Exceptional. I have read (or listened to) most of the other books on this subject, many of them quite good, but "America's Secret War" was by far the best of the bunch in every important way. It is perfectly clear, concise and forthright. It is full of "I didn't realize that!" moments, and even readers who know a lot about this subject matter are likely to find nuggets of truth and perspective that will surprise them (if only because the concepts are so well explained and put into such clear perspective that you find yourself grasping concepts with a depth you might not have otherwise). It takes no political stance, but instead outlines and analyzes events as they happened without partisan spin (something that I appreciate all the more in this age of increasingly whiny, partisan, adversarial screeds by authors with openly political agendas and a total lack of shame flaunting them). Moreover, this book is truly interesting, fast-paced, and novelistic: I found myself compelled to continue listening to it not just by my desire to learn more, but also by the same "can't wait to find out what happens next" story-telling that the best adventure novels benefit from. That is partly due to the writing, of course, but the narrator was also among the best I've heard. He was one of only 2 narrators that were so good that I looked up their other books and purchased titles I would never have bought otherwise (most of which turned out to be excellent as well, so the narrator really can make or break an audiobook listening experience). This is simply one of the best books I have ever listened to.
Not Cool is full of sharp, witty insights on lots of topics, all roughly related to his "What is Cool Today and Why it Sucks" theme. After reading all 3 of his excellent books, I am convinced that Gutfeld has successfully carved out a position in the Conservative/Libertarian world that is similar to the one John Stewart has created for himself within the liberal precincts. Like Stewart, he manages to serve up important messages in a thoroughly entertaining way, without losing credibility for unfair bias with all but the most virulent, unreasonable members of the opposition party.
If he wasn't funny, I'd still be interested in his serious take on the issues of the day. If he wasn't actually a sharp, incisive commentator on those same issues, I'd still read him for his curmudgeonly sense of humor. But he is actually an unusual amalgam of both, and that is a delightful anomaly in the field of political and cultural commentary. To those of us who don't care all that much about "cool," that combination of intelligent seriousness and wit is kinda . . . well, cool.
Highly recommended for listeners of all political persuasions, and John Stewart's audience should make a point of reading it twice. Steve Kramer does a very good job of narrating, but I wish Gutfeld had narrated "Not Cool" like he did for his first book. He has a self-deprecating style of speaking that really sells the comedic elements and leavens the edgier barbs. And that kind of convivial comedic seriousness seems like the best recipe for delighting his fans, while at the same time gently prying open the minds of detractors so that his well-reasoned, intelligent arguments can slip in and start making logic babies in their brains. Read this one, for sure.
This was simply the most entertaining, engaging audiobook I've listened to in years. It's not just for MTV fans, or just for the demographic that currently watches it in droves. Personally, I never enjoyed watching MTV nearly as much as I enjoyed reading this book about it. If you are even slightly interested in music, popular culture, television, the entertainment industry, or musicians themselves, you will probably love this book too.
It's a remarkable story, of course. This scraggly little video jukebox of a cable channel literally changed television, music, motion pictures and popular culture. More than once. But the key to making this so much more than just a factual recreation of a game-changing cable channel's history lies in a single, brilliant idea: they don't just tell the story, but let the participants themselves tell it in their own words. Culling choice nuggets from literally hundreds of interviews with rock stars,video directors, executives and the scores of people who surround them, the authors then edit and compile pieces of those interviews into a tightly woven narrative. They provide some backstory and context to each part of the music channel's history with concise chapter introductions, and let the rest of the story unfold through the words of the people who created that history. It's messy, honest and human, and the perspectives of the different parties are often contradictory. Just like the real world. Unlike "The Real World," the story-lines are always interesting,
Seriously -- if this sounds even a little intriguing to you, get this book. It's like being invited to the largest MTV reunion ever, full of rock stars and directors and executives, and getting to listen in on each of them as they tell the story of their involvement. It's pure entertainment, flawlessly executed.
One of my favorite books of the past few years (and I've never been a Simmons fan before, although I sure am now). A totally unique, compelling mix of historical fiction and horror, with some nautical adventure and shipboard life thrown into the pot for seasoning. Moves really fast, and the characters, events and even the scares are believable. I absolutely loved it --- give it a try, even if you don't usually like books in the historical fiction or horror genres. Simmons does such an amazing job creating a new, third genre out of the traditions of the other two, fans of NEITHER should love this book just as much as fans of either one (or both).
This is about as much fun as a book about the destruction of most of the world's population by a devastating earthquake and tidal wave can be. If you like post-apocalypse fiction (and thankfully there aren't any NON-fiction books in that genre yet), you should enjoy this one. It is different enough from the other great books in the genre (On the Beach, The Stand, On the Road, Swan Song, etc.) that it's interesting to see how the author destroys the world and maneuvers his characters through the brutal gauntlet of post-disaster survival to (hopefully) find their reduced version of paradise. OK, maybe it's not Shakespeare in the prose department, but who'd want to read Shakespeare writing a post-apocalyptic thriller anyway? And some would say the characters are a bit "stock," and even a bit unlikely. But somehow the author manages to move them through their trials and tribulations in such a way that you just don't care about those things (you HAVE to know if they MAKE IT!!). So don't read this book because it's literature. Read it because it's fun. Read it because it's fast and compelling and makes you think. Even if what you might be thinking about is how the author came up with such an unlikely cast of characters and managed to maneuver them into the same boat. What ever your reason, though, read it. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours, and worst case you'll be a few critical steps ahead of your neighbors if a massive tidal wave ever strikes.
Absolutely perfect. This was quite simply one of the best books -- sci-fi or otherwise -- I've read in a long time. Yes, there's a fascinating sci-fi plot involving the creation of digital simulations of the protagonist's brain, and they stir up a fascinating mess that will delight any lover of intelligent science fiction. But it's the complex, fully fleshed-out characters, lightning fast pacing and genuinely compelling writing that got to me the most, which is why I strongly recommend this book to lovers of great novels as well as to lovers of great sci-fi. While not a deeply devoted sci-fi fan myself, I do enjoy science fiction novels, and I think the few dozen best books in the genre are as good as the best books of ANY genre. But sci-fi gets a bit of a bad rap among mainstream readers, because it does seem like far too often the "sci" gets in the way of the "fi," particularly in the hands of less skilled practitioners, making some of them feel more like interesting textbooks than thrilling novels. But The Terminal Experiment manages to do both, and I find that to be very rare. When it all DOES come together in one book, like it does here, it more than repays your time spent reading it, re-reading it, and writing long recommendations to fellow readers in hopes that they, too have been looking for just such an ideal book. Very highly recommended.
This one is FAST. We're talking TIME TRAVEL fast. Turn the thing on, start listening to the exceptional voice of the narrator, and WHAM! - next thing you know you're 5 hours in the future, with very little idea of how you got there besides a slightly elevated heart rate, a slightly sore rear end and a somewhat dazed appreciation for the way this Coben guy managed to make you keep reading page after page without even thinking about the passing of time. OVERALL RATING: 5 solid stars. NARRATOR: Creme of the crop - 5 stars. STORY/PLOT: He took a little creative license, but he used it well - 5 stars. PACE: breakneck - 5 stars. CHARACTERS: 3 1/2 stars (OK, so they're not all fully fleshed out characters, but who cares? You just want to find out what happens to them next). DIALOGUE: Clever, well-written and extremely zippy. Excellent dialogue is the propellant that makes this book go so fast - 5 stars. WILL I REMEMBER THE PLOT OR CHARACTERS A YEAR FROM NOW? It's a bit disposable, not terribly deep, so maybe not. But in a thriller that isn't so bad: I figure I can enjoy it all over again in a year or so because I'll have forgotten what happens. WILL I READ OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR? Absolutely -- he's got a new raving fan, and I can't wait to see how he's going to top this one.
There is definitely something fascinating happening with this book, based on just the reviews on Audible: half the people are angry about his right-wing agenda, and the other half are angry about his left-wing agenda. And amidst all these partisan dismissals there are very few people who seem to understand the real point of this book. To me, it's about how we as a culture tend to wallow in the negative(!), and despite most things having gotten significantly better in the world, we remain cynical and unhappy. Sure, the guy puts some of his own opinions in the book, some leaning a little left and some leaning a little right. That's what authors of books like this are supposed to do, IMHO --- and I for one was impressed by the fact that he didn't seem to follow any one party line but spoke up for things he felt were right regardless of whether it was right or left. I wish more of us did. But his strongest points were not his opinions but the factual data on so many things that most of us have taken for granted as "getting worse," when the data shows they are all getting better. And I think it is fascinating that the primary response to a guy who writes an extremely positive, optimistic book is full of such hostility, vitriol and indignation. Mr. Easterbrook may be onto something more powerful than he thought --- perhaps he could follow up with "The Positivity Paradox." In any case, I highly recommend this book, because it seems you will either a)get something positive and enlightening out of it, as I did, b)feel better about your liberal beliefs by dismissing him as a tool of the far right, or c)feel better about your conservative beliefs by dismissing him as a tool of the far left. There's truly something there for everbody!
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