Evan Thomas put a lot of research into "John Paul Jones" and the book offers some good insights into the man's character. Unfortunately, he continues to offer them over and over again. Also, he seems a bit blas? about Paul Jones' admission regarding events behind the scandal that brought about Paul Jones' downfall in Russia. Thomas doesn't condone the act, but doesn't incorporate it into his assessment of his subject's character. (I talk around the point to avoid spoiling anyone's listen.)
I listened to The Tipping Point a few years ago and found Gladwell's ideas fascinating but somewhat strained. In David and Goliath, erudition and clever stories mask flawed thinking to an even greater degree. In a nutshell, Gladwell's theory is that inappropriate strategies inevitably flow from advantages or strengths. That sort of flawed causal thinking pervades this book.
For example, in using science education as an example of the "Goliath effect," he makes a facially clever comparison between admissions test scores at "top" undergraduate programs with those at middle-tier schools. His premise is that students at top schools drop out of science because they compare themselves only to high-powered peers at the top-tier school, whilst their test-score counterparts at middle-tier schools stick it out. Nice theory, but it assumes that everyone goes to college with the same goal: a maths or sciences degree. In other words, he assumes that all motivations are created equal across the board. I found this kind of slipshod logic pervasive and maddening.
To be fair, though, Mr. Gladwell is an excellent reader. Maybe he should take on some reading for other authors.
An amazing rookie effort, with lovingly developed characters, a dramatic storyline and a vibrant New York background long-lost to history. And a little bit of magic....
Dense and fascinating ideas, decent characters, cardboard landscape. I've read many of Card's novels and this one is very typical. The ideas make your head spin; the characters are decent people decently rendered. The scene setting somehow seems thin.
The pace of the story was good-- starting slow and building tension, and Finty Williams built the characters well as a reader without intruding too much. The characters had distinctive personalities, and the central idea was a good one. The story did suffer a bit from the "deus ex machina" syndrome to move things along, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment much.
It ends darkly.
The Girl with All the Gifts kept me well engaged and I quickly paced through the performance. I found myself looking for occasions to listen-- always a good marker. The idea of fungus-based zombification was a good take on an old theme. The characters were decently developed. The reader was very good-- unobtrusively distinguishing voices while maintaining a good pace.
John McWhorter has assembled a great series of expositions on the English language, using a largely random organizing principle (the alphabet) to both entertain and educate. He covers quite the gamut, from etymology to pronunciation to grammar and gives just enough information to intrigue without becoming pedantic. He throws in plenty of theory, but is always careful to point out where he is going out on a limb academically, so to speak. He also keeps it entertaining without being trivial or forced. And to top it off, he's a great reader! I gave "story" only 4 stars only because there really isn't one, but even then, Mr. McWhorter does a good job of linking lectures when possible.
"F" bombs throughout. Would've liked to finish listening, but couldn't stand the lack of original and intelligent word choices.
After the second "f" bomb in almost as many minutes, I must admit I gave up. I don't buy foul language as the key to critical thinking skills-- and I certainly don't need my kids thinking massive amounts of swearing will make them problem-solvers and critical thinkers. I had high hopes for this book for myself and the kids. Sad denouement.
"Emperor Mollusk" is a typical A. Lee Martinez lighthearted comedy performed brilliantly. I understand this was Scott Aiello's rookie outing on Audible. And he made the book for me-- and I'm a tough critic of faux British accents (as much as an American who grew up listening to Monty Python and lived in England can claim to be). He nailed it.
I liked the science and I liked most of the characters. I also liked yeoman reader John Lee; his pacing and voice inflections (though a bit clipped) were easy to follow. But I wouldn't recommend "Pushing Ice." The main problem was that the author just couldn't resist tossing ideas and plot developments out like candy at a Mardi Gras parade. So often, I caught a shell of an idea or a thread of character development only to find that the story moved on without me. The secondary problem (for me at least) was that the decades-long implacable hatred of the character Svetlana for her former best friend Bella Lind seemed unrealistic. Overall, if you like big ideas and don't mind a paucity of development, you'll love this book. Me, I'm afraid I'm going to give Mr. Reynolds a pass in the future.
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