The author's core hypothesis is basically something along the lines of "work of professionals is increasingly not valued, so they're not making money like they used to", and he attributes this to "amateurs".
There are a few nuggets of good information in this book, but they're few and far between. I think the author could come up with a five-page theme paper that would cover all of his points - the rest is redundant (and sometimes irrelevant) examples.
He gives an example of a company having a "design our next ad" contest, where the winner got paid some amount (I believe it was $10,000) for the ad. He then said that a "professional" would have charged, on average, over $300,000 to do the same ad. He then states that this was a bad thing, presumably because a "professional" lost out on work.
This neglects to mention that if the "amateur" doesn't do as good of a job as the "professional", the company won't hire the amateur next time. They'll hire the professional, and value his services even more. If the ad is the best ad they've ever run though, who's to say that the company did the wrong thing by shopping around? It's really pretty simple.
By the way....my very act of posting a review of his work, since I'm not a "professional" reviewer of audiobooks, makes me (in his eyes) unqualified to render any valid opinion about his work. Very convenient, that.
If you're willing to take my "amateur" advice, save your credits and your money.
I chose this book because I like science fiction, and Ringworld appears to have stood the test of time.
This book didn't exactly inspire me to want to listen to it all in one sitting, but it had enough of consistency and realism that it didn't get dull or boring either.
The strengths of Ringworld are that the framework of the universe in which it takes place is well fleshed-out, the history is developed enough to establish a backdrop for the story, the characters seem internally consistent, and the alien races don't just seem to be "humans with funny ears". Each race has their own motivations, goals, and unique characteristics, and that all combines well to propel the story line forward in a logical and consistent manner.
The primary weakness of Ringworld, in my mind, is that the story isn't exactly compelling reading. Things happen, but there aren't the plot twists, epic struggles, and so on that typically make up a piece of sci-fi....this book flows more like a historical narrative. The ending also left me feeling like there should be more; it just didn't finish well.
That all being said, it's a great book for people who like a more technical science fiction. I am definitely going to be exploring Niven's other Ringworld books. If, however, you're looking for the proverbial "page-turner", I don't think Ringworld is for you.
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