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David

Highland Park, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

118
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 295 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
24

  • Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Michael J. Sandel
    • Narrated By Michael J. Sandel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (340)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (156)

    What are our obligations to others as people in a free society? Should government tax the rich to help the poor? Is the free market fair? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? Do individual rights and the common good conflict? These questions are at the core of our public life today - and at the heart of Justice, in which Michael J. Sandel shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us to make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well.

    Amazon Customer says: "A very worthwhile book"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Sandel sure knows how to provoke thought. Ponder the great moral issues of our time with one of the most captivating and humane tour guides around. Interested in issues such as affirmative action, capitalism, utilitarianism, gay marriage, virtue ethics, price gouging, aristotle, citizenship, or rawls? Then read on, you will not be disappointed.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Joshua Greene
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    A pathbreaking neuroscientist reveals how our social instincts turn Me into Us, but turn Us against Them - and what we can do about it. The great dilemma of our shrinking world is simple: never before have those we disagree with been so present in our lives. The more globalization dissolves national borders, the more clearly we see that human beings are deeply divided on moral lines - about everything from tax codes to sexual practices to energy consumption - and that, when we really disagree, our emotions turn positively tribal.

    Douglas says: "An Exceedingly Interesting..."
    "Fascinating, Provocative, Timely"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Moral conflict and ideological division may be one of the most serious problems facing the world today. Joshua Greene, renowned philosopher and neuroscientist, doesn't present any magic bullets to address this problem, but he does offer what may be the only solution, something he calls "deep pragmatism." Deep pragmatism is essentially utilitarianism dressed up in fashionable clothing, but Greene makes a compelling case that this way of thinking may be the only "common currency" that can be used between competing moral tribes in the modern world. Greene peers under the hood to reveal how our evolved mental machinery guides our moral judgments, and the picture he presents is not flattering. Our moral cognitive mechanisms are "gadgets" honed by natural selection. Their function is not to glimpse an eternal "moral truth," but rather to propagate the genetic material that constructed them. These gadgets come pre-installed with glitches and shortcomings, and one thing is certain: they were not built to handle complex modern dilemmas like global warming, effective governance, and criminal justice. Thus, Greene argues, if we want to transcend the boundaries of our moral tribes, we must learn to transcend this "automatic" moral machinery and shift to "manual mode," the parts of our brain that can set goals, evaluate evidence, and think rationally. It's not easy to look with suspicion at our deep seated moral intuitions, but Greene makes a convincing case that we should. We must construct our political and moral worldviews not on gut feelings but on reason and evidence. Packed with fascinating facts from psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology, you'll learn all the cutting-edge information from the emerging field of moral cognitive science. And your vision of morality might get turned upside down.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Leonard Shlain
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    A provocative new book that explores the mystery of human courtship, love, and monogamy and challenges your views of human sexuality. No compelling explanation currently exists for the sudden emergence of big-brained Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago. Leonard Shlain argues that profound changes in female sexuality hold the key to this mystery.

    Greg says: "Fascinating with stunning conclusions"
    "Take with a HEFTY grain of salt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you read this as fiction with a few facts peppered throughout for good measure, be my guest. But please, for your own sake, do not read this as science. I hate to use the term "just-so story," as it is an often an unjustified epithet hurled at evolutionary psychologists for advancing sound and testable hypotheses, but in this case, the phrase is right on. Long, fanciful, and ultimately, untestable explanations for why we are the way we are fill the pages of this book. I'm an evolutionary psychologist, and I'm embarrassed by this book. But, then again, it is also very stylishly written and well-performed by leonard shlain, so you might want to give it a shot if you're not into the science and are willing to take it with a hefty grain of salt.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Self Illusion: Why There Is No "You" Inside Your Head

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Bruce Hood
    • Narrated By Bruce Hood
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (37)

    The Self Illusion provides a fascinating examination of how the latest science shows that our individual concept of a self is in fact an illusion. Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body is compelling and inescapable. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances.

    David says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I began this audiobook with high hopes. Here was a new book arguing for a radical and boldly counterintuitive thesis, namely that the very center of our conscious existence, our sense of self, is an illusion. If there ever was a claim worthy of a book-length defense, this would surely be it.

    Sadly, however, the book fell far short of my expectations. In fact, the author spent very little time at all making the (probably very difficult) case for the "self illusion," and instead used this topic as a platform for talking about pretty much anything he seemed interested in, from how the internet is shaping our brains to the psychology of laughter. Basically, the book reads like a low-level tour of psychology, with topics only loosely (and sometimes not at all) connected to the topic of "the self," broadly construed. As a basic introduction to psychology for extremely lay audiences, it succeeds fairly well. As a cogent argument for the illusion of selfhood, it fails abysmally.

    Worse still, even if you are looking for an introduction to psychology, I would not waste your credit on this, as most of the material covered has already been covered more thoroughly and more entertainingly in other works, like "Predictably Irrational," "How the Mind Works," "The Happiness Hypothesis," or "The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking."

    And as if this weren't enough bad news for "The Self Illusion," Bruce Hood unfortunately succumbed to the "authors make better narrators" fallacy, and the book suffered greatly for it. Hood's voice is dull and plodding, adding very little life to the text, and his faint scottish accent was slightly distracting at times.

    37 of 43 people found this review helpful
  • The Moral Sense

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By James Q. Wilson
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Wilson admits in the preface of his book that "virtue has acquired a bad name". However, people make some kind of reference to morality whenever they discuss whether or not someone is nice, dependable, or decent; whether they have a good character; and the aspects of friendship, loyalty, and moderation that are all informed by morality.

    Jamie says: "thick but satisfying"
    "Discursive and mildly interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was a decent listen. Nadia May is a charming narrator, her lilting british accent providing a playful touch to this (at times) stuffy work. However, unless you're really interested in morality, I would skip this one. The author spends too much time on tangential topics, like self-control and attachment, and doesn't succeed in making a coherent point or cogent argument throughout the entire book. It basically reads like a compendium of information, albeit somewhat dated, as neuroscience and evolutionary psychology have advanced a great deal since this book came out. Unfortunately, there aren't really any other books on moral psychology available on audible, so if you're starving for an audiobook on that topic, you might want to check this out. Otherwise, I recommend Robert Wright's "The Moral Animal," even though evolutionary psychology is more the centerpiece of that book than morality per se. Jon Haidt's book "The Happiness Hypothesis" also has some information on morality in it, even though the book purports to be about happiness. Haidt's newest book "The Righteous Mind," though not on audible, is entirely about morality and highly recommended if you're willing to use your eyes.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Matthew Hutson
    • Narrated By Matthew Hutson, Don Hagen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    In this witty and perceptive debut, a former editor at Psychology Today shows us how magical thinking makes life worth living. Psychologists have documented a litany of cognitive biases and explained their positive functions. Now, Matthew Hutson shows us that even the most hardcore skeptic indulges in magical thinking all the time - and it's crucial to our survival. Drawing on evolution, cognitive science, and neuroscience, Hutson shows us that magical thinking has been so useful to us that it's hardwired into our brains.

    David says: "Highly enjoyable"
    "Highly enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fun listen. Interesting psych experiments peppered with funny stories and weaved together by a witty and charmingly nonchalant tour guide. Don Hagen's weighty yet playful narration set the perfect tone for this quirky romp through the science of magical thinking. If you like psychology books, you'll definitely enjoy this.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (1191)
    Performance
    (976)
    Story
    (967)

    We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

    Teddy says: "Excellent Book All Over"
    "Brilliant!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is so good you will be sad when it's over. If you're interested in, well, any of the most important topics in intellectual life -- i.e. human nature, evil, goodness, violence, war, progress -- then you will take away much knowledge and enlightenment from these pages. Arthur Morey is a fantastic narrator, bringing a calm-cool tone to Pinker's elegant prose. This is a real treasure trove of fascinating information, neatly packaged in classic Pinkerian wit and style. If you like Pinker, you will love this book. If you don't know Pinker, but are interested in any of the aforementioned topics, you will love this book.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • How the Mind Works

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    Overall
    (541)
    Performance
    (431)
    Story
    (424)

    In this delightful, acclaimed bestseller, one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness?

    David says: "Excellent, but a difficult listen."
    "Classic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my favorite books, and the audio format does not disappoint. If you're interested about human nature, why we are the way we are, why we're so smart, why we're conscious, and even why fools fall in love, this book is for you. (But be warned, this book is for people who like to think; don't expect to breeze through it like a malcom gladwell book.) Also, one recommendation: unless you're really interested in visual perception, I would recommend skipping the chapter called "The Mind's Eye," as it is hard to follow in audio format without the pictures, and it is the most technical chapter.

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science - and Reality

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Chris Mooney
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (137)
    Story
    (135)

    Best-selling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality - it’s just part of who they are. From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy, and much more. Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts?

    Ian C Robertson says: "Polls Apart"
    "Interesting and persuasive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was a bit skeptical coming into this book, thinking it would be little more than a partisan rant, but it was actually more fair-minded than I expected. I may be biased because I'm liberal, but I found the evidence pretty convincing that misinformation is a bigger problem on the right than it is on the left, and that this asymmetry can be traced to specific personality traits and cognitive styles pinned down by psychology and neuroscience experiments. I found this evidence pretty disheartening, as it suggests little hope for future bipartisanship, but it is important information that needs to be disseminated (even though conservatives will find a way to dismiss it). If you've ever wondered why liberals and conservatives can't get along, this book is for you. If you suspect that the right is more full of it than the left and are looking for evidence, this book is for you. If you're conservative, you will probably hate it and find a way to dismiss every word of it. If you're on open-minded conservative, you'll probably still hate it, but you might learn a few things.

    42 of 53 people found this review helpful
  • People Will Talk: The Surprising Science of Reputation

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Paul Whitfield
    • Narrated By Brian Sutherland
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Why does a fish only bite another fish if no one else is watching? Why do people overshare online? Why do some people meet trivial insults with extreme violence? Why do so many gods have multiple eyes? Science writer John Whitfield shows how reputation helps answer all of these questions, and more. Listen to People Will Talk and discover how to polish your own reputation, understand what you hear about others, and make the most of both.

    David says: "Very informative -- may be boring for some"
    "Very informative -- may be boring for some"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of People Will Talk to be better than the print version?

    I really enjoyed this book, but I'm biased because I'm an evolutionary psychologist. It was very dense with information about experiments and didn't, as other readers have said, weave them together into a cohesive or particularly gripping narrative. But this is nonfiction! If you're looking for narrative, go read the hunger games. If you're looking for fascinating, evidence-based information about human nature, this book is for you.


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

    He wasn't the best narrator in the world, but he wasn't bad.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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