I couldn't get past the absence of Barbara Rosenblat's outstanding readings, which I'm used to from Lisa's other books. The reading by her replacement, Mary Stuart Masterson, seemed flat and tonally soporific, and even after several tries I just couldn't get very far into the book.
I was forced to enter a story rating here to avoid the software thinking my review incomplete, so I gave it a "4" by default based on my expectation from her other books. But in truth I didn't listen to enough of it to know. I only know that I felt the performance lacking, making the audiobook overall a huge disappointment. I bet I'm missing a great story.
Nobel Prize Winner and former Chief Economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz is a voice we don't hear enough of in modern politics. It's really unfortunate because he has a lot of really interesting perspective to offer and some very clearly articulated ideas about policy that deserve a fair hearing. He is someone who knows the ins and outs of the monetary world and yet has not lost track of the effects of policy on ordinary people. He is critical of both Bush and Obama in a way that is plainly not partisan and is more focused on measuring real effects, studying historical trends, and proposing policies that might do some good for other than just the people who've already been profiting handsomely off of others in both good times and bad. I found this book to be a real breath of fresh air and a nice solid follow-on to The Big Short, which had left me understanding pretty plainly how the financial collapse happened and ready to hear some good proposals about where to go from there.
Understanding this issue is critical to the survival of the species.
Hansen comes with impeccable credentials and has done a brilliant job of laying out the severity of the problem in terms that are both based in solid science and yet presented in a way that is approachable by a reader not trained as a scientist. He also avoids the trap many scientists get into of appearing dispassionate about matters of grave urgency. This is an ethically complicated choice for him, but I think he makes the right call. His presentation nicely separates science from emotion, but what he does in both areas is critical to a proper understanding of the issue.
Also, drilling down into a particular bit of detail, I have to say that I agree with him about the importance of the integral fast reactor (IFR) technology, and that he offers a particularly lucid argument for the importance of that. This is a widely misunderstood technology and he does a great job of clarifying some critical points.
Overall, it's an extremely good book, with a very good reader, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who even thinks they might be interested.
An interesting story with a pretty unique premise, carried through quite thoroughly. I thought Scott Brick's reading was well-done and added to the experience. I enjoyed the story a great deal, both the sci-fi and the social elements, and worried after a little that it would be tough to wrap up neatly. In fact, the ending is slightly anticlimactic--not bad, just not the best thing the book had to offer. However, by the end, I had enjoyed the story enough along the way that I didn't mind how it was ended. It was very good entertainment and I recommend it.
As you'd expect from any DNC speech, this one endorses Obama. But beyond that, it is a thoughtful presentation that touches on matters of substance and is a true model for the way all political speeches should be. It speaks to issues that matter, it offers hope, it challenges its audience to participate, and while it speaks to opponents, it doesn't go out of its way to malign them. It doesn't need to. It has enough substance of its own to offer that it doesn't make its point on cute little jabs at others.
As a political independent, I found this speech utterly painful to listen to. It seems more targeted to whetting the bloodlusting appetites of the hardcore republicans than doing any kind of healing of the divide George Bush has created after 8 years. It certainly did not reach out to me as an independent with anything I could feel good about endorsing. This speech is really my first and only introduction to the woman, and it makes a horrible impression. Moreover, from the research I've done, even the alleged positive elements in the speech (such as the notion that the Bridge to Nowhere is something she rejected) seem bare half-truths, since apparently she decided not to build the bridge but still kept the federal money. A properly informed voter should probably listen to this speech, but anyone who is not a hardcore Republican with a strong sense of spite for all Democrats should expect to be embarrassed or put off by what they hear. I've rated this 2 stars because I hope never to hear speeches with this smug and surly tone from anyone in either party ever. It is just not a model to emulate.
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