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Ray

Glendale, AZ, United States | Member Since 2008

280
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 81 reviews
  • 234 ratings
  • 419 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
35

  • 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
    (344)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (150)

    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
  • The End: A Post Apocalyptic Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By G. Michael Hopf
    • Narrated By Joseph Morton
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (209)

    For Gordon Van Zandt, life was one of duty and loyalty to his country, so when 9/11 happened he dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps. This youthful idealism soon vanished, one fateful day in a war torn city in Iraq. Ten years later, he is still struggling with the ghosts of his past, but must now face a new reality thrust upon him and his family.

    North America, Europe, and the Far East have all suffered a devastating Super-EMP attack that has caused catastrophic damage

    Jan says: "So Dissapointed"
    "Must Read For the Genre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Negative reviews tend to give more info than positive reviews so I bought this with some reservation due to some of the seemingly reasonable negative reviews.

    However, they were completely and totally wrong. It's a really cool book. Period.

    Some of the scenarios may seem far fetched, but in context to the genre itself, they're not far fetched at all. (Read some ancient history for a fuller context.)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Sam Sheridan
    • Narrated By Donald Corren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (305)
    Performance
    (279)
    Story
    (282)

    Sam Sheridan has been an amateur boxer, mixed martial arts fighter, professional wilderness firefighter, EMT, sailor, and cowboy, and has worked in construction at the South Pole. If he isn't ready for the apocalypse, we're all in a lot of trouble. But when Sam had his son and settled down, he was beset with nightmares about being unable to protect him. Sam decided to face his fears head-on, embarking on a quest to gain as many skills as possible that might come in handy should the world as we know it end....

    Bradley says: "Well written, well researched, and entertaining."
    "It's Okay I guess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's some high spots that were okay, but it really rambles too much on side subjects. The zombie scenario is meant to be cute I guess, but it's not as clever as I think he meant it to be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Jakarta Pandemic

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Konkoly
    • Narrated By Joseph Morton
    Overall
    (852)
    Performance
    (767)
    Story
    (766)

    In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them.

    deedeeg says: "Nice surprise"
    "Good Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Pretty decent. The NPR, quasi-left wing views of the protagonist and his wife seem to offset the overall nature of the book. Even the flaws of the main character are constructed to build the story and teach an indirect lesson for end of the world scenarios. Even the fact that it's technically not an end of the world story, but merely a really bad time for humanity seems to make the point of a lesson for a prepared mindset.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Peter Korn
    • Narrated By Traber Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    In this moving account, Peter Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer and maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and then founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit institution.

    Kevin Adams says: "Thoughtful and Well Written"
    "Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, not for everyone, but for those who are at least a little disturbed by the disposable culture we now live in, it's a must read. Not as good "Shop Class as Soulcraft" though to be fair, the author isn't trying to write the same book so perhaps it's just different.

    Easier to read than Pirsig's "Zen" and definitely more to the point, it belongs on the same as shelf as these two books as well Richard Sennett, David Pye et al.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Ryan Holiday
    • Narrated By Ryan Holiday
    Overall
    (521)
    Performance
    (459)
    Story
    (454)

    We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn't be this way. There is a formula for success that's been followed by the icons of history - from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs - a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

    Jason DeFillippo says: "Great book I wish I had 25 years ago"
    "Worth Reading; Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not a substitute for the stoics themselves, nor other well known figures who have used their obstacles as footholds, but if a person is young or otherwise not well read in such areas, this could be a good introduction. (I skipped the epilogue with the other author who's name I don't remember. He's a self-help guy, kind of smarmy and fake, but don't let that dissuade the would-be reader.)

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Nina Teicholz
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (171)

    Dish up the red meat, eggs, and whole milk! In this well-researched and captivating narrative, veteran food writer Nina Teicholz proves how everything we've been told about fat is wrong. For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?

    Ted says: "Great book. Challenges your belief system."
    "Solid Information; Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I confess that I thought the author might just be trying to ride on Gary Taubes' coat tails, and was a little skeptical, but she covered a lot of details that Taubes didn't and really delved into some of the more interesting facts behind the political wrangling over the various kinds of oils, etc.

    It's a must read for anyone that is truly interested in the facts and detailed history of how the current public health situation became so badly disorientated.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jeffrey S. Bland, Mark Hyman
    • Narrated By Brett Barry
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, chronic disease is not genetically predetermined but results from a mismatch between our genes and environment and lifestyle. What we call a "disease" is the outcome of an imbalance in one or more of the seven core physiological processes. Leveraging a lifetime on the cutting edge of research and practice, Dr. Jeffrey S. Bland lays out a road map for good health by helping us understand these processes and the root causes of chronic illness.

    Mark says: "Life changer"
    "Awful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A quick scan of the reviews that I've done will show that I'm not one to slam a book just for the sake of it, even if I don't like a book, I try to give it the due it deserves.

    But this was just really bad. The narrator spoke for an hour and a half and still hadn't said anything substantial as the author was obviously trying to inspire instead of inform. There was some vague cancer statistics thrown out and a study or two mentioned and how great the study was and how respected the researcher was, but no actual facts.

    I was left with the feeling that someone was trying to sell me something but didn't want to get into the details for fear of what I might think or misinterpret. Smarmy stories about people using their first names and how great their lives are now that they have this great new and improved product. But I couldn't get any real details about the product he was selling, only the pseudo-inspiring stories about the awesome people who had benefitted from it all.

    13 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Greg Gutfeld
    • Narrated By Steve Kramer
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (154)

    From politics to the personal, from fashion to food, from the campus to the locker room, the desire to be cool has infected all aspects of our lives. At its most harmless, it is annoying. At its worst, it is deadly, on a massive scale. The Cool are the termites of life, infiltrating every nook and cranny and destroying it from within. The Cool report the news, write the scripts, teach our children, run our government - and each day they pass judgment on those who don’t worship their coolness.

    Paul says: "Great book, but terrible choice for narrator"
    "Nothing New but Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a fellow libertarian turning into a curmudgeon as I age, I enjoyed the overall premise but the crudeness of his personality just wears thin.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Edmund Morris
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (570)
    Performance
    (419)
    Story
    (419)

    Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001, marked the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.

    Mike From Mesa says: "Very, very good, but very, very long."
    "Must Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good book that manages to show the details of Roosevelt's life without either slipping into hagiography nor the type of historical criticism that can only come from many years of hindsight. (You see some of his warts and such, but they're kept in their proper proportion and context.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Von Drehle
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death’s door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union’s top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy - with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield - had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president. Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned.

    Sam Motes says: "Lincoln in all his glory"
    "This Book Stands Out Among Lincoln Bios"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are of course many books about Lincoln, but this work manages to place itself in the must read category for anyone with a sincere interest in knowing more about the man.

    It is more than a collection of facts and observations, but it actually ties the timeline together into a coherent map of Lincoln's own understanding of what was unfolding before him and the nation.

    I should add however, that Rockport is not in Illinois, but in Indiana. (The starting point of one of Lincoln's flatboat trips.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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