This is an important work and gives good insight into the interagency and intelligence processes, the origins of the Islamist extremist threat, and the events of 9/11. Because it offers more detail than most people can probably bear, it may be better to buy the book so you can skip the parts that are not interesting to you. The narration is questionable at times, but bearable. Worth the price.
This abridged version was a very good listen. The story is timeless, yet gives an interesting view of 19th century St. Petersburg. The narrator did a great job, although his British accent (made Cockney for the rougher characters) was a bit disconcerting for this American reading a book about Russians.
It makes me wonder what the other 20 hours in the full version contained, and whether it would have been worth it. But then again, my short attention span has never made it past the beginning of a Dostoevsky novel, so I probably made the right choice.
I'm not a scientist or a mathematician, and this book reminded me why. It was a bit dry in places, and the math often seemed to prove the obvious - that networks are not always random, but rather some nodes are more connected than others. Could have been said in a much shorter format. Also, it seemed to confuse some issues, like web pages vs. Internet infrastructure. Still, this book gave some interesting things to think about.
The first chapter: yeah, yeah, we get it. Technology has changed the world.
But the rest of the book provides a good definition of globalization, and provides some thought-provoking insights on economic issues. The good news is that it is from a not-necessarily-economist point of view.
There seemed to be a lot of categorizing and simplifying, but I guess that is what over-important authors do. Too many anecdotes and quotes bogged it down a bit. The the writing also seemed to be a bit patronizing at times, which was not helped by the narrator's voice.
Definitely get the abridged version; I don't think I could have made it through 19 hours.
I can only comment on the first part, the raw reading of the text, since I wasn't able to get through much of it. It is definitely not for listening to while driving. Obviously, Sun Tzu's writing is not straight forward modern western commentary, rather an eastern expository on principles of fighting and war which repeats itself and speaks in metaphor. The narrator's voice was also difficult to listen to, because it was slow and somewhat monotone. Although this may convey Sun Tzu's mood, it was not enough to keep me engaged.
I had to give this at least two stars because I couldn't make it past the first hour or so to see if it really is helpful or not. It has been an influential book, so the principles are worth knowing, but probably better digested in a skim-able book.
I agree with other reviewers who point out the painfulness of listening to Stephen Covey speak about this stuff. His tone also put me to sleep, and seemed condescending. But then again, I can't stand listening to Garrison Keillor's commentaries either...
Really, I'm afraid slow pace of the author and the narrative indicated that the ideas might not be all that revolutionary.
Not knowing much about Iran, I feel I learned alot about the Iranian people and the revolution from this book. Nafisi weaves a great narrative with personal stories about herself and her friends and students. I personally could have done with less of the literary review that was omnipresent and a bit detailed at times. I agree with another reviewer that the narrator's voice gives life to the story, but her accent (it was almost pretentious in the pronounciation) did get a little grating toward the end. Definitely worth a listen if you want to know more about life in Iran for almost two decades after the revolution.
These stories seemed more of the human interest type than "travel writing." However, they were very interesting and entertaining. The wide variety of topics, from a tiger lady in NJ to fertility trekkers in Bhutan, were well narrated. Orlean was sure to give educating background and context to each of her stories, while also putting a human face to the issues. Well worth listening to!
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