I was looking for Ron Chernow's biography of J.P. Morgan and settled for this. Jay Gould is mostly forgotten now and hearing the facts of his life filled in a lot of US Gilded Age history for me. You'll also learn about 'Commodore' Vanderbilt, the snaky bible talking Drew Pearson and my favourite, the big living 'Colonel' James Fisk Jr.
Gould was a master manipulator and to listen to the strategies he came up with and how he executed them was very entertaining. There were a few caveats- the book wasn't digitally mastered perfectly, there are a few glitches, mostly in the first half of the book. As well, the final chapter is an in depth tracing of all his descendants which felt unnecessary.
A final reason to read this - the next time you play Monopoly you'll know the crazy histories of all the railroad properties!
I love this writer, he brings a touch of humor and great characters then weaves a blood curdling plot around them that is creepy, very detailed and realistic, that leaves you with the heebie jeebies at the end. This is his best laundry files book, in my opinion. I replayed the last two hours as soon as I finished, a first for me. Ingenious, funny, horrifying. He's created his own genre. Brilliant.
but then he does these long flashbacks that slowed the momentum a lot. I skipped the last flashback and didn't even miss anything when we rejoined the present. Not sure if I would read another, definitely a mixed bag.
Two of the stories are incomplete novels, but every story has at least one reference to how he dislikes modern women. One story had a friend visit, regrettably, with his fiancee. Lewis enters her mind and finds it vapid and second rate. Another story, men are sent to Mars, and a counsel back on Earth (made of women) decide men can't do without sex so they ask for volunteers. In this way a fat seventy year old whore and a woman professor of psychology are dropped off for the boys, who want nothing to do with them. Very odd collection, not sure if he was attempting humour or not. If you like Lewis of Narnia or Lewis the apologist, I would stay away from this. Narrator was very good.
The only reason this book is not as valued as 'Scoop' is the subject matter involving African peoples. I can't think of anything to compare it to except Dr. Strangelove. It's a merciless, laugh out loud black comedy which doles it out to the natives but equally to the french and the english. If you like books with bite, this is one of those. Definitely not in the strain of PG Wodehouse but equally funny. Michael Maloney as narrator really adds value here. He makes the audiobook funnier than the book itself with his gift for spot on funny accents. I don't think David Case himself could have done it any better. Basil Seal is mentioned as the most memorable character but I think Mr. Youkoumian, the Armenian profiteer, is the real scene stealer, as he imaginatively connives to make a buck off everything that comes his way.
Fascinating to hear Kennedy and a two faced Mississippi governor talking about implementing a court order regarding segregation and how Kennedy worked him into a corner. Johnson gives a great life lesson on how to influence people. Nixon says unbelievable things, how did he forget it was all being recorded?
Heinlein makes an interesting plot around the idea that the moon is turned into a penal colony and then declares independence. Little of his speculative science (growing wheat on the moon? Electromagnetic slingshots for sending things to earth?) has worked out but he makes some good guesses about the future of computing considering this was written in the late 60's.
Oh, by the way, the narrator fakes a russian accent, which is off putting but you do get used to it.
The more interesting sub plot is about a computer that becomes self aware. This was the fun part that drew me in for the first third of the book. The rest of the story focuses heavily on the political circumstances they had to go through to be free and I found it trying to slog through, maybe because I was hoping for some emotional development that never materialized. The ending was good. Heinlein is a great concept guy and plotter so if that's your thing by all means get this audiobook
I didn't get through the second chapter. The interview scene was not a good start as it seemed to copy every police procedural ever written. The dialogue between him and the female cop turned me off as well with the same criticism; too clichéd.
I'm not sure how Asimov pulled off this story except to say he's a very skilled and original writer.
This story is now almost 60 years old and there are obvious criticisms.
The language of technology -people are 'psychoed' to not remember, 'tubes' are used to send reports, reports are written on film etc...- is dated of course. Happily, it adds an element of humour that the author may not have intended but it works pretty well.
And the sexism! The Eternals are all male and supposed to be Spock like but throw one voluptuous babe (Mickey Spillane could not have described her better) into the mix and suddenly everyone acts like a high school nerd and Eternity itself is in jeopardy.
You would think these problems would sink the plot but they don't. It has a lot of twists and turns and makes no sense sometimes but it keeps going right to the last page.
This was good science fiction and good fun. Think Douglas Adams meets H.G. Wells.
Jonah Berger brings you all the latest in marketing science with lots of interesting examples. I especially liked the stories of how sales were increased either with social psychology or with a new pricing tactic. He also offers new breakdowns of what type of viral messaging can hurt or help your business.
Very good, I'll be buying the paper version so I can highlight the best bits.
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