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Iver

Portland, OR, USA

56
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 78 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James Surowiecki
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (828)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (167)

    In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

    G Barth says: "Very worthwhile listen!"
    "Very solid, but tedious at times."
    Overall

    The writing is clear, the reading is good, the logic is unassailable, and some of the examples are very interesting. However, I felt that the book spent excessive time explaining
    some conclusions that seemed very intuitive to me. I found the listening a bit tedious at times, perhaps because I have spent the last twelve years working for a large corporation that has implemented a significant number of the book's recommendations for fostering and exploiting the wisdom of crowds.

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • The Memory of Running

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ron McLarty
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2878)
    Performance
    (1067)
    Story
    (1060)

    In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

    Neal says: "Funny and Fascinating, A Wonderful Book"
    "Sweeping, Moving, Vivid, Slightly Flawed"
    Overall

    Smithson Ide is, at 43, obese, alcoholic, lonely, emotionally wounded and stuck in a monotonous job. This is the story of how he got that way, and his unlikely healing through an impromptu cross-country bike trip. "Smithy" narrates the the events precipitated by the deaths of his parents and his deeply disturbed sister, and interjects extensive flashbacks of his childhood and early adulthood.

    The book is rich with cultural history, social satire, drama, tragedy, adventure, and geography. I found it hard to turn off once I started listening. I would rate this a five, but for two shortcomings: the constant switching between the main narrative and flashback, often at suspenseful points in Smithy's trip, can get a bit annoying; and Smithy's passivity concerning the safety of his person and property during his trip strains credibility. However, I would still heartily recommend it for those who enjoy books about people healing and growing, like Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News" and "That Old Ace in the Hole" or Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone".

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil Wears Prada

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lauren Weisberger
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1212)
    Performance
    (291)
    Story
    (296)

    Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, is hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the successful editor of Runway magazine. Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether the job is worth the price of her soul.

    Howard says: "You won't be able to stop the player"
    "Lots of Fun"
    Overall

    This audiobook is full of vivid scenes, witty satire, outrageous escapades, and surprising twists and turns. I found myself really rooting for Andrea, the assistant, as she learned to cope with her wicked boss Miranda and figured out what was important to her. This is a fairly long listen, and some parts seemed a bit overly detailed. However, the story really picks up momentum in the second half, and the denouement is quite exciting and somewhat moving.

    While the main thrust of the book is undoubtedly entertainment, I found some substance in Andrea's changing relationship with her job situation and the people closest to her, and the balance that many of us must strike between career, relationships, and personal aspirations.

    Overall, I recommend this book heartily to anyone looking for an entertaining read with a protagonist that's easy to identify with.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Derailed

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James Siegel
    • Narrated By Gregory Harrison
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    Every day Charles Schine rides the 8:43 into New York City to do the job he has done for over a decade...until the day he is late for his regular train, and sits down across from the woman of his dreams. He is about to discover that once you leave the straight and narrow, getting back on track is the most perilous journey of all. And for Charles, that journey - of lies, terror, and deception - has just begun.

    J says: "its just ok"
    "Strong Positives and Negatives"
    Overall

    This is a well-written, gripping story, portions of which are shockingly violent or somewhat implausible. The narration, with its many twists and turns, is very skillful. The reader really gets to know the protagonist, Charles Shein. The novel also gives a very plausible picture of the agonies experienced by a successful, refined family man descending into a world of deception and criminality.

    However, the empathy with Charles and his family that the story enables makes its violence very disturbing. Also, certain aspects of Charles' quest to rebuild his life and eliminate his persistent tormentor do not withstand scrutiny. The most troubling of these is Charles' loyalty to his ex-lover when his own family is threatened, even as he regrets the affair.

    If you like a well-written, suspenseful New York novel, but don't mind and violence and occasional implausibility, then this selection may be for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trading Up

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Candace Bushnell
    • Narrated By Mira Sorvino
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Janey Wilcox wants to be on top. Not since author Candace Bushnell created Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City has there been a heroine like Janey Wilcox. Janey is a beautiful yet struggling social climber determined to survive in New York City society. Listeners first met Janey in Bushnell's international best seller 4 Blondes. Now, everyone's favorite character is back, with a major modeling contract, a Porsche Boxster, and big plans.

    Susan says: "Don't waste your time."
    "Entertaining, Light, Well-Read"
    Overall

    Preposterous at times, but lots of fun. No great message here, just a lot of intrigue and glamour. At times I felt sorry for the main character, at other times I found myself admiring her evil genius. Mira Sorvino does a great job reading, with credible impersonations of a variety of characters, both male and female. If you are looking for something light and entertaining, look no further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Takedown: The Fall of the Mafia Empire

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Rick Cowan, Douglas Century
    • Narrated By Christopher Meloni
    Overall
    (231)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    Seldom has the netherworld of the Mafia been revealed with such fascinating detail and sheer suspense. Featuring eccentric, larger-than-life New York characters and an undercover cop on the brink of being discovered - and murdered - at every step, Takedown is a riveting real-life procedural and one of the most important investigative books of its time.

    Robert says: "Gripping"
    "An Enthralling True Story"
    Overall

    This is a memorable listen. It is the story of a law enforcement officer who goes undercover to thwart a powerful and dangerous crime organization. The reading is very good, the book's narration is fast-paced, and the descriptions of people and scenes (especially Italian restaurants!) are vivid.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Longitudes & Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Thomas L. Friedman
    • Narrated By Thomas L. Friedman
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    In 2002, Thomas L. Friedman won his third Pulitzer Prize "for his clarity of vision, based on extensive reporting, in commenting on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat" after the attacks of September 11, 2001. This virtually unprecedented recognition underlines Friedman's unique ability to interpret and illuminate the world for American readers clearly, insightfully, and memorably.

    David says: "listen to this book"
    "A Tour de Force by a Thoughtful American Patriot"
    Overall

    This audiobook consists of two parts. The first is of New York Times Foreign Affairs Columnist Thomas Friedman reading a series of his own columns. In the second part, Friedman reads his own personal diary, which covers the travels, personal reflection, interviews, and discussions that Friedman used to further his personal understanding and write these columns.

    As a longtime reader of Friedman's columns, it was exciting for me to hear the passionate and articulate voice behind the writing, and to understand how the author develops his ideas. I gained an understanding of the mechanics of repression, religious fundamentalism, and violence in today's world, and was impressed by Friedman's ideas on the way forward.

    I also gained a clearer sense of what it means to be a modern American patriot. Friedman's patriotism incorporates a deep respect for ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity; a broad compassion for the world's peoples and their struggles; and an enhanced appreciation of the power of individual and collective enterprise.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • That Old Ace in the Hole

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Annie Proulx
    • Narrated By Arliss Howard
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (14)

    Strikingly original and intimate, That Old Ace in the Hole tracks the vast waves of change that have shaped the American landscape and character in the past century. In Bob Dollar, Proulx (The Shipping News) has created one of the most irresistible characters in contemporary fiction. "It's like seeing a painting up close and magnified," says Publishers Weekly, "with each tiny brush stroke lovingly emphasized."

    Mark says: "Wonderful characters and a Message, too"
    "Masterfully Written and Read"
    Overall

    This book is typical of Annie Proulx's work. It develops compelling characters and situations with great care and detail while educating the reader about the real-life environmental, social, and cultural settings in which the fictional story takes place. There is certainly a hard edge to the author's writing: many of the situations described are downright depressing. However, the protagonist's persistence through difficult circumstances, grace under pressure, and concern for others are also vividly portrayed. I learned a great deal about the history and geography of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, and found the book to be compelling and inspiring.

    This is one of the best abridged audiobooks I have listened to. Not only is the story outstanding, but the reader uses his considerable acting skills to portray the colorful voices of many of the characters. I find myself wanting to purchase the book now, in order to linger over some of the passages, learn the spellings of some of the names, and read what was omitted in the abridgement.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eventide

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kent Haruf
    • Narrated By George Hearn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    One of the most beloved novels in recent years, Plainsong was a best seller from coast to coast, and now Kent Haruf returns to the High Plains community of Holt, Colorado, with a story of even more masterful authority.

    Bill L. says: "Wonderful!"
    "Realistic, Moving, Beautifully Read"
    Overall

    I read and enjoyed Plainsong, the first book in this series. I found the audibook sequel even more engaging, partially because of the excellent reading. As another reviewer has stated, I really cared about the characters. The author is an astute observer of human nature, a talented painter of word-pictures, and an excellent storyteller.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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