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Mike

Superior, CO, United States | Member Since 2001

132
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
6

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    Overall
    (2372)
    Performance
    (1851)
    Story
    (1833)

    The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains....

    Mike says: "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Thinking, Fast and Slow? What did you like least?

    A very large portion of the time when I am listening to audio books, I am working out or walking the dog. Unfortunately, this audio book is ill suited to those types of activities. The material is interesting and well presented, but frequently too abstract when you have to compensate for frequent minor distractions. It would be best listened to with the accompanying PDF in front of you and the rewind button easily at hand to review what the author has written when he presents examples. Despite the, the book is a good listen if you are interested in probability, statistics, economics, and psychology. I will very likely borrow a written copy of the book at some time in the future to review the sections that were just too difficult for me to fully understand in the audio format.


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    The key problem I found was that the author frequently presents several types of statistical comparisons at once and then asks the listener to compare them. This may be simple in a written format, but in a audible format it can be very difficult, especially without a rewind or stop button easily available. As in most technical books with a little bit of depth, one often needs a little time and review to fully understand the concepts an author is presenting. Saying that does not discredit the author, but means that the listener is going to have to spend a little more time, effort, and preparation to understand what the author is sharing with the listener. Again, listening to the book with the accompanying PDF in front of me and my finger on the index button would have likely made a huge difference in my experience.


    103 of 107 people found this review helpful
  • Empires and Barbarians : The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Peter Heather
    • Narrated By Sean Schemmel
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    Empires and Barbarians presents a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states.

    Kirsty says: "Enjoying the book, but the performance...."
    "Poor Choice for Audio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Empires and Barbarians ?

    This book covers roughly the first millennium of European History. The author is a scholar of European History and it is obvious that his primary audience is fellow scholars to discuss and promote various theories concerning the migration of various peoples and cultures through that time period. If you are not a part of this audience, it can be a very difficult book to follow in an audio format.


    What was most disappointing about Peter Heather’s story?

    In doing an audio book that depends so much on the changing political geography of Europe over the first millennium, the very least the author could have done is made available a PDF detailing the changing map of Europe over that time and the movements of the various ethnic groups that are central the narrative of this book. Further, an appendix detailing the various ethnic groups who are the central characters of this book would be extremely helpful. Rick Atkinson has a website for his three book series on WWII that is extremely helpful in understanding the troop movements and battles of that period. The author of this book would do well to try to develop a similar site for this book.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Anyone trying to read this book to those who do not already have a good background in this subject area would have a difficult time keeping their attention. If you don't have a good background in European geography, it is very difficult to follow and keep track of the various ethnic groups that the author describes as they make their way across Europe.


    Any additional comments?

    If you do purchase this book, I strongly advise that do a search on You Tube for Barbarians. There are numerous free videos that do a wonderful job of putting some flesh and warmth into this topic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Greg King, Sue Woolmans
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege, The Assassination ofthe Archduke combines royal history, touching romance, and political murder in a moving portrait of the end of an era. One hundred years after the event, it offers the startling truth behind the Sarajevo assassinations, including Serbian complicity, and examines rumors of conspiracy and official negligence.

    Jean says: "A tragic family"
    "A Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The great disappointment of this book was the focus on the minute details of the marriage of the Duke and his wife and the consternation their marriage caused in the Austrian Royal Family. While some of this was interesting, it became extremely tedious after numerous descriptions of what the Duke's wife wore to various social engagements or verbatim quotes of letters from members of the Austrian aristocracy to each other.Another disappointing aspect of the book is the lightly hidden collaboration between the authors and the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the Duke and his wife to restore their reputations. The authors make a very strong argument that the behavior of Austrian Royal Family to the Duke and his wife was despicable. But I couldn't help but be put off by the decedents of the Duke and his wife seeming to cling to titles of Prince and Princess when such titles were part of the social order that permitted the mistreatment of their grandparents.The last part of the book partially makes up for these deficits when it launches into detail about the immediate events surrounding the assassination of the Duke and his wife. What I felt was left out, though, was more information about the politics in the Balkans that caused such hatred of the Duke. Why did the Eastern Orthodox Slavs hate the Catholics and Muslims? The book is very shallow in providing the reader with an understanding of why the Balkans were, and remain, an area of viscous ethnic conflict. This would have been far more interesting than digressions on the type of feathers the Duke was wearing on his hat on a certain day.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Kathryn Schulz
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (136)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (69)

    To err is human. Yet most of us go through life assuming (and sometimes insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken, and why do we react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness, and shame?

    Mike says: "A good read"
    "A good read"
    Overall

    I must start out by saying that I was prompted to write this review because the two reviews on the Audible website were quite negative. I am nearly halfway through this book and I am thoroughly enjoying it. For an audio book, though, it is a bit of a difficult “read” because of the depth that the author goes to in her discussion of the subject matter.

    As mentioned by one of the other reviewers, the author cites numerous experts, authors, and studies in the book. When listening to a study that the author is describing to present a point, one must focus carefully on the details to fully understand and appreciate the implications of the study and how that fits into the larger argument that the author is presenting. I must admit that with this book I find myself rewinding and reviewing the material far more often than I have with other audio books to fully understand the ideas presented. In some respects, this book might be better read than listened to in order to easily comprehend the material. But, I find it difficult to read a book while I am doing aerobic exercises, walking the dog, or cleaning the house.

    Despite the difficulties cited above, this is a book that I would certainly recommend to others. I find the organization of it to be logical and the author’s presentation to be coherent and interesting. If you are curious about how we think and come to what we believe is the truth and how we deal with errors, it is certainly worth a few minutes of your time. I should also note that the author is currently writing articles on matters related to the materials in the book in Slate (on the web) which I also enjoy.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Hannibal: One Man Against Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Harold Lamb
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (932)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (361)

    This is the breathtaking adventure of the great Carthaginian general who shook the foundations of Rome. In the world's first "global" conflict, Hannibal Barca marched up and down the Italian peninsula for 18 years, appearing well nigh invincible to a Rome which began to doubt itself for the first time in its history.

    Karen says: "Fascinating - not to be missed!"
    "I had no idea ...."
    Overall

    I had no idea of what was going on in 200 A.D. in the area of north Africa and southern Europe until I listened to this superb book. Hannibals exploits are absolutely amazing. I now have a much greater appreciation of how intelligent, creative, and brave people were over 2200 years ago.

    Both the author and the narrator are suberb, to the point that I immediately listened to Alexander of Macedon, which they also did, after I completed this audio book. I strongly suggest that if you do listen to either of these titles that you do a web search to find some more information, especially maps, to provide a better understanding of the travels and adventures of Hannibal and Alexander.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregg Easterbrook
    • Narrated By Jonathan Marosz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    In The Progress Paradox, Gregg Easterbrook draws upon three decades of wide-ranging research and thinking to make the persuasive assertion that almost all aspects of Western life have vastly improved in the past century; and yet today, most men and women feel less happy than in previous generations. Why this is so and what we should do about it is the subject of this book.

    Eric says: "Don't let the extremists stop you."
    "Strong arguments for optimism"
    Overall

    Easterbrook has many compelling arguments that although the culture of complaint and pessimism are seductive, an optimistic and kind demeanor towards life and others is far wiser. He cites voluminous statistics concerning how things are improving and studies that demonstrate the benefits to those who follow a philosophy of optimism and compassion.

    I have familiarity with some of the literature Easterbrook cites and as a whole his arguments and logic are stronger than those of the individual authors he discusses. After listening to the book, it is more difficult for me to think and act in a pessimistic fashion. This alone makes the book worthwhile

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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