Finishing this book was a chore, mainly because of the painfully slow reading and unnatural pronunciation of the nails-on-chalkboard narrator. The book is also very repetitive and needlessly long. I normally like long, unabridged books, but this one really needed more editing and I think may have been rushed to print due to the death of the subject. The narrator reads so slowly I resorted to double speed at times, something I have never done on any other book. Especially awkward is the way he reads proper names. He pauses and then reads the name as if announcing the entrance of royalty. When reading quotes he adopts a higher, more grating tone, I guess attempting to distinguish from the narrative, but just making it all the harder to listen to. Having heard Isaacson talk about this book on the radio, I think he would have been a much better choice for reading his own book.
The story will be interesting to some, but I found it rather lacking in humanity, focusing too much on the development of products instead of the personal life of Jobs. But maybe that's because he was an emotionally stunted egocentric workaholic. For someone who proclaimed himself a Buddhist, he seemed woefully ignorant of the "middle way" and being non-judgmental. He was also completely lacking in compassion and empathy, which the author concludes (and I agree) probably hindered his business as well as personal life.
I was left wondering how much better Apple products would have been had he actually been able to consider someone else's point of view. Evidence being the lack of Flash support on the iPad due to his personal animosity towards Adobe, completely detracting from the user's experience and utility of the product.
A disclaimer: I would enjoy listening to Jon Ronson read the phone book. I just love his voice and accent. This book is an interesting exploration of the development and application of theories of what constitutes a psychopath and if/how they can be treated. Along the way we get to know Jon Ronson himself a little bit, which for me was the most enjoyable part of the journey. Kind of a British Woody Allen. I plan to listen to everything he narrates.
Underworld is a great book, a sprawling nonlinear narrative encompassing the great themes of the second half of the 20th century in America portrayed in the intimate lives of many characters. I read it when it first came out, and recently decided to listen to it on a long road trip. This performance is mesmerizing, Richard Poe always sounds as though he's speaking the words, not reading them, with variations appropriate to the many different characters. The audio quality on this recording is top notch as well, all around a very well done audiobook, highly recommended!
For those who don't know his work, Saunders is at once very accessible yet profound, with a few sci-fi elements, but really centered around the human mind. He creates fictional worlds to explain our inner world, that is the best way I can think of to explain.
What a treat to have Saunders himself narrate his own work. Now I sometimes hear his voice narrating my own thoughts. Weird. Loved these stories and have listened twice through already. Reading more in print, but look forward to more Saunders-narrated audiobooks hopefully.
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