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Thomas

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Member Since 2005

ratings
124
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
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HELPFUL VOTES
24

  • Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Sissela Bok
    • Narrated By Kellie Fitzgerald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In this smart and timely book, the distinguished moral philosopher Sissela Bok ponders the nature of happiness and its place in philosophical thinking and writing throughout the ages. With nuance and elegance, Bok explores notions of happiness - from Greek philosophers to Desmond Tutu, Charles Darwin, Iris Murdoch, and the Dalai Lama - as well as the latest theories advanced by psychologists, economists, geneticists, and neuroscientists.

    Thomas says: "Narration is poor"
    "Narration is poor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is not bad - a kind of review of everything that has been written about happiness - but I had to stop listening because I found the narration so bad. The reader has a lovely voice but reads like a speech recognition robot that does not comprehend what it is reading. One of the problems is that she regularly pauses at the wrong place in a sentence, thus distorting the meaning and drawing the listener up sharp in puzzlement. "What was that again???" The listener should not always be reminded that the narrator is doing a poor job, it interferes with understanding the content of the book.
    Another problem with the narrator is that she mispronounces names (it is BERTrand Russell, not BertRAND Russell) and words that are less common in normal speech. She has a painful mispronunciation of words and phrases in French, a shame since there are so many references to French philosophers. Also in a book with numerous quotes, the narrator is unable to make it clear to the listener that we are now listening to a quote from some thinker and not to Sissela Bok, the book's author, leading to more confusion. Perhaps if she said "Quote... End quote" around the quotations this might make things easier for the listener.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Gestapo: A History of Horror

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jacques Delarue, Mervyn Savill (translator)
    • Narrated By Eric Brooks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (29)

    From 1933 to 1945, the Gestapo was Nazi Germany's chief instrument of counter-espionage, political suppression, and terror. Jacques Delarue, a saboteur arrested by the Nazis in occupied France, chronicles how the land of Beethoven elevated sadism to a fine art. The Gestapo: A History of Horror draws upon Delarue's interviews with ex-Gestapo agents to deliver a multi-layered history of the force whose work included killing student resisters, establishing Aryan eugenic unions, and implementing the Final Solution.

    Linda Lou says: "AWFUL, AWFUL NARRATOR!!!"
    "Excellent book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the the period. But you will need a strong interest and a strong stomach to go through this horrifying history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity Are Revolutionizing Our View of Human Nature

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Douglas T. Kenrick
    • Narrated By Fred Stella
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (34)

    Between what can be learned from evolutionary psychology and cognitive science a picture emerges. In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, social psychologist Douglas Kenrick fuses these two fields to create a coherent story of human nature. In his analysis, many ingrained, apparently irrational behaviors—one-night stands, prejudice, conspicuous consumption, even art and religious devotion—are quite explicable and (when desired) avoidable.

    Laurie says: "Rather dated and self-aggrandizing"
    "Exceeded my expectations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book's title does not do justice to the content, which is really about new approaches to looking at how evolution affects our psychology. I am hooked on the new wave of rigorously researched works of popular science and this book is definitely one of the best. A must-read if you are interested in evolutionary psychology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Andy Greenberg
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (38)

    The machine that kills secrets is a powerful cryptographic code that hides the identities of leakers and hacktivists as they spill the private files of government agencies and corporations bringing us into a new age of whistle blowing. With unrivaled access to figures like Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and Jacob Applebaum, investigative journalist Andy Greenberg unveils the group that brought the world WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, and BalkanLeaks.

    Thomas says: "Well-researched, a great story"
    "Well-researched, a great story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are all interested in the world of online surveillance, data privacy, and technology to both subvert and protect these, this book is very valuable. Unless you have a technical background things get a little dense at times but the author manages to present all the important issues in the form of a story, a story of a movement dedicated to freedom of information. Highly recommended, especially in the light of recent news stories...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Sean B. Carroll
    • Narrated By Jim Bond
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (28)

    Just 150 years ago, most of our world was an unexplored wilderness. Our sense of its age was vastly off the mark. And what we believed to be the history of our own species consisted of fantastic myths and fairy tales; fossils, known for millennia, were seen as the bones of dragons and other imagined creatures. How did we learn so much so quickly? Remarkable Creatures celebrates the pioneers who replaced our fancies with the even more remarkable real story of how our world evolved.

    Connie says: "A Remarkable Journey"
    "A terrific book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are an evolutionist like myself you will find this book very entertaining and informative, lots of background information I did not know. It's a kind of adventure story of the histories of some early naturalists, evolutionary theorists, and geologists. Also the narration is perfect and never gets in the way of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ten Philosophical Mistakes: Basic Errors in Modern Thought - How They Came About, Their Consequences, and How to Avoid Them

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Mortimer J. Adler
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In this delightfully lucid and accessible audiobook, America’s foremost philosopher, Mortimer J. Adler, explores 10 errors in the development of modern thought and examines the serious consequences they have in our everyday lives. Some of these mistakes include: (1) The mistake of identifying happiness with a good time rather than with that which is good for us; (2) The failure to differentiate between the perceptual and the conceptual realms of thought, by which the human mind is distinguished from the animal mind; and (3) The failure to acknowledge free will, which leads to the rejection of moral responsibility.

    Thomas says: "Ten mistakes made by Mortimer J. Adler"
    "Ten mistakes made by Mortimer J. Adler"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How anyone can write even in 1985 that human beings are distinguished from animals by the fact that they have no instincts is beyond me...
    Adler fails to grasp that truth is propositional, not absolute...
    From these two mistakes follow Adler's defence of a sort of dualism and ultimately to his conversion to, of all things, Episcopalianism...
    A good man so I understand, however his works of philosophy are pretty much useless today...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Pat Califia
    • Narrated By Robin Davies
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Public Sex collects the best of Pat Califia's work published over the past 20 years. Providing both a chronicle of the radical sex movement in the United States, as well as the definitive opinions of America's most consistent and trenchant sexual critic, Public Sex is must-listen material for anyone interested in sexual practices, feminism, censorship, or simply the art of the political essay.

    Susie says: "A Political, Feminist Gender-Warrior's Classic"
    "A review of sexual politics in San Francisco"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a history of gay and sexual lifestyle politics in San Francisco in the 80's and 90's. It is of limited historical interest and at this point pretty dated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Peter Kreeft
    • Narrated By Peter Kreeft
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (91)

    This course addresses some of the eternal questions that man has grappled with since the beginning of time. What is good? What is bad? Why is justice important? Why is it better to be good and just than it is to be bad and unjust? Most human beings have the faculty to discern between right and wrong, good and bad behavior, and to make judgments over what is just and what is unjust. But why are ethics important to us?

    John says: "Surprisingly Good"
    "A biased overview and history"
    Overall

    If you want to know how the religious right in America thinks, this is the book for you... The author is a Platonist and an unapologetic dualist, an apparent Republican and a smug professor of religion. He dismisses materialism and misrepresents thinkers he does not approve of, such as Hobbes and Marx. If you can tolerate this, there is something to be learned from the lectures, but really there are better books out there.

    7 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert Reich
    • Narrated By Robert Reich
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (246)
    Story
    (251)

    The author of 12 acclaimed books, Robert B. Reich is a Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and has served in three national administrations. While many blamed Wall Street for the financial meltdown, Aftershock points a finger at a national economy in which wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top - and where a grasping middle class simply does not have the resources to remain viable.

    Chris says: "Very plausible assessment of our economy"
    "Best understanding available"
    Overall

    Reich gets it right with his analysis of how allowing the super-wealthy to capture the U.S. has led to its ruin, and how a rational re-distribution of wealth is a pre-condition of prosperity for both rich and poor. Very clearly written for the lay reader, this is the only explanation you need for how the financial system crashed in 2008.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Hegel in 90 Minutes

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 16 mins)
    • By Paul Strathern
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    With Hegel, philosophy became very difficult indeed. His dialectical method produced the most grandiose metaphysical system known to man. Even Hegel conceded that "only one man understands me, and even he does not." Hegel's system included absolutely everything, but its most vital element was the dialectic of the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. This method sprang from Hegel's ambition to overcome the deficiencies of logic and ascended toward mind as the ultimate reality.

    Thomas says: "WWF Bodyslam on Hegel"
    "WWF Bodyslam on Hegel"
    Overall

    The author of this book I think does not take the time to carefully examine Hegel's contributions and to grasp his influence. He concentrates instead on criticizing Hegel, to the point where one wonders whether the author's intent is really to help the reader understand Hegel or just to see how cleverly he can insult him. For example, he spends rather a lot of attention for such a short book on Hegel's affair with his landlady - why?

    I like a good poke at a pompous figure, and I have no special love for Hegel, but when I buy a book like this I hope for some insights even in the midst of criticism, and I expect the author to help me gain some clarity on the subject. Instead I got a crude body slam.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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