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Irving, TX, USA

  • 13 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 29 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015

  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James Surowiecki
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

    G Barth says: "Very worthwhile listen!"
    "Could have been better"

    This book started off great. But eventually, his examples got too random. I kept checking my mp3 player to make sure it wasn't on random. On the plus side, this book does an excellent job of explaining when groupthink is a good thing, rather than just painting everything with a broad brush.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Who Stole Feminism?

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christina Hoff Sommers
    • Narrated By Kristen Underwood

    Philosophy professor Christina Sommers has exposed a disturbing development: how a group of zealots, claiming to speak for all women, are promoting a dangerous new agenda that threatens our most cherished ideals and sets women against men in all spheres of life. In case after case, Sommers shows how these extremists have propped up their arguments with highly questionable but well-funded research, presenting inflammatory and often inaccurate information and stifling any semblance of free and open scrutiny.

    Kaeli says: "Long for an updated edition"
    "Long for an updated edition"

    When I hear women my age proudly claim they are defiantly NOT feminists, I am taken aback. Ms. Sommers does an excellent job of showing just why so many young women are running away from the feminist label. They don't want to be associated with man-haters: women who view every man as a potential rapist and every woman a potential survivor. She highlights many of the events from the late eighties and early nineties that ended up giving feminism a very bad name. Rather than trying to promote equal rights for all humanity (the so-called equity feminists), some feminists (gender feminists) are trying to supplant the patriarchy with a matriarchy. To do so, they overblow poorly done studies and try to silence maleness wherever it rears its ugly head (pun, unfortunately, intended). She does such a good job of pointing out the hysteria and rancor of this sect of feminists, I had to remind myself constantly that I agree with her thesis-those kinds of feminists are bad for feminism. They take away from the social justice that generations of women have fought for; they stray from the goals of the Seneca Falls Convention and forget that many sisters around the world really are being suppressed; they devalue the terms sexual harassment and rape by having them apply to everything. I'm grateful she kept repeating the goals of equality through her book or I would have completely forgotten I wasn't reading the transcripts of a Rush Limbaugh show (a mistake none of us ever wants to make!).

    This book was written in 1995, so I was still in junior high and high school when most of these events were unfolding. I wonder how much of her arguments are simply overblown to give evidence to her thesis, how much was relegated only to certain university campuses, and how much has mercifully blown over in the past decade. I would love to see an updated version of this book. In the meantime, I'll read books like The Mommy Myth and Selling Anxiety.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • God's Problem: The Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why We Suffer

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganzer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In times of questioning and despair, people often quote the Bible to provide answers. Surprisingly, though, the Bible does not have one answer but many "answers" that often contradict one another.

    Kaeli says: "Despite "Suffer the little children""
    "Despite "Suffer the little children""

    Ehrman's latest book puts forth the Scriptural answers for why there is suffering, in addition to historical and modern interpretations of these answers, and explains how these answers fall short. Each section examines a different suggestion for the problem of suffering and looks at New and Old Testement answers to them. Included are the ideas of suffering because of God-given Free Will, suffering as a test of faith, suffering as punishment, suffering to teach lessons, and suffering as an Apocolyptic sign-and of course that we cannot know God's reason for "allowing" suffering. He even includes the parent analogy-that God is like a parent who must punish His children. Though it is not as Scriptually founded as many of the other arguments, it is a common modern argument (right up there with Free Will).
    A good protion of this book is set aside as Ehrman's own memoir of how he became (as he calls it) Dead Again-deciding that he no longer believes the tennets of his Born-Again faith and becoming an agnostic. This book is an excellent analysis of what many believers and non-believers grapple with, and many eventually come to the same conclusions he does-that the Bible does not explain in any real and satisfying way how an all-loving and all-powerful God can allow so many people to die of starvation, malaria, cruelty, etc-and he provides devistating statistics. It may also be useful for people trying to understand the position many take in not being able to believe in God-despite this, Ehrman is NOT an atheist, nor is he trying to convert anything. He presents the literary/Biblical criticism of Scripture,tries to understand it, and applies classic philosophy to the arguements he's heard. This book never came close to making me question my own faith, but it has lead me to think more closely about some of the more painful aspects of divinity.

    Good narration that matches the tone of the author's meaning.

    26 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • Misquoting Jesus

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today.

    Michael says: "Leaves you wondering"
    "Understanding the Good Book's writers..."

    This is a book written by a former Evangelical Christian who has studied Biblical history in depth. It is an amazing book that looks at the history of the Bible, how it came to be written, translated, and interpreted. For those who believe that the Bible is the inerrant work of God, it is important to remember that, while God may ahve had all the ideas, man was still responsible for the editorial process. This is a well-written and accessible introduction to Biblical studies and textual analysis.

    19 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • Religious Literacy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Stephen Prothero
    • Narrated By Stephen Prothero
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    We are a religiously illiterate nation, yet despite this lack of knowledge, politicians continue to root public policy arguments in religious rhetoric whose meanings are missed or misinterpreted by the vast majority of Americans.

    00doc says: "Unfairly criticised"
    "What's your God-Q?"

    Despite being one of the most religious countries in the world, Americans know pitifully nothing about their religions. Not only do they not understand the tennents that they base their faith on, Americans don't know enough about other religions to understand world politics, enough about Christianity to understand political statements, our own history, or literary allusions (the entire time, I kept thinking about my college roommate who had to ask me (a Pagan) who Job is). He emphisizes, rightly, that the Supreme Court has, time and time again, reminded teachers that, while they cannot promote or preach religion, they are allowed to teach it.

    While I agree completely with Prothero's dismaying statements about the woeful lack of understanding of the various religions out there, I don't view his solution as practical. Having a full year of religion education (one semester of the Bible, one semester of world religions) would be great, except for the fact that he glosses over the lack of time, funding, or ability to teach it properly. If religion is taught in classrooms, I am not afraid that all teachers will suddenly start prosletysing to students. I am afraid that all the interest and intrigue will be yanked out of religious study the same way it has been squeezed from the study of history in high schools (see Lies My Teacher Told Me)-or literature, or math, or evolution, or any other topic that is so facinating and important that gets the guts ripped out or gets taught to the lowest intellegence level in the classroom.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Sweet Potato Queens' Field Guide to Men: Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay, or Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jill Conner Browne
    • Narrated By Jill Conner Browne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Sweet Potato Queens like men. They like them so much that they have devoted an absolutely inordinate amount of time to the pursuit of men, marriage, and great sex. And then, when that doesn't work out, they've devoted an inordinate amount of time to divorce, getting another man, and having great sex with him instead.

    Kaeli says: "Can't live with 'em, might as well laugh"
    "Can't live with 'em, might as well laugh"

    What can I say-I love the Sweet Potato Queen books. I don't get the wigs or the boots or the parade, but I definatly get the mindset. I started reading the books when I heard my mom hooting and hollering in laughter reading them. She said it wouldn't be as funny to me because I'm not old enough or fat enough-and that may be the case. But I'm still in stitches everytime I read or hear these books. Trust me, the way the author speaks is enough to make listening to the books worthwhile, rather than reading them.

    This is an excellent book that goes into what men are like, what women are like around men, and the crazy stuff we do to get around men more. Think of it as the southern "He's really not that into you," only funny.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "Neither is this book, but it is good"

    Though this anti-religious polemic makes some interesting points about the issues surrounding blind faith, fanaticism, and many aspects of religiosity, I doubt he'll get a whole lot of converts from it. There were a number of times in this book I wanted to go and take philosophy classes because I just knew he was making erroneous claims and assumptions; I just didn't know what they were called.
    On the plus side, while this book did absolutely nothing to shake my faith, it did an excellent job of making sure I'm not taking it for granted. I do agree with his assessment that religion is not off limits for serious consideration and philosophical or scholarly investigations. I do have a slight quibble with his assertion that it should be scientific, because faith and God and religion are often as difficult to study scientifically as imagination or love or hate. Just because they can't be quantified and dissected doesn't mean they cannot exist.
    My other complaint is that he too often jumps to conclusions because they are "obvious" or something that any "school child should be able to see by now." Not only is this a weak argument that is also incredibly insulting and patronizing, it is the same argument that religious thinkers have been using (I think Thomas of Aquinas used it quite frequently, in fact-and I know Absalom did).

    All that being said, it makes a good addition to any readings of an examined faith, which is something to not be taken advantage of. He also brings up some very interesting issues about many religions, including strange admonitions regarding sex, the birth canal, and diet. He did a good job of putting words to why I converted from Catholocism, in fact.

    While I think these are excellent at explaining what errors religion has made, it does not make a good argument to dispose of religion and faith all together for materialistic atheism.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Areas of My Expertise

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By John Hodgman
    • Narrated By John Hodgman

    In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true.

    Margot says: "Wow!"
    "Could have been much better"

    I am in love with The Daily Show, so when I saw that one of their "reporters" wrote a book, I had to read it. I like Hodgman's presentation on the show, so I decided to listen to the audio version of the book. This was a mistake. Hodgman works well as the straight man, but he needs someone to play against, to mirror his over-the-top button-down appearance. This is lacking in his book. The idea is very clever-present all the information one could ever need, regardless of whether or not it's true. It's Wikipedia with a better editor, I thought. However, it wasn't funny at all. The oral presentation of the tables, guest readers, and other gimmicks throughout were simply annoying. I'm not sure if the print version is any better and I am loathe to check it out to find out.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Mark J. Penn, E. Kinney Zalesne
    • Narrated By Brett Barry

    Mark Penn argues that the biggest trends in America are the Microtrends, the smaller trends that go unnoticed or ignored. With years of experience as one of world's most highly regarded pollsters, Penn identifies the new microtrends sweeping the world, such as "Single Women by Choice" and "Sun Haters". Microtrends highlights everything from religion to politics, from leisure pursuits to relationships and will take the listener into the worlds of polling, targeting, and psychographic analysis.

    Greg B says: "Interesting ideas, but fell asleep"

    This book alternates between facinating and infuriating. The author's thesis that America is hardly a melting pot, but a pointalism painting that must be examined on the small-scale to be appreciated as a whole is rivetting and enlightening. However, the slightest knowledge of statistics, research methods, or polling methods makes his use of numbers and polls down-right frustrating. He never really properly addresses the problems of bias, skewed results, or problems with the ways questions are formed. And while many of his assertions are interesting, some of them are too hastily made (and many are down-right silly), which distracts from the overall message. However, by ignoring his playing fast and loose with numbers and rush to hypothesis, it's a great book. In other words, if your looking for an interesting introduction to polling, go for this book. Most people can find themselves in at least one of the categories-I'm a bit of an oddball so I was suprised that I was only in the "Upscaled Tattoo" group (in which he makes NUMEROUS errors in assumptions-the Macdonaldization of tattooing is a terrible idea). This helps support his overall thesis-we can't insist everyone be "American," when there are so many ways to be American. Plus, he points out many things that are easy to overlook. For instance, railing against illegal immigrants may not be a great idea for politicians because, even though the aliens can't vote, chances are they have family and friends in country who CAN.

    But if you want serious numbers and accounting of actual trends in America, this book will leave you wanting.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Eric Abrahamson, David H. Freedman
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    With a spectacular array of true stories and case studies of the hidden benefits of mess, A Perfect Mess overturns the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, organization, neatness, and consistency are the keys to success.

    Kaeli says: "The Anti-Martha Stewart"
    "The Anti-Martha Stewart"

    I listened to this while (you've gotta love this) deep-cleaning and organizing my house. The author uses many of the same techniques to exlpain why a little mess is good for you that Malcolm Gladwell uses to explain why snap thinking is a good thing (See: Blink). State a thesis, throw in some facts, throw in some anecdotes, and throw in some interesting conjecture and you've got a book! Abrahamson doesn't have quite the finesse of Gladwell, but that still makes this an interesting read (or listen). It's really funny in some parts and makes me glad I have a little bit of a mess on my desk and in my home (I have a four year old, and to me, if you can't tell a child lives in a home where the child lives, you're doing something very wrong). However, while making statements about how the mind is evolutionarily set up to handle mess, he ignores the great stress that many people feel when confronted with the messiness of others. Maybe we can handle clutter well, but there is something to be said for laying out the outfit you're going to wear the next day or letting your employees know what is expected of them in the long term.

    On the whole, this book was entertaining and informative and certainly gives the reader a number of great excuses to NOT file, sort, arange, or organize. I think his editor may have taken this lesson too much to heart, though-it tends to hop around a lot and many of the stories are very non sequiter.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Charles Seife
    • Narrated By Charles Seife

    Zero - infinity's twin - is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything. Science journalist Charles Seife takes a concise and appealing look at the strangest number in the universe and its continuing role as one of the great paradoxes of human thought.

    Yicheng says: "Fascinating"
    "Beyond Math for Dummies"

    Not only has zero not always existed, numbers aren't quite as concrete as our math teachers would have us believe. Seife presents the entire history of counting and numbers before getting into the history, philosophy and theology surrounding the number zero (and frequently, infinity).
    It helps to be somewhat comfortable with mathematical concepts, but it is not mandatory at all. Nor is it mandatory to know much about Greek philosophy-and the two get about as much attention.
    This is an excellent and sweeping history of how religion has had to change itself because of the immutable idea of nothingness. This also goes into the history of physics, particularly quantum physics and string theory, and astronomy. This is because, in almost all situations, mathematical theorums work beautifully and explain nature and the cosmos-until you have to account for zero.

    Well writen and researched. Highly recommended for any level reader-layman or expert. Well-narrated.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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