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  • A Journey: My Political Life

    • ABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Tony Blair
    • Narrated By Tony Blair

    This is Tony Blair’s firsthand account of his years in office and beyond. Here he describes for the first time his role in shaping our recent history, from the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death to the war on terror. He reveals the decisions necessary to reinvent his party, the relationships with colleagues including Gordon Brown, the negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland, the implementation of the biggest reforms to public services in Britain since 1945, and his relationships with leaders on the world stage.

    W. J. Young says: "History can only ever be accepted judgments"
    "Very interesting - a little egotistical"

    I've not read or listened to many auto-biographies before. Tony Blair's is a fascinating account of his as Prime Minister. Being in the US, I don't pretend to know the people or issues in British politics - about all we hear about is the PM and the royal family. That also meant I had little bias about what was said.

    It was interesting to see his thought processes throughout. He was convinced of the correctness of bringing New Labor policies into the UK. I suppose that's the one weakness of the book as well: with the exception of Iraq, there's little hindsight on the decisions he made. He pats himself on the back a lot with the assumption of his correctness. All of the ideas seem to be his as well - I can't recall any instance where he credited someone else with an idea that he subsequently took up and ran with. In that respect, the book appears a bit too self-indulgent.

    On Iraq, he spends a lot of time justifying his decision - it's probably the most interesting part of the book. Here, he delves into why he thought the UK needed to be involved. He thought the Americans too rash, the Europeans too timid. With all the faults exposed in hindsight, he spends a lot of time discussing how he agonized over the decisions. Again, it was an interesting overview, but I wish he he done that more with other topics. The fact that he didn't makes it seem almost spin-like.

    Still, as I said previously, the first-hand account of his develepment and decisions make this a very interesting listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By John Eldredge
    • Narrated By John Eldredge
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Every man was once a boy. And every little boy has dreams, big dreams: dreams of being the hero, of beating the bad guys, of doing daring feats and rescuing the damsel in distress. Every little girl has dreams, too: of being rescued by her prince and swept up into a great adventure, knowing that she is the beauty.

    Michael says: "Healing & Understanding"
    "Bring your testosterone. Brains not welcome."

    We did this book as part of our men's group this spring. It is provocative, to be sure, but it is way too simplistic. Eldredge starts with the premise that modern men are no longer the men God meant us to be - that men have been tamed, and are therefore bored. In his view, there is nothing worse than being a "nice guy". You are either a masculine, warrior-prince, or a whimpering, nice guy with dad-issues.

    His rationale is that as boys, we all pretend to be knights, sheriffs and fighters, but that we forget this part of ourselves as we grow up and become bored, office-cubical workers. We forget this because our father (or father-figures) don't teach us to be wild any more. We aren't initiated into manhood by anyone. Fathers that should be teaching us to be hunters and fighters are instead themselves bored and check out. Our "wounds" at their hands have crippled our manhood.

    I don't think I've ever heard such utter junk.

    There's some good stuff in here, but it's rare. He talks about challenging yourself when you are in a bad place, and being willing to take more risks. That's great advice, but he taints it throughout with his "William Wallace" imagery.

    Eldredge is either trying to reach a particular demographic, or his world-view is way too simple. God did not make everyone to be a warrior. There are plenty of mild-mannered heroes in the world. Consider Neil Armstrong. A soft-spoken civilian scientist who is one of a handful of men to venture to the moon. He took the ultimate risk, but was one of the humblest guys you could ever meet.

    The best lessons I learned from my "nice guy" dad were not where he wanted to teach me how to hunt, fish or work on cars, but how much honesty, integrity and care of family mattered. The first set of lessons were not what impacted me for my daily life. I never really took to them. What stands out to this day is the latter. When people who used to work with him tell me how much they relied on him and his word in their business - that is what impacted me the most about how to emulate him. Eldredge's nice guy model would dismiss him as a tamed, bored man who seldom took risks. To me, he is the best a man can be.

    Being a man is not defined by the battles you fight, but how you face your life. A nice guy is just as capable of facing challenges as the warrrior-prince. It is unfortunate that the author chooses to degrade with simplistic imagery rather than finding a better way to communicate an important message. Instead of relying on boyhood dreams as his model, he would have done well to be mindful of this verse from 1 Corinthians: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Little Book of Main Street Money: 21 Simple Truths That Help Real People Make Real Money

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jonathan Clements
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Little Book of Main Street Money, Clements brings us back to basics, with commonsense suggestions for intelligent money management. Chock-full of financial guidance that will stand up in any market, the book also reflects a financial philosophy that Clements has developed over a lifetime of watching Wall Street and writing about money-and that is even more important in the current volatile market.

    John says: "Should Be Rated Higher"
    "Good material, well-balanced"

    This book might be best called "Investing 102". He doesn't always explain all of the investment tools very well, but if you have been working with investments for a small bit of time, there won't be too many surprises. He's not into anything fancy, though, he just tries to give good advice on how to limit risk in your investing. Not how to make money, but how to limit risk. He's very clear on why this is important for small investors. It's a book well worth your time if you are just getting to the point where you are wanting to better understand and manipulate your investing strategy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prodigal God

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Timothy Keller
    • Narrated By Timothy Keller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Timothy Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.

    Tim says: "For any one who thinks they are..."
    "Thought Provoking Work"

    This is one of the most interesting Christian books I've read in a while. Almost all Christians can tell you the story of the Prodigal Son, and everyone typically identifies with the younger son who has rebelled against the father, but is welcomed home.

    What Keller points out, though, is that too many of us also have a lot in common with the elder son. Elder sons try to do everything by the book to gain favor. In our arrogance, we take God for granted. We come to expect God's favor in our life, and become angry when we are shown to be just as fallible as the younger son.

    At the end of Chapter One, Keller points out that if churches are only appealing to elder sons, they have lost their way. I think this is the one weakness of the book. It very clearly spells out the need for individuals to become part of a community, but doesn't say much on how communities can improve their reach to younger sons.

    That said, it is still a great book that I would encourage people of faith to read - whether church-goers or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mitch Daniels
    • Narrated By Mitch Daniels

    Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His reply to the crowd: "A republic, if you can keep it." Now America's most respected governor explains just how close we've come to losing the republic, and how we can restore it to greatness

    Deborah says: "Great governor, excellent author!"
    "Good listen"

    I was very disappointed that Mitch Daniels decided not to run for President this year, so I was anxious to listen to his book. Overall, he presents his case for confronting the debt very well, however, when he claims at the beginning how threated he feels by the problem, it sounded a bit hollow since he took himself out of the running to actually work on solving the issue.

    If you are looking for some tried solutions on how to work on the debt problem, this is a good book to start with. He uses examples from his term as governor to explain his approach to these very situations at a state level, and how they made things work.

    The only gripe I had about his book was his constant reference to the US as a democracy. Early on he was very clear on the distinction between democracies and republics and how republics are a release of some rights to allow ruling bodies. He then proceeds to slam the elite ruling bodies as undemocratic. Duh.

    Still, overall it was a very good book. We are facing some nasty years ahead without facing some of these issues straight on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Dave Ramsey
    • Narrated By Dave Ramsey

    Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There's one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that's with The Total Money Makeover. It's the simplest, most straight-forward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it's based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

    Alexandra says: "This guy makes sense"
    "Simple, straight-forward, and no-holds-barred"

    Dave Ramsey's advice is simple - so simple it is apparently mind-boggling to many of the reviewers who attack it. To succeed with money you must spend less than what you bring home. Period. To spend less than you make, you must plan your budget each month and name every dollar. Period. Borrowing money other than for your house is stupid because the interest you pay destroys your ability to build wealth.

    Dave tells you like it is. He won't get you rich quick, he won't offer a secret recipe for lifetime fulfillment. He just tells you to get up off your butt and take care of your money with the same passion that you might cheer for your favorite sports team! If you can't handle some straight, in-your-face advice, his book isn't for you. If you are ready to deal with the real problem with your finances - you - he is well worth your time.

    I also highly recommend his 13-week class - even more than this book, quite honestly. But if you aren't sure you are ready for his class, the book is a great start.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Decision Points

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By George W. Bush
    • Narrated By George W. Bush

    In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings listeners inside the Texas governor's mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America's most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for numerous historic and controversial decisions.

    shirley K. Bigham says: "straight forward"
    "Interesting Account of Presidency"

    First off, there is an unabridged version of the book that I wish Audible would have linked to from either the front page or this page. I didn't know that at the time I bought this, or I would have looked for the unabridged.

    I enjoyed the recounting of many of his decisions. I don't think his reasoning will surprise many people who keep up with politics, but I do think that a lot of that reasoning tends to fall by the wayside in our 24-hour infotainment media that wants to cover outrage more than news. It's unfortunate that we don't get these types of explanations while a president is in office.

    I liked that he owned up to many mistakes (the Katrina handling comes to mind). I also like that he doesn't necessarily pull punches when others screwed up too (the Loiusiana governor taking four days to request the response to be federalized). Some may see it as back-handed attacks, but the simple fact is that the law requires the first response to be from the state, not the feds.

    I guess the biggest benefit is hearing what he was doing and when, without the constant sniping of critics trying to reframe his actions to political advantage is very useful. For historians, that's a great gift. Too much of what we know of these events is shaped by the partisan attacks on cable, and not enough on the first person accounts of those involved.

    This is a book well worth the time.

    39 of 47 people found this review helpful

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