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My literary goal is to expand both my capacity to learn and my capacity to feel. I alternate between fiction and non-fiction.

Lino Lakes, MN, United States | Member Since 2010

  • 5 reviews
  • 34 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014

  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By E. L. James
    • Narrated By Becca Battoe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

    Kd says: "Really 2.5"
    "Should've read the reviews first."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?


    Would you ever listen to anything by E. L. James again?

    Her announcement that she is retiring from writing?

    How could the performance have been better?

    Stop whining and dropping off on the end of her words like a lazy Valley-girl.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    it taught me to always read reviews first and I enjoyed reading some of the other regretful reviews.

    Any additional comments?

    I'm sad for all of us.

    416 of 445 people found this review helpful
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman

    In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

    PHIL says: "Some good ideas, smart guy, not smart as HE thinks"
    "Arrogantly offputting.... if he wasn't so smart."
    Where does Antifragile rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Unique perspective with real utility. Top quartile.

    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Applying a scientific and intelligent rationale for traditionalism.

    What about Joe Ochman’s performance did you like?

    Read with believably conceited indignation which would have been off-putting were it not earned and justified.

    If you could give Antifragile a new subtitle, what would it be?

    "I spit in your general direction"

    Any additional comments?

    As a physician and leader, I'm drawn to innovative ideas that can guide our work and lives in a healthier and more fulfilling manner. Taleb's principles provide a compelling counter to our tendency to over-engineer and "fragilize" our lives and businesses. Resonant.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jonathan Haidt
    • Narrated By Jonathan Haidt

    In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

    K. Cunningham says: "Why Good People Are Divided - Good for whom?"
    "Required reading... with one caveat."
    What did you love best about The Righteous Mind?

    Broad, scientific approach to understanding the biology of human behavior.

    What other book might you compare The Righteous Mind to and why?

    "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman and "The Believing Brain" by Shermer in terms of understanding neuroscience and the way our brains, opinions and behaviors come about.

    Any additional comments?

    We've created a culture where we all operate under the illusion that we need to be right. We convince ourselves that our thoughts and actions stem from some innate ability to realize and appreciate a guiding, transcendent truth, whether it be social, spiritual or logical. The humbling reality is that we have selfish genes which utilize complex modules to ensure their survival. Haidt cogently describes our biology with both scientific and symbolic aplomb.

    As a biologist and physician, I have great appreciation for this perspective. I particularly appreciate the analogy between our ethical "taste" modules and our literal gustatory senses. We cannot fight the fact that we are hardwired to respond to these tastes and indulging them initiates the neurochemical cascade which, if deprived, would leave us bereft of the true experience of humanness.

    Continuing this analogy, I would attempt to demonstrate where Haidt possibly falls short in helping both himself and his reader best apply their enhanced understanding of human and cultural biology.

    As our ethical "tastes" for sanctity, loyalty and authority have a place in maintaining safety and wellness, our taste for sugar and fat has served our species greatly in times of scarcity. The utility of these modules is entirely contextual though. In the United States (my very divided country), we live in relative abundance. The vast majority has an excess of calories as well as social safety. The context has changed and indulging our hunger for fat and sugar as well as symbolic tribal loyalty, sanctity and authoritarian acquiescence has very negative consequences. We benefit when we recognize mal-adaptive application of natural tendencies. There is little risk that we will go hungry if we forgo calories and there is little risk that the fabric of our society (and our own differential survivability) will fall apart if we question authority, symbolism or factionism.

    We live in a country of abundance and safety. Indulging these tastes is causing an epidemic of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Could not the same be happening when insisting on applying unnecessary ethical modules? I enjoy being clean AND my understanding of germs and public health tells me I don't need to be continually vigilant. I enjoy my groups of shared interest AND I don't need to denigrate or vilify any groups to which I do not belong. I appreciate order AND I know rules and laws exist to serve a social purpose but my eternal soul is not at risk should I fail to worship compliance.

    Haidt is correct in that Conservatives indulge their ethical tastes more broadly. Their message is an ethical meal that satisfies many of our cravings. The Liberterian and Liberal ideologies are less appealing to a broad population... but dining at their table more often may be the only way of preventing the epidemic of ethical indulgence?

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Room: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated By Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and others

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Kathleen says: "A truly memorable read"
    "Let it change your frame of reference."

    I'm really surprised by some of the negative reviews of the narration. It took a little getting used to but, if you read fiction you need to be open to suspending your disbelief. I have a five year old boy. It took some time, but when you begin to understand the psychology of the situation, it begins to challenge your sense of how and why we understand the world as we do and makes sense. The beginning was pretty tough to listen to... in a good way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Help

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kathryn Stockett
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The most celebrated performance in all of Audible’s history, The Help has nearly 2,000 5-star reviews from your fellow listeners. We hear the print book’s not bad, either. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
    "Who would've thought?"

    When you find yourself responding audibly to a book (gasps, talking back, laughter, and crying) you know its good. Being a Northern male, I don't think reading this book would have had nearly the impact as it did with the wonderful readers in the audo production. The accents, dialogue and vocal subtleties were wonderful. Listening to this book has been the highlight of my Audible experience so far!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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