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Matt

Parkdale, Australia | Member Since 2004

104
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 26 ratings
  • 147 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
9

  • Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Peter Guber
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (45)

    Today everyone whether they know it or not - is in the emotional transportation business. More and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers, and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it. And this book tells you how to do both.

    Geff Fralick says: "I didn't mind the listen but..."
    "Full of good material - but hard work at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.










    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On Writing

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Stephen King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    In June of 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van while walking along the shoulder of a country road in Maine. Six operations were required to save his life and mend his broken body. When he was finally able to sit up, he immediately started writing. This book - part biography, part a collection of tips for the aspiring writer - is the extraordinary result.

    Karen says: "Part 'How to' part Autobiographical"
    "Not a fan of his genre but this is wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Classical Mythology

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth Vandiver
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (79)

    These 24 lectures are a vibrant introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you'll investigate are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

    Michelle says: "Great"
    "Very Informative and Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.



    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing and Applying a Forward-Focused Mindset

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Bruce Rosenstein
    • Narrated By Tom Parks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way helps any business leader uncover the future now and use this knowledge to steer his or her organization - and career - to success. The book encourages you to consider how your actions can create, influence, and affect the future for other people, as well as entire professions and organizations. In particular, it helps you develop the same kind of forward-thinking/acting Drucker mindset that led him to the highest levels of success.

    Matt says: "Dull Academic College Thesis - Too Many Citations"
    "Dull Academic College Thesis - Too Many Citations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.




    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The World of Byzantium

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Byzantium is too-often considered merely the "eastern rump" of the old Roman Empire, a curious and even unsettling mix of the classical and medieval. Yet it was, according to Professor Harl, "without a doubt the greatest state in Christendom through much of the Middle Ages," and well worth our attention as a way to widen our perspective on everything from the decline of imperial Rome to the rise of the Renaissance.

    collin lau says: "Another piece of the puzzle"
    "A Very Difficult Listen - Not for Beginners!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.



    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    The ancient world has cast a long shadow, influencing our customs and religious beliefs, our laws, and the form of our governments. It has taught us when and how we make war or pursue peace. It has shaped the buildings we live and work in and the art we hang on our walls. It has given us the calendar that organizes our year and has left its mark on the games we play.

    Matt says: "Outstanding - Informative AND Entertaining"
    "Outstanding - Informative AND Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Richest Man in Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George S. Clason
    • Narrated By Jason McCoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    Travel back in time as George S. Clason takes you back to Babylon in his enlightening, insightful book on financial investment and financial success. The original version now restored and revised, this series of delightful short stories teaches economic tips and tools for financial success that have withstood the test of time and are applicable still today. Enjoy reading, and start saving today!

    Wayne says: "Do not under any circumstances buy this recording!"
    "Great material but reader is laugh-out-loud bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll come to the bad comically bad reading in a minute, but first the actual material.

    I'd heard a lot about this book and expected it to be in the same vein as Think and Grow Rich and other self improvement books of the early 20th Century. I was pleasantly surprised.

    The messages for financial self betterment are very simple, yet very wise and powerful.

    It's a series of charming parables, written in a pseudo King James English style - "thou doth, thou givest" etc. Somehow, rather than sounding pretentious, their 'Ye Olde Worlde'' Biblical style gives the stories added weight and authority, making them all the more fascinating.

    The fact that the messages are presented as parables also gives them a certain charm. It makes their wisdom so much easier to hear and digest than the wordy treatises of Napoleon Hill.

    It seems as though the writer was writing for his grandchildren. I got the impression of someone patiently crafting vital lessons to young people he really loved. The stories are infused with lively historical drama and details in the style of Boys Own comic strips of the 1920s.

    As for the reader, well - he was so bad at the start that I nearly asked Audible for a refund, especially when I saw that other reviewers were of the same opinion as me.But I decided to listen it out and make up my mind at the end.

    I'm glad I did stick it out. I got used to the reader, and found myself not minding despite the breakneck speed and frequent, ignorant mispronunciations.

    Perhaps the reader did improve as he went on. I gave him two stars in the end. But my eventual enjoyment was a testament to the quality of the book rather than a drastic change in the reader's part. The material triumphed despite the odds.

    The book itself really is good. It's a concentrated source of valuable lessons about money, put in such a way an 11 year old would easily understand. It's charmingly written too.

    I'm pleased to say I decided not to ask for my money back in the end. The reader did actually make me laugh a few times too.





    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Grantchester Grind

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Tom Sharpe
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cecil
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    The instinct of the true Porterhouse man faced with a crisis is to reach for the bottle and then to fall back on the subtle tactical skills honed at Cambridge down the centuries: blackmail and kidnap. But will these be enough? Menaced on all sides - by the collapse of the Chapel, by the tentacles of organised crime, and by the hovering threat of the abominable Dog’s Nose Man - will Porterhouse be forced to unleash the most fearsome weapon in its armoury - the college food?

    Constant Reader says: "Tom Sharpe Gets Dull"
    "WARNING: Don't listen in public - too funny!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Continuously, outrageously, laugh-out-loud hilarious throughout. I embarrassed myself several times on a trip to the supermarket whilst listening to this. My uncontrolled outbursts of raucous belly laughter drew so many uncomfortable looks had to pause it.

    I'd only ever seen one TV adaptation of a Tom Sharpe book previously and this was even better.

    His caricatures of stuck up, cloistered, pompous Brits, the lower classes and unrefined Americans gangsters, who all end up colliding in the most unseemly ways thinkable are stylish, incredibly vulgar, and so, so funny, all at the same time.

    I wondered if this is something that would only appeal to Brits who know something of the ''old order", but I suspect not. If you enjoy British caricatures along the lines of PG Wodehouse or Evelyn Waugh all from the viewpoint of someone with a preoccupation with repressed, absurd, sexual deviance you'll love it. Think very up market ''Carry On" films minus the corn.

    Beautifully written - the story lines are wonderful and the dialogue is superb.

    I couldn't stop listening to this once I'd started. I got through it in 3 sessions.

    The narration is exquisite. Every character has his or her own believable voice. My only criticism is that the narrator's American accents aren't nearly as polished as the English ones. Even so, they are still unique and clearly identifiable. What the narrator lacks in the American accent department is easily made up for by Sharpe's wonderfully colourful dialogue.

    Will definitely be listening to more Tom Sharpe.

    Strongly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight and Content

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mark Levy
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (266)

    When it comes to creating ideas, we hold ourselves back. Thats because inside each of us is an internal editor whose job is to forever polish our thoughts, so we sound smart and in control, and so that we fit into society. But what happens when we encounter problems for which such conventional thinking fails us? How do we get unstuck? For Mark Levy, the answer is freewriting....

    Sherry says: "Writing to right your way"
    "Very Classy Book, Great Ideas, Easy to Implement"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow! Really, wow! What a pleasant surprise. Don't be fooled by this book's average looking cover.

    Firstly, it does exactly what it says on the tin- It tells you where you can find your best ideas and how to capture and build on them.

    But it's much more than that. It's also about finding 'flow' , about silencing your inner critic and other demons for long enough to let your higher self shine It's exciting, motivating and offers some of the very best techniques for overcoming writer's block I've ever come heard.

    If you need some inspiration and motivation to tackle major problems in your life, whether work related or life issues, I strongly recommend you have a listen. You don't need to be a writer to use the techniques. But if you are a writer like me, then you'll find them doubly valuable.

    As you listen you'll find yourself itching to try stuff out. It really is that good.

    I've ordered a hard copy to serve as a permanent writing companion. I know it's going to be a book I keep with me for a long time.

    It's broken down into lots of short chapters. Each one describes a technique and has various exercises to follow. You'll need to stop the program to do the exercises. If you listen straight through without stopping you must then go back to listen again, otherwise you'll miss out.

    As you listen you won't doubt the power of the techniques covered. He's a really good writer and he puts it all down to the techniques he's describing.

    Also, it's been very well recorded and read. The narrator has done a great job. His voice is easy on the ear, well suited to the material and he keeps you listening.

    Do yourself a favour - get this book!


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Rapt: Attention and the Interested Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Winifred Gallagher
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (47)

    In Rapt, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Gallagher grapples with provocative questions - Can we train our focus? What's different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions? - driving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.

    Roy says: "The Neuroscience of Concentration"
    "Good Content Spoiled By Rapid Reading Speed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Essentially this is a very good book, but it's one you really have to work at to absorb. It's not an easy listen by any means. That's because content has a fairly dense, text book-like tone to it.

    If you get it you'll need to sit and listen to it without any distractions. Don't try driving, walking or doing household chores with this one on, or you'll miss out on what she has to say.

    It's a psychology book of sorts - written with the aim of helping us develop better minds and it really is deep and insightful.

    Writing easily digestible prose is clearly not the author's strong point though. She relies on a logical, left-brain, technical type of language throughout. Her words are a bit too big and grown-up for my taste; lots of syllables, and she's not the best at telling engaging stories.

    Nevertheless, as someone seriously interested self improvement I found it well worth my attention. I just wish they'd chosen a different narrator - or at least made a more subtly nuanced recording. It's not that the reader is terrible. It's just that she doesn't manage to bring the words alive. She reads way too fast and she's too far from the microphone to sound intimate and engaging. As such, the words go in one ear and out the other.

    This kind of content calls for far more variation in pitch, pace pausing and more expression to hold attention well. Ironic, as the book is all about attention.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Bill Phillips, Michael D'Orso
    • Narrated By Bill Phillips
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (52)

    Imagine, just 12 weeks from now, having the lean, healthy body you've always wanted and not having to turn your life upside down to get it. Imagine having the energy to be at your peak from dawn to dusk, having the confidence to do all the things you've been putting off, having the certainty to make the right decision at the right time, and knowing that you really do have the power to change, not just your body, but anything in this world you set your mind to.

    Denzil says: "Is $12.95 good value for your life? You tell me."
    "Buy this and You're Paying to Hear a Myoplex Ad!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Duh! I should have known by that guy's cheesy toothpaste salesman smile on the cover and all the schmoozy, "float over the music testimonials" cheerleader testimonials.

    This audio book is the work of a Los Angeles marketing agency. It is a thinly disguised advert for Myoplex.

    If there are lots of positive reviews, they have almost certainly been bought.

    On the face of it the plan seems good. It seems well put together until you get down to the nitty gritty of training - there is absolutely no substance there at all. He just says do weights.

    I went to the website looking for a weight training routine - the agency goes on and on about weight training, but no routine to be found.

    Take my advice if you want to get the gist of this book - just go to their website and read the sales copy.

    Very disappointed in the ethics behind this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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