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James

Member Since 2013

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Rich Roll
    • Narrated By Rich Roll
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (795)
    Performance
    (725)
    Story
    (716)

    An incredible but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever

    In October 2006, the night before he was to turn forty, Rich experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly fifty pounds overweight and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he saw where his sedentary lifestyle was taking him. Most of us look the other way when granted such a moment of clarity, but not Rich.

    J. Camara says: "Insightful conquering life's challenges"
    "Worth reading!"
    Overall
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    Story
    If you could sum up Finding Ultra in three words, what would they be?

    Motivational Fitness Journey


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author gives a first hand account of how he transformed his life from an overweight middle-aged ex alcoholic, to one of the fittest men in the world.


    Which character – as performed by Rich Roll – was your favorite?

    Rich


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

    Yes, it definitely hits you when you realize the personal sacrifices made in not only transforming oneself to over come alcoholism, but also the training and discipline needed to be a world-class athlete.


    Any additional comments?

    I almost didn't get this because of mixed reviews but I am glad I did. I would consider this a must-read for an endurance athlete but it's also very motivating to most people, I would think. Rich takes us through his personal journey from being an alcoholic slacker in college and how that nearly ruined his life, to a world-class athlete.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6067)
    Performance
    (5768)
    Story
    (5778)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "will surely be a classic"
    Overall
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    Story

    I personally thought this was one of the best Sci-fi books I've read in many years. I can't wait for the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Josh Waitzkin
    • Narrated By Josh Waitzkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (82)

    The Art of Learning takes listeners through Waitzkin's unique journey to excellence. He explains in clear detail how a well-thought-out, principled approach to learning is what separates success from failure. Waitzkin believes that achievement, even at the championship level, is a function of a lifestyle that fuels a creative, resilient growth process.

    James says: "More minutiae of chess and Tai Chi Push Hands than"
    "Good overview with interesting backdrop"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book chronicles the life of Josh Waitzkin's rise in both the chess and martial arts world - becoming a world champion in both domains. Josh gives very detailed accounts of chess and Tai Chi - from learning the arts, to mastery to competition.
    Essentially - his learning principles come down to a few basic concepts (note - this is not a complete list - but what I took as his main points):
    1) mastering the basics: you can't perform dazzling moves unless you have internalized the basic ones until they become instinctive
    2) Staying calm and relaxed (Josh describes various breathing patters he uses)
    3) Being able to quickly recover in between rounds (micro recoveries) - Josh advocates High Intensity cardio training to help with this. (actually - I found the chapter dealing with this the most interesting - as he has worked with elite coaches and studied many elite athletes / learners and he said this was the single quality that separated the good from the truly great
    4) maintaining focus / going with the flow / not getting frazzled even when things are not going your way.
    5) having your form/style be an expression of your personality and not being unnaturally stifled (this comes after learning and mastering the basics)

    The book reinforced some things which I knew and tried to work on. I can't say the book was earth shattering or gave me that 'wow - I never knew that' feeling. Also - there are many detailed accounts of chess and martial arts tournaments which set the backdrop for each of the principals. I felt this could have been boiled down into a white paper but, still, there were some good anecdotes. Anyone who competed in martial arts, or any sport, will relate very well to Josh's stories.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Mark Divine, Allyson Edelhurtz Machate
    • Narrated By John Pruden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (77)

    Ex-navy commander Mark Divine reveals exercises, meditations and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience, and uncanny intuition. Blending the tactics he learned from America's elite forces with lessons from the Spartans, samurai, Apache scouts, and other great warrior traditions, Divine has distilled the fundamentals of success into eight powerful principles that will transform you into the leader you always knew you could be. Learn to think like a SEAL, and take charge of your destiny at work, home and in life.

    Kenneth says: "Not what I expected."
    "Applies well to business"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book definitely had some good insight about how to apply special ops tactics to personal and business situations. I even used one of the tools called the FITS (Fit, Important, Timing, Simple) test - which is how Seals select missions - as a framework to help select client targets in my own business. Worth the read if you keep an open mind to the techniques.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patton: The Man Behind the Legend, 1885-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Martin Blumenson
    • Narrated By William Lavelle
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    This detailed and persuasive study by the author of The Patton Papers was described by Patton's daughter Ruth as "an extraordinary book". It is widely considered the best biography ever written of the General, an American hero as compelling as he was complex.

    Ann says: "Patton the man"
    "Interesting perspectives on a war legend"
    Overall
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    First of all - you can skip the first 4 chapters, which were rather long and boring and dealt with his family history, his time as a youth, etc. Chapter 5 is where it really all begins and discusses his WWI exploits and the post-war years leading up to WWII.

    This book really brought to bare some of the idiosyncrasies and events which defined Patton's character. Repeated head trauma from polo injuries, for example, may have been the cause for his often violent temper later in life. Also, despite what anyone might think, Patton was often plagued with self-doubt that he was never doing enough, or being all he could be. In his mid-50's before the start of WWII he had a major mid-life crisis where he thought the Army would feel he was too old, and miss the next war - thus denying him of what he believed was his destiny. Destiny, was something that Patton believed in - that he was born to lead men into combat. Even throughout WWII as various decisions were made by Eisenhower and other commanders, Patton often wondered if he would ever realize his true destiny, and would often become depressed - whenever he was not leading men, or in combat.

    Right after WWII there several very close calls Patton had - nearly freak accidents - which made him think that someone was trying to kill him. He even said to his children, upon returning home from the war briefly before going back to keep peace in Europe, that they would never see him alive again. He was right. Somehow, he knew he was going to die - but, as many friends and family believe - it was better than having him living the rest of his life in a world without a war. Patton said himself that, "Now that there is no war, I have lost all my value to this world". Nevertheless, it makes me wonder if there really was a plot to kill him from various political beliefs he held, including wanting to go to war with Russia, and showing public sympathy for some Nazi business leaders in Europe.

    Overall - an interesting book - but as I stated - the first four chapters were not really relevant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Viper Pilot: The Autobiography of One of America's Most Decorated Combat Pilots

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Dan Hampton
    • Narrated By John Pruden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (196)

    Sure to rank as one of the greatest aviation memoirs ever written, Viper Pilot is an Air Force legend's thrilling eyewitness account of modern air warfare. From 1986 to 2006, Lt. Col. Dan Hampton was a leading member of the Wild Weasels, the elite Air Force fighter squadrons whose mission is recognized as the most dangerous job in modern air combat. Weasels are the first planes sent into a war zone, flying deep behind enemy lines purposely seeking to draw fire from surface-to-air missiles and artillery. They must skillfully evade being shot down - and then return to destroy the threats, thereby making the skies safe for everyone else to follow.

    Frances says: "Fast and Furious"
    "Riveting -edge of your seat story"
    Overall
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    Story

    I almost didn't pick this one because there were some mixed reviews. I'm sure glad I did as this was one of the better first-person accounts I've read. The author writes with such incredible detail that you feel as though you are in the cockpit next to him.

    IMO this book serves a a lesson to today's generals as well. First- we succeeded in the gulf wars because we had trained to fight a super power (Russia). Also, in an era where many rear echelon generals are in charge of the military, and claiming that robot plains will replace fighter pilots and ground troops - we must never forget that wars will always be won through a combination of combat pilots AND infantry working towards a common objective.

    The book was informative and entertaining and I'm certainly glad I selected it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Josh Kaufman
    • Narrated By Josh Kaufman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1486)
    Performance
    (1247)
    Story
    (1249)

    Josh Kaufman founded PersonalMBA.com as an alternative to the business school boondoggle. His blog has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to the best business books and most powerful business concepts of all time. Now, he shares the essentials of entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, negotiation, operations, productivity, systems design, and much more, in one comprehensive volume. The Personal MBA distills the most valuable business lessons into simple, memorable mental models that can be applied to real-world challenges.

    M. R. says: "Good Business Education"
    "Good overview"
    Overall
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    Story

    I found this book to be enjoyable and cover a large gamut of relevant information. I especially liked the middle chapters which discussed human psychology which is useful for trying to sell.

    The benefit of having a condensed reference guide such as this is that you only get to scratch the surface in-terms of content. Also, I reject the notion that this summarizes an MBA program. No single book can capture two years of case-study, problem solving, networking and business simulations - not even close.

    I took a few key ideas / phrases with me that I will apply on some clients - that's about it - but I still consider it a good overview of many key business / selling concepts. Also - the author references many sources of information that the reader can seek additional background information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hell on Two Wheels

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Amy Snyder
    • Narrated By Sheila Stasack
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (30)

    Three-time Ironman finisher Amy Snyder takes the wraps off the best kept secret in the sports world, the Race Across America (RAAM), a bicycle race like no other. Unlike its famous cousin the Tour de France, RAAM is much crazier, more gothic, and even savage: Once the gun goes off the clock doesn't stop, and the first rider to complete the prescribed 3,000-mile route is the victor. In Hell on Two Wheels, Snyder follows a group of athletes before, during, and after the 2009 RAAM.

    James says: "A documentary of the toughest bike race"
    "A documentary of the toughest bike race"
    Overall
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    Story

    Reading this book made me realize that the participants in RAAM are no doubt the toughest, baddest, and most mentally focused athletes in the world. Going through RAAM is like subjecting yourself to Navy Seals Hell Week - except with the added pains of saddle sores, neck paralysis, pulmonary edema, swollen hands and feet, hallucinations, and a host of other ailments. The author did a great job in helping the reader understand what motivated each of the main contestants portrayed in the book, and how they dealt with the tortures of this grueling race. I can't say it was motivational - as some sports books are. This was more of a drama / documentary - but gave me a greater appreciation for these athletes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Arnold Schwarzenegger
    • Narrated By Stephen Lang, Arnold Schwarzenegger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (538)
    Performance
    (489)
    Story
    (488)

    Chronicling his embodiment of the American Dream, Total Recall covers Schwarzenegger's high-stakes journey to the United States, from creating the international bodybuilding industry out of the sands of Venice Beach, to breathing life into cinema's most iconic characters, and becoming one of the leading political figures of our time. Proud of his accomplishments and honest about his regrets, Schwarzenegger spares nothing in sharing his amazing story.

    Russell says: "Totally Worth It"
    "Fascinating Story"
    Overall
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    Story

    As a fan of his earlier movies, this was a must-read for me, and I enjoyed it. Like some other reviews stated - the reading can be a bit dry at times. Nevertheless, it's a great story about someone who worked hard and is living the dream. Until I read this book - I assumed that everything came easy for Arnold. This was not the case. He worked harder than anyone to pursue his dream despite a very humble and difficult childhood. Growing up in post-war Austria was by no means easy. He recalls that when he was a boy and became ill - is father had to carry him 4 miles through deep snow to the nearest doctor. Despite all of this, he used bodybuilding, and his incredible drive and business sense, to turn his life around. If there is a moral of this book - I think it would be 'Think Big and then work like hell to make that dream come true."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Epstein
    • Narrated By David Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (283)

    Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

    Cynthia says: "Epstein writes! He scores!"
    "Brilliantly researched and narrated."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ever since I started competing in Track and Field, as far back as freshman year in High School, I was always fascinated with athletic performance, and what contributed to an elite athlete’s athletic performance.

    This book finally cleared up that mystery. The answer - no surprise - is a combination of Nature and Nurture - one needs to have the right genetics (i.e. ‘hardware’), to be able to respond to training, but also the right ‘software’ (i.e. the training itself).

    Here are a few factoids from the book that I found especially facinating:

    the single best predictor of a major league hitters batting average is not reaction time but visual acuity. A study of this comparing batting averages of elite players (even as far back as Ted Williams) all had eyesight around 20/10 - some with score of 20/8 - approaching the biological limit of human sight. This allowed the players to not only see the type of pitch being thrown in the 1/16th of a second it takes to leave the pitchers hand - but gave them the ability to mentally process this information in milliseconds, based on subconsciously viewing the the ball’s trajectory, spin and pitchers’ shoulder (i.e. they had the hardware (eyesight) but the software part (thousands of hours of batting practice) imprinted these patterns on their brain.

    A study of Kenyan marathon runners (some of the best distance runners in the world) found NO difference in Vo2 MAX, hemoglobin levels or other physical trains when compared to european runners. What made Kenyans so great? For any given size Kenyans evolved with very narrow leg bones, which made their legs 1-2 lbs lighter than the europeans. A study done showed that even 1/10th of 1lb lighter leg weight contributes to 8% greater running efficiency. That’s why sneaker companies strive to make lighter shoes. Kenyans have significantly more efficient running as a result. Another factor of the Kenyans is that they train at altitudes of 6,000 - 8,000 feet, which is considered ideal for adaptation to endurance. Lastly, Kenyans have a system whereby all students are required to train for endurance sports - so they have a lot more people to choose from.

    What makes a great sprinter - someone with long legs relative to body height, with narrow hips, high concentration of fast-twitch muscle fibers, and a center of gravity that’s 3 cms above the navel. It just so happens that Jamaicans have evolved with this set of physiology - but they also have a structured system whereby they seek out the best of the best and have an elaborate training system when they find athletes with potential.

    About 6 in 1,000 people come ‘out of the box’ with elite genes - and this blows away the 10,000 hours rule (a reference to the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell) which states that the average time it takes to become elite - is based on 10,000 of ‘deliberate practice’ - in all fields from music, sports or Chess. Not so. The original study of this had a range from 1,000 hours to 40,000 hours. The book talked about the 2007 world champion high jumper - who literally took up the sport 7 months prior to competing - and his first jump ever (taken on a dare when he was in high school - he cleared 7 feet.

    The book gave many more examples and was written in a very eloquent manner.Overall - the book reinforced the point that all people benefit from training. But to be elite, you need to have the right genetic factors specific to the sport AND the right training.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Colin Powell
    • Narrated By Colin Powell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (415)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (376)

    It Worked for Me is filled with vivid experiences and lessons learned that have shaped the legendary career of the four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. At its heart are Powell's "Thirteen Rules" - such as "Get mad, then get over it" and "Share credit" - that introduce his principles for effective leadership: conviction, hard work, and, above all, respect for others. A natural storyteller, Powell offers warm and engaging parables with wise advice on succeeding in the workplace and beyond.

    Jean says: "Great Story Teller"
    "Very worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to It Worked for Me again? Why?

    Well - I don't usually listen to any books twice - but if I had this in hard copy I would surely keep it on my bookshelf as a reference guide for leadership. He takes us through key points in his career - from a young Army infantry officer in Viet Nam - General and Secretary of State. Along the way, he describes key decisions he had to make, and the reasons behind them. I thought this was one of the better books on leadership I read. One could easily use the same approaches in most situations in business.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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