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Niall

Member Since 2010

250
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 25 reviews
  • 85 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 105 purchased in 2014
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23

  • Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By A. J. Jacobs
    • Narrated By A. J. Jacobs
    Overall
    (427)
    Performance
    (364)
    Story
    (360)

    A. J. Jacobs tackles his most challenging experiment yet: a yearlong mission to radically improve every element of his body and mind - from his brain to his fingertips to his abs. First, he had to tackle a complicated web of diet and exercise advice, most which is nonsensical, unproven, and contradictory. Second, he had to consult a team of medical advisers. And finally, he had to subject himself, over the course of two years, to a grueling regimen of exercises and a range of diets and nutritional plans.

    Niall says: "A comic tries a little of everything"
    "A comic tries a little of everything"
    Overall
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    What made the experience of listening to Drop Dead Healthy the most enjoyable?

    I am a longtime fan of the experimental books by AJ Jacobs who is best known for writing about the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (the know-it-all) and the year in which he followed all the rules of the bible (The Year if Living Biblically) and now this one where he tries to get “healthy” but because everyone has a different idea of health and how to achieve it he spends a lot of time bumbling between one crazy idea to another without the normal discriminating gaze of an experienced athlete. He does eventually settle on some kind of routine but it is unclear what he was doing. I know that near the end of the book he was benching 185 lbs x 15 reps which is very good for a middleweight and fantastic for a person of his size with so very little experience- he could also do about 170 push-ups in one go. How did he achieve these feats? We may never know. The parts I was most interested in, like his exact workout routine and diet are seldom discussed- more time is focused on new experimental or silly fads. I do know that he spent a lot of time on the wii which gave him a training injury and that much of the book was written while on a treadmill allowing him to walk over a thousand miles – I may need to get one of those. I can't emphasize enough that this is not a “health book” it is a pseudo intellectual humor book about health. It is fun natured and he quotes a lot of the most popular currently trending health books that he got from TED (so he knows these people)- but I do not know what all he kept at the end of the experience other than a lot of tips on eating small portions- He said in an interview that the healthy lifestyle almost killed him- I may been dozing off a little here and there but I don't remember anything like that in there. So the book is very fun but terribly incomplete


    What other book might you compare Drop Dead Healthy to and why?

    The other books by AJ Jacobs are really just prequels to this one- same genre- same charicters- different experiments. One certainly has to admire his adventurous spirit, attempting everything at least once- reminding me of what a close minded curmudgeon I really am. I am glad to have his opinion of so very many angles of the health world including a couple I had not heard of before


    Any additional comments?

    I spent a lot of the book wondering when he was going to get down to business and start the REAL MAN exercises- He did do them at some point but didn't write about it. I feel cheated. Sounds like they worked well, too. Also, a Before and after PDF would have been nice.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • CrossFit Plus Greg Glassman Equals Fitness Fad Corruption

    • UNABRIDGED (25 mins)
    • By Trevor Clinger
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Whittle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    This article may help you in backing up your decisions to end your membership or be preventing from joining in the first place, which may be a good thing in terms of saving you money and from the experience of lifetime medical harm.

    Niall says: "Shockingly bad"
    "Shockingly bad"
    Overall
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    Story

    Total disclosure- I did crossfit for a month about two years ago and had good results and I continue to watch it on TV.

    Crossfit refers to a fitness based sport in which participants do a number exercises in a race to finish the list (which they call a WOD) first. To train for this event competitors do crossfit workouts. The workouts are designed so that most people including the obese, the elderly and super elite athletes can join in. Times are posted so everyone can compare results.

    The writer of this book constantly confuses a crossfit workout with a crossfit competition. In a full out competition everyone uses the same weight and they compete for big money on TV. At the gym you are just getting stronger. This simple confusion makes up more than half of his arguments. He makes a big deal about how different people need to lift different weights which in the gym they all do. There is a lot of talk about how beginner athletes should not compete with more advanced athletes which in the gym of course they don't. Everyone know who everyone is so I know not to compare myself to the obese or elderly folk or most of the women nor super advanced guys who look like toy action figures. I know that I can outrun the 350 pound strongman but I can't out lift him. Then there are the men who are about my size and build and fitness level and we can all compete and it's fun.

    He has some really broken arguments about the choices of exercises, especially with a kipping pull up. If you do not know what a kipping pull up is you can google it but basically it is a pullup plus momentum that uses a lot more muscles of the body. The swinging lets you pull higher and do reps faster but they will exhaust you much faster. 1 kipping pull up ( to the nipples) is about as hard as 1 traditional pull up but ten kipping pullups is harder than 40 pull-ups. Mr. Clinger goes on and on about how this kind of pull up is wrong and that it is both performed wrong and that it gives all the wrong results. That it is a separate exercise seems totally lost on him. Yes, crossfitters know what a traditional pull up is- they CHOOSE to do kipping pull ups because the workouts prefer full body movements over isolation movements.

    He spends time talking about crossfitter nutrition even though crossfit does not have an official diet. He keeps saying how bad a low carb diet is though I have never heard a crossfitter describe his diet as "low-carb" Glassman does Zone (which can be considered low carb though Glassman doesn't) and eats lots of vegetables but simply encourages people to eat naturally. The most common diet is Paleo though the current champion Rich Fronning just eats whatever he wants. Mr Clinger is just plain making stuff up.

    Everything gets compared to bodybuilding. I don't have a problem with bodybuilding but kettle-bells, calisthenics, olympic rings and aerobics are all good too. To Mr Clinger everything that is not bodybuilding (bar or dumbbell 5-15 reps- isolation exercises) is simply wrong

    There is more- much more that is wrong or illogical. The only point that I agree with is that Cross-fit has a far too relaxed attitude about Rhabdo which occurs in a small number of participants.

    There are REAL complaints to be had about cross-fit. The competitions do not have weight classes so anyone with a small frame can never compete on the national level. The schools lack uniformity so you never know how advanced the athletes or the exercises will be from one gym to another. These issues are never talked about. From what I can tell the author saw a kipping pull up- did not understand it and then he wrote the book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Naturally Triple Your Testosterone: A Guide to Hacking Your Hormones and Becoming Superhuman

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 7 mins)
    • By Peter Paulson
    • Narrated By Chris Brinkley
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Have you begun to notice any of the following? A lack of energy? A lack of concentration? A lack of muscle and a surplus of fat? A decrease in your sex drive? You shouldn't be surprised as these are all common symptoms of low testosterone and with every passing year your testosterone levels drop significantly. Mix in poor dietary choices, poor sleep, no exercise and stress and what you have is a recipe for hormonal disaster.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Less pills"
    "Worhtless!"
    Overall
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    Story

    This is just a simple list of basic, intuitive, common knowledge tips such as get enough sleep, try not to get overly stressed, get enough exercise etc. There is absolutely nothing in here that your mother has not already told you to do anyways. There is nothing in here that is not an intuitive step to being generally healthy. These are not even things that you "should do" as much as things you are probably already doing if you are healthy person. Total waste of money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Case For Homeschooling: 95 Theses Against the School System

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Andrew Bushard
    • Narrated By Gerald Frazier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
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    (1)

    Are you offended by the elitism of the public schools? Do you believe parents not bureaucrats should control children's education? Are you appalled at the school system's abuse of pharmaceutical drugs? Do you feel confined by mandatory curriculum and compulsory education? Are you fed up with the lackluster education the public schools provide our children? Would you consider homeschooling and other alternatives to the public schools? If you answered yes to these questions, then A Case for Homeschooling: 95 Theses Against the School System may be for you!

    Niall says: "I give him an F and a "come see me after class""
    "I give him an F and a "come see me after class""
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    95 theses against the school system and I don't think I agree with the author on a single one of them. Pretty impressive since I love the authors he cites, I love the homeschooling and schooling movements, survived some extremely bad school experiences and loved being home schooled. Most of his complaints are that school teachers engage in politics and behind the scenes drama, favoritism, rank based on education with the people who hold the fewest credentials being given the least work and the most demeaning tasks and with the most educated and most powerful staff calling the shots. In that case I guess we should shut down all newspapers, hospitals, grocery stores... just about everything. Most of his examples are very specific to his own work history and how he did not get along with some of his peers. There is a lot of talk about his principal who he constantly refers to as "Chairman Mao" because being unwilling to negotiate with a teachers assistant is just like-- genocide? This is the first and only book about homeschooling that I find to be poorly thought out and grossly harmful to the movement. The reader has a hard time with some words, I cringe every time he says "ask" as he will say "ax a question" At least he has the decency to read quickly. I wish more readers could match his pace. Though his pace is inconsistent- when he is reading fast he goes at what I think is the perfect pace. If he can develop a bit of annunciation and double check how to say key names and big words he could be a great reader in the future

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By William A. Donius
    • Narrated By Fred Stella
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Thought Revolution invites readers to unlock their whole brain to change the way they see themselves and find the truth in whatever challenges them. Encompassing twelve years of research, the book takes readers on an unexpected journey that will set them free - and it all begins with moving the pen from one hand to the other. The technique is called “intuitive,” or “nondominant” hand writing and is the basis for this revolutionary approach to making lasting life changes.

    Niall says: "Write with your non-dominant hand- It's Great!"
    "Write with your non-dominant hand- It's Great!"
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    Write with your non-dominant hand. Why-- dunno. Maybe you will think of something new. What is that good for. Idunno. The example that keeps coming up is "what animal would you want to be?" my dominant right hand says tiger but my non-dominant left says sparrow- what does that mean? I don't know. It is not useful and hearing it over and over for several hours does not shed any light on the topic. This might have been an interesting paragraph but after this book I never want to hear about this topic again until someone somewhere figures out what this is good for

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven Novella
    Overall
    (907)
    Performance
    (820)
    Story
    (805)

    No skill is more important in today's world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in an effective and responsible way. What's more, at no point in human history have we had access to so much information, with such relative ease, as we do in the 21st century. But because misinformation out there has increased as well, critical thinking is more important than ever. These 24 rewarding lectures equip you with the knowledge and techniques you need to become a savvier, sharper critical thinker in your professional and personal life.

    K-Rock says: "Common sense guide to skepticism"
    "As long as it's not your first book in the genre"
    Overall
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    Story

    This book moves very fast and covers a lot of topics throwing out logical vocabulary and case studies and clear examples at a super rapid pace. If I did not know all of the stories he was talking about before I read the book I would be very frustrated. He might mention the Orson Wells War of the Worlds Radio Show incident and quickly move on. If you don't already ready know the story than you are out of luck. For us that know this material it is like six books in one. The question might be- why read a book if you know all the material- meh, it's fun, it's healthy to review, it is nice to hear it from a new perspective. But if someone said that he was moving too quickly or not explaining himself enough I would totally understand

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Amanda Ripley
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (348)
    Story
    (345)

    How do other countries create "smarter" kids? In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers? In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year.

    André says: "Great teachers+ Raise kids' bar+ Don't exaggerate"
    "a Wanna-be fiction writer avoids the subject"
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    This is a book about kids who wanted to go to school in Europe and found ways to go. This is NOT a book about how those schools are different. Any discussion about the differences in the school systems is a footnote to the real topic of the book- long overly dramatized mini-novels about kids who want to go to Europe- Why do they want to go? Meh, Not important. Every time the writer comes dangerously close to having to say something substantive about her supposed topic she very suddenly and awkwardly changes the subject. She might have though she was being suspenseful but I don't have a whole lot of patience for writers who want to fill their non-fictions with pointless stories, all of which are overly dramatized to pad her book. Who cares how depressed these kids were about the weather and what they thought about their hair when they wanted to go to school in Europe? How about telling us the differences in the schools? Differences in the administration? Differences in the techniques? Differences in the discipline? Differences in the teachers? Differences in the culture? Differences in the schedules, curriculum, athletics, funding ANYTHING! What about a book about The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way? Would that be too much to ask? I am going to get a refund. This book is nothing like advertised. People who like short novels about kids getting into European schools will find this book entertaining.

    74 of 83 people found this review helpful
  • Improve Personal Problem Solving Skills

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 23 mins)
    • By Frank Natter
    • Narrated By Frank Natter
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Improve personal problem solving skills! Others try! You can succeed! First do no harm! Take responsible action through four-step L-I-F-E/LAW Skills, or do not take responsibility and remain stuck in depressing four-step P-A-I-N/DISORDER Skills. Attorney and Educator, Frank Natter compares four step responsible problem solving, with four steps in effective legal problem solving, offering a series of articles and online continuing education programs for the public and professionals.

    Niall says: "Worst Audio Ever!"
    "Worst Audio Ever!"
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    This sounds worse than if it was recorded on an olde audio cassette player- there seems to be a vacuum or loud air conditioner in the backround. Doors opening and closing. the reader stumbles on his lines, trails off, mumbles and reads slowly with long pauses. I got about twenty minutes in. While I would not be surprised if I had missed some of the content all I got from the book was that it is important to develop personal problem solving skills- not instructions on how to do it. I can't go any further. I hope I can get a refund.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Mathew Klickstein
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    The Behind the scenes Story of the network that Shaped a generation. SLIMED! is the first oral history to chronicle the surprisingly complex, wonderfully nostalgic, and impressively compelling story of Nickelodeon, the first kids’ network. Beginning as a DIY start-up in the late seventies, the network forged ahead through the early eighties with a tiny band of young artists and filmmakers, transforming itself into a cultural force in the late eighties and nineties that would change everything about cable television, television in general, animation, and children’s entertainment.

    Niall says: "Almost- not even a book"
    "Almost- not even a book"
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    This is just a long LONG series of seemingly random quotes from people who worked at Nickelodeon in the 80's and 90's. The program gives a name and then a quote- over and over. No attempt is made to link any name to any program or role so if you don't recognize a name then you are out of luck. In fact, many of the quotes mention other names also without explanation and you have to try to figure out who these people are as well. I spent the entire book just trying to figure out who was being quoted and who was being talked about. From what I have pieced together the contributors are mainly directors, executives and actors. Again- all they give you is a name and a few sentences so the extreme majority of the time you have no idea what show or what era the line is related to and there is no pattern. Sometimes there will be a bunch of lines that mostly relate to "Are You Afraid of the Dark" followed by a bunch of lines that mostly relate to "Salute Your Shorts" but even these are not consistent blocks and the transitions are not announced.

    AGAIN, I need to really drive this point home- there is NO commentary except a name and then a quote- and then a name and then a quote. You don't know if this is a child actor or a stage hand and because it is so very scrambled YOU CAN'T KNOW WHAT THE QUOTE IS ABOUT! Waste of time and money.

    A real shame because with just a little effort it could have been fun instead of frustrating

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dale J. Stephens
    • Narrated By Kyle McCarley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    In Hacking Your Education, Stephens speaks to a new culture of "hackademics" who think college diplomas are antiquated. Stephens shows how he and dozens of others have hacked their education, and how you can, too. You don't need to be a genius or especially motivated to succeed outside school. The real requirements are much simpler: curiosity, confidence, and grit. Hacking Your Education offers valuable advice to current students as well as those who decided to skip college.

    Niall says: "Unschooling for adults"
    "Unschooling for adults"
    Overall
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    This book is an adult variation on the homeschooling movement- more specifically the un-schooling movement which focuses strongly on self guided education. Themes include ways to get into college courses without paying (and without accreditation and sneaking into expensive seminars and getting jobs that utilize a persons skills in spite of education. The idea that a person might not have highly sought after technical skills to begin with seems totally lost on the author. Much of the book focuses on how great it was for hundreds of now successful individual people to have skipped high school and college in preference of their own path- so far less time is really spent on educating ones self. It is however a dandy little guide in making your life more interesting and sparking new ways of thinking but I am not sure how much more marketable it can make someone. I think most people with marketable skills are aware that certification is an outdated hassle and many employers do too. Those people are already looking for loopholes to bypass those requisites. I would recommend this book to people interested in the Homeschool/ unschool movement or to people looking for new ways to learn things- don't expect this one to make you any money or help you to get a job. The ability to acquire new marketable skills (for adults) is hardly discussed

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Radical: Fighting to Put Students First

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Michelle Rhee
    • Narrated By Shannon McManus
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    Part memoir, part manifesto, Radical is this fearless advocate's incisive, intensely personal call-to-arms. Rhee combines the story of her own extraordinary experience with dozens of compelling examples from schools she's worked in and studied-from students from unspeakable home lives who have thrived in the classroom to teachers whose radical methods have produced unprecedented leaps in achievement. Radical chronicles Rhee's awakening to the potential of every child, her rage at the special interests blocking badly-needed change, and her recognition that it will take a grassroots movement to create outstanding public schools.

    Marie says: "Good read after seeing Waiting for Superman"
    "Not much new here"
    Overall
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    What would have made Radical better?

    I would have preferred if she shared her views on what would make schools better or worse. For the most part the criticism for schools is that they are "bad" and should be "good". That the levels of proficiency in math and science are "low" and they should be "high" and the best solution is the get "better" teachers. I wanted her to say what kinds of traits and behaviors make a better teacher or what makes a better atmosphere for learning. She did share her views on the voucher system (she is for it in cases that it allows kids to get better education results) and for strong teacher evaluation including kids ranking the teachers. However, more of this book is on her personal story of growing up, getting jobs, rubbing shoulders with important people and occasionally complaining about the teachers union. for Michelle Rhee's views on the teachers unions watch the big documentaries on education reform today such as The Cartel and Waiting for Superman (starring Michelle Rhee) also on the topic of education reform I recommend The War on Kids


    Any additional comments?

    I still hope that Rhee works to make schools better, the reforms she suggests are too simple to fill a book but are difficult to fill a life's work. she is indeed a hero- When she has something more to say- I hope to listen

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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