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John

MENLO PARK, CA, United States | Member Since 2018

253
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 50 reviews
  • 342 ratings
  • 314 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2018
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FOLLOWERS
8

  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Michael Pollan
    • Narrated By Michael Pollan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1649)
    Performance
    (1468)
    Story
    (1464)

    In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth - to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world....

    Mark says: "A bit bland"
    "For curious cooks . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was not as transformative a listen as Botany of Desire, but I really enjoyed it and found myself talking about it a lot with friends. (always a good sign) It made me want to get into my kitchen on a weekend and experiment with long-ago clipped recipes. Very enjoyable.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts - Becoming the Person You Want to Be

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter
    • Narrated By Marshall Goldsmith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2581)
    Performance
    (2256)
    Story
    (2234)

    In business, the right behaviors matter. But getting it right is tricky. Even when we acknowledge the need to change what we do and how we do it, life has a habit of getting in the way, upsetting even the best-laid plans. And just how do we manage those situations that can provoke even the most rational among us into behaving in ways we would rather forget?

    J. Hook says: "I wish everyone could read this book!"
    "Some Good Info, buried in "business book-ese""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book reminded me to be wary of books read by the author, excepting Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Sara Vowell, David McCullough, etc.

    Overall, I would not buy in hindsight, nor will I listen again. In fairness to the author, I did not realize it was classified as "Business / Leadership" until just now----I was expecting more of a lay psychology book based upon the title. That's on me for not looking at the book more carefully before purchasing.

    I understand some of the following criticisms are par for the course with business/leadership books, but even so, where was the editor? Did I really need to be told three times (more?) in three different ways that the author had a Doctorate from UCLA? Was the parade of "CEO of XYZ Corp" clients really supposed to impress me?

    For me a tedious listen, with long stretches of anecdotal blather between nuggets of interesting ideas. I'm writing this review not to diss the author or book, but for readers like myself who are misled by the cover / description / title. For me, it's an example of why I seldom read these kinds of books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Carol Dweck
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    Overall
    (8550)
    Performance
    (7090)
    Story
    (7005)

    Mindset is one of those rare audio books that can help you make positive changes in your life and at the same time see the world in a new way. A leading expert in motivation and personality psychology, Carol Dweck has discovered in more than 20 years of research that our mindset is not a minor personality quirk: it creates our whole mental world. It explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. It shapes our goals, our attitude toward work, and ultimately predicts whether or not we will fulfull our potential.

    Peter says: "Gems sparsely scattered throughout a desert"
    "Literally Mind-Altering"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An excellent and useful book that genuinely changed how I think about certain things, especially in regards to my daughter and my students.
    Excellent and thought-provoking book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Randall Munroe
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    Overall
    (6809)
    Performance
    (6224)
    Story
    (6188)

    Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

    Wayne P Martin says: "Just two words needed."
    "A bit short, but funny!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not for everyone probably, but for science nerds, or lay science nerds, very entertaining. Quite funny to listen to, but it was shorter than I expected----it finished at about what I felt should have been the 1/2 to 2/3rd's point.

    Very good though. A solid funny credit for someone who enjoys science reading. (Mary Roach, etc.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Wright Brothers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By David McCullough
    Overall
    (9828)
    Performance
    (8887)
    Story
    (8869)

    Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story behind the story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

    On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright's Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why?

    Vince says: "Great Story but narration is a little boring"
    "David McCullough . . . 'nuff said."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While not my favorite David McCullough book----(for me, either Greater Journey or Truman) it's David McCullough, who for me has never disappointed. Not as rich and comprehensive as some of his books, it feels like the right length for the subject, etc. If you're a fan of his writing, it's his usual solid effort.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Influx

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6681)
    Performance
    (6138)
    Story
    (6145)

    Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

    Craig says: "Solid to Silly to Inane"
    "Beach Reading . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not bad, a few clever twists, a few interesting ideas, capably handled. I'm not a "genre" reader so I probably hold books like this to a higher standard than dedicated sci-fi readers, but I would say I was entertained . . . but not enthralled as I have been by some sci-fi. This book is not Dune . . . or even close . . . but it's probably better than 75% of the sci-fi books I take a chance on.

    I was expecting a bit more based on the reviews, but c'est la vie.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gone with the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Margaret Mitchell
    • Narrated By Linda Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7941)
    Performance
    (6479)
    Story
    (6507)

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Margaret Mitchell's great novel of the South is one of the most popular books ever written. Within six months of its publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind had sold a million copies. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and more than 28 million copies have been sold. Here are the characters that have become symbols of passion and desire....

    dallas says: "not to miss audible experience"
    "Chick Lit before there was a name for it . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, I didn't hate the book at all. But I didn't love it either. And for a 49 hour investment, I wanted more.

    Here would be my quick characterization to help you decide:
    * I chose it based on the many high reviews---which I generally trust. (Books over 4.3 are generally "worth it" in my experience.
    * If you're a fan of Jane Austen, (or perhaps Les Miserables) you'll probably love this book. I respect Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Austen's writing, but would not consider myself a fan. If you're not a fan of Jane Austen, I'd avoid. I should've avoided this one.

    I hope that helps someone decide! (Btw, It may not have helped that I think I'm married to a Scarlet O'Hara . . .)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • NPCs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Drew Hayes
    • Narrated By Roger Wayne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7769)
    Performance
    (7286)
    Story
    (7278)

    What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters? In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry.

    Miachi says: "Enjoyable if you manage your expectations"
    "A Counter-balance to the glowing reviews?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not trying to be a jerk or snarky here, but I feel like I was suckered by reviews and want my credit back . . .

    Yes, I have pretty high standards, even for genre books, but when reading books like this I WANT to like them---I grew up in the 70's and 80's playing D&D . . . I am squarely within the demographic . . . I'm not asking for Pat Conroy or John Steinbeck . . . but man, this is bad writing, on the level of internet fan-fiction.

    I could almost hear the characters say: "Thistle grinned, and thought to himself, "Now is the time for exposition to explain away the obvious hole in the plot . . ."

    AVOID. This book caused me to formulate a new rule: "Avoid writers who think they are clever." I kept hoping it would redeem itself with a clever concept or plot twist, but no. I can honestly say this is the worst book I have ever finished.

    I think it's been said before, but this is not writing, it's typing.

    27 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Henson: The Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Brian Jay Jones
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (708)
    Performance
    (654)
    Story
    (656)

    For the first time ever - a comprehensive biography of one of the 20th century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

    T says: "Dramatically complete"
    "I started with impatience . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a beautiful story, about a man worthy of emulation.

    I was irritated in the beginning by the level of detail in the (pre-) biography, but quickly forgave. As someone in a creative profession, as someone who grew up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and as a dad raising a child, this audiobook resonated with me and literally had me in tears (happy and sad) at several moments. A very emotional read all things considered.

    The world is a poorer place without the likes of Jim Henson. Well-written and truly affective.

    R.I.P. Mr. Henson, you did well by the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26200)
    Performance
    (23879)
    Story
    (23881)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Heather says: "A heartwrenching story read absolutely brilliantly"
    "Entertaining, excellent vocal performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know what I expected from this book, but it wasn't what it is! Interesting tale, "alternative future" quasi-sci-fi . . . while I wouldn't say it's a book I'd recommend to all my friends, it was definitely on the better side of what passes for escapist fiction. A very worthy use of a credit, well-written, (much above average in this regard for the genre) and an EXCELLENT performance by Claire Danes.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sean Howe
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (768)
    Performance
    (699)
    Story
    (697)

    Throughout this decades-long journey to becoming a multibillion-dollar enterprise, Marvel's identity has continually shifted, careening between scrappy underdog and corporate behemoth. As the company has weathered Wall Street machinations, Hollywood failures, and the collapse of the comic book market, its characters have been passed along among generations of editors, artists, and writers - also known as the celebrated Marvel "Bullpen".

    Greg says: "It's as if this book was written for me!"
    "A Tawdry and Compelling History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never understood Reed Richard's hair . . . a few years ago I woke up and realized I had it.

    If you get that joke . . . or if you are/were a Marvel comic book junkie, born between about 1958-78 (I was born in '68) I think you'd enjoy this book in some way, with the particular type of joy dependent on your personality.

    For me, it was a bit like reading about a childhood hero ("Say it ain't so, Marvel") who you later found out was an alcoholic, misogynistic, criminal bastard in their day-to-day life.

    I usually can't stomach gossip, or seedy insinuation---I could never read "The Comics Journal" back in the day----but somehow this book manages to cover the history of Marvel and such topics in all their tawdry glory without making you feel like you hate humanity in general.

    A disclaimer: I probably represent about the most interested possible audience for this book. As a young artist I came very close to working for the major companies (the Shooter/DeFalco regimes) before I became a mainstream commercial illustrator (Briefly, I did later work for Eclipse and Dark Horse) and so almost every name mentioned brought forth from memory a face and a conversation at a convention, but I think even if you were just interested in the 1980's comics as a reader this would still be a fascinating peek behind the scenes.

    Beyond all of the above, this book is also an almost accidental testimony to the oblivious evils of corporate greed and what happens when it collides with a creator's idealistic artistic passion. (Creators lose the battle, but have a lot more fun and fewer regrets on their deathbed.)

    Excelsior . . .




    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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