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William

Avondale, PA, USA | Member Since 2003

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 28 ratings
  • 126 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • On the Road: The Original Scroll

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jack Kerouac
    • Narrated By John Ventimiglia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (117)

    Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951 that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history.

    Chris says: "Stellar, if you know what you're getting into"
    "Over Hyped"
    Overall

    Over hyped, but I guess these guys foreshadowed the hippies of the ‘60’s. Some powerful descriptions of America interspersed with a rambling narrative of pointless road trips heavy on sexual exploits. Women are one dimensional second class citizens. Neal Cassidy? Is he supposed to be a hero or a victim? He’s neither. Other than having a heightened sensitivity to, and appreciation of, the world around him, he’s a total loser.

    7 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Michael Riordan, Lillian Hoddeson
    • Narrated By Dennis McKee
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Crystal Fire is a tale of the human factors in technology; the pride and jealousies coupled with scientific and economic aspiration that led to the creation of modern microelectronics and ignited the greatest technological explosion in history.

    Chad says: "Interesting and not light on the science either!"
    "When NJ didn't suck"
    Overall

    Well researched and comprehensive history of the invention and development of the modern transistor which led to the creation of the semiconductor industry and the computer age. Focus is on the unique environment at Bell Labs immediately before, during, and after WWII, which supported and fostered both pure and applied research. The book paints a balanced, but largely unflattering, picture of William Shockley - one of the three Bell Labs scientists who won the Noble Prize in physics for the invention of the transistor. John Bardeen, who shared the prize, and later won another for his work on superconductivity at the University of Illinois, comes off much better. This book may contain far too much technical detail for the average reader, but it does a very good job of explaining how this technology evolved, spurred the formation of many companies that are now household names, and eventually migrated from Bell Labs in New Jersey, to Silicon Valley in California.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Search: How Google & Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business & Transformed Our Culture

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Battelle
    • Narrated By John Battelle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (144)

    What does the world want? According to John Battelle, a company that answers that question can unlock the most intractable riddles of both business and culture. And for the past few years, that's exactly what Google has been doing.

    T. Goss says: "Trevor Goss"
    "Googlemania"
    Overall

    An excellent account of the development of the search technology that transformed the internet into our primary research and marketing platform. At times this account gets into the geek weeds, but only to provide a meaningful explanation for why things turned out as they did. Not a history of Google, but of necessity it is heavily focused on Google. The descriptions of the key players, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, appear balanced and carefully researched or based on personal knowledge of the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Jungle

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Upton Sinclair
    • Narrated By Robert Morris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (31)

    Seldom has a book been the subject of more widespread discussion than The Jungle. It is the dramatic expose of the Chicago meat-packing industry at the turn of the century which prompted an investigation by Theodore Roosevelt, culminating in the pure-food legislation of 1906. The Jungle is the story of Jurgis Rudkus, a Slav immigrant, who marries frail Ona Lukoszaite and seeks security and happiness as a workman in the Chicago stockyards.

    nancy says: "A must listen"
    "Stock yards and socialism"
    Overall

    Interesting description of the early days of the Chicago stock yards, union organizing, and associated politics. Degenerates into a socialist screed by the end, but The Jungle is essential reading for the serious social and/or political thinker or activist.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (749)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (189)

    From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a 55-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

    John M says: "Fascinating book about a little-understood time"
    "Better title - King Phillip's War"
    Overall

    A good account of the early days of the New England colonies with a focus on the descendants of the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower and their subsequent interactions with the indigenous Indian tribes. Title is misleading. Should have been titled King Phillip's War, one of the bloodiest wars in American history, since that is its focus. Book is balanced and paints an equally honest, and often unflattering, portrait of some of the Pilgrim and Indian leaders of the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton
    • Narrated By Murphy Guyer
    Overall
    (1180)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (80)

    Getting to Yes is a straightorward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting taken -- and without getting angry. It offers a concise, step-by-step, proven strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict -- whether it involves parents and children, neighbors, bosses and employees, customers or corporations, tenants or diplomats.

    John says: "Beats a new age CD for falling asleep"
    "Useful primer on mediation"
    Overall

    Good primer on mediation from the Harvard Negotiation Project. The book makes the case for "principled" negotiation that looks to interests and agreed principles rather than bargaining from "positions". This updated edition helpfully addresses some of the stickier issues in mediation, e.g., negotiating with someone who doesn't share your values, disparities in bargaining power, etc. A good resource.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Noble Obsession: The Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the 19th Century

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Charles Slack
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Like crude oil, cotton, and plutonium, rubber is on the short list of raw materials that suddenly yielded transformative commercial benefits. The turning point was the 1839 discovery of vulcanization, whereby the heated addition of sulfur permits rubber to retain its shape regardless of temperature. Without sulfur, rubber melts or cracks when exposed to heat or cold. Charles Goodyear was the implacable, obsessed true believer who made possible "the great shock absorber of the industrial age".

    William says: "A good, but not great, invention story"
    "A good, but not great, invention story"
    Overall

    History of Charles Goodyear's invention of vulcanized rubber, including his rivalry with Thomas Hancock of the McIntosh company in England. Hancock reverse engineered the invention after receiving samples of Goodyear's rubber and was the first to file for a patent on the invention in England, thereby depriving Goodyear of the profits from the invention in England and Europe. A little drawn out and mellow dramatic with respect to Goodyear's many visits to debtors' prison, his long suffering wife, etc. One comes away with the impression that Goodyear was a plodder rather than a genius, although I don't think that is necessarily the author's view, and a terrible business man. Little or no meaningful description of the science of the invention. The highlight of the book for me (I am a trial lawyer) was the description the patent trial against Horace Day, in which Goodyear was represented by Daniel Webster, and Day was represented by Rufus Choate.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Russell Shorto
    • Narrated By L.J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (726)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (270)

    Nearly 40 years ago, a New York State Library archivist discovered 12,000 pages of extraordinary records from the original Dutch colony on Manhattan. After decades of painstaking translation, the documents became the primary source for this breathtaking history of early New York.

    Pen Name says: "Loved it!"
    "Knickerbockers' and Mets' uniforms - think Dutch"
    Overall

    Who knew the Knicks' and Mets' blue and orange colors originated with the flag of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands? A very well-reached and entertaining telling of the history of the Dutch settlement at New Amsterdam. Bottom line, the Dutch were a lot more fun than the Puritans, and have a lot more in common with modern Americans too.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Harold N. Cropp
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Two devastatingly funny essays, closely related in theme and substance, both dealing with political stances and social styles in our status-minded world. Also available: The Painted Word.

    William says: "Period Piece"
    "Period Piece"
    Overall

    Good period piece to help remember (for those enough old enough to have been there) or discover what the social activism of 1960's was all about. The dawn of political correctness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The World Is Flat: Further Updated and Expanded

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Thomas L. Friedman
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    Overall
    (533)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (139)

    With the "flattening" of the globe, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner? Now in a third edition with a new preface, Friedman's account of the flattening of the earth is a modern classic.

    Paul W. Johnson says: "worth the listen"
    "Repetitive and unending..."
    Overall

    Unabridged, repetitive and unending! A few good concepts dragged out for 27 hours. I only listen to unabridged audio books to assuage my guilt about not having time to read the real things. However, I can't believe this is just a reading of the book - 27 hours?! - the book is not that long - I've seen it. This is an unabridged "audio production," which apparently means talk until your audience falls asleep at the wheel.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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