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greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 58 reviews
  • 64 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014

  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Larry Tye
    • Narrated By Dominic Hoffman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In his hometown streets of Mobile, Alabama, Satchel Paige fired rocks with enough power and precision to bring down a bird or a rival gang member. In the Negro Leagues he fine-tuned a pitch so fast that catchers complained it set their mitts on fire. After a young Joe DiMaggio managed a scratch single off of him, a Yankees scout wired his bosses, "DiMaggio all we hoped he'd be. Hit Satch one for four."

    Raleigh says: "free lance / free man / free agent"
    "free lance / free man / free agent"

    ? what'd you do with outrageous talent as a black 20 year old in 1926
    ? how'd you respond to scouts who'd say "...boy, if only you were white..."
    ? what'd you say if you had to wait until you were 42 to get your chance

    born in 1906, leroy robert "satchel" paige faced all these questions and more
    blessed with a perfect right arm and cursed with a " jim crow " childhood
    he ranked easily among the 20 best baseball players of all time

    his life had every sad and varied element of 20th century african-american life
    it's no surprise it is so relentlessly hard, paradoxical and counterintuitive
    he seemed forever balanced between cold blooded competitor and playful clown

    all the showmanship and exaggeration kept the writers and fans amused
    and it kept the light focused on satchel and the world at a reliable arms length
    the introverted performer treasured the mound as his personal safe stage

    so many aspects of his professional behavior pre-date free agency
    he never apologized for offering his fantastic talents to the highest bidder
    his matter-of-fact mercenary approach would fit in perfectly with today's game

    the book helped me see beyond the playful quotes and clowning to the man inside
    he sadly burned for the opportunity to just show the world what he could do
    he felt sorry, not for himself but for those that never got to see him play

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course The Science of Willpower, The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.

    Niv says: "life changing one of the best I read"
    "professor cupcake vs. keyser soze"

    dr. kelly mc gonigal now teaches psychology at stanford
    previous academic stops include new jersey and boston
    i'm told, her lectures are popular and more than well attended

    basically, this book is an outgrowth of those lectures and lessons
    i assume her audience includes neurotic, bay area undergraduates
    she patiently guides them through willpower exercises and experiments

    the tone of the book is that of a charming, perky yoga instructor
    it implies that 20 minutes of slow breathing will solve most problems
    recent small studies with short followup are cited to support her claims

    the material is presented in a soothing, optimistic and deliberate manner
    issues include fast food, depression, exercise, tobacco, chocolate etc.
    if those are the sort of things you struggle with, then you'll like this book

    i had hoped the author might address more consequential willpower issues
    i.e. narcotic addiction, pedophilia, suicide, autism, divorce, anger etc.
    these topics may simply be beyond the scope of her collegiate audience

    the 1995 film " the usual suspects " had a character - keyser soze
    he was a powerful, mysterious and relentlessly willful criminal mastermind
    it was said of him : "...he showed these men of will, what will was..."

    but, mr. soze might have to look to other sources to learn about willpower
    roy baumeister, scott jurek and daniel kahneman have written good books
    each of these three authors approach the subject from very different angles

    true willpower, like excellence, is a habit and comes at a great cost
    people who tell you differently are selling an easy, "royal road" to happiness
    dr. mc gonigal's book is a comfortable, first step along that important path

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Leibovich
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash. What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.

    John S. says: "They're out of touch ... and how!"
    "the wolf of insignificance is at the door"

    have you spent significant time in washington DC ?
    do the inner workings of politics just fascinate you ?
    do you have a greater tolerance for gossip than your classmates ?

    if so, this might be a very good book for you
    if not, you might find the book insular and a bit repetitive
    it's basically a prolonged and chatty lesson on human nature

    in 1975, 3 % of former congressmen became lobbyists
    in today's washington DC, the number has risen to about 40 %
    mr. leibovich would like to tell us just how that transition occurred

    those in political power are a sad but predictable bunch of people
    p.j. o'rourke's book " parliament of whores " outlined them clearly
    it's those next to power that are an even sadder, clumsier group

    the press corp, legislative aides and socialites all buzz around DC
    they all lack the power and leverage that money or electability brings
    so they traffic in the only commodity left to them : relationships

    mr. o'rourke's effective book commented on DC from the outside
    sadly, mr. leibovich tries to the same from " inside the machine "
    it's a difficult task since the reader can often questions his motives

    can mr. leibovich remain next to power without actually having power ?
    will all of his efforts keep the wolf of insignificance away from the door ?
    niccolo machiavelli would say no and he's probably right

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers K

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By David James Duncan
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. Each person chooses their own way to deal with what the world has become.

    Ken says: "At last!"
    "do you like 1960's & drugs & church & baseball ?"

    did you grow up in the turbulence and drugs of the 1960's ?
    was your family built on a foundation of fundamentalist religion ?
    was your youth devoted to brothers and athletics and academics ?
    do you have the patience for an epic, lengthy novel with literary references ?

    if so, this might be the book for you / if not, it might be a long haul
    the characters are all lovingly drawn and have an honest affection for each other
    but the regular references to the (SDA) seventh day adventist church grew tiresome

    the SDA denomination has a high school graduation rate of only 30%
    almost all SDA universities remain in the "unranked" category
    it just doesn't add up to an especially insightful, literary or self aware group

    the book has a pleasantly indulgent and somewhat sophomoric tone
    the problems of the main characters, however, seem to be largely self-inflicted
    they all seemed like very kind and friendly people / just not too bright

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Homans
    • Narrated By Don Hagen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    John Homans adopted his dog, Stella, from a shelter for all the usual reasons: fond memories of dogs from his past, a companion for his son, an excuse for long walks around the neighborhood. Soon enough, she is happily ensconced in the daily workings of his family. And not only that: Stella is treated like a family member - in ways that dogs of his youth were not. Spending humanlike sums on vet bills, questioning her diet and exercise regimens, contemplating her happiness - how had this all come to pass, when the dogs from Homans's childhood seemed quite content living mostly out in the yard?

    Tango says: "What's a Dog For? Ask a Dog!"
    "an elegant stroll through dog land"

    do you just love dogs ? / did you have a favorite dog as a kid ?
    do you believe that dogs are unique within the animal world ?
    does all the recent canine scientific research confuse you ?

    john homans has written the perfect book for you
    he is not an academic veterinarian or a research scientist
    he is simply a NY magazine editor with a breezy and urbane curiosity

    homans makes no attempt to be exhaustive or authoritative
    he simply asks and answers the questions he thinks we'd like to know
    the book has an ironic, humorous, sophisticated and affectionate tone

    recent MRI research confirms that dogs can in fact "read" humans
    they're also an antidote for the sadness and loneliness of modern city life
    homans reminds us that most dog owners have known these facts for years

    books by g. berns, c. warren, a. horowitz and t. grandin are more scientific
    homans is happy to let them have their expertise and elegant theories
    he simply wants to tell us what a real dog lover would want to know

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Shishir Kurup

    Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic state be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has earned international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions.

    Kate says: "Informative and Interesting!"

    reza aslan was born in teheran, iran; he now lives in hollywood CA
    that's quite a scholarly transition to accomplish in one life time
    it gives him a unique perspective to relate islam's own impending transition

    islam began, in tribal desert isolation, about 600 years after christianity
    three of the first four islamic leaders, to follow mohammed, were assassinated
    even today, islam retains many of its' harsh, mercantile and feudal elements

    but, aslan persuasively argues, much of that history really doesn't matter
    the changes outside of islam are minor compared to the changes within islam
    the conflict and carnage we see from the outside, obscures an inner turmoil

    islam is desperately trying to come to grips with the modern world
    it's similar, aslan argues, to the catholic church's encounter with the reformation
    the problem is that islam lacks the enlightenment tools for the job

    of the 500 best universities on the globe not one is in the muslim world
    basic literacy in many arab countries approaches only 40 %
    illiterate, uneducated tribesmen make for a slow religious renaissance

    reza aslan has the almost impossible job of explaining islam to the west
    the task requires equal measures of bravery and scholarly insight
    we should applaud him for trying, many others will follow in his steps

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tomato Can Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (28 mins)
    • By Mary Pilon
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale

    Charlie Rowan was a small-time cage fighter in rural Michigan who couldn't get a break.

    His punches weren't landing. He owed money to impatient people. He needed to start over, but he didn't know how.

    Then, at home on the sofa, he came up with a plan.

    Original long-form journalism from The New York Times, read by the actor Bobby Cannavale.

    Raleigh says: "the good, the bad and the ugly"
    "the good, the bad and the ugly"

    my early childhood focused on "...good, better and best..."
    competition, literacy and education were constantly stressed
    and then, after 26 years of schooling, i became a resident physician

    i was asked to care for people living "...good, bad and ugly..." lives
    a steady diet of medicaid and uninsured patients came my way
    i didn't help them so much as try to keep them from harming themselves

    their capacity for self destructive behavior was truly impressive
    their homes and neighborhoods were a finishing school for failure
    mary pilon captures the mood and tone of this world better than anyone

    bobby cannavale's matter-of-fact narration fits the story perfectly
    does the USA really rank 38th in global, overall health care quality ?
    the lives, brought to light, in mary pilon's story may help explain why

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Let the Great World Spin

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Colum McCann
    • Narrated By Richard Poe, Gerard Doyle, Carol Monda, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A Pushcart Prize-winning author and contributor to the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and GQ, Colum McCann is renowned for his carefully constructed character studies. No exception, Let the Great World Spin follows the fortunes of a menagerie of New Yorkers through a day in 1974 - the day of Philippe Petit's death defying tightrope walk between the newly built Twin Towers.

    Robert says: "An essential addition to your Audible library."
    "e.b. white vs. rudy giuliani"

    years ago, e.b. white wrote a small book about NYC
    "... new york will bestow the gift of loneliness and...privacy..."
    white's book had other, almost clairvoyant, insights about the city

    in the days after september 11th, rudy giuliani spoke almost everywhere
    "...the number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear...alone..."
    so who is right, is it a city of loneliness & privacy or togetherness & sharing ?

    colum mc cann uses the events of august 1974 to answer that question
    he picked a time when the towers were new, disliked and largely unoccupied
    the daring wire walker philippe petit then caught the city and nation's attention

    the wonderfully written drama weaves 11 very different lives together
    clearly, life has given each of them much more than they can bear
    in their sorrow and brokenness, they learn to accept and overcome

    i was a skinny college freshman outside NYC in the fall of 1974
    the events of august 1974 and september 2001 are indelible to me
    colum mc cann's achingly beautiful story agrees with giuliani, so do i

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey Into the Heart of Fan Mania

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Warren St. John
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer

    Warren St. John decided to find out why people care so much about the outcomes of games they're not playing in by joining a group where the particulars of the fan psyche would show themselves in sharp relief: the caravan of hundreds of RVs that follow the Alabama Crimson Tide across the South, taking over college towns with a moveable feast of Weber grills, karaoke machines, Igloo coolers, and fast-draining liquor bottles.

    James says: "Well done"

    as a child of the NYC suburbs, i wasn't familiar with tribal warfare
    my college room mate, however, was from ozark, alabama
    his entire extended family were more than loyal auburn fans

    graciously, they allowed me to tag along to auburn - alabama games
    it is a gross understatement to say "...there is nothing like it..."
    i later insisted my young son accompany me to these unique events

    warren st. john's life in birmingham, AL and then NYC paralleled my room mate
    he brings both kindness and humorous insight to his research
    the subjects he depicts are neither monsters or comic book characters

    these people don't want to be UA fans, they deeply need to be UA fans
    most of them solider on through difficult or diminished lives
    football gives them companions and a chance to experienced shared joy

    rural alabama life provides a steady dose of adversity and heartache
    the civil rights struggle then delivered an unspoken shame on white alabama
    the football game allows the faithful to gather and then share those burdens

    warren st. john has delivered a wry and thoughtful portrait of a state he loves
    he celebrates the paradoxical and, at times, frail nature of his subjects
    the book is truly "...a journey into the heart..." with a wise and funny guide

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Jonathan Haidt
    • Narrated By Jonathan Haidt

    In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

    K. Cunningham says: "Why Good People Are Divided - Good for whom?"
    "a young psychologist's guide to the universe"

    jonathan haidt is a psychology professor at UVA
    he has spent his entire life in academic research and teaching
    he now wants to write a book about politics and religion

    i suspect he believes his truth and insight will change the world
    much of what he says is very wise and informative and perceptive
    we humans are hard wired for fear, deception, treachery and self-righteousness

    but haidt's academic tone puts a distance between the author and his subject
    politics and religion are, however, contact sports with blood, sweat and tears
    a deliberate, historic and slightly tired tone would have suited the topic better

    it's a mystery to atheists why ancient religions remain a force in the world
    for some of them, politics and academics become their " modern religion "
    but modern psychology is usually more diagnostic than therapeutic

    psychology often offers a precise and accurate definition of the problem
    it's religion and politics that offer the long hard road toward fixing the problem
    i look forward to mr. haidt's next older, wiser and slightly weary book

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Grant says: "Hot"
    "high priest of the modern age"

    nate silver is the son of a michigan state professor
    his careers in poker, finance, and baseball proved unfulfilling
    i suspect the wolf of insignificance was nagging at his door

    he needed a new and meaningful focus for his considerable intellect
    he now aspires to be the high priest for our digital and data-driven age
    the wise sorter of signal & noise / truth & lie / wheat & chaff

    the book isn't entertaining because nate silver isn't entertaining
    he wants to tell you the truth and show you how to recognize a lie
    he then applies his focus and filter to the ocean of data we swim in

    at heart, the book is a sturdy compass and a very necessary tool
    we live in an expanding jungle of useless and biased information
    nate silver wants to lead us to the promised land of the true signal

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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