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San Mateo, CA, United States


  • Who Stole the American Dream?

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Hedrick Smith
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro

    In his best-selling The Russians, Hedrick Smith took millions of readers inside the Soviet Union. In The Power Game, he took us inside Washington’s corridors of power. Now Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America. As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell’s provocative memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today.

    jane says: "He ties it all together"
    "Good reporting and a manifesto for change"

    Hedrick Smith is to a vital growing middle class what Michael Pollan is to healthy sustainable food. It is first a long form journalistic study of what happened to the middle class and the dream of a stable, improving, and optimistic life in America.

    He begins in the early 1970s, and chronicles the key events and characters who broke the virtuous cycle started by Henry Ford, who invested in good wages for workers so there would be demand for products. Being honest, one can't chronicle the pillaging of the middle class without becoming an advocate for legislation and action, and Smith does just that.

    His discourse is high on principle, and low on ideology; he offers practical, logical, and do-able solutions that should be advocated by anyone who wishes to maintain a stable large middle class, and avoid the extreme concentration of wealth that we are seeing.

    - you can have extreme concentration of wealth or you can have a democracy, not both.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Samaritan Strikes Again

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Patrick McManus
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz

    Let the world's funniest sportsman tickle your funny bone with quirky homespun stories and whimsical perspectives on life. Patrick F. McManus gently pokes fun at the oddities of sacred institutions like friendship, marriage, and even hunting and fishing. Soon his crazy theories start making sense, and you know you've crossed the border into McManus country, where life is a little lighter - and much more amusing.

    Diana says: "Positive, clean, funny stories - brighten your day"
    "Dry country wit; falls short of humor"

    After reading reviews, I was expecting a Garrison Keillor storyteller or a Dave Barry humorist. Wry style, but doesn't quite reach humor. I bailed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Emily Bazelon
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well. No author is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama.

    Jeffrey says: "An excellent and cogent discussion of the topic."
    "Case study method reveals missing empathy"

    I am a fan of Bazelon and Slates "gabfests". Her book is clearly an extension of her diligence and compassion, and the drive to find out why kids bully each other the the point of suicide in some cases. She looks at the standards for managing bullying and clearly has questions (zero tolerance) and hope (methods adapted from a Scandanavian expert). The case studies she uses are told in careful depth, so you understand the source and nuance of the bullied and well as the bullies. The frequent absent grace is empathy, of course, as is demonstrated each episode.

    For my taste, I would rather have the thesis and logic presented up front, so I could better understand where the narrative is going. Rather, you have to follow her through each case and understand her conclusion inductively.

    I am also acutely aware of how this is framed, as a lawyer would. I think an alternative framing more as a sociologist or anthropologist would. Social dominance is frequent in many species, including our own. Dominance-based aggression is normal in peer groups, particularly adolescents. Normally, things sort themselves out by people forming into groups and the groups lining up on some social hierarchy.The story might be about situations in which the amount of aggression is abnormal or dangerous. People who wish to belong to a group, but no group will have? People who appear to be socially climbing without going through expected loyalty rituals?

    It would have been clearer in that frame - to acknowledge that some amount of bullying is part of the norm - like it or not - and that we learn life lessons from it. There is abnormal bullying which leaves permanent scars - how do we predict that and prevent it?

    Though I was involved in the book, I did occasionally bark that it would be so much better if I had a roadmap of where this is going, and perhaps a little less inductive framing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Yes, Chef: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Narrated By Marcus Samuelsson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.

    loix says: "A fun and inspiring civics lesson"
    "An authentic story of discovery and success."
    Would you listen to Yes, Chef again? Why?

    Stories of rising from poverty to the world stage are often mythic. This is real, authentic, showing the unfolding of awareness and discovery of the world and himself. Not heroic, but the world through the eyes of a person born into war, disease, and poverty, who grew up in very provincial Sweden, and learned to compete on the global stage.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The simple honesty of the continual rediscovery of himself, his capability, and the moral principles needed to be balanced and focused.

    Oh, yeah, and the story is about food.

    If you liked Anthony Bordain's down and dirty view of the restaurant world, this is a counterbalance. Yes, there are jerks, racists, and blowhards, but as told by Samuelsson, it's one that allows for good souls to emerge, too.

    What three words best describe Marcus Samuelsson’s performance?

    Authentic, personal, a bit struggled

    Any additional comments?

    I learned of Samuelsson through the book, Aquavit. An Ethiopian Swede presents a global fusion style that is simple, elegant, inspired. Honoring and extending the cuisines. Not a celebrity book or an instant fad cuisine, but something very honest. The opportunity to hear his story in his own voice was not to be passed up. The story transcends food, surely, but uses cooking as the expression of his discovery of the world and himself.

    I'm not a fan of inspirational books as a genre, or of fad food books and stories. This is different, a must-listen if you're a foodie or not.

    His reading is not as fluent as a professional voice, and there are passages where there is a bit of a struggle in his reading, but it also lends to the authenticity of his story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sh-t My Dad Says

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Justin Halpern
    • Narrated By Sean Schemmel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, 28-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his 73-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is “like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair,” has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him.

    Michael says: "Really Funny! Should Be Up for an Audie Award"
    "More amusing if you know the person"

    The snippets of life with cranky dad were hilarious as tweets, but as a sequence of stories they lose their pop. If you know these people, they are likely very funny, but otherwise, they occasionally evoke a mild smile at best.

    The end, however, where Dad reveals personal history, is well-written, poignant, and compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Richard A. Clarke
    • Narrated By Richard A. Clarke

    The real war on terror has happened largely behind closed doors, run by the White House, drawing on secret intelligence and operations around the world. There is no man who knows more about it than Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar for both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the man who has led our efforts against al Qaeda and all other terrorist enemies for years.

    Paul Michael says: "Your Government At Work"
    "Open Mind"

    The Author has a compelling delivery of information and decision making from the inside. This is a view and data that would otherwise not be available to the public. For this, he has done us a major service. In the flow of events, there are always missed opportunities and inadequate actions. What seems to spark controversy is not the litany of sins of omission - the missed opportunities, but the singularly consequential sin of comission, the invasion of Iraq, that has large and foreseeable negative consequences on the security of the U.S.
    This book is a must-read and a must-listen, even if you don't like the obvious implications on the capability and interests of the administration.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Al Franken
    • Narrated By Al Franken

    Finding logical inconsistencies, factual errors, and doublespeak wherever he looks, Al Franken takes on and destroys the myth of liberal bias in the media, hoists the Bush White House on its own rhetorical petard, and punctures the mean-spirited sanctimony of such media darlings as Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly. Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always uproarious, Lies is sure to raise hackles and spark hilarity inside the Beltway and from sea to shining sea.

    Peter says: "Franken's One Sided View"
    "Just the facts"

    Franken's ultra dry wit and sarcasm is just the packaging for this series of fact-checking projects that expose the Bush administration and its support crew of talk show flacks for the frauds they are. Franken's Harvard fact checking team make their points and he delivers the results in an informative and hilarious style.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful

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