I'm a huge fan of Richard Wiseman but I made a mistake buying the audible version of this book. There are a large number of self assessment quizzes which are close to impossible to do while listening to the book and driving at the same time. Also, each chapter has a summary that is 59 seconds worth of actionable advice but you need to dog ear those pages and refer to them before going to work in the morning. Can't dog ear a page in an audible book, can you? It would be nice if the quizzes or the 59 second sections came in a PDF file - a technique used well by Tina Fey's "Bossypants". So this book loses one star for that.
Richard Wiseman is a very entertaining speaker. So it is very surprising that he doesn't narrate his own book. Wiseman's impish humor shows up only rarely in this book but even those rare moments are lost in another person's voice. So I take another star off because of that.
I will probably buy this book in paperback some time in the future, probably at a conference where he is speaking.
Like his friend Muhammed Ali, Billy Crystal might be the best at this genre, the humorous memoir. After hearing Billy read this book, I'm sorry for those you had to actually read it and only pretend they were hearing his voice. Crystal covers his life from birth to his 65th birthday, March of 2013. Although there is a lot of laughs, this book has a number of serious moments. And they are very moving.
When he discusses Ali and Howard Cosell he does their voices and you will bust out laughing. But I also thought it was interesting when he talked about being an atheist (doesn't use that word but he defines it nicely). Then later throughout the book he references heaven and God and having a soul - but then later reaffirms that the life you see is the only life you get. So do something special on your birthday - listen to this book.
Peter Boghossian didn't have to make the case for atheism to convince me. But it was great to hear how many ways that case can be made. Atheists are a small minority in the USA. Whether that's changing or if people are just becoming more apathetic about such questions, I think that's a tough call. But Peter has a plan. Part of the plan is to use words like epistemology (How you know what you know) as often as possible. In fact, Boghossian doesn't want you to become an atheist, he pretty much assumes it. He wants you to become "street epistemologists", people who ask "how do you know that"?
One more word would be good to know when reading/listening to this book: doxastic logic - reasoning about beliefs. The key is to get people to apply reasoning to their beliefs. In doing so you get at the main problem which is not god and is not religion. It is faith itself. Some will object to making "faith" be the target because they say they have faith in their spouse or in a scientific theory. But Peter will explain that sometimes we use "faith" when we really mean "hope" or we mean something for which we have evidence - even if only partial evidence. While religion wants to reward those who have faith with no evidence.
I don't know how much of this book I can put into practice. I should try it on my wife but we have an agreement about that. But I didn't make any such promises to my siblings so maybe I'll start there.
There is nothing boastful about the title. Steve Wozniak had as much to do with the creation of the personal computer as anyone. This book talks about how a particular skill, the ability to create a complete circuit with the smallest possible piece count, came in handy. He actually glosses over how much that was critical in the Apple II and he also doesn't mention one of my key points in computer history. That would have been at a Computer Faire in San Francisco when the crowd wanted to know about the Lisa but Woz said that there is a new computer coming that will really change things. That computer was the Macintosh.
Throughout this book Woz talks about some trick he pulled on someone. I've heard Woz talk many times and you can tell these tricks had no malice or profit motive in them. But the narrator hear doesn't quite capture the "impishness" of Woz's character. Also, the narrator refers to a computing language "complier" when he meant to say a "Compiler" and that's a mistake Woz wouldn't make in a million years. So I deduct one star for Woz not using his own voice and I deduct a second star because the narrator does not have enough computer background to pull it off.
Overall I still recommend this book because it is a great insight into a critical part of the history of the personal computer.
I was disappointed. First, the book is not read by the author (and yes I knew that when I bought it). The author does read a 20 minute acknowledgement segment at the end so there's no real reason not to. Second, I thought the book would be about what happens after humans leave but it turns out to be mostly about what is happening to the Earth now with humans.
As an example, the author talks about the places in the ocean where trash accumulates. That felt like old news. Discussions about how the NY subways will flood seems too obvious Post-Sandy.
The author talks about how plastics will hang around for a long time and speculates that a plastic eating bacteria might come along someday. But I would like to know how that would actually happen.
I also was hoping that there would be a discussion along the lines of - we know the dinosaurs didn't achieve a high level of intelligence during their last 10,000 years of existence because ... After all, this book seems to say that in far less time than 65 million years all human traces will be gone.
The book was well read although when a professional is reading the points of emphasis tend to always be made in the same way. I think the actual author would not do that.
Here is what should happen with this book. PBS or the Science channel should get the rights to this book, film a series in the style of James Burke's Connections, retitle it "What Humans Do to the Earth" or something like that. It would be like "Connections" but the connections would not be from the past to the present but from the present to the future - a future with or without humans.
There might be some pictures in this book that you don't see in the audible version but, then again, the printed version can only hint at the impressions Kevin does. You can't imagine how funny it is to hear him do Alan Arkin, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Christopher Walken, William Shatner and others. Besides the performance aspect of this book, which is reason enough to get this book, Pollak gives an unvarnished look at the entertainment. How hard is it to work in a movie, what is life like on a sitcom, how do (um) middling stars interact with actual stars?
Are you in S.F. Bay area? This book might bring back memories of the long-gone Circle Star Theatre. I saw Kevin Pollok like at Rooster T. Feathers about 23 years ago so you can call me a long-time fan.
Loved this book. Thank you Kevin.
A great performance and a very easy listen if the language doesn't offend you. But he does go off the deep end sometimes. In one place he seems to think that Dr. Martin Luther King was accepting of atheists. Then later he says his friends say President Obama is an atheist but he is keeping it a secret. From there he blames Obama for being a silent atheist. He should be blaming his friends for making stuff up.
But Jillette is best at being polemical, not political. Liberalism, not libertarianism. Skeptical, not cynical. Well, that might all seem like cheap shots. But, hey, I like Penn and I liked this book. It's not quite as good as "God, No!" but then sequels almost never are.
I think you should pair this book with Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" which is referenced in this book. Both give reasons for optimism about the future. But in this book the rosy predictions don't feel as solid as in Pinker. Reason? Well, Pinker shows how violence is reduced today compared to the past. This book compares the future with the present. That's a harder sell. How can you convince me that there will be food for all in the future when that isn't true right this minute? In this book they talk about solutions that will just naturally come to past and I have to ask "then why don't we have some solutions now?" So color me skeptical in regards to this book. There is another book "To save everything, click here" by Evgeny Morozov which takes a decidedly different point of view. I haven't read Morozov because I want the buzz from "Abundance" to last a little while longer.
I give this 4 stars for performance but Keith Carradine was a great choice and he did a great job - particularly in the second half of the book when he really seems more emotionally connected. But I would only give 5 stars if Neil Young had narrated this himself. But give it up for Mr. Carradine. As the book moved on I was not only hearing his voice but I was picturing him as if he was reading stuff he saw for himself.
On at least one occasion I was at a hockey game with Neil Young sitting beside me. That only happened because we each have a son with cerebral palsy so we were in the handicapped section. During intermissions some people would come up behind where we were sitting and just kind of stand there awestruck. Neil Young has a lot of fans. Me too although I had a slight worry that someone might mistake me for David Crosby. I mention this only to illustrate that I know Neil Young as a real person besides being a rock icon. And also to note that my favorite scenes were often about "Ben Young". He almost always referred to his son that way (and there is one scene that illustrates the confusion that might occur otherwise) yet he is just as likely to refer to Bob Dylan as "Bob" even if he hasn't mentioned him in the previous half-hour.I also found myself fitting into this story at various other places. I completely understand the love of model trains, going on road trips, getting the most out of music as a listener, building electric cars. I bet a lot of people will find connections to his story. The ones likely to be disappointed are the ones who expect a lot of chapters (and he tends to write many, small chapters) to start with "I was so wasted that I ...".
This book is not even close to being in chronological order. And maybe that would take spirit out of the author if you made him cut/paste it into something resembling a narrative. But I think he wrote this book as if it was a phase of his life between two other phases and he didn't have the time (or the inclination) to futz with it.
Overall I liked this a bit better than the Heart memoir even though I tend to like to hear about women's lives more than men's. I also think it is interesting how people will write about their drug history and say "it wasn't so bad" and I'm thinking "oh, you were lucky". And they write about their sex lives and they seem to say "I guess I got around" and I'm thinking "that's it - where's the rest of the stories". I'm very glad I read this book but I think I'm temporarily done with Rock bios and Actor bios and Comedian bios. Might go looking for Science or Philosophy bios.
I read this in 12th grade, my son read it in 6th grade. I wonder that means. This book is, of course, a classic of American fiction and I feel funny trying to review the book itself. Let me just say it is great particularly more so that more deeply you study it. I knew someone who did a doctoral thesis on all of the Christic symbolism. I also remember the comparison of two fried eggs and breasts. I guess you have to think about it. Also, the phrase about the young women would give up some of themselves which you have to know means they are available for sex. I wonder if my son heard that in 6th grade.
Isn't this book all about character? And that character is Gatsby. Or is the character really an everyman, but with access to lots of money. And chutzpah. But you put chutzpah and money together and some would say that equals America. Or is it?
I did not know about the Jake Gyllenhaal version before hearing this one. Robbins was very good and I don't think I needed another version (in fact, why does Audible need so many versions).
I think I could have listened to it all in one sitting, it is a compact novel.
The latest attempt at making a movie from this novel is due in one week as I write this. I will have to see that movie even if the critics pan it all to hell. I just have to see if DiCaprio fits the version of Gatsby that's in my head.
The book starts out saying this won't be about showbiz. Then the first half of the book is about showbiz especially SNL and Second City. But that's good since that's why we want to buy this book isn't it. This book actually tells you some things about SNL you didn't find out by reading Tina Fey's Bossypants. But it is the comparison to Bossypants that hurts this book. Although the performance is great it just isn't as interesting as Tina Fey's book which is quickly becoming the standard for Audible autobiographies.
The performance in this book was great, the biggest selling point of this book. I feel bad for the people who only get to read it.
No. In fact there is a break point about 3 hours in that makes an easy stopping point.
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