I'm a bit surprised at the other 2 reviews listed here and I fear they may have missed the point. In particular, judging a book based on what it "implies by omission" is inexplicably poor logic. Defending unfulfilled predictions based on the idea that they may one day come true is similarly difficult to digest.
Dan Gardner points out in this book that expert predictions are wrong far, far more often than we'd like to think (equivalent to a monkey throwing darts) and yet people put far too much trust in those predictions time and time again. He does not recommend any particular course of action to remedy this (other than reasonable caution), but so what? He points out this error and points out that it continues to be made despite scads of evidence showing why we should consciously try to avoid making it. He shows why we make this mistake. He explains the science behind the book, which is solid.
He does not imply (even by omission) that we should not plan for the future. He merely points out that using expert predictions has proven to be an ineffective tool for decision making. For example, we SHOULD develop and improve renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources because it makes perfect sense to do so, not because some "expert" predicts huge oil shortages.
We all love to have answers and we all love to believe we have insider knowledge of what the future holds. This is a serious weakness that can be and is exploited by people time and time again. You are far better off with no answer at all than you are with a wrong answer. At least understanding that we don't know what the future holds is a reasonable position to take, and we can move forward ready for anything.
The story "The Cider House Rules" has the potential to go down in history as an all time classic. If my great grandchildren are reading this book along with the works of Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck, I wouldn't be surprised.
John Irving is admittedly one of my favorite writers. His ability to tell epic stories about rich, interesting characters is unrivaled in our time. I will never forget the time I spent with Homer, Melony, Dr. Larch, Fuzzy, Candy, and all the others.
Though other authors can write wonderfully engrossing books with thick plots and unexpected twists, nobody can match John Irving for introducing you to real people and making you a part of their lives.
I've read 5 of J.I.'s works, all of which moved me and made me a fuller person. "The Cider House Rules" was undoubtedly the best.
Grover Gardner does a woderful job with his distinctive voice. He walks a brilliant line between lending credibility to his characters, but not stealing the show. His understated way of narrating/acting was perfect for this book.
For the rest of my life, I'll be on the lookout for the next "The Cider House Rules." Since a work of art like this comes along so rarely, don't you miss it.
I'm glad I listened to this one because had I read it, I probably would have quit halfway through. Dylan Baker does a commendable job given the material he had to work with. Perhaps the subject matter was somewhat revelatory to Tom Wolfe as he researched it, but it is old news to many of us who lived it not too long ago. This book is forgettable, but I plan to seek out more of Dylan Baker's performances. In that sense, I'm glad I learned of a new reader whose work I respect.
Sometimes the classics just can't be beat. I took the Dale Carnegie course, and this book was required reading. It completely changed the way I deal with people, and the overall effect is astonishing. After reading the book, you'll be astonished as to how common-sensical the teachings are, but boy do they work.
I've had at least ten occasions over the past year where I had to deal with very difficult people who were bent on starting a fight or argument. When we were finished, in each case the other person heartily apologized for their behavior and thanked me for keeping a cool head about things. Most importantly though, is that I approached each of these encounters with the utmost confidence that I could handle this person, and this situation. I didn't feel even the slightest bit nervous or afraid. To encounter these types of situations feeling calm and confident is a rare gift that I now have. There is no way to put a price tag on that.
I plan to listen to, and read this book many times over my life. The lessons are invaluable. Don't wait another day before learning the secrets contained in this book.
I admit up front that I am a free market capitalist. I have had the unmitigated gall to start up my own business & ask people to work for a living instead of offering my earnings up for free. It is therefore understandable that those like me are vilified as greedy and heartless by the so called "progressives."
Ayn Rand doesn't waste time with misplaced sympathies, but rather honors those who actually produce, and therefore fulfill society's needs. So what if someone gets rich by employing thousands? Why the jealousy directed at Bill Gates & the like? They created something that helped tens of millions and employed countless thousands. Is that your definition of evil? I don't care if their desire was pure profit or not, they produced something valuable and changed the world as a result. THAT should be honored, not vilified.
For those who argue that "if Bill Gates hadn't done it, someone else would have...", I have a simple response. You're right, but only if that other person could have become obscenely rich as a result. Ayn Rand's message is as pertinent today as when it was written. If you destroy those who create and produce, don't complain when the only ones left are looters and moochers.
Atlas Shrugged fictionalizes a very real evil inherent in socialism and central economic planning. I can't recommend this book enough.
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