saga about the lives of her primary & long-standing characters.The narrator was superb, with great voicing and expression that made this long story interesting until it sank under the weight of disappointing plotting and story line.


    Would you recommend Believing the Lie to your friends? Why or why not?

    No, would not really recommend this author any more. These mysteries have devolved into a saga of the lives of the continuing characters, and the "mysteries" just seem to come along for the ride.


    What does Davina Porter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent voicing, expression, and dynamics that collectively made this long story interesting.


    Could you see Believing the Lie being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It could only be a movie if the dark secrets are played up salaciously.


    Any additional comments?

    Lots of build-up, lots of sub-plots, lots of personal issues addressed in the lives of main continuing characters, then lots of let-down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter, Rebecca Lowman, Ann Marie Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (965)
    Performance
    (558)
    Story
    (565)

    On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.

    Erin says: "Live To Tell - 3.5 stars"
    "Live to Tell Doesn't Live Up at the End"
    Overall

    There are some things to like in this story, enough to merit a 3-star rating, but rather than gaining momentum to the end, I liked it less. First, the positives. The multiple narrators were good, particularly since various chapters tell the experiences of different primary characters. The narrator for D.D. Warren was good, and the narrator for the Danielle character seemed a great fit. Also, the theme of disturbed children and the various family and institutional caregivers set up an interesting framework, and presented multiple perspectives that seemed genuine.

    Now for the reasons my enjoyment and rating sank. I'm not impressed by Detective D.D. Warren. She seems to interject a dislikable, smart-alecky and inappropriate denigration of people she's interviewing. She jumps to scattered presumptions, based on no meaningful evidence. She spends so much time thinking about how she'd like to have sex with half the men she works with or meets, but would be better served to be thoughtful about her case. She brings her detectives into an operating ward for disturbed children, in the middle of the night, to serve a warrant that could have waited until the full day staff was present, and then blames the caregivers when things go wrong due to the caregivers giving attention to the detectives. And finally, the whole plot started to slip (I'm trying to avoid a spoiler) with the focus on the "interplanes". For me, the plot sagged from diabolical, to simply preposterous and ridiculous. Fortunately, the book ends with a final narration by "Danielle" rather than D.D. Warren, and that boosted the feeling of resolution and satisfaction. Back to D.D. Warren, this is the second recent book where I've had similar negative feelings about the quality of her "detecting" and her tendency to go off on ridiculously unfounded premises. There are a lot of better-written detectives and investigators to pick from.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Neighbor: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Emily Janice Card, Kirby Heyborne, Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1411)
    Performance
    (745)
    Story
    (749)

    It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy: a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome, secretive husband as the prime suspect. But from the moment Detective Sergeant D. D. Warren arrives at the Joneses - a snug little bungalow, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create.

    KSK says: "Listen to "Say Goodbye" first"
    "Plot Succeeds Despite Irritation"
    Overall

    First off, the multiple-voice narration is great and adds to enjoyment of listening. The plot line kept me interested, but Detective Warren became quite irritating, leaping to unwarranted conclusions on the flimsiest, or even absence, of any real evidence. I found her becoming "whiney", bemoaning at one point that she "just wants to arrest someone". In contrast, Gardner does a good job laying out some issues related to sex offenders, and our tendency to overlook the varying severity and nature of the wide range of offenses that can cause someone to be labeled as a sex offender. The plot was compelling enough to flirt with 5 stars, but ultimately the irritating Detective knocked this down to 4 stars for me.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Careless in Red

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    Overall
    (294)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (60)

    After the senseless murder of his wife, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley retreated to Cornwall, where he has spent six solitary weeks hiking the bleak and rugged coastline. On the 43rd day of his walk, at the base of a cliff, Lynley discovers the body of a young man who appears to have fallen to his death.

    Rebecca says: "Elizabeth George is Back...Whoo Hoo!"
    "A bit of a disappointment"
    Overall

    I read all of the early Elizabeth George mysteries, but hadn't read or listened to several of the latest, so thought I'd try this one. The narrator was very good, but while the story was overall enjoyable, very little of the detective work really had any linkage to the "solution" that is eventually revealed. The murder and investigation seemed more of a backdrop for exploring the internal and interpersonal issues of the investigators. When the end arrived, it seemed abrupt and I actually said "That's IT?" As always, Elizabeth George gives us characters with real depth and believable complexity. There's just too much of the storyline that ends up having no real connection to the murder or its solution.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Garnethill

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Denise Mina
    • Narrated By Katy Anderson
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    Maureen O'Donnell wasn't born lucky. A psychiatric patient and survivor of sexual abuse, she's stuck in a dead-end job and a secretive relationship. She's about to end her affair with Douglas when she wakes up one morning to find him in her living room, with his throat slit.

    Adrienne says: "Something a little different"
    "Great Story and a Superb Narrator"
    Overall

    I first listened to "Deception" by this author, and decided to try Garnethill. First off, yes, the wonderfully genuine accent of the narrator takes a short while to get accustomed to, but the payoff is worth it. This narrator conveys perhaps the strongest sense of characterization I've run across, which definitely brings the central character and the story to life and makes it engaging. There are absolute gems of metaphor scattered throughout (feeling as out-of-place as a "meatball in caviar"), as Maureen (the main character) is revealed as having a past that she has struggled to overcome, but who has learned a strength and perspective that others around her lack. Maureen has her flaws, but also has an ability to deal with what she's been dealt. One caveat is if you're easily offended by obscenities (though they are much in character).

    Give this story and great narrator a chance, and I think you'll enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Judgment

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By D.W. Buffa
    • Narrated By Dennis Predovic
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (98)

    When Judge Calvin Jeffries is found murdered in a courthouse parking lot, the crime shocks the community, but justice is swift. Soon a second judge is stabbed to death. Attorney Joseph Antonelli agrees to defend the accused. What he discovers challenges everything he knows about crime and punishment...and himself. Also available abridged.

    Michael says: "Buffa's Best"
    "Can You Change the Past?"
    Overall

    This audiobook is highly enjoyable, with characterizations that are well developed for the major players as well as for several of the supporting characters. The narrator is one of the very best I have heard, and his reading strengthened the plot and the characters.

    The story starts with an attorney, Joseph Antonelli, who is attending the funeral of a judge that had been murdered, who in Antonelli's experience is one of the most evil men he's ever known. The judge played an inadvertant role in Antonelli's early career, and this is combined with the story of another attorney Antonelli had known. While the police believe they have solved the judge's murder, things get more complicated when a second judge is murdered in very similar fashion. Yet, the two judges could not have been killed by the same person.

    Antonelli begins to suspect a possible connection between the two murders, as he is called on to defend the person accused of the second murder. Antonelli must consider what could drive someone to confess to a criminal act they did not commit. Is it an act of insanity, or the only way to avoid going insane? Is it sane or insane to believe that the past can be changed by what is done today?

    During this process we're presented with more of Antonelli's personal background, when a long-lost childhood love re-enters his life. This is the only woman he has ever truly loved, and we discover something in their past that caused them to have missed out on a lifetime together. Again, we see how the past can be re-created by the future, but can the future ever be what it could have been?

    In the trial that concludes the book, Antonelli sees that in order to defend his client, the past must be re-cast to a different understanding of people and events. Even then, there is a final twist to our, and Antonelli's, understanding of the past.

    This is a great book, made even better by a great narrator. I think it deserves all five stars.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jolie Blon's Bounce

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (594)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (185)

    Return to James Lee Burke's "timeless, parallel universe" with detective Dave Robicheaux, as he investigates the murders of two women, tries to prove one man's innocence, and faces an enemy unlike any he has ever known. Gothic, dense, brutal, touching, and always compelling, Jolie Blon's Bounce is classic storytelling from a writer who has been dubbed "the Faulkner of crime fiction."

    JD. says: "Sorry I was wrong"
    "Enjoyable First Trip to the Bayou"
    Overall

    This was my introduction to James Lee Burke, as I had not read or listened to any of his books previously. That means I have not heard other narrators of Burke's books for comparison, but actually, I enjoyed the reader of this audiobook about 98% of the time. Occasionally the Southern drawl was overdone to the point where it became difficult or impossible to decipher the words being spoken. Though the characters were new to me, Burke does a good job writing enough bits of background to gain some understanding of their character. Burke really does write in a style that draws you in to enjoying his descriptions of the Bayou, the trees and swamps, without feeling the story is dragging. When Burke's narrative digresses, there's alwalys a link back to a character's background, motivation, or building a sense of background atmosphere or history.

    This certainly wouldn't be categorized as a forensic thriller, as there's a surprising shortage of "detecting" going on, but ultimately there are enough clues put together for a definitive solution to one murder. The second murder has a somewhat less satisfying resolution -- we "know" who the culprit is, but the proof just isn't there.

    Legion, the evil character with the distinctive vertical lines in his face, meets an end that is a little bit quick, easy, and which borders on mystical contrivance. I also found the medic, Sal, to play a role that provides a curious twist. Granted, Sal has been on the scene through much of the book, but then seems to come out of left field when his character is needed, then recedes back into mystery.

    Despite these minor issues, I greatly enjoyed Jolie Blon's Bounce, and want to experience more of Burke's titles featuring Dave Robicheaux and get to know these characters more. If I try another audiobook, I wouldn't mind a reader who's a little easier to understand and perhaps gives more differentiation between voices of different characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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