I listened to this lecture 3 times. It is only a little over an hour. It is incoherent and unintelligible. I would recommend against a purchase.
This history of New Zealand is way too long and written in an incredibly dry manner, especially when the author specifically states that the book isn't written for historians but for average people who want to learn more about New Zealand history. It was so painful to listen to that I finally gave up.
Not on your life. I purchased the trilogy because it was supposed to be about science and climate change. After listening to the first 4 chapters of the first book, I am totally disappointed in the naiveté about NSF, international science, biotechnology and climate change. As a world class professional scientist who has reviewed extensively for NSF, has been involved in extensive NATO funded collaborations, and has spent the past 15 years working in biotechnology and reading extensively on climate change, I cannot stomach reading any more of even the first book. The description of what NSF does is superficial as is the near-fantasy about biotechnology companies (e.g., the CEO buying an unproven technology for $51M without the advice of the chief research scientist).
Very dry reading of the material but perhaps the narrator found the book as bad as I did :-)
"Didn't love" is the wrong description. The book was bad. Perhaps the only thing to learn from this book is that scientists have to write even popular books about science, e.g., "The eighth day of creation" by Judson. Apparently, it is much harder for a writer to learn enough science to write a believable novel about science than for a scientist to learn to write entertaining prose.
The entire book was 1 sarcastic comment after another, each delivered without any timing.
The only good part was the brief description of Tina's father. She clearly loved and admired him.
I had high expectations for this book based upon her work on Saturday Night live and 30 Rock. Afterwards, I had no respect or interest in Tina Fey. Indeed, I think she was so good as portraying Sarah Palin because she is a similar mindless idiot.
The story on "Big Fish" tells about a women who went to a very competitive Ivy League school and found that she did not do well in science, thusly dropping out of science. Gladwell used this to lead into his central premise that doing well at a worse school was better than doing average or poorly at a better school. His example was the successful graduation of good physics majors at Hartwick College even though they were not as well prepared as the worse students at Ivy League schools (many of whom did not graduate in physics). Gladwell believes that the same physics education and materials occur at both schools!
Gladwell simply does not know what he is talking about. The educational materials used to teach physics at Hartwick and MIT (or Harvard) are far from equivalent. The books used at a weak college will be much easier (less advanced material, less difficult problems) and the professors' expectations of the students will be much lower.
I speak from experience as I was a physics undergraduate at SUNY Oneonta (entering after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Math SAT) and received all A's in every science and math class at Oneonta. When I took the Advanced Physics GRE for entry to graduate school, I scored in the 34th percentile because I had never been exposed to much of the material that was the topic of the questions! After a year of graduate school at the one university that did not ask for GRE, I scored in the 98th percentile!
Later, I became a very successful professor of physical chemistry at one of the top 20 universities in the USA (mentoring a number of students to the Phd, receiving many research grants, publishing 100's of papers, giving talks all over the world, etc). I ran in the top circles with all the other professors, most of whom were Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, etc graduates, and I learned that their undergraduate education covered more topics, had more advanced material, and required deeper understanding to do the problems. As just one example, the books that they used for senior level quantum mechanics were considered too hard for masters level physics at Oneonta.
My advice is to attend the best school that you can get into and work as hard as possible to overcome the competition. The top schools will provide the best competition. This is no different than athletics.
This is a very interesting book for the first 2/3. It becomes redundant for the last 1/3. And, it becomes predictable and tedious with its calls for government social programs to aid the people living alone. Ignoring that, the book details the new social phenomena of living alone, both its good and bad points.
The descriptions of how the various countries around the world use government to both promote and control business is thorough.
I wished that Bill Clinton was President instead of the well-meaning but incompetent Obama.
His wonderful voice.
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