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James L. Fuqua

Jim

Hendersonville, TN United States

ratings
10
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
11

  • Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Christopher Steiner
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (688)
    Performance
    (593)
    Story
    (593)

    It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills - and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These "bots" started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected.

    RealTruth says: "good start, book runs out of sustenace"
    "Both inspiring and frightening!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is exciting, inspiring and at the same time frightening. Computers and the people who understand them are helping humanity and at the same time gaining a huge edge over people who don't understand and use computers and have the capital to take advantage of their capabilities.

    Every late middle school or early high school student should read this book. Their life's trajectory would certainly change to include a more technical education.

    For those of us who are on the other end of life's spectrum it makes one wonder whether life has any safe professions or havens for our children and grandchildren. Will half of our doctors be replaced by computers?

    When one spends eight to twelve years after high school in study to become a professional is it possible to see all of that work become obsolete with the perfection of a few computer algorithms? But think --- of all of the benefit to humanity from more accessible and accurate medical treatment for everyone on the receiving end instead of the dispensing end of the medical profession. And on it goes.

    In the future truck convoys of driverless trucks are likely to deliver our goods in half the time at a fraction of the current cost with no accidents --- and at the same time displace a million truck drivers.

    Think of NYC with twenty thousand automated driverless taxi cabs that are incapable of taking the slowest route or blowing a horn or violating a safety law or even having a collision of any sort. Complete safety. Reduced cost. No noise. Displaced drivers.

    Read or listen to this book or ----- stick your head in the sand and be intentionally ignorant of the future --- your choice. The change is in progress. Part is history but the exciting part is what is to come.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1135)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (945)

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Grant says: "Hot"
    "Valuable Information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book shows how perceptive people have separated relevant data from irrelevant data.

    The author is fond of baseball and baseball statistics. Not being fond of baseball, I had to remind myself from time to time that the book is about data and analyzing data and not about baseball. Sometimes the book moves a little slow, but it is full of good information.

    This is not a mathematical book about statistics so much as a book about judgment calls and how to evaluate relevance.

    The author's view on Bayes's theorem is particularly interesting. I hope he will elaborate on Bayes's theorem with examples in detail in a future book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Appointment in Samarra: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By John O'Hara, Charles McGrath (introduction)
    • Narrated By Christian Camargo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.

    Darryl says: "excellent & a bit existentialist & Hemingway-esque"
    "Book is a downer."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is often considered a classic. It has a catchy start and end with a Persian folk tale. Everything in between is depressing.

    The entire story transpires in less than a week as a salesman destroys himself by stupid misbehavior during periods of heavy drinking. Nothing in this book is cheerful. From start to finish it is a downer.

    Pure Schadenfreude. If you get pleasure from the misfortune of others you will enjoy this book.

    I probably should have rated the performance as five star because the reader made a disgusting person seem more disgusting, but also so blind to his faults as to be helpless in a slide to death.

    Jim Fuqua

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Daniel Lieberman
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (151)

    In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman - chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field - gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.

    G-Man says: "A great discussion of human evolution/physiology"
    "Very Informative Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease is an excellent book.

    The author is head of the Evolutionary Biology Department at Harvard. It appears that many of the negative reviews are by people who don't believe evolution happens. If you strongly hold to that view yourself you probably will be offended by every page of this book.

    The book starts by telling you more details concerning early humanoids than you may want to know, but if you stick with the book for fifty or sixty pages the relevance of the information to modern humans becomes more apparent. The longer you stick with the book the more you are likely to enjoy it.

    Ultimately there is much information relevant to how we live today and how we should be living given our likely genetic predispositions.

    The one issue that I would like to have heard more about is how or if evolution had much impact on diseases of the elderly when our ancestors rarely lived to the ages we commonly live today.

    Overall --- a very good book.

    Jim Fuqua



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, The Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Edward Dolnick
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (971)
    Performance
    (717)
    Story
    (729)

    The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of men who lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured a universe that ran like a perfect machine. A meld of history and science, this book is a group portrait of some of the greatest minds who ever lived as they wrestled with natures most sweeping mysteries. The answers they uncovered still hold the key to how we understand the world.

    Alison says: "The Royal Society comes alive."
    "They made us what we are."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It has been a few months since I listened to The Clockwork Universe so I cannot go into minute detail, but I can say that there are many long term lessons that you will retain from this book.

    Even our greatest thinkers are floundering in the dark most of the time but occasionally shining glimpses of light on our world and universe for future generations to follow.

    Even Newton, one of our greatest thinkers, spent most of his life exploring worthless theories but his successes were extraordinary.

    This is a story of "The Royal Society" and the doers and thinkers who were its members. It is more than history. It gives us an insight into both our ignorance and our knowledge. At any given moment in history perhaps there are only a few dozen or now maybe a few hundred people who are discovering scientific truths that will profoundly alter all future generations.

    This story is both remarkable and enjoyable. We owe a huge debt to those individuals in the Royal Society who changed the world forever. Long after the politicians, generals and admirals of the day are forgotten the members of the Royal Society, if not the Royal Society itself, will be remembered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The South Sea Bubble and Tulipomania: Financial Madness and Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Charles Mackay
    • Narrated By Greg Wagland
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    These two unabridged chapters from Charles Mackay’s two-volume evergreen work, Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841) deal with the disastrous South Sea Bubble and the extraordinary outbreak of Tulipomania in Holland.

    David says: "Satire Well Worth $6 Sales Price"
    "Lemming Like Behavior Of Humans Goes Way Back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is about irrational financial behavior of the masses. Mackay wrote the book more than 150 years ago, but the irrational behavior persists today.

    One side lesson that was unintended by the author is that popular and governmental reaction to the bursting of a financial bubble can be as irrational as the behavior that created the bubble.

    Legal entities that shielded investors from risk such as corporations were made illegal in a way that must have stifled innovation for years. The government enacted ex post facto laws that operated retroactively to made criminal acts of acts that were legal when committed. That is people were punished for doing acts that were legal when they acted.

    At that time the common law and the law of equity were probably robust enough to sort out the fraudulent acts and punish corporate ventures that were never meant to be valid business deals. That is ventures that were only meant to fleece the purchasers of the stock. The mob acted first.

    The primitive nature of accounting and apparent lack of auditing of corporations or governmental regulation of dangerous financial mechanisms was apparent.

    There are lessons in this book that should have given pause to investors in the recent financial melt down. There are also lessons for the regulators and legislators -- the reaction to market fraud should be vigorous but not excessive.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter the Great: His Life and World

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (351)
    Performance
    (271)
    Story
    (267)

    This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter's birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas.

    Susan says: "detailed history"
    "Excellent Book and Reader, Mediocre Producer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary person who moved an entire country ahead at least 100 years from the position in civilization in which he inherited rulership.

    Few people have had such impact on their society. Only the name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk comes to mind in recent times. Theodore Roosevelt may have moved the USA ahead a decade and perhaps Abraham Lincoln moved the the USA ahead several decades but Peter moved his country at least a century.

    The voice of the reader is excellent and he does well with phrases and names in many languages.

    My only complaint is in the production of this book and many others. It is impossible for a reader to adequately mimic the voice of a child or member of the opposite sex and particularly such very different people with significant foreign accents. That is an impossible task and should be replaced by a reader of the proper sex or age for quotations. This reader does as good a job as most other readers but even the worlds best reader is inadequate when given such a task.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (2859)
    Performance
    (2050)
    Story
    (2055)

    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"
    "Excellent book - detailed view from the inside."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author apparently had access to many people inside Google including several in top management.

    It is interesting to hear how they think and function and the personalities and objectives of the two founders.

    It is unfortunate that some of our public institutions are not so rational and data driven.

    The objective of the founders appears to be to alter the world and this they have done, but they are clearly not finished. Read the book to discover some of the projects that they pursue principally for the benefits to society which may never benefit their company.

    If you are a geek it is a 'must read'. If you are an investor you should read the book to understand what drives the company in which you have invested your money.

    It is perhaps the best -non technical - book on current technology.

    Jim Fuqua

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (106)

    Talk about a fish story! New York Times and Harper's columnist Mark Kurlansky offers "history filtered through the gills of the fish trade." David McCullough, the historian behind John Adams, says Kurlansky's "charming tale" of a "seemingly improbable idea" will change the way people think of the fish and the history.

    Karen says: "A great fish story"
    "Cod shaped our history!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Cod shaped the economic history of North America for several centuries as well as provided a major economic impact in much of Europe. You can't fully understand our history without reading this book.

    The economic impact of cod tapered off as overfishing devastated the economic value of this important resource.

    There are many historical and environmental lessons contained in this book.

    The book is also entertaining and introduces you to real people who's lives have been profoundly altered by the mismanagement of cod fishing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Second World War: Milestones to Disaster

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Sir Winston Churchill
    • Narrated By Christian Rodska
    Overall
    (1288)
    Performance
    (703)
    Story
    (702)

    Churchill's history of the Second World War is, and will remain, the definitive work. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction.

    John M says: "Brilliant! Only Churchill could have done this."
    "Great Book -- A War That Could Have Been Prevented"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Second World War?

    The shocking revolation of how easy it would have been in the mid 1930s to prevent the war from happening.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Second World War?

    This book was principally about the prelude to the Second World War.


    Have you listened to any of Christian Rodska’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He becomes Churchill. The perfect reader or should I say performer.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Impossible.


    Any additional comments?

    They say peoples who don't study history are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. This book clearly demonstrates that pacifism caused WWII when faced by an unprincipled dictator who was only concerned with his tribe and not humanity as a whole.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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