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J. E. JORDAN

Berlin, Germany | Member Since 2012

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 15 ratings
  • 47 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Ha-Joon Chang
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (546)
    Performance
    (412)
    Story
    (410)

    If you've wondered how we did not see the economic collapse coming, Ha-Joon Chang knows the answer: We didn't ask what they didn't tell us about capitalism. This is a lighthearted book with a serious purpose: to question the assumptions behind the dogma and sheer hype that the dominant school of neoliberal economists-the apostles of the freemarket-have spun since the Age of Reagan.

    Brian says: "Food for thought, or at least debate"
    "Is Free Market Capitalism the End of History?"
    Overall
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    It often feels like we have to choose between a free-market capitalism winner and centrally-planned communism, which, having lost first, is clearly the loser. Ha-Joon Chang lays out why that dichotomy is false to start with. He busts a lot of myths that seem self-evident in a world so dominated by free-market ideology.

    I think in order to get anything out of this book, you've got to be willing to consider that free-market economics must be measured against the real world, just as communism was in the end, and not just against our good ideas for others and our imaginative notions about them combined with a murky knowledge of our own (Anglo-Saxon) economic history.

    This is definitely a book to listen to more than once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Sue Johnson
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (174)

    In Hold Me Tight, Dr. Johnson shares her groundbreaking and remarkably successful program for creating stronger, more secure relationships. The message of Hold Me Tight is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, get to the emotional underpinnings of your relationship.

    Anne Marie says: "Unique book for couples and therapists"
    "Might Be Helpful in Choosing a Form of Therapy"
    Overall
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    I got sick of this book before it was over. Near the beginning, the author explains the foundations for the kind of therapy she conducts. I found it helpful to consider that adults need reliable emotional attachment as much as children do. But once we got past the conceptual grounding, I lost interest.

    I think if you need couple's therapy, then you should probably seek out a practitioner. This book might be helpful in deciding whether you'd like to try Dr. Johnson's approach. I don't think the book is a replacement for the keen listening and the feedback a real life therapist would provide.

    One thing I found kind of annoying with the reading is that there are conversations between a LOT of couples. Having the narrator do men's and women's voices so often got repetitive. (The men all sounded a little like John Wayne.) I suppose it makes an audio book too expensive to produce, but I think in this situation, it would be better to hire actors to read the actual dialogues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boy in the Suitcase: A Nina Borg Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Lene Kaaberbøl (author and translator), Agnete Friis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (441)

    Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is trying to live a quiet life. The last thing her husband wants is for her to go running off on another dangerous mission to help illegal refugees. But when Nina's estranged friend, Karin, leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, and begs her to take care of its contents, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous case yet.

    Avid Reader and Listener says: "Fantastic thriller!"
    "Does a Dumb Protagonist Make for Suspense?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No doubt about it. The protagonist here is a ditz. She cannot seem to take an obvious next right action even when her life depends on it. So she makes a mess around her. If you think watching someone suffer through a self-fabricated disaster is suspenseful, this is the novel for you.

    That said, I didn't give up on it before it was done. If something is really not to my liking after about an hour of listening, I always trade it in. I generally cared about the characters, even though I was never really on the edge of my seat. I think the author is probably stronger at creating characters than she is at constructing plot.

    It's kind of a woman's novel. Even the mess the protagonist makes has the feeling of mothering-instincts gone awry. I'd bet some female readers would enjoy this more than most men would.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Satanic Verses

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Salman Rushdie
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (412)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (344)

    Inextricably linked with the fatwa called against its author in the wake of the novel’s publication, The Satanic Verses is, beyond that, a rich showcase for Salman Rushdie’s comic sensibilities, cultural observations, and unparalleled mastery of language. The book begins with two Indians plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their airliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations.

    David Edelberg says: "Use an audiobook to really enjoy Satanic Verses"
    "Eventually, I Gave Up"
    Overall
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    The reader did an amazing job with accents from all over the globe. Even so, I just found that I couldn't keep track of what was going on and eventually gave up. It's a really long book. After a while, it felt like I was just slogging through, not really paying attention. I have a feeling that if I had seen the names of people from India/Pakistan instead of hearing them, I might have had an easier time keeping track of them. Maybe one day I'll try again and update my evaluation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unfamiliar Fishes

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sarah Vowell
    • Narrated By Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, John Hodgman, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (914)
    Performance
    (555)
    Story
    (555)

    In Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell argues that 1898 might be a year just as crucial to our nation's identity, a year when, in an orgy of imperialism, the United States annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and invaded Cuba and then the Philippines, becoming a meddling, self-serving, militaristic international superpower practically overnight. Of all the countries the United States invaded or colonized in 1898, Vowell considers the story of the Americanization of Hawaii to be the most intriguing.

    Kat says: "Sarah Vowell does it again!"
    "Manifest Destiny Engulfs the Sandwich Islands"
    Overall
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    Hawaii has always been a mystery to me, a Midwest native. The rest of Manifest Destiny seems as reasonable as spilled milk spreading over the surface of a table. But islands in the Pacific? Well, now I know a great deal more about Hawaiian history than I do about, say, Oregon history.

    Sarah Vowell has the kind of voice that you either find a pleasure or you don't, I suppose. Fortunately, I do. I often don't like when authors read their own works because writing and reading aloud are not the same skills, but Vowell definitely knows how to do both. She writes with a sly sense of humor and has the timing to make it work in an audiobook. There were moments I laughed aloud.

    She does an excellent job of bringing the history to life and linking it to the present with her own time spent on the island. What a great gig, huh? Write a book about Hawaiian history. Spend a couple of years there researching. I wish I'd thought of it.

    So, why do I give the story only 3 stars? Well, I think much like the history of Hawaii itself, it goes out with a fizzle more than a bang. There's not much even an author of Vowell's caliber can do with the material. Those hooeys just end up taking power from the natives until there isn't much for the Polynesian natives to do but eventually go along with it, much like native Americans. The sexy story is when the natives fight back, not when they've given up, by choice or by force. It's like that in Hawaii, too. A handful of people in the present protesting that they aren't Americans is nothing compared to someone killing Captain Cook on his way back to the sailing ship.

    I would hope those 3 stars wouldn't discourage anyone from choosing this book. It is beautifully written and you'll come away with a richer awareness of the history of Hawaii.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Skeptic's Guide to American History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark A. Stoler
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (186)

    To take a skeptical approach to American history is not to dabble in imaginative conspiracy theories; rather, it's to reframe your understanding of this great nation's past and actually strengthen your appreciation for what makes American history such a fascinating chapter in the larger story of Western civilization. And in this bold 24-lecture series, you can do just that.

    J. E. JORDAN says: "Let Go of the Grade-School Storybook History"
    "Let Go of the Grade-School Storybook History"
    Overall
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    You do know all that stuff you learned about American history in school was simplified, right? And, in a certain sense, it was propaganda: a narrative intended, in this case, to give young people the feeling that they are heirs to a righteous cause, whether we were opponents of tyranny, barbaric natives, evil slave-owners, socialists, or you-name-it. We were always on the right side of history and history can be understood as an epic struggle between we good people and our evil enemies.

    Furthermore, even as adults, we tend to look back on events of the past with our own understanding of what followed or the way things are now and assume that we are in a position to understand. (How many times in a given month do we hear two groups invoking the Founding Fathers, for example, drawing wildly different conclusions about what that means? Or, hear that appeasement is a terrible idea and as Chamberlain demonstrated with the Nazis, only gives the enemy time to amass strength for an inevitable conflagration?)

    We don't necessarily bring any new knowledge when we draw these conclusions, but when they seem to match our beliefs about the world, we assume they must be accurate. Those mistaken conclusions (and assumptions) become difficult to let go of, even when we are presented with new opinions of working historians who find new, compelling information that contradicts us. This lecture series is for adults who are ready to let go of the storybook history in exchange for a more complex, nuanced understanding of history.

    I loved this lecture series. I looked forward to the next time I could sit down and listen to one of them. Each one was full of the context I needed to understand why what I had always believed about American history may not actually be what historians, with the fullness of time, have come to believe about it. I also found the Professor's presentation enthusiastic and easy to follow. Excellent lecture series all around.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Six Months That Changed the World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (124)

    The world will never see another peace conference like the one which took place in Paris in 1919. For six months, the world's major leaders - including Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States, David Lloyd George, prime minister of Great Britain, and Georges Clemenceau, prime minister of France - met to discuss the peace settlements which were to end World War One.

    Jon says: "Best Audible Title Yet"
    "Thoroughly Enjoyable History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you enjoy 20th century history, this is a good book to pick up. Much of what we think we know about the end of WWI (and thus later 20th century history) is not always completely accurate. Prof. MacMillan breaks it all down in an engaging and clear way. This is probably one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. Really enjoyed it. And, I feel like I'm coming away with a much better understanding of what was to happen in later history, right up to the present day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michael S. Gazzaniga
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (159)
    Story
    (163)

    The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.

    Dan says: "Use Your Credit On "Who's In Charge""
    "Not for Everyone, but Definitely for Some of Us"
    Overall
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    This book is not the kind of thing you want to get distracted from while listening. It's rather technical at certain points. Even if you listen perfectly, you may have the sense from time to time that you must have missed something.

    I realized while listening that I've read a lot recently about moral psychology, rationality, evolution/epigenetics and neuroscience, so there was a lot of material I had read or heard before. If you've been keeping up with Jonathan Haidt, Stephen Pinker, etc, you'll already be familiar with a good bit of what's here. However, if you are interested in one of these subjects and haven't read up much on them lately, I think you'd enjoy the book.

    The author's tone of voice is ... well, hilarious. It's like a man reading with a perpetual smirk while waiting for his next martini to be stirred, not shaken, because he knows, thankyouverymuch, that you don't shake martinis, for the love of all that's holy. (I've done my best to give you a sense of his voice in the text I've written -- a nearly impossible feat, but if you have a listen, you might see what I mean.) I'd choose to listen to this reader again, but I have a feeling his tone is not for everyone.

    There's a lot of technical stuff. You may or may not remember as much as you'd like once it's over, but it's a good overview of where we are with understanding consciousness in the early 21st century. Also, it's not a terribly long book, and the illustrations are often amusing, so it's worth taking a chance on, IMHO.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (423)

    Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.

    Arthur says: "Beginners start here! This is the one you want!"
    "Philosophy 101 review"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Do you ever find yourself wanting to join a conversation about philosophy and finding that you just can't remember what Nietzsche or Kant postulated anymore? This book'll fix that.

    As with all audiobooks but especially with material like this, a drawback is that sometimes you might find yourself wishing you could re-read a particular line or sit with it a while before moving on..

    The only other shortcoming of the book for contemporary readers is that it was written nearly a hundred years ago, so it ends with Bergson, Willam James, Dewey, and Santayana. There are no feminists or postmodernists discussed.

    It's not an especially difficult text to follow. You don't need a college degree or experience with philosophy to enjoy this one. It's beautifully written and read very pleasingly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5903)
    Performance
    (5115)
    Story
    (5106)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "Not at All the Chick Lit I Had Feared"
    Overall
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    Story

    I really enjoyed this audio book a lot more than I'd expected. I couldn't really get through the book's description, but it keep appearing in my recommendations and people were saying it was good. Boy, were they right! I'm glad I took their suggestion.

    I think all you need to know is that the book opens with a young American actress arriving in a small fishing village in Italy in the early 1960s but be prepared to be taken far away from that core story as you move toward finding out what finally happened.

    There's much to like about this tale, full of completely believable but unforeseeable twists and turns, as well as well-drawn, complex characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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