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greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 67 reviews
  • 73 ratings
  • 272 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015

  • Tepper Isn't Going Out

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Calvin Trillin
    • Narrated By Calvin Trillin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tepper enjoys sitting in his car, reading his newspaper in peace. His car always seems to be parked in a prime spot and other drivers want to know if Tepper is going out. He isn't. This drives some people crazy - including the mayor - but leads others to think Tepper harbors some hidden wisdom. The tale that emerges is "refreshing and completely likable."

    George says: "Dog Stopping Funny"
    "kansas city meets new york city"

    what are the midwestern male virtues ?
    stoicism / dependability / humility
    being useful in the face of adversity

    and the virtues of new york jewish males ?
    shrewd / shrill / clever / read the fine print
    unruffled in the face of adversity

    who could possibly have a foot in both worlds ?
    well his name is calvin " call me bud " trillin
    he has written a small humble shrewd book to prove it

    the main character lives life on this own terms
    the world wants to press him into its' mold
    he resists in a stubborn thoughtful way

    the book is a parable for grown men
    it is a primer on how to live an authentic life
    trillin tells you the hard truth with a sly wink

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Eric Weiner
    • Narrated By Eric Weiner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness". This uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.

    Ben says: "Brew your coffee, get some cookies"
    "happiness / ? is it really a place / who knew"

    ? does contentment just seem to be beyond your grasp
    ? do other people look like they're happier than you are
    ? are there places on earth that are happier than other places

    eric weiner (EW) spent many years trotting the globe with NPR
    all that travel, lead him to see that "happy" isn't the same everywhere
    it made him wonder, are there places that are conducive to happiness ?

    the scope of his global "happiness" tour is truly impressive
    EW seems to have a genuine insight and affection for each new stop
    it helped me see how provincial our american standards are

    at several points in the book, EW confesses to "being a grump"
    most readers will have figured that out before his confession
    the book may be, for weiner, a literary distraction from himself

    the bliss he lacks may be hidden in the last place he looks, within himself

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This audiobook is about luck, or more precisely, how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. It is already a landmark work, and its title has entered our vocabulary. In its second edition, Fooled by Randomness is now a cornerstone for anyone interested in random outcomes.

    Amazon Customer says: "An Excellent and Worthwhile Book"
    "arrogance / science / insight"

    ? does the noisy clutter of modern life fool and overwhelm you
    ? is it hard to sort out cause and effect and true meaning
    ? does it seem, you just can't connect the dots the way you'd like to

    nassim taleb (NT) has written an arrogant and insightful book for you
    he elegantly teases out the increasing role of randomness in our lives
    but his smug style, makes the truth of his message a bit hard to swallow

    most human beings aren't hard wired for dispassionate observation
    we bring with us prejudices, fears, doubts and a healthy dose of ignorance
    it's hard for us to tell the difference between "co-incident" and "caused"

    NT repeatedly relates the story of his many successes on wall street
    his ability to not "be fooled" has made him a gifted stock picker
    but making rich men richer wasn't enough for him, so he wrote this book

    the cognitive strain of insightful thinking may simply be beyond some people
    they're content to take what they're given and not sift it out too much
    but if you'd like to see through the BS, clutter and noise NT would like to help

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Playing the Enemy

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John Carlin
    • Narrated By Gideon Emery
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Acclaimed journalist John Carlin provides a revealing look at the persuasive genius of Nelson Mandela. In a bold attempt to transcend old hatreds and unite a hopelessly polarized nation, President Mandela lays the groundwork for a miraculous metamorphosis during the 1995 Rugby World Cup at Cape Town.

    Luke A. Reynolds says: "Politics meets sports as the green and gold rises."
    "forgiving, skillful father of a nation"

    i should not pretend to be objective about this book
    this was my very first audiobook download
    it was the story that made me want to join AUDIBLE

    ? do you ever wonder how (SA) south african apartheid ended
    ? do you feel sport, at its' best, can sound an echo in men's souls
    ? does (NM) nelson mandela's rise to power seem beyond belief

    newspaper journalist john carlin weaves these threads together
    NM's nobility and moral courage can not be underestimated
    but, carlin helped me see NM's deep understanding of afrikaners

    his years in jail had given NM an intuition about white south africa
    he knew their necessities and wants and needs and fears
    he saw rugby as a direct path to their hearts and minds and souls

    the scenes of NM with the rugby team are especially moving
    their willingness to practice the new SA anthem, for him, stands out
    they tearfully comprehend what their success would mean to SA

    so many modern sports stories seem overhyped and synthetic
    that's not the case here, the hopes of an entire new nation were with SA rugby
    NM took those had been an enemy and played them into a new nation

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Stench of Honolulu: A Tropical Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jack Handey
    • Narrated By Jack Handey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The legendary Deep Thoughts and New Yorker humorist Jack Handey is back with his very first novel - a hilarious, absurd, far-flung adventure tale. "Are you a fan of books in which famous tourist destinations are re-purposed as unlivable hellholes for no particular reason? Jack Handey's exotic tale is full of laugh-out-loud twists. A reliably unreliable narrator and his friend, who is some other guy, need to get out of town. They have a taste for adventure, so they pay a visit to a relic of bygone days - a travel agent - and discover an old treasure map."

    Cathleen says: "Mildly Entertaining, Not a good read"
    "perfect off-speed pitch"

    ? do most modern comedians just seem too frantic for you
    ? do their manic ravings tend to wear you out after a while
    ? does " funny " always need to be mach3 with your hair on fire

    SNL's jack handey is the practitioner of the sly comedic off-speed pitch
    he's the absolute master of the wry, kick-in-the-pants, backdoor laugh
    at times, the jokes would hit me as i was about to " drive by them "

    i've listened to the book three times, always on a long road trip
    the relaxed " don't rush me " style of the prose fits car travel well
    if you're more thoughtful than hyper, it might just suit you too

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What It Is Like to Go to War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience.

    Lynn says: "Destined to become a Classic"
    "american bushido"

    i was only 17 years old when the vietnam draft ended
    the guys, a year ahead of me, were the last to " get a number "
    it was a ranking system based solely on your date of birth

    ? do you ever wonder what really makes warriors tick
    ? do you think you have the willful talents that combat requires
    ? does war's brutal majesty hold some fascination for you

    karl marlantes has written a more than thoughtful book for you
    it is a sequel to his excellent vietnam novel " matterhorn "
    this book beautifully outlines for americans " the way of the warrior "

    marlantes is obviously a troubled and more than talented man
    from a blue collar childhood in oregon to rhodes scholar at yale
    but then his almost visceral need for combat pulls him to vietnam

    ? how can i love a mean and evil thing so deeply, marlantes asks
    ? why does war make me feel alive, in a way, nothing else does
    ? how do i turn off my warrior self as i try to return to civilian life

    marlantes' post-vietnam life has been spent answering those questions
    in a way, the book is a deeply personal, philosophical wrestling match
    if those same issues churn in your soul; this book is a great guide

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Revolutionary for its realistic dialogue and uncompromising plot, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is arguably the greatest of all American novels, and a powerful sequel to Mark Twain's lighthearted classic, Tom Sawyer.Join the industrious, fiercely independent young Huck as he escapes his abusive, drunken father and sets out on an unforgettable journey down the Mississippi River.

    Tom says: "Great story-reader does a superior job"
    "an american heart, broken but resilient"

    allegedly, twain toured the south many years after the civil war
    the trip broke his heart, as he saw how little the region had changed
    he became despondent, thinking "...all that suffering was for naught..."

    it was that despair, that prompted him to write a companion to Tom Sawyer
    he turned his sadness and anger into our first and truest american voice
    the 2 basic american themes : slavery (race) and frontier (space) are joined

    twain's tone is bold, funny, sarcastic, sentimental, angry, kind and irreverent
    he simply refuses to apologize, for even one minute, for being an american
    we're not a footnote to the old world, he says, we have our own greatness

    the narration, by norman dietz, is exceptional in each of the many voices
    twain's humor makes the bitter pill of his social commentary easier to swallow
    each time i read the book, it makes me tearfully proud to be an american

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Lawrence Wright
    • Narrated By Morton Sellers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

    Chris Reich says: "Scared the Hell Out of Me"
    "scientology is the answer to what question"

    are you a life long resident of southern california ?
    are you curious about john travolta and tom cruise ?
    can science fiction and pseudo religion really intersect ?

    well, lawrence wright has written a strong willed book for you
    his previous book was about the rise of al-queda
    i suspect that was good preparation for this current effort

    scientology's mildly talented founder was layfette ronald hubbard
    sadly, he died as a morbidly obese, chain smoker living in a trailer
    sounds a little more like west virginia than transcendent world leader

    mr. hubbard is clearly no match for mr. wright's keen, lawyerly insights
    documenting and dissecting scientology's flaws comes easily to mr. wright
    in the end, i was left wondering just who would find scientology appealing ?

    insecure, narcissistic and not terribly bright people seem to be its' main target
    i don't want to be unkind, but that covers about 1/2 of southern californians
    scientology's appeal to struggling actors and celebrities is almost intuitive

    in the years to come, i suspect there will be more and similar exposes
    the campy and mercenary aspects of scientology will be too hard to pass up
    as one reviewer said, mr. wright should be applauded for "...outing a bully..."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wave

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Sonali Deraniyagala
    • Narrated By Hannah Curtis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny....

    CBlox says: "Tragic. Raw. Heart-Ripping!"
    "the unbearable weight of being"

    do you find your modern life uncomfortably light ?
    do you wonder how you'd measure up in a real storm ?
    would you like to hear from someone who endured the unendurable ?

    sonali deraniyagala (SD) is an odd but appropriate authority on all this
    she was pampered as a child ( maid, cook, driver, private schools etc.)
    her middling academic career with a husband and 2 boys seemed a good fit

    but, in the span of a morning she lost her parents and her entire family
    the fact that the tsunami spared her life seemed almost cruel at first
    she spent the better part of the next two years being watched by friends

    they, of course, thought she'd try to kill herself and they were quite right
    her temptation to just crawl in a hole and join her family was overwhelming
    her tantrums, alcohol and dark theatrical moods were endured by her family

    it's impressive how her achingly slow recovery didn't fit a modern stereotype
    SD doesn't seem to dwell on freud, medications, ECT or the latest fad
    the extended network of her Sri Lankan family gets most of the credit

    SD's multiple academic contacts and a chance to travel also helped her
    it really makes me wonder how a modern "bowling alone" person would do
    i certainly don't have a web of support like that at home or at work

    at it's heart, the book is SD's meditation on grief as the price we pay for love
    she misses them all so much because she loved them all so much
    SD's surviving the storm was fate, that SD goes on without them is brave

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Andrew Solomon
    • Narrated By Andrew Solomon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A brilliant and utterly original thinker, Andrew Solomon's journey began from his experience of being the gay child of straight parents. He wondered how other families accommodate children who have a variety of differences: families of people who are deaf, who are dwarfs, who have Down syndrome, who have autism, who have schizophrenia, who have multiple severe disabilities, who are prodigies, who commit crimes, who are transgender.

    C. Beaton says: "A Gripping Masterpiece"
    "two books about family / both good"

    ? does the prospect of parenthood seem daunting to you
    ? do you have strained relations with your parents or children
    ? do you struggle to just understand members of your own family

    andrew solomon has written a vast and well-researched 2 part book for you
    the miles travelled and calories burned, in writing this book, are impressive
    i suspect, it will incentivize other lesser writers to explore this topic

    the 1st book involves dwarfism, autism, deafness, schizophrenia and down's
    the tone is empathetic and insightful / the emphasis is on fixing the problem
    mr. solomon puts his subjects at ease as he draws out their stories

    the 2nd book involves rape, MSD, crime, prodigies, transgender and father/son
    the tone is a bit caustic and preachy / the emphasis is on fixing the blame
    mr. solomon seems to use his subjects to make his personal point

    overall, the book's empathy and patience and time invested are impressive
    however, mr. solomon is clear eyed and critical when he needs to be
    especially when risks aren't assessed and mistakes are made repeatedly

    in the future, i hope the book's scope may extend beyond our shores
    american medicine is such an outlier compared to other 1st world countries
    we just love invasive surgery, expensive drugs and the latest therapeutic fad

    ? could it be that other, less affluent, cultures have answers for these issues
    ? if the book's struggles truly are universal, there may be better foreign answers
    i'd be interested to know how the world's most ancient cultures approach them

    mr. solomon is an operatic, depressed, misunderstood, gay, jewish new yorker
    it's impressive how often he fits these attributes into his subjects stories
    this tendency is so persistent that it's almost anthropomorphic

    mr. solomon has written a truly great book that will help many people
    but his own story is not as important as the story of his subjects
    he's a more than talented writer and, in time, he'll learn to get out of the way

    1 of 2 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

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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