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Gare&Sophia

Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.

Alexandria, VA, United States | Member Since 2007

235
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 138 ratings
  • 884 titles in library
  • 106 purchased in 2014
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100

  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson, Jonathan Davis, Christopher Ryan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1741)
    Performance
    (1207)
    Story
    (1204)

    Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....

    Mark says: "too much focus on academic in-fighting"
    "Excellent, accessible, thought provoking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The controversy in the reviews of this book speaks to its importance. As a committed Darwinian, who has been having a tryst with Lamarck-ism since the advent of epi-genetics, this book was a delight. It takes apart the accepted dogma on a variety of post Darwin science by examining the religious and cultural bias that is built into many of these theories.

    I have read all of Dawkin's & E.O. Wilson's books, the modern scholar series on evolutionary psychology, and about 10 other popular texts from this emerging field.

    This book stands out, not because of the excellence of its scholarship, but because of the depth of its skepticism and the author's willingness to challenge existing dogma.

    At regular intervals, despite my habitual eschewing of scientific mirth, this book had me in aesthetic. I highly recommend this book, and I offer my personal thanks to the authors and the narrator.

    Gare Henderson

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jonathan Weiner
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (159)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (112)

    Rosemary and Peter Grant and those assisting them have spend 20 years on Daphne Major, an island in the Galapagos, studying natural selection. They recognize each individual bird on the island, when there are 400 at the time of the author's visit or when there are over a thousand. They have observed about 20 generations of finches - continuously.Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

    Philip says: "Fascinating in-depth look at evolution in action"
    "This book clearly deserves all its awards"
    Overall
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    Evolution made material, without anthropology. Did you know that the illegal ivory trade is causing elephants to be born with shorter or non-existent tusks. Well written and fascinating for the evolution buff. A must read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Ideas of Psychology

    • ORIGINAL (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Daniel N. Robinson
    Overall
    (83)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (66)

    If you’ve ever wanted to delve more deeply into the mysteries of human emotion, perception, and cognition, and of why we do what we do, these 48 lectures offer a superb place to start. With them, you’ll see the entire history of psychology unfold. In the hands of Professor Robinson, these lectures encompass ideas, speculations, and point-blank moral questions that might just dismantle and rebuild everything you once thought you knew about psychology.

    Gare&Sophia says: "The Oxford level of examination of psychology"
    "The Oxford level of examination of psychology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The teaser review that comes up for this course is just plain misguided. As a former Ivy league professor I applaud Professor Robinson's approach to the topic. He puts modern and historic psychology and its underlying theories in the perspective necessary to understand the rational basis from which they were derived.

    I am a scientist and I felt this his approach and coverage of a diverse set of related topics was excellent. I should also point out that my wife who is a mental health professional also found this book to be not only a great read, but an excellent coverage of the topic.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Sam Harris
    Overall
    (853)
    Performance
    (496)
    Story
    (485)

    In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape".

    gerald says: "The book says what many feel, but fear to say"
    "Science as religion, certainty as science"
    Overall
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    Story

    I was really disappointed with this book from the start, but after reading a couple of similar texts I decided to go back and give it a fair hearing. I left with the conclusion that this guy is as inflexible in his thinking as a Nazi. He assumes that his knowledge is complete and infallible, he makes fun of people who don't support his conclusions as apodictic. He makes the same mistakes that the 14th century priests made in believing that the bible contained all knowledge of value. He quotes many studies and hangs on their results as fact, as opposed to pathways.

    My daughter asked me if I believed in the supernatural, like spells, witches, etc.. I responded that I did believe that there was tremendous knowledge that I don't have, but that I think that the concept of supernatural is a contradiction in that if it occurred then it is, by definition, not supernatural. In other words if someone figures out how to fly around on a broom stick, then broom stick flight is just something that someone else has figured out how to do...not magic, not supernatural.

    I digress because Dr. Harris has truly missed this lesson. Knowledge is a direction not a destination. And as a non-religious scientist, who respects all knowledge, I find that his certainty on so many issues makes me doubt either his credibility or his sanity.

    However, if you are looking for someone to confirm that science is the new God, then this is the book for you.

    Gare Henderson

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Paul Collier
    • Narrated By Gideon Emery
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    Paul Collier reveals that 50 failed states - home to the poorest one billion people on earth - pose the central challenge of the developing world in the 21st century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards.

    Andy says: "no easy fix"
    "Is poverty a disease or a wound?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this, primarily UN centric, treatment of the hidden realities of that group of people who rarely make the news. If you're an international traveler, these are the people that you see walking in the broiling sun, or begging on the side of the road.

    Yet, the book is hopeful in offering new solutions, some that may interest business people such as low end insurance products.

    Overall this book was compelling, and interesting from start to finish.

    Gare Henderson

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Brené Brown
    • Narrated By Lauren Fortgang
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1447)
    Performance
    (1178)
    Story
    (1159)

    Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

    A. Yoshida says: "Feel good therapy session"
    "A light hearted yet affectionaly dense work."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was both true to its title, and extremely eye opening. Dig deep, Dr. Brown uses stories effectively to show us the shell of conformity that constrains both our joy and our happiness. Love is not a feeling its a behavior. I strongly recommend it.

    Gare Henderson

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy!

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Robert A. Glover
    • Narrated By Robert O'Keefe
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (201)

    Dr. Glover believes there are men who suffer what he calls the "Nice Guy Syndrome". These men listen, offer advice, and jump at the chance to help. But no matter how hard they try to please others, their own lives are incomplete. Here Dr. Glover offers guidance on how to take back control. He suggests ways to achieve fulfillment in emotional, physical, and professional relationships. By redefining his priorities, any man can create the life he always wanted.

    Gare&Sophia says: "Embarrassingly good"
    "Embarrassingly good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very adult look at what I have been doing wrong in my life. A lot of new information, and some very fresh perspectives. It's funny, I'm not a typical nice guy. I'm strong, successful and have had a life of successful relationships. But, I still find that the women in my life are not carrying their weight especially in the bedroom. This book helped me to realize that many of my methods are flawed with unhelpful pride and crushing shame.

    I would hope that there is a similar book written for women. But this book is an often uncomfortable but important read.

    Gare Henderson

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (690)
    Performance
    (588)
    Story
    (583)

    We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions of people. This book is an antidote to pessimism by tech-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.

    Ryan says: "A catalog of positive innovations on the horizon"
    "A view from inside the technological money..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    More that a bit self-satisfied, and glib with facts and statistics, this book opened my eyes to some amazing new technologies. The new information alone makes this book worth a listen. However, the authors missed the mark set by the title by a wide margin. Will technology really be able to save us, if we just wait long enough, and spend enough money? Only time will tell, although many of the innovations that these authors are so confident in will surely change the world...yet I fear that the changes will continue at a evolutionary as opposed to a revolutionary pace.

    A good book that delivers a lot, albeit staged on a shaky premise.

    Gare Henderson

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life With Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Francine Shapiro
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (52)

    Whether we've experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don't fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower listeners looking to achieve real change. An easy conversational style, humor, and fascinating real life stories make it simple to understand the brain science behind why we get stuck in various ways and what we can about it.

    MZHOLLAND says: "NOT ENOUGH ON SOLUTIONS"
    "A competent introduction to a very useful method."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This eye movement methodology of managing and intergrating memory is going to be huge. It opens the door to a wide array of both human and automated techniques for managing the mind and memory in particular. I found the presentation to be a bit whinney and the narrator seemed more emotional than a therapist perhaps ought to be, but the information is quite solid. I have already begun using the techniques on my friends who have recently undergone some emotional trauma.

    Some will enjoy it much more than others, but most will benefit from reading it.

    Gare Henderson

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mastery

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Robert Greene
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1029)
    Performance
    (913)
    Story
    (906)

    What did Charles Darwin, middling schoolboy and underachieving second son, do to become one of the earliest and greatest naturalists the world has known? What were the similar choices made by Mozart and by Caesar Rodriguez, the U.S. Air Force's last ace fighter pilot? In Mastery, Robert Greene's fifth book, he mines the biographies of great historical figures for clues about gaining control over our own lives and destinies. Picking up where The 48 Laws of Power left off, Greene culls years of research and original interviews to blend historical anecdote and psychological insight, distilling the universal ingredients of the world's masters.

    Gare&Sophia says: "Mastery is both a goal and a destination..."
    "Mastery is both a goal and a destination..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While many of the ideas have been covered in other books, this author handles the topics with a fresh sense of urgency, and a lot of good illustration. The message is an overlay of the old joke "how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!", with the idea of learning to put your passion first.

    There is no magic here, but an excellent personal trainer. Its worth a listen.

    Gare Henderson

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Primer to Postmodernism

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Stanley Grenz
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (20)

    Stanley Grenz charts the postmodern landscape. He shows the threads that link art and architecture, philosophy and fiction, literary theory, and television. He shows how the postmodern phenomenon has actually been in the making for a century and then introduces readers to the gurus of the postmodern mind-set. What he offers here is truly an indispensable guide for understanding today's culture.

    Gare&Sophia says: "The anatomy of modern thinking..."
    "The anatomy of modern thinking..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thought is evolving both culturally, environmentally, and philosophically. So many of our current views, such as the appeal of spy movies as opposed to westerns, is a function of the philosophical evolution of thought. This book introduces you to many of the important thinkers that have at least documented this evolution, and in some cases led it. I enjoyed the book, but I was left with the documentation/creation dichotomy which I'm sure is both irreducible and dependent upon the limitation of my knowledge and my ability to understand in the context of my natural and cultural limitations.

    However, that's the point of postmodernism, which can be described as a chipping away at certainty, and an increase in humility. There is no actual black/white but only those shades of grey that are senses and our minds can apprehend or comprehend.

    A good read, and Nadia May always gives real authority to a work..

    Gare Henderson

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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