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.
Poorly recorded. Very rudimentary information. A lot of it is about basic Wordpress issues and copywriting 101 (which wasn't very well explained) There's nothing inherently wrong with the content, but the title is misleading. It should convey something to the effect of "basic information about websites / wordpress and copy for people with zero experience"
Good luck to the author with his affiliate marketing, but this is poorly presented, written and the content was not helpful. I was honestly annoyed that I'd gone to the trouble of getting it, downloading it and putting it in my queue.
Suggest author starts by fixing the title to give a more precise description. Also learn about microphone technique and editing.
I've given it 1 star throughout because I want my 99 cents back - just to make a point.
Just because a book is priced at 99 cents doesn't mean it should be substandard. In fact, pricing it that way invites trouble because you are inviting people to read it. There are loads of really excellent books containing valuable information both free and for 99 cents.
I'm constantly amazed at what you can get for the cost of a monthly membership. I think I'll go back to this and listen again several times over.
I like to listen when I'm doing other stuff - gym, cooking, driving, falling asleep etc. I tend to judge an audio book on how well I can absorb it when my attention is divided. While I definitely found myself having to rewind over some key sections quite a few times, it passed my listenability test with flying colours. It became one of those 'can't put it down' titles.
I was almost totally ignorant of the Renaissance before I listened to this. I just had a rough idea of the dates, where it all kicked off and a few of the major players. I thought, I really should know at least a little about the Renaissance. After one listen I'm sure I now know more about it and the profound ways it influenced the Western world than anyone I know, and almost anyone I'm likely to meet.
Prof. Fix's delivery is not as polished as some of the other history lecturers contributing to this series. Quite a few ums and errs. He has a more casual and perhaps irreverent style. He's very engaging nevertheless, while giving a deep, scholarly set of lectures covering some complicated issues.
I really like the way he manages to keep it light and easy going for the most part. Never stuffy or boring.
One thing I've come to appreciate about audio history lectures is that the pace at which material is presented and how it's then referred back to is important. I've listened to a few where I've not been able to keep up. This is well paced and I don't recall struggling to recall people and events from earlier lectures he referred back to.
He tells great stories, gives really deep insights and does a marvellous job of piecing together many pieces of a complicated jigsaw puzzle.
A major theme of the lectures is the religious feuding that gripped post medieval Europe, the fragmentation of Christendom and the birth of the various Protestant branches.
If you're at all interested in the history of Christianity and how it influenced national boundaries and government you'll love it.
Even if you've studied the Renaissance I think you'll learn heaps from it. I certainly did.
Alistair MacLean was a best selling writer of wartime advernture thrillers and that's basically what he's done here. It's a short action adventure filled with plenty of accurate historical details, with all the key events well dramatised. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I wanted to start with something quick and simple to get an outline of Lawrence and this turned out to be exactly that.
I'm currently listening to Lawrence's own book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and thankful for having started with this.
Even though Seven Pillars of Wisdom has some wonderful aspects, it lacks a narrative thread that's easy to follow, or much of the kind of character examination books normally rely on to keep readers interested . As such it's hard to keep up with what's happening without leaning on external references such as those provided here. I'm glad to have picked up a good deal of the story from this book before listening to Lawrence's own words.
Some of the other reviews of this title make a point of stressing that the book was written for kids. That may be so, but don't let that put you off. It's short, uncomplicated, omitting the politics and some gory details, but it's not dumbed down, or childish.
Alistair MacLean's books used to be very popular with young teenage boys when I was growing up, in part because he has a simple, direct writing style. This book is not so different in style from his adult books.
The reading is solid and professional.
I knew this book was worth reading before I got it. And as far as I managed to get with it I can say it was worth listening to. But two weeks later, I still can't bear to go back to it...
I don't know if it's just me but I simply can't abide the style and voice of the narrator, Sean Pratt. I know he does a lot of books (i've bought a few now), and in many way's he is a very professional reader, so I doubt I will be causing his career irreparable damage in writing this.
In any case, people can judge for themselves from the sample whether they'll be able to put up with it or not. I know I've read harsh reviews of narrators only to think they're great - so do have a listen - don't just take my word for it.
Speaking for myself I've not been able to finish one business book that he's read.
For me the issue is that he's an actor who seems to feel that he has to read the book in an authoritative tone as if he wrote it. It's so obviously a "performance". Although the writer is a great authority on the subject, you just know he he didn't mean to write it in a preachy, bossy-girl tone - but that's how it sounds to me. It's inappropriate for the content - it's sounds like it's been made up by someone with no experience in explaining stuff to people and persuading them in real life. The reader over acts, animating his voice with far too much of a tone that you just know the writer would not have used if he were reading it himself. In short, the style sounds fake - and in turn, for me at least - that severely detracts from the content. The author sounded absolutely fine reading the intro. I don't know why he used someone else.
I'm all in favour of lots of expression and voice modulation - it's necessary to bring a book alive, but I just cannot get past this particular style. I will not buy another book that's read by him, no matter how highly the recommendations.
I know people tend to read their own reviews - so Sean if you read this, sorry to be so harsh. I honestly don't think I'd have a problem if you were doing fiction - but for business books I don't think you've got the right style yet, however many you've done. Tone it down a bit. Look for different ways to put expression into it. You're not reading a modern novel. Business people express themselves differently because they're used to giving advice and instructions to clients and staff without offending them. If you wan't realistic have a listen to Joe Pulizzi who's read his own book on a similar subject, or Daniel Pink, or Seth Godin (hard to immitate). They're all fine with sounding as though they're reading their material rather than giving a performance. They're presenting rather than performing. You can't sound like the author.
End of rant :)
OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a tad, but that's my way of showing appreciation for great little audio book with some valuable tips from a very likeable and genuine author.
For someone who's interested in internet marketing I can honestly say this is the best couple of bucks I've spent. In fact I've wasted hundreds of dollars on books from big ass, fancy shmancy authors when this was really what I was looking for.
For a serious business book with great content it has a fun, easy to absorb, engaging style, which is laugh out loud funny at times.
You can't go wrong with this one. Do yourself a favour and get the kindle and the audio.
Compliments to the narrator too. Perfect tone for the material - sounds like he's actually the author. Probably is.
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.
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