Peter Guber is a remarkable, talented, dynamo of a business man in the world of mainstream media. His experience in the world of big-time entertainment and media is mind boggling.
This is worth listening to just to hear some of his stories and about the people he's rubbed shoulders with, projects he's run and films he's made.
It's jam packed with valuable insights and if you need to become more persuasive then you should definitely get it.
That said - especially given his pedigree - I couldn't help feeling that the book was quite hard work at times. In some parts it comes across as a text book. You get his message loud and clear. But there are areas where he lost my attention - somehow his style is less than engaging at times. I put this down to the fact that he's a 'suit' in the entertainment business, rather than a front line creative talent. His use of language is heavily dosed with the language of business: 'incentivise', 'objectives', bottom line', or similar. I often found him sounding more like an American business consultant talking to a marketing conference with a powerpoint slides and pie charts than a man who personally has what it takes to ignite a room with passion and purpose through the power of story telling.
There was nothing wrong with the quality of the reading, but perhaps the book should have been abridged for audio - rather than simply read. Either that, or it would benefit from an overhaul by a different editor.
Don't get me wrong, it is a valuable work for anyone who needs to be improve their powers of persuasion. I've actually bought two hard copies. One for myself, and one for someone whom I also think would benefit from some of his experience. Just don't expect an easy listen. I'd be surprised if the book becomes a best seller in its current form.
I was amazed at how much Prof Childers managed to get into this course whilst maintaining his exciting, virtuosic, easy to absorb pace. It's tremendous value for money.
I like to listen when I'm doing other stuff, cooking, gym housework, shopping, falling asleep etc - so the material needs to have a strong narrative and a good measure of drama and voice modulation to keep me engaged. This fully lived up to my needs.
A good lecture delivered to a live audience has a certain compelling energy that's hard to replicate in even the best book reading. This lecture set is a really good example of that kind of energy. I honestly don't recall a boring moment. The quality of his story telling and his involvement with the characters kept me glued to my headset.
Every 30 minute lecture covers an important aspect of the period. It's all carefully distilled so that you get the essentials without getting lost in detail.
I came away with an much better understanding of modern politics and how things came to be as they are: Napoleon, Liberalism, Capitalism, Nationalism, Anti Semitism, the conflict between Germany and the allied powers - he fits everything together, piece by piece ending in a magnificent climax soon after the end of WW2.
This is a first class educational work in every respect. Thoroughly entertaining, too. My only gripe is that Audible does not seem to offer the lecture notes that were published by the original publishers.
Strongly Recommended. I've listened to quite a few of the Great Courses History series now and this is my favorite so far.
Both the book and the narration are outstanding. The narrator is a one man theatre company, absolutely brilliant. The book itself is a mesmerizing tapestry of gripping and satisfying stories from start to finish. It's riotously funny too - I found myself roaring with laughter over and over again throughout.
Of course I've seen film and TV dramatisations of Dickens' works before, but I'd struggled with actually reading his books and put them down quite quickly. After this I am a convert.30+ hours of the real thing is so much better than the screen.
I never realised how much modern British comedy and drama is influenced by him. You can recognise his style in most of the comedy greats of the last 40 years.
Despite his often flowery Victorian language, his insights into human behavior are spot on. For some reason I find it amazing that people were much the same, and played the same little games 175 years ago as they do today.
Definitely one of the best audio books I've ever bought and I've been a member of Audible for nearly 10 years now.
A genuine masterpiece. Beautifully written and read.
You might think a book about banking would be dry and boring - not this one! I found it gripping..
The Morgan dynasty's monopoly of large scale finance on both sides of the Atlantic spanned several generations. They were bankers to all the major world powers and key industrialists in the first half of the century.
The author does a magnificent job of bringing the characters and all the high dramas to life. It's also a superb chronicle of modern history. Listening to their exploits gave me insights and perspective on history and economics that would be hard to find elsewhere.
If you don't know anything about finance you may struggle with some of the details about financial instruments, but you'll still get a good sense of the big picture.
Regardless of your politics or what you think about bankers, if you're at all interested in history or finance this is definitely one to get.
Ten out of ten!
Couldn't put it down. It's a fascinating history of mankind and man's power struggles from the viewpoint of money and modes of trade. It gives an excellent insight into what money really is.
I'm a fairly avid consumer of history books. After reading it, I'd say any study of history is incomplete without a perspective like this.
It's written by an anthropologist and the content seems quite scholarly. Yet, as an anthropologist the writer is an outsider to the world of economics and so uses everyday terms that are easy for a layman to understand. There were only a few points in the book where I found it difficult to follow
I worked in the financial markets for years but have never come across an overview like this: I finished the book with a vastly improved understanding of the true nature of money and how inflation occurs. It's an excellent little book.
It is quite old - published in 1997, so could probably do with some updates. It predates the Euro and the General Financial Crisis which stemmed from the misuse of derivatives. These were big events on the money time line. For all that, the writer does have pretty clear forward vision - he was spot on in anticipating new electronic and non-state regulated currencies such as BitCoin
My only complaint was with the reader. He's clearly a professional so he was OK I guess, but I found his tone rather affected in parts. Especially towards the beginning.it often sounded as though he's providing commentary on a budget US real life murder mystery TV program. Every now and again he also reads a quote from an English person with an affected English accent. Why he didn't do the Roman, Greek, French , German and other foreign characters in their native accents I don't know. His style just seemed a bit inappropriate for this sort of book. It was definitely distracting at times. Either he dropped it as the book went on or I got used to it. Either way, I'd forgiven him by chapter 15.
That little niggle aside, there's no getting away from the quality of the book. It's easy enough to listen to that could I drive, or cook wit it or it on sleep and nod off in 15 minutes ( I always rewind the next day). But it's also rich with content and perspective that you will struggle to find anywhere else without reading 10 volumes.
If you're interested in history or economics and want something light, insightful, informative and entertaining, I'd strongly recommend it.
Found it hard to put this down. It's beautifully written and read. A very easy listen too.
The author tells a great story but is at pains to include important historical details. It's very detailed but well paced. I like the way the chapters are organised into different sections of Rockefeller's life.
Even though this was written in the 1990s the narrative style has a certain late 19th / early 20th century flavour to it. The reader's style works well with the words, he manages to evoke the age, steeping the listening experience in atmosphere.
I'd imagine years of painstaking research have gone into creating this book.
Last week I knew very little about Rockefeller. Now I know a lot about the man, his beginnings, how he built his fortune, his saintly, human, crooked and cunning sides, his mind boggling philanthropy and more besides.
We humans love to paint others as either one thing or the other, good or bad, saintly or evil. This is a great study how someone can have so many contrasting and contradictory sides to their character. I would have loved to have met Rockefeller, especially in his old age. He was an astoundingly, fine, cunning, complex and brilliant character.
On balance I'd say the book is quite sympathetic to Rockefeller, but that's not surprising. He was vilified from afar, but close up had a way of winning people over. The book does devote plenty of space to his misdeeds however, and lays responsibility firmly at his door for these.
I want to listen to more audio books like this.
Horror and suspense have never been my thing. I only know Stephen King's work through books that have been turned into movies.
After reading this, I'm thinking perhaps I'll try one of his stories.
I bought this book because it seems to be universally recommended by writers I respect.
Glad I did as I loved it from start to finish.
The first part, where he tells his early life story is hilarious, intimate and interesting. You get to understand why he writes what he writes. I was also left thinking I'd love to have this guy as a friend.
He narrates beautifully. As such, I'm glad I got the Audible version first rather than the hard copy or Kindle.
I found what he has to say about his craft humble, helpful and inspiring. He's at pains to dispel some of the common "thou shallts" of writing fiction, such as plotting out in advance and creating character dossiers in advance.
I won't spoil it for you by summarising the rest. All I want to say is, if you write, whatever you write, you will find this useful and uplifting. You'll also be entertained.
I'll most likely buy a hard copy or Kindle version too as there's lots of useful stuff I'd like to refer back to.
Before I make any criticism, I want to say that for me, this was a "Couldn't put it down" audio book. To me this is an example of audio books at their best. I strongly recommended it. I found it entertaining, easy listening, informative and well presented.
The speaker's delivery was at just the right pace for me and with plenty of colour. I like to listen while doing other things such as exercising and cooking and driving. That means the delivery needs to be good to hold my attention and she hit the spot for me.
I knew a bit about classical mythology before I started, but I knew a lot more by the time I finished. Great perspective and overview.
My only criticism is that I would have liked the stories and characters she covered to have been presented as such, rather than descriptions and discussions of the stories. Obviously these are academic style lectures, but I think a few complete stories mixed in would have added to the work. I would love to hear an expanded version where these lectures serve as a companion to properly narrated stories themselves. That would be awesome.
One very important thing to add - she stimulated an appetite in me to learn more. I bought several other works in the same series after this. (Not all were as good as this). In retrospect, I think this is one of the most valuable things about it.
Obviously this is just my opinion, but honestly it ranks amongst the worst audio books I've ever bought. As an audio book this sort of thing does not work at all well. It would have been much better to present it as a series of themed index cards or a blog posts.
I'm not questioning the quality of the subject material. However the author's presentation of it in this format was stupefyingly dull. I just could not force myself to process what he was saying and turn it into something valuable and practical I can apply to my life. That is a shame, given the standing of Peter Drucker himself.
The only value I can imagine anyone finding in this work is as a reference manual for others who want to write about Peter Drucker, or study the man's works. It's the sort of thing you'd probably get good marks for in college.
The author's style is passive and jam-packed with endless citations of book titles (including the edition number) and dates. There's little more to the book than that. Everything he writes seems to be interrupted with these citations. If he'd had the guts to provide a strong personal opinion, interpretation and continuous narrative - perhaps with footnotes instead of citations mid paragraph - it would have flowed better and I might have found more value in it.
Sorry Prof - only 3/10 from me on this one. Too much information crammed in to too small a space and not enough effort put into engaging the audience with interesting stories.
Considering the real life dramas that actually took place in this period, the presentation style was often disappointingly boring. That made the material very hard to retain.
The author of this course is clearly a very learned gent who loves his subject. I wanted to know a bit about Byzantium so I decided to stay with him until the end. It was really hard work though.
On the plus, side he covers a lot of ground. If you're already quite familiar with the period, the major protagonists and empires and want to know more you'll definitely pick up useful stuff from these lectures. As a newcomer to Byzantine history, I did learn a few things, too so it wasn't entirely lacking in merit.
What makes it so very hard though, is his presentation style: an endless and often bewildering succession of people, dates, battles, political events, kingdoms, alliances etc- delivered at an almost uniformly high speed - with very few pauses. Imagine the audio equivalent of a long text book with very long dense paragraphs, minus headers, bullet points or any other typographical features and you'll get the idea. The pace is relentless and the overall body of work is frankly, quite featureless and dull. Certainly hard to retain.
What makes it even more difficult is that he seemed to be speaking to an audience who already knows a lot about the subject. He also assumes that the listener fully recalls events, or people mentioned in passing in previous chapters and refers back to them in such a way that I was often left thinking - so where are we now, what's he talking about?
At the end of it I felt quite frustrated and unsatisfied. I've just listened to twelve hours and not picked up anywhere near as much as I would have liked from the experience.
One last thing worth mentioning: I've listened to a few of these "Great Courses" on history and classics now. During the course of going through other courses - I frequently found myself jumping on to the internet to look stuff up - authors, historical works, artwork, places etc. I was fascinated and inspired to want to learn more. I did not have that urge once with this course.
For me this was one of those 'Can't put it down' epic audio titles. What's more I feel a better person for having listened to it.
Overall, very informative, thought provoking and truly entertaining. I've learned loads and am now looking for more history titles of comparable quality.
It's massive in scope and is truly global in that it manages to weave in all the major civilisations of antiquity. I'd say he's best on Mediterranean and European cultures. At least the coverage of these cultures seems more detailed. It seems to me a Westerner's perspective. However, there's some good stuff on China, India and the Americas. I found it gave me a good introduction to these other cultures.
It's very easy to turn history into a dry collection of facts and dates. This lecture series strikes a good balance between facts and colourful anecdotes character examinations and other diversions. For example, there is a wonderful section on the mind boggling and downright weird Spartans. I couldn't stop laughing as he talked about them. But at the same time, I learned all about a culture that up until a couple of weeks ago, for me had been little more than the name of an ancient group of war-like people who'd once fought the Persians.
His presentation style is really good - full of enthusiasm, wonder and humour. For me he spoke at just the right pace, too. Unlike many other titles, even history - I found this very easy to listen to whilst on the treadmill, walking or doing household chores.
I'm going to listen to this again in a month or two. Can't recommend it highly enough, it's a really excellent listen.
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