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Joe Sparks

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States | Member Since 2010


  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective. Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day?

    Connie says: "Audio version is superb for us grown-ups"
    "A book for young children, ages 7-11"

    Another reviewer made this point "Dawkins..for children", and I would play this for my kids. But if you have kept in light touch with the world at all, you will learn very little from this book as an adult (the only thing I learned was a bit more about how stars produce energy). It is obviously aimed at religious people, to break them free from mythology. I doubt it would work on mystic adults, but it might have some chance with children in their formative years.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation - into the meetings, postmortems, and "Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture - but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, "an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."

    Joe Sparks says: "Bought the instant I saw it."
    "Bought the instant I saw it."

    Ed Catmull? Done! I bought this book within 2 seconds of seeing the title. I'm nearly done with the book. Really fun to get the pixar story from Catmull's side. (a major inventor of 3D graphics technology since the 70's) It reminds me of listening to The Woz autobiography: there's parallels (Both were tech partners with Steve Jobs). I've read many books that get into the pixar story, and I have my own personal history with the people from this company and era(s). Enjoying this perspective on company building, team leadership, balancing people and constraints, unique aspects of creative teams, amazing stories, and much more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Abs Diet: The Six-Week Plan to Flatten Your Stomach and Keep You Lean for Life

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By David Zinczenko, Ted Spiker
    • Narrated By Eric Conger

    Great-looking abs are more than just a way to support the mirror industry. In fact, strong abs and flat stomachs are the ultimate indicator of overall health for both men and women. Great abs will help you live longer, sleep better, prevent back pain, and significantly improve your sex life! (And, hey, they don't look half-bad in the mirror, either.) Unfortunately, you could spend years on starvation diets and extreme exercise programs that never unearth those elusive stomach muscles.

    Kevin M. Davis says: "Now it all makes sense"
    "Good overall, but WRONG PDF for MANY MONTHS"

    A comment from April 2012 below syays: "REALLY NEEDS THE CORRECT PDF"

    I didn't care so much when I bought the book, but now that I have read it, I really want the recipes, shopping lists, charts of which kinds beef cuts are best, and so on, things the are NOT SPOKEN IN THE BOOK, but are refereed to over and over in the book "JUST READ THE PDF TO FIND X. and GET THE PDF ON AUDIBLE TO SEE WHY.."

    As has been brought up before, the PDF attached to this title in my library, is the PDF that belongs with the companion book "The Abs Diet Personal Trainer," which is nothing but exercises for that book, and none of the information promised in this book.

    This has been commented on and audible has been contacted about for at least ONE YEAR that I can tell, and nothing has been done about it. I may actually use the Audible's return policy for the first time.

    As for the book itself, I enjoyed the basic information about food interactions, how calcium can block fat production, and dozens of other practical details. However, as some have noted below, the author delays the information with yet another story about how great the diet is, and some pretty bad jokes. I think after the diet was outlined, someone made the decision to pad the thing with a big heaping of lameness to push it up into the "actual book length" size.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Lloyd James

    In what is considered one of Heinlein's most hair-raising, thought-provoking, and outrageous adventures, the master of modern science fiction tells the strange story of an even stranger world. It is 21st-century Luna, a harsh penal colony where a revolt is plotted between a bashful computer and a ragtag collection of maverick humans, a revolt that goes beautifully until the inevitable happens. But that's the problem with the inevitable: it always happens.

    Peter says: "Heinlein's Masterpiece"
    "Great book + among my top 5 performances!"

    I seriously cannot hype this audio book enough. I never read it as a kid, but thanks to audible, I got to hear it performed by one of the very best reader/actors I have ever heard. Please listen to this amazing thoughtful exciting and intriguing book. You won't be disappointed, and you won't believe it was written during the early 1960's. Even more cool to people with a libertarian streak.

    The reader is freaking fantastic. I loved the computer's voice (Mike) and how it evolved during the story (cracked me up throughout the book). Just plain awesome, surprising, thought-provoking.

    As usual, I listened via Audible app on my Android phone.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "One of the very best audio books I have heard."

    Performance was top-notch. Their voices let you know exactly who is speaking, no need for "he said, she said". Many different readers and actors use expressive dialog, which gives more meaning and understanding than the text alone.

    The story was incredible. In many ways, this book is better than Dune, 1984 or Brave New World because of the philosophy and world view inside of it. There's a hope for humanity and the idea of a meritocracy, plus a salvation angle.. while still exploring human evil, perversion, and envy in depth.

    There's many surprises, and elements of pure imagination at its best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Basic Economics, Fourth Edition: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas Sowell
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    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"
    "This Must-Read will inoculate you against fraud"

    Sowell covers so many economic fallacies (fallacies we have heard propagated daily in the news, for all of our lives), and explains why they are wrong. He uses inventive illustrative scenarios to make clear difficult concepts. He takes you well-past a limited concept or idea, to the full consequences of that idea, and makes the case using real-world historical examples from around the world. This will inoculate you against future fraud for the rest of your life. My only critique: the reader, while clear and understandable, is a bit dry and devoid of expression. Still worth it though. I have "re-read" many chapters since I bought it.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Les Miserables

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson

    Set in the Parisian underworld and plotted like a detective story, Les Miserables follows Jean Valjean, originally an honest peasant, who has been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. A hardened criminal upon his release, he eventually reforms, becoming a successful industrialist and town mayor. Despite this, he is haunted by an impulsive former crime and is pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert.

    Kathryn says: "one happy insomniac"
    "I will re-read (re-play) this book for years."

    After hearing Ayn Rand praise Victor Hugo in numerous essays, I felt it was finally time to see what the big fuss was about. Oh yes, the musical I've never seen "le miz" was based on this book? I read some wiki articles on Hugo and the books, and picked this: The Big One. After I few chapters, I could see why it is referred to as the greatest book of the 19th century. I realized that there was this giant gaping hole in my experience and education called "Victor Hugo" and I am filling it in as rapidly as I can. This is massive detailed, witty, soaring true epic, with all things human nature, good and evil, fate, justice, danger, thrills, cliff hangers, society, politics, historical ways of thinking of France, the young and the old... It is silly of me to even begin to list, whatever I write is not enough to summarize.

    The reader is one of the best I have encountered. A true actor the breathes meaning and emotion into every sentence. This makes the book much easier to understand emotionally, amd in pure meaning.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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