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Ray

Glendale, AZ, United States | Member Since 2008

226
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 70 reviews
  • 213 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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36

  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Matthew B. Crawford
    • Narrated By Max Bloomquist
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (132)

    Shop Class as Soulcraft brings alive an experience that was once quite common but now seems to be receding from society - the experience of making and fixing things with our hands. For those who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing.

    Nathaniel says: "A profound look at work, and what we've done to it"
    "Mercedes Have No Dipstick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Crawford touches on a number of deeply interesting topics. If you’ve given them any thought before then this book will be an instant favorite. If you’ve never given any of these topics any deeper thought, you’ll think the book is pointless and repetitive. It’s not a meandering philosophy book like “Zen and the Art of Motorcycling Maintenance” but if you liked that book, you’ll love this one too. It is not a light-minded biker trope either so if OC Choppers is what you’re looking for, this isn’t it.

    Essentially the book is about how dependent the modern consumer society is without being preachy or self-righteous. The details of this dependency are how disconnected we are from the products we use, how the concentration of power causes this disconnectedness regardless of whether that power is concentrated in government or corporations, and the role of a college education in training us to be dependent and easily led.

    He contrasts how early motorcycles required extensive hands on operation such as manual oiling, kick starts, and the like whereas a modern Mercedes doesn’t even have a dipstick. Our alienation from the products we use every day and the sense that we don’t completely own our “own stuff” anymore since we are dependent on the dealership to diagnose the onboard computer. This, as opposed to being able to open the hood, and readily see the engine and its various components just a few years ago.

    All of this and he manages to not get overtly political or to bore us with possible policy changes to “correct” the wrongs he cites. But he does deal with some larger ideas that most people are ignorant of so it is probably a better book for an engineer or maybe the shop owner than the guy who’s interest in the world doesn’t extend beyond the fender wells.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Radley Balko
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (112)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (106)

    Rise of the Warrior Cop traces the arc of US law enforcement from the constables and private justice of colonial times to present-day SWAT teams and riot cops. Today relentless "war on drugs" and "war on terror" pronouncements from politicians, along with battle-clad police forces with tanks and machine guns, have dangerously blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. Balko's fascinating, frightening narrative shows how martial rhetoric and reactionary policies have put modern law enforcement on a collision course with the values of a free society.

    Christopher says: "Scarier than any horror book. Because it's true!"
    "Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a great book and a very necessary addition to anyone's library who is sincerely interested in liberty and the path that America is currently on.

    If one is sincerely concerned about the size of our government, then it stands to reason that they should be equally concerned about the militarization of that government's arm of enforcement. Likewise, if one is genuinely worried about expanding the rights of every citizen and every lifestyle, shouldn't they be just as worried about a militarized police force that is already being used to subjectively oppress those rights.

    This book is not about Left wing or Right wing, but about what is already happening to America and the individual rights that our freedom rests upon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By AJ Baime
    • Narrated By Jones Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    By the early 1960s, Ford Motor Company, built to bring automobile transportation to the masses, was falling behind. Baby boomers were taking to the roads in droves, looking for speed not safety, style not comfort, and Ford didn’t offer what these young drivers wanted. Meanwhile, Enzo Ferrari lorded over the European racing scene, crafting beautiful, fast sports cars that epitomized style.

    Ray says: "Great Book"
    "Great Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just a great book. Enough details of the main characters; Shelby, Ferarri, Ford, and so on without becoming a mini-biography on any one person.

    A lot of interesting figures from that time so it's a feat to include everyone and not get carried away.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Wettest County in the World, or Lawless: A Novel Based on a True Story

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Matt Bondurant
    • Narrated By Erik Steele
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (51)

    The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County during Prohibition and after. The brothers played a central role in a major conspiracy trial and its violent end. In 1935, Sherwood Anderson, working on a magazine story, finds himself driving along the dusty red roads trying to find the brothers and break the silence that shrouds Franklin County.

    Rich says: "Just outstanding!"
    "Dark, Unlikable Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great writing, but the story is dark and none of the main characters are likable.

    Not that this is always a necessary ingredient, but Bondurant's fine writing draws the reader into the individual lives very well. But when you get there it's an uncomfortable place to be. Like a 1930 version of meth complete with the dealers, and the addicts, and you wind up thinking the whole cast needs to wipe each other out like some classic Tarantino movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fallen Angel: Gabriel Allon, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1284)
    Performance
    (1074)
    Story
    (1066)

    After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio's greatest masterpieces. But early one morning he is summoned to St. Peter's Basilica by Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome.

    Audiophile says: "When will Gabriel retire?"
    "Ready to Retire"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know where else to find a clever Mossad agent taking on the bad guys, but Allon's story line has become too predictable.

    Also, I've read and enjoyed every one of these books except the newest one, and do enjoy them overall, but the hero really is a little too super-duper. It reached silly proportions when he was required to shoot a pistol at a firing range to obtain some kind of official permit. No big deal there, but he refused eye and ear protection with some gritty, Clint Eastwood-esque kind of comment. Great, now his ears are immune to the damaging effects of gunfire. Really, the guy should have on blue tights and a red cape or something. That was just silly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Degeneration

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Niall Ferguson
    • Narrated By Paul Slack
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Symptoms of decline are all around us today, it seems: slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations, anti-social behaviour. But what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions - the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail - are degenerating. To arrest the degeneration of the West's civilization, Ferguson warns, will take heroic leadership and radical reform.

    Lance says: "Ferguson Hits His Stride"
    "Definite Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My only complaint is that it wasn't longer.

    Anyone that has seriously given thought to the modern problem of bread and circuses needs to listen to this. If the other cited authors are not familiar, then this book can serve as a primer and some of those other books can be read as a follow up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Melanie Warner
    • Narrated By Ann Marie Lee
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    If a piece of individually wrapped cheese retains its shape, color, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed our children? Former New York Times reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that takes her to research labs, food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening - and sometimes disturbing - account of what we're really eating.

    Jeff says: "Interesting."
    "Straight Information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very good presentation of facts without a lot of subjective measures sprinkled in as is so often the case with books in this genre.

    This would work well as a second book to read after some primer such as Pollan's "Omnivore" or most anything by Salatin or Berry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the Tactics Behind China's Production Game

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Paul Midler
    • Narrated By Paul Midler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (181)

    It was a world gone wrong, one in which manufacturers thought little of manipulating product quality levels in order to save the smallest amounts, where savvy foreign business leaders were made to feel in control while they were taken for a ride by their partners, where entire manufacturing facilities sometimes vanished right into thin air... Welcome to Poorly Made in China!

    John says: "Hours of jaw dropping amazment"
    "Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Extremely interesting. I'm a middle manager for a large corporation in the manufacturing sector so this is something I think about quite a bit.

    The author does a great job of telling us a story that he actually experienced instead of rehearsing an editorial constructed from that experience.

    It's very easy to feel the frustration of the American importers when they're getting jerked around by corrupt Chinese manufacturers but then you remember the American importer's astonishment that anyone could produce their goods so cheaply. Even before the American learns just how defective their shampoo really is, when asked if he personally ever uses his own product his reaction was incredulity. Of course he wouldn't use such an inferior product.

    Being in the manufacturing business and being able to relate to these scenarios, I feel that it is clearly not a "Chinese" problem but simply one of a developing country with 1st world capacity. In my opinion, the only thing that will ever bring the Chinese industrial sector up to developed world standards is when they have enough of a domestic market for their own products. This is the only thing I can see that will provide enough internal accountability.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Timothy Egan
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1193)
    Performance
    (630)
    Story
    (637)

    The dust storms that terrorized America's High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since, and the stories of the people that held on have never been fully told. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region.

    Laurie says: "more than grapes of wrath"
    "Great Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just a really good book. I was wishing he would have had exposed more the negative effects of government involvement in farm policy, but all in all it was a very good book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Doug Ordunio
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (533)
    Story
    (544)

    Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.

    Jeremy says: "Informing, Interesting, and Boring all in one"
    "Eh. . . Not so Much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Too much conjecture and speculation laid out as fact. Of course this is the nature of evolutionary science so that much is to be expected, but this goes beyond the norm.

    It may be too that I expected too much from this book. This is of course a very well known book of great critical acclaim, but it just doesn't measure up to the reputation.

    I'm still scratching my head as to how this book came to be so highly regarded. I made it through the first half but I was just getting so little out of this I had to try and salvage my time and just push stop.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman
    Overall
    (568)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (486)

    In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

    PHIL says: "Some good ideas, smart guy, not smart as HE thinks"
    "Fantastic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What's to say? By this point you either love or hate Taleb, though I have yet to read or hear of any good refutations to his points.

    For those who hate him, all I seem to hear is that they don't care for his personality. Oh well. I obviously think very highly of his writing even though I wouldn't agree with every opinion or view. Overall though he's a breath of fresh air in a world otherwise given over to bread and circuses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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