I've taken two statistics classes in my life, and I remember being confused by Bayes in both classes. So I was hoping that this book would clarify matters for me. Sadly, it didn't. I fully realize that the fault might be my own -- maybe I just don't have a mind for statistics.
The book did have some interesting stories in it, such as the one about the massive search for a missing atomic bomb that fell into the ocean. However, I never did understand why Bayes' Rule was so controversial (if it works so well in practice, what's not to like about it?), and I'm just as confused as ever about the nuts & bolts of the theorem. I'm almost tempted to crack my old statistics textbooks. Almost.
Incidentally, the reader mispronounced a lot of names.
Steven Pinker is an excellent writer and an all-around smart guy. I always learn a lot when I read anything by Steven Pinker. Having said that, though, I have to admit that parts of this book were somewhat dull (such as the detailed analysis of grammar in chapter 4), and parts were a little hard to follow. I feel like I would need to listen to the book a second time to catch all the parts I missed when my wind wandered. But, overall, I think the book is well worth reading.
The narrator himself is fine, but the recording is poor. The "s" sounds are very harsh and prominent. I think this problem is called "sibilance". I had to turn the treble way down on my car's sound system, and I still cringed whenever a word had an "s" in it.
William Davis might be right, but he didn't convince me. His theories about wheat are largely consistent with the idea (championed by Gary Taubes and Robert Lustig, among others) that carbohydrates in general are harmful. So perhaps it's not wheat per se that is the problem; it's the high carbohydrate content of wheat products that's the issue.
Another problem with this book is that it's very wordy and repetitive. I got the sense that Davis had to struggle to write enough content to fill a book. I remember one section of the book where he tediously listed many, many examples of wheat-based products that you can find in the supermarket. He went on ad nauseum. Was that really necessary?
My recommendation is to skip the book and wait to see how this all plays out. Perhaps Davis will be proved right, or perhaps he's conflating wheat with carbs.
This book should have been an article. The field has not produced enough true science to justify a book-length treatment. The book MIGHT be of interest to people who know very little about neurobiology, since the basics of brain science are covered adequately. But if you have any sort of background in neuroscience, you may want to wait until connectomics has actually produced some substantial results before you a read a book about it.
Some of the topics in the book (such as cryonics) are given too much coverage, and the overall flow of the book is not as smooth as one might hope.
Also, the narrator uses some very questionable pronunciations of words like "genomics" and "axonal". He also mispronounces names, such as "Koch" and "Turgenev".
Overall, I did not enjoy this book and would not recommend it.
I'm basically a musical ignoramus, but I enjoyed listening to this book. Gary Marcus is an engaging writer, but I REALLY would have liked to hear music interspersed with the writing (so as to illustrate the points Marcus was trying to make, or to give examples of songs written by the musicians he was mentioning in the text). Still, that's asking a lot from an audio edition.
The book covered a wide range of topics within music, so the coverage was necessarily superficial at times. But I'm now reading another, more-detailed book about music, so Marcus inspired me to read more.
A note about the narrator: He isn't among the better readers I've encountered in audio books. His pronunciation and diction could be be better.
Michael Feldman is a terrible interviewer. I bought a copy of this show, because I'm interested in Steven Pinker and his theories. Michael Feldman really doesn't know how to conduct a proper interview. I was embarrassed on his behalf. Save your money and download a book by Steven Pinker, instead.
I'm a huge fan of the HBO Series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm", so i was excited to find out more about two of the stars, Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman. The interview was moderately interesting. I did enjoy learning more about how the show is scripted (or, rather, NOT scripted), and I liked the story that they told about one particularly funny scene in the show. Overall, though, the interview was rather humdrum. Don't expect much, and you won't be disappointed.
I've long enjoyed "This American Life", so I was interested in hearing an interview with host Ira Glass. The interview itself was moderately interesting but nothing special. The sound quality was quite poor, much worse than other "Fresh Air" episodes that I've downloaded from Audible. Not sure what happened with this one.
I enjoyed Levitt & Dubner's first book ("Freakanomics"), but this book is even better. If you read only one of the two, make it this one. Oftentimes, my attention wanders when I listen to audio books, but not for this book. I really enjoyed (and paid attention to) every minute of this book.
I gave up on this book after the sixth chapter. The subject seemed interesting to me, and the book's description intrigued me -- but I was sorely disappointed. Berlinksi is not a good story teller. His narrative is often disjointed, and he tries too hard to be clever. Much of the discussion seemed too obvious to be interesting, whereas parts were just confusing. Overall, a frustrating experience.
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