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Gregory

Truck Driver

Ranger, GA, United States | Member Since 2010

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 181 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Francis Fukuyama
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (321)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (265)

    Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

    Henderson says: "Best Summary of Political History I've Read"
    "interminable drivel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love nonfiction because there's always something useful in it. Even long bad sections normally don't detract from the gems of wisdom in a work of nonfiction. But if this one had any gems, I must have already been asleep when I got there. Mostly it's all vaguely stated and carefully hedged opinions with little categorical value.

    6 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3573)
    Performance
    (2041)
    Story
    (2055)

    For two thousand years, cadavers have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.

    Matthew says: "Darn funny if you're open to the idea."
    "I Couldn't Get Through This"
    Overall

    A scholarly dissertation on defecation couldn't be any worse. I forced my way through about half of it before revulsion forced me to put it down. I refuse to think about this while I'm alive. When I'm dead, rush me to the crematorium, please.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2577)
    Performance
    (1515)
    Story
    (1487)

    In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

    Joshua Kim says: "Very Very Smart"
    "Understanding Randomness is essential, and HARD"
    Overall

    With "The Selfish Gene" and "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" in the seventies, up through this book and "The Invisible Gorilla" issued by audible, educated people are offered a chance to struggle with the counterintuitive randomness that rules us, and the brain wiring that cannot detect randomness without training. History is linear certainty. The future is only probability, and hence unknowable. Garth Brooks says to "...Thank God for Unanswered Prayers." I say to read/hear every book like this you can find in a struggle to grasp the nature of randomness, and our own inborn blindness to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Explosion Aboard the Deepwater Horizon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tom Shroder, John Konrad
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    In the spring of 2010 the world watched for weeks as more than 200 million gallons of crude oil billowed from a hole three miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Warnings of various and imminent environmental consequences dominated the news. Deepwater drilling - largely ignored or misunderstood to that point - exploded in the American consciousness in the worst way possible. Fire on the Horizon, written by veteran oil rig captain John Konrad and longtime Washington Post journalist Tom Shroder, recounts in vivid detail the life of the rig itself, from its construction to its improbable journey in the year 2000 to its end.

    Shep says: "An incredibly well-told story"
    "It was a Boring Day Until the World Blew Up......."
    Overall

    This is the type of book I love, issued as soon as possible by a great author. His attempt to make the dead friends and relatives of his sources look good is understandable, but a mild distraction. His description of the culture on a floating oil rig is great, as is his rendition of what it's like to be in the middle of an explosion. The turbines revving in spite of the automatic shutdown, fed by airborne gas and their own momentum until the scream rose beyond the range of human hearing, haunts me. I can hear it in my bones. What fiction writer could have conceived such an omen of doom?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unfamiliar Fishes

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sarah Vowell
    • Narrated By Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, John Hodgman, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (920)
    Performance
    (561)
    Story
    (562)

    In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as crucial to our nation's identity, a year when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded Cuba and then the Philippines, becoming a meddling, self-serving, militaristic international superpower practically overnight. Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized in 1898, Vowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing.

    Kat says: "Sarah Vowell does it again!"
    "Gentle, Humorous, and Politically Liberal"
    Overall

    Yes, the first listen-through it would have been better if performed by a professional voice actor. And I don't care. I love the book, and I love the author. I'm glad for the additional intimacy of hearing her words in her own voice. Think of her as an aural political cartoonist; a kinder, gentler Molly Ivins.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Evolutionary Psychology I: The Science of Human Nature

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Allen D. MacNeill
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (75)

    “Why do we do what we do?” In this thought-provoking series of lectures, Professor Allen D. MacNeill examines the surprising - and sometimes unsettling - answers to this most basic of human questions. The remarkable new field of evolutionary psychology takes a scientific approach to the evolution of human nature. Analyzing human behavior in relation to food, clothing, shelter, health care, and sex, Evolutionary Psychology proves an immensely stimulating exploration of human endeavor.

    James says: "Great primer on Evolutionary Psychology"
    "Listened with My Wife and Mistress"
    Overall

    The first third is a boring philosophical/epistomological historical background of the subject. The rest is mostly about sex, giving us all grand permission to spray it around. What could be better than that?

    I blundered into this subject as a wannabe writer looking for insights into human nature. This was pretty good. So were the two Tonny recommended. I also suggest "The Invisible Gorilla"

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful

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