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Michael

United States | Member Since 2015

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 18 reviews
  • 82 ratings
  • 279 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015
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  • Basic Economics, Fourth Edition: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas Sowell
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (616)
    Performance
    (449)
    Story
    (443)

    The fourth edition of Basic Economics is both expanded and updated. A new chapter on the history of economics itself has been added, and the implications of that history examined. Among other additions throughout the book, a new section on the special role of corporations in the economy has been added to the chapter on government and big business.

    kevin says: "Myth Buster"
    "Fantastic introduction to economics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thomas Sowell does a fantastic job of explaining economics in simple non-technical terms that anyone can understand. He points out the many misconceptions about economics and helps the reader / listener understand events attributed to economics in a better context.

    This should be required reading for every high school student. Certainly this offers the level of understanding every voting of our society must have before they can make informed decisions.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5022)
    Performance
    (3251)
    Story
    (3285)

    The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

    Ingwe says: "Give it a chance"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high expectations for this book. The premise sounded great and the reputation of the author is good. Unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations.

    I found the technological concepts to be a hard to buy. Hamilton would be wise to become better educated in physics and chemistry before attempting to write believably about technology.

    The characters lacked depth, originality and most significantly likableness. Among the large list of characters Hamilton has created, most are not particularly engaging or attractive. There is a lot of speculation about how extremely long lives due to cellular regeneration will affect perspectives but little of it is positive and the exploration of this idea is woefully incomplete as are many other concepts that make up the rather shaky foundation for this story.

    The book is very long because the number if independent threads that Hamilton initiates and eventually brings together is gratuitously large. It is as if Hamilton is attempting to win a bet for the most threads he can incorporate in a single story. It took over 20 hours to establish all these story lines and they weren't that engaging. They did leave the reader wondering how things would come together. Unfortunately I, at least, didn't end up caring about most of the characters to be excited about the next chapter.

    This book ends quite abruptly without tying anything up. After 37 hours the author should be able to deliver some conclusions. Instead the reader is left hanging on nearly all fronts having to get the next book if they want any resolution. This is cheap on both the author and the publishers part.

    Hamilton is obviously talented, He can definitely weave an intricate story and he has some very clever ideas. A better education in science and technology would help him write a more believable story. Better understanding of character development would help him create more interesting characters with which readers can identify. A decent editor would have cut this book down by half.

    On the other hand John Lee is a fantastic narrator! He is the only reason I saw this book through to completion. He brings the characters to live which, for this book, was particularly important. I'll look for other books he narrates.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Castles of Steel

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (81)

    In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War.

    Matt says: "Stick With It!"
    "Fascinating History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The navel history of World War I is critical to understanding the war and therefore all of early 20th century history. This book does an excellent job of presenting this story in a factual but interesting manner. The level of detail makes it plod a bit but overall it is well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chasm City

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Alastair Reynolds
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1148)
    Performance
    (867)
    Story
    (872)

    The once-utopian Chasm City - a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet---has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted - from the people to the very buildings they inhabit---only the most wretched sort of existence remains. The stakes are raised when Tanner Mirabel's search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.

    Tango says: "Enter Revelation Space HERE"
    "Very clever but ugly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book by Alistair Reynolds I have read. Both have the same problems. The story is impressively complex and intricate and is told in a manner that keeps the reader well engaged. Information is revealed in a manner that slowly drives to a story climax without being overly foreshadowed and predictable.

    Reynolds appears to have a very low opinion of humanity generating characters that are rather dislikable antihero types lacking any solid values or direction. I would infer from his writing that he has bought into moral relativism and the very empty existence that goes with it.

    His world is also quite dark and, while quite creative, are also distasteful and don’t resonate well with basic physics making it hard to suspend ones disbelief at times.

    The narrator, John Lee, is exceptional! He does a fantastic job of providing voices for a wide variety of characters and pacing his delivery such that you hang on his words. I hope to listen to him read books from other authors who tell more positive stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16867)
    Performance
    (15609)
    Story
    (15612)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Left a lot to be desired"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ready Player One is loads of fun for anyone who grew up in the 80’s and was in any way a part of the video, personal computer, and gaming worlds that came to life at that time. This book is full of references to arcade games, movies, and early computer technology. As a young adult in the 80’s I identified with these references and found them delightful. Wil Wheaton was the perfect narrator for this book! As a teen actor in Star Trek TNG, he is one of the 80’s icons this book alludes to, his reading made it that much more fun!

    Unfortunately, the execution on this story falls well short of the great concept. Cline did his homework on 80’s pop culture but didn't bring a great deal of ability to the storytelling. Outside the many references to a decade gone by, the main plot was rather juvenile. The characters lack depth. A revelation which is doubly surprising since one of the themes focuses on what it really means to know a person. The plot twists are hit or miss. Some are quite clever but many more are rather well worn and predictable.

    Cline’s predictions of a future some 25 or so years from now are particularly weak. The ideas are inconsistent to the point where they are difficult to get past much less take seriously. The world has run out of oil so transportation is a real problem yet there are still plenty of plastics in use. Everyone has gathered in and around the cities and unemployment is high yet there seems to be plenty of food coming from the abandoned wasteland to feed all these indigents. I won’t point out the myriad of other inconsistencies for fear I’ll ruin the story.

    Needless to say a great deal more could have been made of this story. It is a shame so much was left on the table.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Adam Makos
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (1344)
    Performance
    (1214)
    Story
    (1229)

    Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger.

    JerryL says: "An Absolutely Incredcredible Audiobook!"
    "If you read a book on WW II it should be this one!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many excellent books have been written on WW II but this one must be considered one of the best! Adam Makos has done a superior job of research then delivered a story that delivers both intellectually and emotionally!

    This story reminds us of what honor and nobility are even during the horrors of war. It also offers rare insight into the regular (and in many ways not so regular) combatants that were on the losing side. This story makes the reader realize how tragic WW II was for so many on both sides, what sacrifices were made, and what heroics occurred.

    Makos tells a very personal story and, in doing so, offers a unique perspective on the key events of the war through the eyes of those doing the fighting. If you have to select a single book that offers insight into the historical significance of the war, one that will be a very compelling read, this is where to go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Whodunnit?: Murder on Mystery Island

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Anthony E. Zuiker
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1381)
    Performance
    (1238)
    Story
    (1252)

    Ten excited co-workers arrive at the beautiful Avondale Resort on a remote island in the middle of the Caribbean, having been told that they are being rewarded for their hard work and productivity. But their relaxing tropical getaway soon turns into a murderous nightmare.

    AudioAddict says: "Surprisingly good for a free listen!"
    "Formulaic and Uninspired"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It would seem this story was cranked out quickly and with little inspiration. It follows the formula originated in the great Agatha Christie work "And Then There Were None" but offers no flair or originality.

    The characters are two dimensional to put it nicely there are a wide variety of logic and consistency errors. The "Mark Spitz Diving Challenge" pinball game characterized the lack of effort put into developing any believability. (Spitz was a winner of seven Olympic gold medals for swimming not diving)

    This appears to have been a quick knockoff for Audible. I hope Audible will put more effort into future original work. I'm pleased I didn't pay anything for it but, even for free,I think you can do better.

    The performance was quite pleasant. I'd listen to the narrator again.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The People's Tycoon

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Steven Watts
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    How a Michigan farm boy became the richest man in America is a classic, almost mythic tale, but never before has Henry Ford's outsized genius been brought to life so vividly as it is in this engaging and superbly researched biography. The real Henry Ford was a tangle of contradictions. He set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism.

    John says: "disappointing"
    "An authoritative portrait of an intricate man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Steven Watts does an excellent job of revealing the numerous intricacies of this fascinating individual. Ford was an amazing force at the beginning of the last century that brought America and the world into the consumer age. He was far from perfect and had many failings. He was definitely human! A man whose life and times worthy of examination. A very worthwhile read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3094)
    Performance
    (1625)
    Story
    (1651)

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Connie says: "Enhanced version seems to correct audio defects"
    "A Classic all Sci Fi fans should read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is a landmark of the genre. In addition to being well paced and exciting, it will influence how you think of the world. It is also Heinlein's "Magnum Opus". Valentine Michael Smith, as a human that is effectively alien offers a view of humanity that is both convicting and uplifting. It will leave you thinking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gateway

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Frederik Pohl
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman, Robert J. Sawyer
    Overall
    (945)
    Performance
    (713)
    Story
    (721)

    When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

    Ryan says: "A human-focused SF classic"
    "This book ended before it ever got started"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The concept of the Heechee and the technology they left behind is fascinating. It is a solid science fiction concept that would have been really interesting to pursue. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t explore the Heechee and their technology nearly enough. It dwells on Rob Broadhead, a blue collar minor on Earth lucky enough to win a lottery and travel to Gateway an become an interstellar explorer /miner.

    Instead of going out to risk life and limb to learn about the universe and possibly become a wealthy man, Rob spends his time fearing the risks and acting as a coward.

    Pohl tells Rob’s story through his time with a psychiatrist (computer based) and his memories of the events as they happened. The story telling is reasonably clever but not new (even in the 1980.) What should be the setup for an adventure ends up being the entire story. The ending (I won’t ruin it for you) reveals why Rob has such issues with this wealth and fame and why he feels incredibly guilty for his good fortune.

    For me it just wasn’t that clever. Rob is a coward who lacks a moral compass and is generally the architect of his own misery. He is not a character the reader really wants to get to know. I was quite repulsed by his actions and choices and generally felt sorry for him throughout the story.

    Most of the other characters weren’t any better. I expect that was by design but it didn’t resonate with me. There was so much potential for a diverse cast. Instead all the characters were similarly sick and flawed.

    The story that was there to be told didn’t ever happen. Instead we learn why Rob is even more screwed up than he was before he became a “success”. The story should have centered more on the Heechee. If I someday read any of the other books in the series I hope that race will be further explored.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6289)
    Performance
    (5664)
    Story
    (5691)

    First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author's preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

    Michael says: "New to Neil"
    "The story doesn't live up to the idea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    American Gods is a fascinating story concept. Neil Gaiman is a very capable writer who has woven an interesting story that draws the reader in. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end of being that tight. Perhaps it is because the concept of gods of myth and history being real is very hard to rationalize under close scrutiny. Perhaps Gaiman just needed to work harder on the story consistency. It is hard to say.

    Regardless, the literary prose was quite fine but the actual plot failed to “suspend my disbelief”. While I found the story entertaining Gaiman took a number of directions I didn’t find particularly edifying while ignoring numerous concepts I would have found much more interesting and relevant.

    I think Gaiman attempted to include too many “gods” from too many mythos without developing some basis for their interaction. I fear I may be too analytical in my story analysis. If you are similarly plot critical, though, I think you will find this story way to full of holes to live up to the idea that inspired this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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