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Richard

Los Osos, CA, United States

ratings
51
REVIEWS
23
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
17

  • Irons in the Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By John McPhee
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Fabulously entertaining and filled with the intriguing trivia of life, Irons in the Fire is another impeccably crafted collection of seven essays by John McPhee. His peerless writing, punctuated with a sharp sense of humor and fascinating detail, has earned him legions of fans across the country.

    Richard says: "Great Entertainment In Classic McPhee Style."
    "Great Entertainment In Classic McPhee Style."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This work was 75 % entertainment and 25% education, the inverse of the usual McPhee ratio, in my view anyway. I usually give his books a triple read /listen because they're so informationally packed, but not this one. Still, it was worth the time. But not three times the time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Forensic geology.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Rustling up cattle rustlers.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No- not relevant to a collection of essays.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the wry sense of humor always lurking in the background in what otherwise might be considered a collection of merely interesting topics, nonetheless superbly written about. The narrator was also top-notch in conveying McPhee's subtle humorous undertone. Without that, this might have been a flop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Craig H. Heller
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    Sleep is the subject of intense scientific debate among biologists and neuroscientists. Why must we spend about one-third of our lives asleep? What exactly is sleep? Why does a lack of sleep impair our cognitive abilities and leave us vulnerable to a host of medical issues ranging from obesity to reduced resistance to infectious disease?

    Douglas says: "This Course Appealed To Me..."
    "Thorough and Compelling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders in three words, what would they be?

    Kept Me Awake


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author used a systematized approach, assembling the basics in an amazingly comprehensible way. Then, the lectures shifted to a more granular approach, focusing and refining. There is something here for all mindsets: the casual self-help seeker might benefit in a superficial way but those who are willing to put in some learning effort will reap a bigger harvest. The narration was spot-on perfect too.


    What does Professor Craig H. Heller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Logic, intuition, smooth narration. It's obvious that this is a world-class academic lecturer who won't easily lose his audience's attention.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Finally helping me to understand the fine points of the sleep cycle and the anatomical brain structures involved. I was also stirred by the emphasis on the chronic dangers of sleep deprivation in our modern society


    Any additional comments?

    This is a work I'll come back to many times over in the future. With a few easy changes in my life, I've already been able to improve the quality and duration of my sleep.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Mahaffey
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (109)

    From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Fascinating Stories, Easily Digested Numbers"
    "Unclear Nuclear Made Clear."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Atomic Accidents again? Why?

    Absolutely worth a few listens. The information density is well blended with an easygoing narrative style that engages the listener throughout the entire book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Chapter eight: the Strategic Air Command years, with all the near misses that we somehow lived through.


    What does Tom Weiner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Fluent vocal style, never distractive. This guy has it down cold.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No laughing matter this. More outcome information on the Fukushima disaster would be helpful.


    Any additional comments?

    It was an enlightening shift away from the mass media induced anti-nuclear coma we've all been stuck in for decades. I have always been hard pitched against nuclear energy and its uses against humanity, and I'm likely to stay that way.However, this book helps demystify some of the beliefs about the atomic age I've come to own as sort of a mindless religion. For me at least, this book has offered me a good start on basing my beliefs on evidence, not media hyperbole.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jeff Goldberg, Dean Latimer, William Burroughs (introduction)
    • Narrated By Stephen McLaughlin
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Opium has played a dramatic and varied role in human history, inspiring religious veneration, scientific exploration, the bitterest rancor, and the most fanciful ecstasy. Now, authors Jeff Goldberg and Dean Latimer have provided a complete, insightful history of opium. Flowers in the Blood lifts the veil of mystery that has surrounded opium down through the ages.

    CHESTER says: "OPIATE DECRIMINALIZATION"
    "Historical Illumination"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Flowers in the Blood the most enjoyable?

    This deepened my knowledge of the oft- taboo subject of the opium poppy with its associated travails, successes against pain and sociological plunders across the ages. The author(s) weave a fascinating account of exactly how imbedded this uncommon flower and its byproducts have been in humanity's development, from Asia to Europe, and across the railroad-tracked plains of North America, then into our modern cities and ultimately into our legal system. The story seems to come to a halt in the 1970s, so in my view what is lacking is a chapter or two filling the audience in on developments into the 21st century.


    What other book might you compare Flowers in the Blood to and why?

    Incomparable


    What about Stephen McLaughlin’s performance did you like?

    Crisp, not-too-fast pace well-suited for listening in fast track mode when review was needed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No- my emotions don't tend to run away when listening to historical, semi-scientific subject matters, though the book never ceased to be eminently entertaining.


    Any additional comments?

    Three cheers for an update to bring this landmark work up to the present year of 2014.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson
    • Narrated By Kevin Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2056)
    Performance
    (1915)
    Story
    (1922)

    Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history.

    Amazon Customer says: "True Tale of Courage and Honor"
    "High School Recruitment Pitch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The tone and style is aimed at the appropriate audience: high school recruitment.
    Let's seek some higher ground in a rewrite.


    If you’ve listened to books by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson before, how does this one compare?

    Have not.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Kevin Collins’s performances?

    Negative.


    Did Lone Survivor inspire you to do anything?

    Sure did. I hit the fast forward button a lot during the many meaningless rants about Texas and religion.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm guessing there's a lot more to modern Seal warcraft than this shallow pitch.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Daniel C. Dennett
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (65)

    In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet", focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.

    Gary says: "Sky Hooks need not apply."
    "Exhaustive, illuminating, life-changing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Darwin's Dangerous Idea again? Why?

    Yes- but considering the tome is 27 plus hours cover to cover, I will reserve a second listen for a winter stay in Antarctica or a South Pacific solo sailing cruise of long duration.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The ingenious meld of philosophy,history and biological science.


    What does Kevin Stillwell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is gifted with a vocal tone and style that is neither boring nor overly stimulating. It's just right.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Challenging All Barriers You Took For Granted.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1265)
    Performance
    (1112)
    Story
    (1120)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "Enough scatology for a lifetime"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Mary Roach and/or Emily Woo Zeller?

    Not so much, sorry.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Dissertations on intestinal microflora.


    Did Emily Woo Zeller do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Not really applicable


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gulp?

    A little too much time spent on poo.


    Any additional comments?

    The descent into gross was acceptable, considering the taboos that were appropriately
    breached. Being of medical mind, I would prefer more science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Uncommon Carriers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John McPhee
    • Narrated By John McPhee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    From Pulitzer Prize-winner John McPhee, author of The Founding Fish, comes the fascinating story of an often overlooked, yet vitally important part of America. This first-hand account of the transportation sector features evocative portraits of the men and women who deliver our consumer and industrial goods.

    Darwin8u says: "A Geologist's Curiosity/Patience and a Poet's Pen"
    "Could Write About Lint And Make It Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Uncommon Carriers?

    McPhee's style can inject life into anything. He has a knack for digging into a subject, going granular about it, and coming out the other side of a topic with a perspective that fascinates.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way he connects humanity with ground, the way he links history with the now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Riverboat towboat scenes


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it's also worth doing a chapter at a time while commuting or trying to drift off to sleep at night.


    Any additional comments?

    It's cool that the author narrated it; he has solid narration skills, though the sound mixing team might have done a better job of redacting ongoing continuous clicks and pops that sound like dentures clacking. It takes some getting used to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By John Gerzema, Michael D'Antonio
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Among 64,000 people surveyed in 13 nations, two thirds feel the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. This marks a global trend away from the winner-takes-all, masculine approach to getting things done. Drawing from interviews at innovative organizations in 18 nations and at Fortune 500 boardrooms, the authors reveal how men and women alike are recognizing significant value in traits commonly associated with women, such as nurturing, cooperation, communication, and sharing.

    Richard says: "This Blew My Mind ( and my patience)."
    "This Blew My Mind ( and my patience)."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Athena Doctrine? What did you like least?

    The best: A detailed portrayal of the latest global trends that may give us a chance to see a brighter future. Less than best: Unfortunately, the detail given was overly granular. Overall, this was a tedious listen, like trying to survey a landscape scene with a 400 power microscope.

    A fast-forward listen helped.


    Would you ever listen to anything by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio again?

    Not at this time.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narration was without flaw. There is no finer speaker in the world. Oddly though, I felt as if the pace and alliteration were dialed in for an audience using English as a second language.This may very well be the case. I remember the old Voice of America short wave broadcasts: slow, clear enunciation, perfect but very very slow. I listened to the book on double speed mode and found it tolerable.


    Was The Athena Doctrine worth the listening time?

    Negative.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Adrian Raine
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (31)

    A leading criminologist who specializes in the neuroscience behind criminal behavior, Adrian Raine introduces a wide range of new scientific research into the origins and nature of violence and criminal behavior. He explains how impairments to areas of the brain that control our ability to experience fear, make decisions, and feel empathy can make us more likely to engage in criminal behavior. He applies this new understanding of the criminal mind to some of the most well-known criminals in history. And he clearly delineates the pressing considerations this research demands.

    Sires says: "Interesting Book the Roots of Abnormal Behavior"
    "5 Star Work Through and Through"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Anatomy of Violence again? Why?

    Affirmative. This is an information packed, very engaging portrayal of how neuroanatomy, conditioning, genetics, and environmental factors may combine to produce a mind askew.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The author's use of actual case studies makes this narrative leap out of the theoretical into the real world of human interactions, explaining possible motivations behind the unthinkable.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No tears or laughter- just a deeper understanding of criminal behavior.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a good look at the failed mental health care system throughout much of the modern world, with excellent narration and an engaging theme development from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Founding Fish

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By John McPhee
    • Narrated By John McPhee
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Few fish are as beloved, or as obsessed over, as the American shad. Although shad spend most of their lives in salt water, they enter rivers by the hundreds of thousands in the spring and swim upstream heroic distances in order to spawn, then return to the ocean.

    Cynthia says: "mixed thoughts"
    "McPhee Drills Down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would heartily recommend this to someone who loves to fish or to any devoted McPhee advocate. I happen to fit both of those checkboxes, but this book is probably not McPhee's best. The author still has juju: he still flares his unique ability to drill down into witty detail at the most unexpected moments like a peacock revealing a jeweled fan. Which is still highly alluring. Unless fishing just isn't your thing.


    Would you ever listen to anything by John McPhee again?

    Always and ever.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The author narrated this, and he's very good at it. There are some annoying repetitive oratory pops in some sections that endure for entire chapters as if the speaker had a very dry mouth, but hearing him narrate his own book brings the listener closer in. The pace of the story seemed to stray occasionally into dry turf. Overall, the telepathic process of his writing was able to build grand pictures of the subject in my imagination.


    Did The Founding Fish inspire you to do anything?

    Certainly. I can't wait to see a shad rise to a dry fly set in an a New England river some day.


    Any additional comments?

    Read it if you're a piscophile. Read it if you like McPhee's style.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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