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Michael

Gilroy, CA, United States | Member Since 2003

33
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 452 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Wal-Mart Effect

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Charles Fishman
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    Overall
    (720)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (178)

    Drawing on unprecedented interviews with former Wal-Mart executives and a wealth of staggering data�including facts such as this: Americans spend $36 million an hour at Wal-Mart stores, this text is an intimate look at a business that is dramatically reshaping the American economy.

    Michael says: "Excellent, Balanced View"
    "Excellent, Balanced View"
    Overall

    I'd read the article Fishman wrote in Wired a couple years back, so I was interested to learn more. The book was a nice, balanced look into what makes Wal-Mart tick, and some of the repercussions of their single minded drive to lower prices. While I was interested in the subject, I'm more of a fiction book reader, so I wasn't sure if I'd stick with a long non fiction book on business. Surprisingly, it went by fairly quickly, kept my interest the whole time.
    If you're a Wal-Mart hater, you'll find ammunition in there, especially with regards to cheap salmon and gallon jars of Vlasic pickles. If you're a hard core capitalist, you'll appreaciate the fact that shopping at Wal-Mart saves many, many families a good deal of money due to their focus on lowered prices.

    By chance, I listened to this soon after after re-reading "Atlas Shrugged". It made for some interesting mental comparisons.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Hell's Corner

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2506)
    Performance
    (1122)
    Story
    (1129)

    John Carr, aka Oliver Stone-once the most skilled assassin his country ever had-stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The president has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk, covert mission. Though he's fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes. Then Stone's mission changes drastically before it even begins. It's the night of a state dinner honoring the British prime minister.

    Ramon says: "Great story with nice twists"
    "Stick with one narrator!"
    Overall

    Publishers need to not try to turn books into a hacked together version of an old radio drama. Unlike the high quality you get with a big-budget animated film where they can have actors read their lines separately, doing it on a shoestring by just splicing two voices together doesn't cut it. The recording levels here don't match, the ambiance doesn't match, so your brain tells you the two characters aren't having a dialog but reading two scripts in two different places. .
    I'm just finishing the first half, it's so painful to listen to that after an hour at a stretch I get annoyed and take a break.

    I'll read the reviews next time and if this is what happens with future Baldacci books I'll move on and listen to something else. And now adding to my frustration I can't edit this to be anything other than one run-on paragraph.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • First Family

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2496)
    Performance
    (968)
    Story
    (966)

    Camp David, USA. A birthday party turns into a nightmare when a child is snatched after the celebrations. The First Lady enlists the services of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to bring the child home safely. But she and King share a past. Years ago he saved her then senator husband from political disaster. And this may not be all that passed between them. With Michelle still battling her own demons, the two are pushed to the limit, with forces aligned on all sides against them.

    jerry says: "Outstanding as always"
    "Not his best, plus annoying sound effects"
    Overall

    Only a so-so book and plot. You had to wait till the end to find out what the "big plan" of the bad guy was, but other than not telling you till the end, the drama wasn't there.

    What really drove me to write a review was the unneccesary sound effects and music. A decent book doesn't need repetitive music that sounds like it was lifted from a cheap video game to add suspense. Maybe the producers didn't trust the content to stand alone and thought it needed spicing up.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Fraternity of the Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By David Morrell
    • Narrated By George Ralph
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    Drew Maclane was a star agent - until the day the killing had to stop. He withdrew, and for six years lived the life of a hermit in a monastery. But someone has tracked him down, leaving a trail of corpses...someone who knows all about him, who knows how to draw him back into that electrifying world where no one is as he seems, and where life's most horrifying and harrowing game is played.

    Michael says: "Painful to listen to"
    "Painful to listen to"
    Overall

    I read the book in the 80's, enjoyed it. Thought I'd revisit it via Audible. The narration really sucks. The cuts between the voices sound artificial. My guess is that the individual characters and narration were all recorded separately, then some ham fisted editor spliced them altogether, removing much needed pauses between them. The individual bits also sound like they were recorded in different rooms. While a small distraction when you hear that in a book every hour or so, it's very bad when it's every few seconds, and between 2 characters supposedly talking in the same room.

    David Morrell should be ticked off and push to get it re-recorded by Scott Brick

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Edison: A Life of Invention

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Paul Israel
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (12)

    Armed with unprecedented access to Edison's workshop diaries, notebooks, and letters, Israel brings fresh insights into how the inventor's creative mind worked. For the first time, much attention is devoted to his early family life in Ohio and Michigan, where the young Edison honed his entrepreneurial sense and eye for innovation as a newsstand owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. These experiences underscore the inventor's later successes with new resonance and pathos.

    Michael says: "Worst narration ever"
    "Worst narration ever"
    Overall

    I've downloaded and listened to about 100 books from Audible, this was the worst narrated version. It also wasn't cleaned up well, several "end of cassette XX " bits not removed. It was obvious when one recording session ended and another began. The reader would toss in bad foriegn accents, not to differentiate between characters, but because the speaker was foreign or from Boston.

    The book itself was interesting, but very, very dry. I'm happy I listened to it, but I don't think I'd have made it to the end had I been reading it. With the audiobook I could 1/2 tune out and wait for another interesting bit to come along.

    As an engineer and inventor I'm glad I listened to it, but the mediocre performance really didn't help

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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