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michael

vancholland77

EAST PEORIA, IL, United States | Member Since 2005

42
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 32 reviews
  • 499 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 59 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Selfish Gene

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    Overall
    (1457)
    Performance
    (1069)
    Story
    (1052)

    Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands to rethink their beliefs about life.

    J. D. May says: "Better than print!"
    "The most important book I've ever read"
    Overall
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    Story

    Well, I don't exactly know how to describe this book. It's profundity is beyond anything I am capable of putting into words. I basically had to listen to it two times because I needed to rewind it in order to grasp all of the rather complex ideas being shot out. I would say that I have an okay grasp of biology, but there are a whole lot of concepts that require a double take or a double listen because all of the ideas are so important. I must say however that if I had tried to read the book, I probably wouldn't have finished it because there are some boring and complex components, and I don't do all that well with reading stuff compared to listening. I would have fallen asleep after reading for five minutes. But it would be nice to have a picture reference for some of the stuff in the book. Maybe a 16 hour video narrative of the book with computer graphics demonstrating all of the concepts like the game theory stuff that would be appropriate and really help to understanding everything contained within this book. That would be a project. Heck that could comprise a college course on this subject. Really, to deeply understand all of the concepts that are touched on in this book you would probably need a college course or two on every chapter.

    When I listened I got a sense of the rightness of evolutionary theory. This is why the book was so profound and life changing for me. The idea that life has evolved one little molecule at a time. Every little molecular change of a protein segment of DNA has caused the world to be what it is, is a profound idea, and this book explains this idea and all of the corresponding evidence so well that the truth becomes almost undeniable.

    I don't know whether God exist or not. After reading this book a person comes to seriously doubt the existence or need for God. I don't suppose it really matters. The whole paradigm of the gene being the final determinant and driving force of life on earth simply is too good of an idea, as if there was any such thing, and in that sense the gene in all of its selfishness is God, but once the idea of a selfish gene takes hold of a persons mind it doesn't let go. That is why I say that this is the most important book I have ever read.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Covet: A Novel of the Fallen Angels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By J.R. Ward
    • Narrated By Eric G. Dove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1521)
    Performance
    (921)
    Story
    (928)

    Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about - his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. Vin diPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that - until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking Harley-riding, self-professed savior.

    AMC says: "Promising New Series"
    "Excellent story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fun and interesting story. It kept me pretty rapt. It is one of those stories that keeps you listening for the most part.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer: VALIS, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Philip K. Dick
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    The final book in Philip K. Dick’s VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer brings the author’s search for the identity and nature of God to a close. The novel follows Bishop Timothy Archer as he travels to Israel, ostensibly to examine ancient scrolls bearing the words of Christ. But more importantly, this leads him to examine the decisions he made during his life and how they may have contributed to the suicides of his mistress and son.

    Darwin8u says: "No single thing abides, except mushrooms & memory"
    "One of PKD's best"
    Overall
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    Story

    It is a story of resurrection. Sometimes the PKD books that were based on earth and that dealt with modern social issues, instead of those that dealt with ephemeral hard core sci-fi, were his best. This is one of those books, which is more about ethereal, earthbound, social existence, and in as much this book examines PKD's later spirituality, and it resonates with the gnosticism that he exhibited in his later writings, it does so without the disorganized, manic, Geschwind type, madness of his other later writings. This book is reminiscent of "Confessions of a Crap Artist" written in the 1960's by PKD, which is one of my favorite books by him even though it had only a slight sci-fi edge to it, but the examination in that book of someone with schizotypal personality disorder, and the examination and resurrection of sorts in this book of someone with hebephrenia is where I make the connection, and it is where the theme of resurrection comes in. This book is a treasure, and I hope you mine it and enjoy it they way I do. Also, I really enjoyed the reader. She did a great job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Amy Chua
    • Narrated By Amy Chua
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (636)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (380)

    All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.

    Diana - Audible says: "Surprisingly touching (and well-read)"
    "I understand that this is controversial but ..why?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From what I understand from some other people, especially those in the psychology field, this book is controversial because Amy Chua is seen as abusive, but really...come on. What Amy Chua is, is a smart ambitious woman who happens to be raising very smart and ambitious children. This woman isn't abusing her kids. She is simply being ambitious for them. I commend her for writing an honest and funny memoir about her particular parenting style. It was a good story, and was well worth listening to.

    Is Amy Chua neurotic? Yes, yes she is. Is she wrong about how she parents her children? No, not at all. Her parenting style could be considered authoritarian, and popular psychology would have parents believe that authoritarian parenting styles do not necessarily have the best outcomes, but that point is debatable.

    This book provides interesting insight, and I personally appreciate this woman letting us all glimpse the perspectives of an Asian-American woman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel J. Siegel
    • Narrated By Daniel J. Siegel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (784)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (374)

    From everyday stress to severe trauma, many obstacles to a full life can be overcome by developing what Dr. Daniel J. Siegel calls "mindsight," our ability to perceive the mind and literally redirect the flow of energy and information within our brains. Through this powerful capacity for insight and empathy, we can "rewire" crucial connections, create dynamic linkages, and open ourselves to relationships in a new way.

    Anastasia Burke says: "DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!"
    "A little slow, but interesting enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Siegel's basic premise is to practice Zen Buddhism as a form of psychotherapy. As far as it goes, this therapeutic idea probably works wonders if Dr. Siegel is the one administering the therapy session. As a practice on your own it would be more difficult, and it would require more discipline and insight than most mentally ill people are able to muster. The idea of mind-body therapeutics is refreshing, especially since it comes from a medical doctor with such a prestigious background, but is it really practical? By practical I mean would an insurance company be willing to pay for medical services that essentially amount to meditation practice? Probably not. The idea that meditation practice is positive for remolding the brain and becoming self-aware is good information. The suggestions to practice Buddhist like meditation is probably helpful, but keep in mind that most forms of psychotherapy are found to be equally effective. So if Dr. Siegel were to do a scientific investigation to find out if this form of therapy were more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, traditional talk therapy, or even simple bible study and prayer, it would make the information more significant, but until a scientific evaluation of this type of therapy becomes available I would question the usefulness of Dr. Siegel's therapeutic solutions.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shadows in Flight

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Emily Janice Card, Scott Brick, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1498)
    Performance
    (1349)
    Story
    (1361)

    At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children--the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten - a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.

    Brittani says: "Great Build Up, and then Just Ends"
    "It does leave alot of open doors and unanswered ?"
    Overall
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    Story

    This book as other reviewers have claimed does leave a lot of opened doors and unanswered questions. Card himself admits openly in the post book interview that this was a commercial ploy more than and honest attempt at writing a full novel. As such I will be buying the next Ender or Shadow book as soon as it is released in order to tie up all of the loose ends left by this book and the last Ender book. From a literary standpoint this book is worth buying, especially to those of us who have followed this series since we were young Ender's age and are now in our mid-thirties. Card is still my favorite author despite his need for consecrating himself through profits rather than simply being true to his art and simply writing books that people want to read because they are good, but whoever said that money doesn't rule the world was a damn liar, and apparently Mr. Card is no stranger to or no more immune to mammon than anyone else is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Scott Patterson
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (412)
    Performance
    (162)
    Story
    (164)

    In March 2006, the world's richest men sipped champagne in an opulent New York hotel. They were preparing to compete in a poker tournament with ­million-dollar stakes. At the card table that night was Peter Muller, who managed a fabulously successful hedge fund called PDT. With him was Ken Griffin, who was the tough-as-nails head of Citadel Investment Group. There, too, were Cliff Asness, the founder of the hedge fund AQR Capital Management, and Boaz Weinstein, king of the credit-default swap.

    D. Littman says: "perhaps the best book on the Quants"
    "This is a fascinating story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is very interesting and very well written. The story itself should be called "A confederacy of dunce geniuses". What is inspiring about this story is that it could have only happened in America. Only in America would the conditions be correct for a group of men be so egotistical, "irrationally exuberant", and innovative to the point that they are able to get billions and billions of dollars of other peoples money to invest and make themselves rich in the process, but they did this without ever creating a single thing to sell except paper.

    It also goes to show that the love and creation of money for money's sake is a notion this inherently sick. Behind the study of greed and money for money's sake is a study of personality types. The narcissism of geeks and the drives that this creates is a worth studying all by itself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Keynes: The Return of the Master

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert Skidelsky
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (26)

    Keynes's preeminent biographer, Robert Skidelsky, brilliantly synthesizes from Keynes' career and life the aspects of his thinking that apply most directly to the world we currently live in. In so doing, Skidelsky shows that Keynes's mixture of pragmatism and realism, which distinguished his thinking from the neo-classical or Chicago school of economics that has been the dominant influence since the Thatcher-Reagan era and which made possible the raw market capitalism that created the current global financial crisis, is more pertinent and applicable than ever.

    michael says: "Suprisingly Informative"
    "Suprisingly Informative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I learned quite a few things about Keynes and economics in general that I'd not previously known. Keynes was a much more interesting man than I would have imagined and his philosophy was quite a bit more realistic and utilitarian than I would have imagined. It seems that maybe if his philosophy had been applied more rigorously then it was the outcomes of Keynesian style economics would have been better. As it stands right now it is simply driving America into deeper and deeper financial holes that will become increasingly difficult to extract ourselves from.

    Overall this book is a good look at the other side of the Supply Side and Austrian School economic arguments. It is worth listening to in my opinion.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Authoritarians

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Bob Altemeyer
    • Narrated By Bob Altemeyer
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    The Authoritarians summarizes the research of Dr. Robert Altemeyer, whose professional career has focused on the study of the Authoritarian Personality, and development of the Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) personality and ideological variable widely studied in political, social, and personality psychology.

    Emil says: "A must-read for... everyone"
    "Good Book but there are unresolved research questi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a good book but why isn't his theory more widely accepted or well known? From a research standpoint Dr. Altermeyer has done the research about as well as it can be done. The whole analysis about how the different personality types conduct War Games is splendid. Also, personality research is a notoriously fishy subject due to the fact that you only get out what you put in, but I still can't help but wonder why his theory and research isn't more widely accepted in the academic world? This is important stuff. It seems to me that this particular subject is important and especially relevant because it answers several important questions like: how do we get ourselves into messy wars, and how do we end up with tyrannical leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Obama, and George Bush? It can also tell you where Islamic fundamentalists and Islamic terrorist come from. Personally, I think Dr. Altermeyer is not accepted as credible because his research calls into question and draws attention to things that the mainstream academic powers that be don't want people to know or think about. Because if people did become more aware of the things that are in Dr. Altermeyer's book then they wouldn't be so easily brainwashed by politicians on the left or the right.

    Yeah, so read this book at your own risk. Once the corporatist state finds out that you know the truth you will end up in a FEMA camp. I'll see you there :-)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Boys Adrift: Factors Driving the Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Leonard Sax
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (801)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (437)

    Something scary is happening to boys today. From kindergarten to college, they are less resilient and less ambitious than they were a mere 20 years ago. Fully one-third of men ages 22 to 34 are still living at home with their parents, about a 100 percent increase in the past 20 years. Boys nationwide are increasingly dropping out of school; fewer are going to college. Family physician and research psychologist Dr. Leonard Sax presents practical solutions.

    Kirt says: "Startling, well-researched view..."
    "The medication part of the equation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is simply not proper or ethical to put all of those little boys on speed. The author makes a case that the speed that we put these kids on actually destroys or desensitizes the parts of the brain that control motivation. Personally, I think that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back him up. If someone was willing to do the research there would be plenty of statistical evidence also, but prescribing medication is seen as a simple and cost effective solution to make a teachers job easier, and doctors aren't going to go out of their way to prove that the methods they have used for the past 3 decades and still currently use are devastating the neural structures of the poor children whose neural structures have been devastated by these chemicals. Besides, handing out speed to kindergartners is a big business. It's a big business for the school psychologist who diagnose the kids with ADHD, it's big business for the pediatricians or psychiatrists who give the prescriptions, and it's big business for the pharmaceutical companies that produce the pills. So you'd better believe that none of these entities involved in the ADHD craze are going to go out of there way to produce a shred of evidence to debunk the whole charade. They want your children to be zombies, whatever happens when the kid turns 18 doesn't matter to them, they won't have to deal with him at that point, but when he is five or six they want a little boy who will sit in a chair and that's all, even if that's all he does. When he becomes an ambitionless man he will be gone from kindergarten by that time, so he's not their problem. Also the author is right. We have a neutered society. It has lost it's balls to feminism and political correctness, but oh well.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9961)
    Performance
    (9267)
    Story
    (9268)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "I smell a hugo and nebula"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wouldn't be surprised if this book wins the best novel awards in Sci-Fi. It certainly deserves it. With that being said.

    There is a certain, I don't know the word, I'll just call it aura or feel, to this novel. The bleak but hopeful picture that the book paints about the near future is fathomable. 3-D virtual reality, MMOG style universes, like the Oasis, are perfectly feasible with existing technology. The technology that will be developed in the next 30 years will make Mr. Cline's universe even more likely. People already clamor for escapes from reality with television, facebook, audiobooks, and especially video games. So, it won't be long before people strap into VR rigs and become completely immersed in false realities that are much better. I think that the future painted by Ernest Cline is very realistic, and that makes this book even more interesting. Also, Cline raises some philosophical issues that people already deal with who exist in some form or fashion on the internet. All and all it was an extremely well written and interesting book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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