Hard to go wrong with C.S. Lewis, and this is no exception. His writing is clean, and simple, but beautifully descriptive. The story unfolds quickly, but even though the puzzle of the "what is going on here" is solved within only a few chapters, the subsequent development is even more intriguing. It's on read/hearing the works of an author like this (as opposed to a modern churner-out-of-chatter) that one experiences just how powerful words can be.
Only two criticisms drop the rating by one star; both minor. First; the narrator is extremely good, but his rendition of the bright ones was sometimes a bit too sombre for my liking. Having read the book years ago, I pictured those people as being of the type who wouldn't even know the meaning of the word "sombre". Second; well, the Scots character was just too "hoots mon, och aye" for me. But that's because I'm a Scot. If you didn't mind Scottie in "Star Trek", you won't mind this guy either.
Either way, it doesn't matter. The words, and the story overwhelm these minor quibbles. Highly recommended.
I've never been completely convinced that insider trading should be illegal - not from a moral standpoint. But I couldn't help feeling some sympathy for the original crafters of the securities laws when I heard, in "Den of Thieves" about the immense control that Milken had over certain parts of the markets.
DoT is a complex books of names; hard to keep track of while driving, but tolerant of minor lapses on the part of the listener. If you can listen to it while not driving, keep a notebook handy for a while. Most fascinating perhaps is the wide range of people behind those names - from demi-gods like Milken, down to bit part players whose names now escape me.
Heller's reading is solid and well-matched to the story.
A good listen.
Silly plot, mediocre characterization, and annoying writing style. How on earth does anyone find this book listenable?
The plot development consists almost entirely of one character restating as an incredulous question what another character has just said. (You mean the plot development consists almost entirely of one character restating what another character has just said!!!!!?) All it needs is the odd "Holy Cow Langdon!", and we'd be laughing. (Except, I already am.)
The characters are barely believable, and the science is worse. (Surely you can't be saying the characters are barely believable, and the science is worse!!!!???)
And if it weren't for those things, I'd overlook the annoying errors. But I can't. "Enormity" doesn't mean "enormous"; and "disinterested" doesn't mean "uninterested". (Enormity!? Disinterested!? What do mean!!!!!?)
Finally, no physicist in their right mind is going to refer to themself as a "discrete particle physicist". Even if they are discrete. Do a quick google on the phrase and see what I mean.
Verdict - where's the trash can.
Less of a direct review and more an indirect one as a data point for Audible and Simon & Schuster.
I was about to buy this book but then noticed that it was being read by its author. Without exception, my experience so far has been that such books are disappointing in their audible form. Even something as beuatifully descriptive as "Cold Mountain" was utterly destroyed.
Unless I specifically know otherwise, I have now begun to assume that any book narrated by the author is a "no buy". Writing and reading are two different skills, and while individuals who have both to a sufficiently developed level certainly exist, they are rare.
Note to self: think twice about buying a book narrated by the author.
I don't understand why the publisher does this. Many song writers can't sing; many directors can't act; why on earth do we think that an author can read to the standard required for a commercial product like this. I've had several audible books made almost useless by this problem. This book opens with and is punctuated by a professional reader, but the author himself is poor. His fake shouting is actually embarassing.
The content itself is mixed to mediocre. Some genuine snippets of thought-provoking ideas, and some blinding flashes of the obvious. Unfortunately the latter dominate the former. Also, the arguments are often incoherent or poorly-formed. For example, he rambles on about how "solutions" have no value, but his underlying argument is that solutions *are* valuable but sometimes what we think is a solution isn't, in the mind of the current client.
He also - in a frank discussion about how some client employee was fired in the aftermath of a meeting with the author - admits to not following his own advice. The honesty is admirable, and the scenario entirely understandable. But it raises the red flag of suspicion that although this book is clearly attacking a common problem, its advice is actually difficult or impossible to follow in practice. It's a bit like buying a diet book from a fat person. If they tell you all you have to do is follow their advice, but "by the way, I've never managed to do it myself", you'll think twice about buying the book.
And that would be my strong recommendation here - think twice, then don't buy this book. I wonder how many of it's good reviews were influenced by the reviewer having also received the material in another form - actual book, or course.
I bought Cold Mountain partly because my daughter recommended it, but
partly because I was intrigued at the wide difference in Audible reviews. Glowing praise on the one hand was countered by damning criticism on the other, particularly concerning the narration.
My conclusion: the critics are right. This is an awful audio book, really *awful*. Coming through the ninth-grade reading style are beautiful descriptions of the south, the war, and warm country life. But I could rarely stay focussed before the narrator's grim monotone hauled me back to reality.
True enough, as one reviewer suggested, the author's southern accent helps carry his story. But the effect is *completely* destroyed by the fact that his reading is as unskilled as his writing is skilled. Surely a professional reader/actor from the south could have been found instead.
Most songwriters do not sing; most playwrights do not direct or act. Why did anyone think that this man was the right person to read? Such a shame.
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