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john

Battery Point, Australia | Member Since 2014

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 31 ratings
  • 485 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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  • The Selfish Gene

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    Overall
    (1788)
    Performance
    (1360)
    Story
    (1341)

    Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.

    J. D. May says: "Better than print!"
    "Required"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Selfish Gene rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 10


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "Who's driving this bus"


    Any additional comments?

    Having the footnotes and extra comments read by Ward was a highly effective way of keeping track of which idea stream we are in. A good idea very effectively implemented.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Kevin Mitnick
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (423)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (294)

    The world's most infamous hacker offers an insider's view of the low-tech threats to high-tech security. Kevin Mitnick's exploits as a cyber-desperado and fugitive form one of the most exhaustive FBI manhunts in history and have spawned dozens of articles, books, films, and documentaries. Since his release from federal prison, in 1998, Mitnick has turned his life around and established himself as one of the most sought-after computer security experts worldwide.

    Mike says: "Poor Narrator - ZZZZZzzzzzzz!"
    "Required reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you have a leadership role in security this is a book you need to read.

    The first 80% are illuminating and entertaining case studies. Great to listen to.

    The last portion are policy guidelines and if you are going to be in a position to deploy them get a print version for that part.

    Performance is of the normal high standard Audible is famous for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Susan Bordo
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (90)

    Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: Neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life.

    Roswatheist says: "Most Enjoyable Biography--Win!"
    "Worth the time and money but nothing startling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good solid coverage of the topic and some of the surrounding issues around feminism, real politick, history wars and the like.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23635)
    Performance
    (21080)
    Story
    (21150)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    FanB14 says: "Amazing Amy"
    "End left me cold"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Such impressive story telling skills. The ability to twist the reader back and forward is excellent. But, for me, the end just left me cold. I can imagine others finding it perfect but not me. Anyway, impossible book to discuss with anyone who hasn't read it without doing harm to the story and the crafting skill is always excellent. Read it and make your own mind up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Charles Wheelan
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (643)
    Performance
    (539)
    Story
    (542)

    From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you'll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.

    Michael says: "Starts well then becomes non-Audible"
    "nice summary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A good solid introduction to the broad concepts told in an engaging style.

    If you want to understand a bit about how stats work and why they matter (or remind yourself if it has been too long since school) this is a great way to do it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress - Pax Britannica, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jan Morris
    • Narrated By Roy McMillan
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (140)

    The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven’s Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond.

    Cookie says: "Review for all three in the series"
    "Nothing is ever as simple as it seems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An interesting review of how Britain obtained and then shed an empire and just how it all happened without a concerted plan or a real overall strategy. Not quite an "Accidental Empire" but neither a thought through plan to dominate the people of the countries they added to the collection. Worth every minute and dollar to learn interesting facts and to remember that it often takes a long time for the sense (or lack thereof) of a decision to become clear.

    Production values in the audio is of the normal Audbile high standard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire - Pax Britannica, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jan Morris
    • Narrated By Roy McMillan
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (66)

    The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’s magnificent history of the British Empire from 1837 to 1965. Huge in scope and ambition, it is always personal and immediate, bringing the story vividly to life. Pax Britannica, the second volume, is a snapshot of the Empire at the Diamond Jubilee of 1897. It looks at what made up the Empire —from adventurers and politicians to communications and infrastructure, as well as anomalies and eccentricities.

    Bryan says: "The British Empire at it's Peak"
    "Nothing is ever as simple as it seems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An interesting review of how Britain obtained and then shed an empire and just how it all happened without a concerted plan or a real overall strategy. Not quite an "Accidental Empire" but neither a thought through plan to dominate the people of the countries they added to the collection. Worth every minute and dollar to learn interesting facts and to remember that it often takes a long time for the sense (or lack thereof) of a decision to become clear.

    Production values in the audio is of the normal Audbile high standard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat: Pax Britannica, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jan Morris
    • Narrated By Roy McMillan
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris’ magnificent history of the British Empire from 1837 to 1965. This final volume charts the decline and dissolution of what was once the largest empire the world had known. From the first signs of decay in the imperial ambition in the Boer Wars, through the global shifts in power evident in the two World Wars, it offers a perspective that is honest, evocative, and occasionally elegiac.

    Bryan says: "The British Empire Declines and Fades Away"
    "Nothing is ever as simple as it seems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An interesting review of how Britain obtained and then shed an empire and just how it all happened without a concerted plan or a real overall strategy. Not quite an "Accidental Empire" but neither a thought through plan to dominate the people of the countries they added to the collection. Worth every minute and dollar to learn interesting facts and to remember that it often takes a long time for the sense (or lack thereof) of a decision to become clear.

    Production values in the audio is of the normal Audbile high standard.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Dyson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (124)

    In the 1940s and '50s, a group of eccentric geniuses - led by John von Neumann - gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their joint project was the realization of the theoretical universal machine, an idea that had been put forth by mathematician Alan Turing. This group of brilliant engineers worked in isolation, almost entirely independent from industry and the traditional academic community. But because they relied exclusively on government funding, the government wanted its share of the results....

    john says: "Turing's vision; Von Neumann's construction"
    "Turing's vision; Von Neumann's construction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While good coverage and credit is given to Turing for the ideas that he had and the work he did to spark the computer revolution this book is more focused on Von Neumann as the driving force behind creating the machine at the Institute for Advanced Studies, sometimes referred to as MANIAC.

    I assume that the book title may have been driven a little by marketing department awareness that Alan Turing has become a commonly known name amongst those with more than passing interest in the history of computing while Von Neumann is yet to gain the 'household name' level of recognition that he deserves.

    While the 'Turing Machine' was a stunning intellectual achievement in abstract thinking about the science and mathematics of computing the actual machines that we are using are often, and rightly, described as 'Von Neumann Machines'

    If you know the subject well this is a great summary and includes interesting facts that you may well not know about just how things got done. If the way Turing's ideas ended up in the machine you are reading this one is not familiar to you then this is the best way of filling in that gap that I know of.

    The pace is good and the tone conversational (this is a history of people and ideas, not a text book) and the delivery is in the upper end of Audible's range.

    If you care about how the computer revolution that we are living through got through it's teething stages and got to its feet and started walking then I can highly recommend this as an entertaining and informative way to learn a lot more than I thought I would in a weekend's listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker, Walter Isaacson
    Overall
    (1387)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1207)

    In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Walter Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, this is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

    john says: "More man, less tech, might have made a better book"
    "More man, less tech, might have made a better book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the end of this book Isaacson gives us some new information, especially relating to Job's family. This was great and makes the book worth the price.

    But be clear that stuff up until 1985 is far better covered in the books Isaacson has taken the stories from (sometimes distorting them in the process).

    Check out:
    Revolution in the Valley
    Infinite Loop
    Return to the Little Kingdom
    for the source material of these stories.

    Isaacson seems to lack the knowledge of the technical aspects and the curiosity to ask people who do know to tell the wheat from the chaff in these early stories. He will present stuff that doesn't matter and trim away stuff that does. If the only source you have for these stories is Isaacson's book you will have a distorted, and sometimes false, impression of what happened.

    Now I suspect Isaacson would say he was interested in the man and the life lived and not so much these technical details. That's, in fact what I expected this book to be about with most of this tech stuff skimmed over. But Isaacson chooses to put in a substantial amount of details where he clearly doesn't know what they mean in themselves and fails to examine usefully what they tell us about the life being examined.

    I don't want to give the impression this is a bad book. It is not. It is fine. But it is flawed in several ways because Isaacson seems to be disinterested in the tech and disinterested in examining what the tech means.

    This could have been a better book if it was more about the man and floated past some of the tech bits that are inexact retellings of stories that Andy Hertzfeld and others have told better and, in my opinion, used better to paint what the man was like in his 20s.

    I think Isaacson did not make the best use if the fact the he was given the power of 'exclusive'. As others have said, just as Steve chose the wrong guy for Apple when he chose Scully he chose the wrong guy for this book when he chose Isaacson. So many other people who had the writing skills aligned with a passionate interest in the subject could have done more with this unique opportunity. Isaacson's approach is solid, professional but pedestrian and uninspired given the amazing power he was given.

    Anyway, get the book, it's well done an easily worth the money, However, do be careful about quoting too much of the details to those who are better informed on the subject because the list of corrections of technical fact and/or context you may get will be tedious for all concerned.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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