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A. Yoshida

ratings
85
REVIEWS
69
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HELPFUL VOTES
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  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2836)
    Performance
    (2031)
    Story
    (2037)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Lynn says: "A Rip Snorting Story"
    "What would we do without Google?"
    Overall
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    Story

    This is great read on the history of Google, it's founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), and search technology. In the early days of the internet if you had typed in "newspaper," you would not have gotten "New York Times" or "LA Times" because they didn't have "newspaper" in its title. You had to know exactly what key words would generate the results you wanted. It's amazing to think how far search engines have come -- as you type, they predict what you want and populate key words for you. It is due to Google's extreme focus on technology and goals (speed, measurement, refinement, and openness). And there are many more amazing Google technologies that work seamlessly into our lives, which I have forgotten about -- Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Translate....

    There is a lot of reference to "Googley" people and culture and the company's motto of "don't be evil." I think some readers will find it as a bias towards Google. I think it simply describes a workforce obsessively dedicated to doing what they love. For example, many might argue that Google's entry into China was a major stumble and the book doesn't place much accountability on the executives of Google. I think it was daring that Google did that. Selling technology in China is a high-risk proposition. Corruption and copyright infringements turn many companies away from China. Google had to know failure was very likely. Google took a chance to do something for the people of China. Although they censored results as required by the Chinese government, the users were informed on the page whenever results were censored. It was a small step... but an important step to reflect the value of openness -- the Chinese people were told when they weren't getting everything they wanted to see because the government was censoring it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Successful Novelist

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By David Morrell
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (66)

    David Morrell, best-selling author of First Blood, The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fifth Profession, distills four decades of writing and publishing experience into this single masterwork of advice and instruction for fiction writers looking to make it big in the publishing world. With advice proven to create successful novels,

    Jason says: "REALITY CHECK! Very Enlightening and practical."
    "Great advice for writers"
    Overall
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    This is a great book for someone interested in being a writer and even someone interested in just knowing how writers are able to create page turners. David Morrell is known for writing "First Blood," which is often mistakenly referred to as "Rambo." The tone is conversational and even modest for someone who has written bestsellers. Th book is filled with useful advice and humorous stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Robert Scoble, Shel Israel
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (173)

    Social media is but one of five converging forces that promise to change virtually every aspect of our lives. You know these other forces already: mobile, data, sensors and location-based technology. Combined with social media they form a new generation of personalized technology that knows us better than our closest friends. Armed with that knowledge our personal devices can anticipate what we'll need next and serve us better than a butler or an executive assistant. The resulting convergent superforce is so powerful that it is ushering in an era the authors call the Age of Context.

    James says: "Great content by a great narrator!"
    "Age of Personalized Technology"
    Overall
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    If you know something about Big Data, this is the next book to read. The authors are knowledgeable and engrossed in technology and convey well how we're entering an age of personalized technology (e.g., your phone knows when you're home and reminds you of your tasks). I would skip the last chapter, which is fanciful thinking from the authors of what they expect to see in the year 2038.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Currents of Space

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (317)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (226)

    High above the planet Florinia, the Squires of Sark live in unimaginable wealth and comfort. Down in the eternal spring of the planet, however, the native Florinians labor ceaselessly to produce the precious kyrt that brings prosperity to their Sarkite masters. Rebellion is unthinkable and impossible. Living among the workers of Florinia, Rik is a man without a memory or a past. He has been abducted and brainwashed.

    thomas says: "Good Solid Asimov"
    "Slow start but interesting story"
    Overall
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    I'm a fan of Isaac Asimov and just read "The Currents of Space" the second time. Years ago when I read all of Asimov's books, I thought the Galactic Empire series were not as good as the others. I later read somewhere (maybe in Asimov's memoir) that this series had a different publisher, and he accepted much of their changes despite his better judgment. This included changing the book titles (The Stars, like Dust; The Currents of Space; and Pebble in the Sky), which is why this series is slightly different from the rest of his books (Robot series and Foundation series).

    If you like Isaac Asimov, read the books in chronological order (Robot, Galactic Empire, and Foundation). The Galactic Empire series is still good. Since it's been so long when I last read this book, I have forgotten the plot. In the usual Asimov's style, the reader is left guessing until the end. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that I think the pace is slow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Patrick Lencioni
    • Narrated By Patrick Lencioni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (249)

    This is the promise of The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni’s bold manifesto about the most unexploited opportunity in modern business. In his immensely readable and accessible style, Lencioni makes the case that there is no better way to achieve profound improvement in an organization than by attacking the root causes of dysfunction, politics, and confusion.

    Optimize the Balance says: "More please"
    "Good book for leaders of an organization"
    Overall
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    The author calls it "organizational health." I prefer to think of it as an authentic organization. Health gives the impression that it's a matter of following a regiment of good habits. Whereas authentic implies that it has to come from within the individuals. The book applies to leaders of an organization, not so much to workers. If you're not a manager, you would not even get to practice the first discipline of building a cohesive team (build trust, work through conflicts, commit to decisions, be accountable, and focus on results). The other three disciplines really need to come the top leadership of the organization - create clarity in purpose and direction of the organization, over communicate that message, and reinforce that message.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Barbara Strauch
    • Narrated By Nona Pipes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (137)

    A leading science writer examines how the brain's capacity reaches its peak in middle ageFor many years, scientists thought that the human brain simply decayed over time and its dying cells led to memory slips, fuzzy logic, negative thinking, and even depression.

    Virginia A says: "Recommended for all Ages"
    "Middle-aged brain is peaking"
    Overall
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    This book is like many other books when talking about how the brain works and how its functioning could be enhanced (e.g., exercise, do new things, and solve problems). It is different in that looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the middle-aged brain. As we age, we may not be able to remember things or solve math problems as quickly as we used. Because of this, people think the middle-aged brain is declining. Surprisingly, the book reveals that the middle-aged brain can be at its peak. The brain has reorganized since its youth. It has built up patterns of connections and it acts and thinks differently. It is smarter, calmer, and happier. When a young worker is freaking out over a problem, an older worker is thinking, "Calm down. We've gotten through worse problems than this. First, let's figure out how bad the situation is." The middle-aged brain is using both sides, whereas the younger brain is using the untamed emotional side.

    This book reassures us that as we age, our brain does not necessarily become progressively worse. We have more experience and knowledge, which have been applied repeatedly over time, strengthening connections in our brain. We make better judgments and decisions. It could be called wisdom, intuition, or gut feeling; these snap judgments come from our years of experience. We need to appreciate the advantages of a more mature brain rather than focus on the one negative aspect (forgetting things). It is also important that we exercise and keep our brain in top shape.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Coyle
    • Narrated By John Farrell
    Overall
    (709)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (347)

    New research has revealed that myelin, once considered an inert form of insulation for brain cells, may be the holy grail of acquiring skill. Journalist Daniel Coyle spent years investigating talent hotbeds, interviewing world-class practitioners (top soccer players, violinists, fighter, pilots, artists, and bank robbers) and neuroscientists. In clear, accessible language, he presents a solid strategy for skill acquisition.

    Stephen says: "Anecdotes presented as data"
    "Great book on developing talent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book explains the science of how skills are built -- in the brain, myelin wraps around nerves and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy. The more you practice, more myelin is built. The brain is like any other muscle -- it gets better and stronger with continued practice. The key is that the practice be purposeful and deep. A student studying a topic shouldn't just read the chapters a few times. The student needs to do practice exams. Identify the wrong answers and keep working on those problems until she can get 100% on them. Developing talent is about "knowing" what you're doing (like why is something right, not just memorizing equations or why does a swing cause the ball to go in certain direction, not just perform exactly the same swing over and over). By "knowing," you can feel a move is wrong or hear a musical note is off immediately.

    There are also plenty of stories of how people "became" talented. People don't become world-class athletes and musicians overnight. They weren't prodigies who created classical pieces on their first try. They were usually exposed to the field at a young age, they were motivated to continually develop their skills, and there were coaches and mentors in their lives who knew the right encouragement to give to get them to do better. This is valuable book for anyone who wants to be an expert in a field or who is a parent/teacher/coach. An interesting observation was that many of the world-class people didn't have professional teachers/coaches in the early years of their learning. They had the right teachers/coaches who kept them committed to deep practices.

    I think this book could have included specific techniques for improving skills. I noticed the author has another book "The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills." I haven't read it but it probably complements this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (900)
    Performance
    (657)
    Story
    (657)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    "For an aspiring linguist"
    Overall
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    Story

    This is a book for aspiring linguists. It's interesting to know how the English language got so weird, like why some words change vowels to change tense (sing and sang) and some words just have something added at the end (wait and waited). The author explains the influences of Germanic, Celtic, Welsh, and Latin languages. It was also fascinating to learn that while we feel English makes sense and seems "normal," it's actually quite the oddball compared to other European languages. Other languages have two or three genders: feminine, masculine, and neutral. It's common in other European languages to refer to inanimate objects as either male or female. The author also gives examples of words like "ask", "question", and "interrogate" coming from Proto-Germanic, French, and Latin influences, respectively. Proto-Germanic words are simple, brute. French is polite. Latin is commanding. Hence, why there are so many Latin terms for law and legal contracts. If you don't have a deep fascination for linguistics, it's a little hard getting through the parts that cover the evolution of sounds and words from period to period or how the word "daughter" is similar with examples given in German, Norse, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, and a dozen other languages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Romeo and Juliet

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Calista Flockhart, Matthew Wolf, Julie White, and others
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (87)

    The most iconic love story of all time, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an epic-scale tragedy of desire and revenge. Despite the bitter rivalry that exists between their families, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet have fallen madly in love. But when the long-running rivalry boils over into murder, the young couple must embark on a dangerous and deadly mission to preserve their love at any cost. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Calista Flockhart as Juliet.

    William says: "Dramatized drama at its best..."
    "Listening to Shakespeare is easier than reading"
    Overall
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    It requires some patience to listen to a book written over 400 years ago. Language has evolved and it may require listening again to some parts to understand the context of archaic syntax and words. It was worth it -- to be familiar with such known quotations:

    What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other word would smell as sweet.

    O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

    But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

    A part of star-cross'd lovers take their life.

    Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow,
    That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Todd Henry
    • Narrated By Todd Henry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (227)

    Most of us live with the stubborn idea that we'll always have tomorrow to do our most important and valuable work. We fill our days with frantic activity, bouncing from task to task, scrambling to make deadlines and chase the next promotion. But by the end of each day we're often left asking ourselves "did the work I do today really matter?" We feel the ticking of the clock, but we're stuck in first gear, unsure of the path forward and without a road map to guide us.

    Oliver says: "Deeeeep sigh. And a tired one at that."
    "Be fulfilled at the end of the day"
    Overall
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    The title "Die Empty" gives the impression on how to be ambitious and driven to achieve all your dreams. This was more about methodically improving yourself and picking the things that are important. He gives an example of how his son had hurt himself by trying to jump two steps at a time going downstairs. He freaked out from the crying and was ready to enact a new rule of "no jumping on stairs". Then he stepped back. This was the first time it happened. Obviously, his son felt the pain of making this mistake and would unlikely do it again. We lose sight of the value of learning from our mistakes and growing our wisdom from those experiences. We create rules for ourselves and others. Then they never learn from experience; they only suffocate from all the rules surrounding them. It's through these insights that you learn what actions you can take so you start to feel more fulfilled at the end of each day.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mark Twain's Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lin Salamo (editor), Victor Fischer (editor), Michael B. Frank (editor), and others
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (221)
    Story
    (218)

    Irreverent, charming, and eminently quotable, this handbook - an eccentric etiquette guide for the human race - contains 69 aphorisms, anecdotes, whimsical suggestions, maxims, and cautionary tales from Mark Twain’s private and published writings. It dispenses advice and reflections on family life and public manners; opinions on topics such as dress, health, food, and childrearing and safety; and more specialized tips, such as those for dealing with annoying salesmen and burglars.

    Gregg says: "Horrible, horrible, bad, bad, bad"
    "Silly and funny"
    Overall
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    I didn't realize that Mark Twain had such a witty and whimsical writing style. The book is filled with random stories of seeing life from a different perspective (not really a handbook). It contains silly suggestions like "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." It's an entertaining little book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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