I would imagine that it is very difficult to find much new to say about a figure who, despite his penchant for privacy, spent so much of his life in the public eye. But Mr. Isaacson succeeds admirably. This books was probably intended to be the definitive record of Steve Jobs' life, and it is certainly that. The timeline approach shows the development and maturing of his character as well as his professional accomplishments over the span of his life.
There is no doubt that he was a genius and the book traces the unfolding of that brilliance, and in what I think is the key value of the book, shows the cost that those around him paid for their relationship with him.
Even as he was in the hospital for his liver transplant, he was a terror to those around him; family, doctors and nurses. One is left wondering if this person felt love or empathy or compassion for anyone. His self centered and often cruel existence was seemingly tolerated because of his wealth, talent, and accomplishments.
In the end the book raises an existential question (at least for me)...do his accomplishments and revolutionizing products excuse his behavior towards others? I would grade his professional life as an A+, but his interpersonal life would be an F-.
As we would say in Southern California, that dude is going to have some crazy karma in his next life.
This is a gripping story that combines modern thriller/chase themes with the history of Italy and the plague. The story is thoroughly engaging with characters that you grow to care about. You always want to know what happens next, and after that, and after that. I found my self listening for hours at a time...usually when I should have been sleeping.
Mr. Brown writes beautifully about history and his ability to blend the ancient and modern is incredible (having avoided it in high school, I am now determined to read Dante's Inferno).
Perhaps, it is good to remember that this is entertainment not literature. There are some twists and turns that sometimes seem a bit strained and facile. The ending is emotionally engaging but strains credulity.
On the other hand, who cares. This was a ton of fun. Highly recommended.
Obviously, anything else by Dan Brown. He has a style that is consistent and consistently interesting. Reading "Justinian's Flea" would give the reader a valuable background on the fascinating history of the plague. And of course, Dante's Inferno would be great as well.
Sienna - a wonderfully complex character was rendered with skill and tenderness.
The scene in the underground cistern.
Innovative, fascinating, life-changing
Freakonomics - because they both challenge our view of the world and show how what we think might be true, frequently isn't.
His style is unusual although well matched to the book. I enjoyed it and as with the best Audible books, the experience of listening to the book has far more impact than reading the book.
That chaos breeds flexibility.
I listened to this book 4-5 months ago and I find myself still thinking about it. There is a lot of very profound insight here and it is a book that I will re-listen to.
While I am all too familiar with the experience of being in debt, I had no idea that the history of debt was so rich and varied. He presented the concept of debt and then showed how it changed over time while both reflecting and influencing politics, the military, and social order.
This is one of those books that will change the way you view history. There are wonderful insights here and an immense span of history is presented with clarity and humor.
I particularly enjoyed learning about the way cultures have gone back and forth between systems that relied on barter and coinage. There is a fascinating relationship between slavery, mining, and a financial system that relied on coins. Brilliant.
Very steady and listenable. Just the right presentation.
That the middle ages were more diverse than I expected and that they were a factor in India as well.
This is a long book, but the thoroughness with which the author presents his subject is wonderful. It never gets tedious and every chapter presents something new that I had never considered before. Well worth the time.
This is an insightful and entertaining history of the plague mixed with an insightful telling of the history of Justinian. I think of it as the unexpected intersection of biology and politics. Both are covered in fascinating and always entertaining detail. The author has clearly mastered his subject and he relates his insights with ease and wit.
This is one of those books that I mark as a must to re-listen.
I became aware of Nate Silver during the last election and was amazed at his sensible, no nonsense approach to polling. I had expected this book to be technical and statistics oriented, but it turned out to be a particularly fascinating insight into his life, how he got to where he is now, and of course a lot of explanations about statistics, how they work, and how things can so easily go wrong.
It was a great listen. His style of writing is excellent and he tells a good story. Well worth the time.
A charming book that tells the history of what we eat through the tools we use to prepare it. The book is written with great charm and good humor and the narration is just right.
History is most often told through politics and commerce. This is history of a different sort, told through the kitchen.
There is a brilliant insight here...the history of the world as seen through the sorts of drinks that predominate in each time; beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, and Coke. It is a story that is absolutely fascinating and wonderfully told.
This is just the sort of book that relaxes you - interesting, new, original, insightful....I could go on, but if you have a notion to listen to this one, just do it. You won't be disappointed.
This book is exceptionally well written. The author takes a vast and complex subject and presents it in a way that is both fun and interesting. The author tells his story and gives his insights with humor and charm, always taking great care not to be preachy or dogmatic. Although the narration was a bit breathless and some pronunciation suspect, the book is enjoyable to listen to and I found myself staying up on more than one occasion to listen to just one more chapter.
Buddhism is presented as being eminently practical for our modern world. Perhaps unique among religions this is one which makes pretty good intellectual sense. Partly that is due to the skill of the author and the thoroughness with which he has mastered his topic.
If I have a criticism it is that, in my opinion as a lifelong Hindu, he misinterprets, and misunderstands the nature of karma, the evolution of the soul and the importance of mystical experience. That may sound harsh, but it should be a positive reason to read this book. His eloquent arguments get you thinking and in the process you end up with greater clarity about how you feel.
Absolutely one of the best books on Buddhism out there.
Who would have suspected that a book telling the story of the birth of geology as a science in England would be so fascinating and full of intrigue and drama! This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, well written and beautifully presented. Clearly the author has a feel for the subject matter and presents it with charm and style.
If you like history and science, just about anything that answers the question; how did this get started will do. Audible science offerings are full of books like this.
William Smith of course!
Yes in terms of being able to maintain my interest. But I found myself listening to some chapters over just to enjoy the story and writing more.
I suppose it takes a certain leap of faith to listen to a book about geology. But really...this is good stuff. Interesting and even exciting.
History is one of those things that an Audible Book really makes come alive. This book is one of the best. The author and narrator has a great grasp of the historical sequence of events and presents them in a way that is both fascinating and entertaining.
In high school, I hated history with its emphasis on dates and events. If only history texts were written like this. The individuals come alive and their actions are both fascinating and horrifying. The book is especially strong when it comes to presenting the political realities of the time and explaining how they propelled events forward.
After listening to this book, I have a much greater understanding of how we got here and why the world is the way it is. It is also, in a larger sense, a cautionary tale. Our leaders are as misguided now as the rulers were back then (with the exception of the frequent murder of competing family members).
Every book we listen to is an investment of time. This one gives a lot back. Well worth every minute.
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