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Billy

ratings
10
REVIEWS
4
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  • Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By James Gleick
    • Narrated By Dick Estell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (116)

    From the author of the national best seller Chaos comes an outstanding biography of one of the most dazzling and flamboyant scientists of the 20th century that "not only paints a highly attractive portrait of Feynman but also . . . makes for a stimulating adventure in the annals of science." (The New York Times).

    david says: "My Hero!"
    "Performer mispronounces basic science words"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The performer cannot pronounce some pretty basic words. For example, he pronounces the first "s" in "Descartes" and "matrices" like "mattresses". Most European names were butchered. Many technical terms slaughtered. It's extremely distracting and makes the science and the story enormously hard to follow. I strongly recommend reading this book in text rather than listening to the audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Steven Strogatz
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (174)

    At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

    Ryan says: "Engaging, but maybe better suited for non-audio"
    "Excellent content, terrible reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The content is awesome. The reader sounds like he's narrating ghost stories: slow, breathy, and mostly just weird. Use Audible's playback speed feature and set it at 1.5x and the reader's jarring voice becomes a non-issue.

    But the book is friggin' cool for anyone interested in how order arises from disorder.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    Bayes' rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok. Sharon Bertsch McGrayne here explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it.

    Lynn says: "Read Up on Baye's Before Reading"
    "Who is the intended audience?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book would totally baffle me if I didn't do statistics for a living because McGrayne doesn't even give an example of how Bayes' Rule works until about halfway through the book (using the cigarettes study as an example). She merely tells us that frequentists don't like it but don't explain the underly differences between their approaches. But even with all that assumed knowledge, she doesn't talk about any of the underlying math.

    Thus the book assumes too much knowledge on the part of the reader for the book to be for the uninitiated but doesn't give enough information for the initiated. Who is the intended audience? I can't even tell.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • History of the World, Updated

    • UNABRIDGED (54 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By J.M. Roberts
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (145)

    In the History of the World, Updated, J. M. Roberts has revised his monumental previous work, History of the World, taking into account the great range of discoveries that have altered our views on everything from early civilizations to post-Cold War globalism. Large portions of text have been rewritten, addressing events as recent as the relationship between the Arab and Western worlds in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

    Alan Rither says: "Comprehensive world history"
    "Long but worthwhile. Main theme:rhythms of history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Reader:

    Roberts's sentences can get long, but you hardly even notice because Davidson guide's the listener to the important words merely with the way he speaks. This is a special skill and augments the clarity of the writing significantly.

    For an American listener, Davidson's accent is hilarious British but somehow eminently appropriate for the gravity of the subject and the erudition of the scholarship.

    Writing:

    The main theme of the book is the "rhythms" of history. His main topic is civilization. His main lens for understanding civilization is the interplay between (political/economic/religious) power and culture, but occasionally throws in insightful tangents on topics such as scientific, artistic, or women's history. Roberts mentions important figures (and dwells on a few of his favorites) but many you would expect (e.g., Da Vinci, Madison) don't show up at all. He starts at the *beginning*, approximately 3 million years ago, and gives a very good impression of just how long man went before the first civilization, and how long civilization had been around before modern times. He holds out surprisingly long before passing judgement on anything at all (with some minor exceptions such as Aztec mass killings), making his tone reassuringly objective, which he breaks only for a moving passage on World War II.

    An excellent overview, but had some drawbacks. In ancient and pre modern times, Mediterranean-centric, missing detail I would have liked on India, China, Africa, and Europe. In the modern era, often quite Eurocentric. This all balances out once the story gets to European imperialism, though I would have liked more on South America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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