I've read a couple of Richard Dawkin's works: The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion.
First of all, let me praise Mr. Dawkins, and Lalla Ward for a captivating reading of his work. They make a good oratory team, very pleasant listening. I was hoping for a bit more "meat" to chew on in God Delusion but to me, Richard simply sets up straw men then slays them magnificently. Like a skilled surgeon, he seeks out the most tumorous examples of mankind's failures in the name of religion then portrays them as an evil perpetrated by faith in God. I share his disgust for religion as we know it, having been corrupted by corrupt men, but that comparrison is just as useless as blaming a firearm for murdering someone. From a more positive perspective, Christians, especially church leaders and clergy, should read TGD, not so much for what it reveals about atheism but for what it reveals about how religion is perceived by non-believers. It is to their shame the message of The Cross is lost in the cacophony of religious infighting and corruption.
A reasonable counterbalance to TGD is Ravi Zacharias' Can Man Live Without God?, a collection of speeches given by Mr. Zacharias. Ravi sets up his own straw men for battle and does an eloquent job of doing so. Of course, he's coming from the perspective of one who believes in an almighty Creator so he manages to raise questions that Mr. Dawkins didn't seem to think of. Where Dawkins attempts to appeal to logic, Ravi focuses more on the philosophical aspects of the state of mankind. My personal, and totally biased opinion, is that Zacharias gets a head start in the debate simply because he addresses the heart of man, rather than the mere mind of man.
To those who are convinced in their positions, whether it be for or against God, neither of these orators will sway you from your stance. If you're genuinely on the fence, read both books.
"Grapes of Wrath" has a well deserved place among great literature. Dylan Baker surpasses all expectations in his reading of this classic, making this one of the best Audible experiences I have had. Dylan's characters were probably influenced by the movie (channeling Henry Fonda for sure!) but that just adds to the experience. This book will not disappoint.
WTRFG was a fairly new book on the market when Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann carved out an everlasting place in my heart. 40 years later, I just finished the Audible version. I have to say that every emotion, every deep thought came rushing back with even more poignance, now that I have a little more life under my belt. I soon will be sharing this with my youngest son.
Although Rawls' writing need no assistance, Anthony Heald's reading takes the tale to a whole new level. He brought every character to life . . .no, a better way to say it is that he became each character.
If WTRFG is classic literature, then WTRFG as read by Heald is a classic oration. Wow!
This truly enlightening account will give you a whole new perspective on giving the poor a hand up instead of a hand out.
I must have been living under a rock - I picked this book on a whim, not having a clue about Dr. Yunus, who won a Nobel prize for the work he has done in empowering the poor.
It takes a powerful argument to chance the way I think about a subject. I'm a free market capitalist to the core yet I've always known there were certain weaknesses in the system which could give greed a toe hold. Yunus developed a capitalist economy with a social conscience. If he had outlined his ideas in a presentation I would have rejected them as "blue sky" idealism. But he has several billion dollars worth of credibility. It is difficult to argue with success like that!
After listening through (twice so far, it's on my regular re-listen list) I'm actually changing the way I view economics and am working to become a part of this solution that he's created.
For Christmas I recieved the print version, over 460 pages plus a huge bibliography, index, notes etc. The audio version is an excellent abridgment, providing plenty of the story without bogging down in details.
This is my second Benjamin Franklin bio (listen to his Autobiography as well). AGI relied upon lots of letters, even some which were un-sent, to re-construct Franklin's life in France.
I've already started listening a second time, as I usually do with books I feel are important and enlightening.
Gore's introduction gives a hint of his animosity towards our current administration but it gave me the impression that he and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to the "dumbing down" of our electorate. His premise is that we, the people, are like putty in the hands of marketing gurus who simply lead us like so many complacent sheep. Based on this introduction I figured I might actually find myself agreeing with someone with whom I rarely share ground. By the time I was into the first chapter I realized that when Al says "Assault On Reason" what he really means is that anyone who isn't on the same page with him has obviously lost the ability to reason. The bulk of the first 8 chapters is little more than taking shots at the Bush administration (it doesn't matter whether it's Bush 41 or 43). He uses various Right Wing bashing points as examples of how gullible the people are and how crafty the power mongers are. I got the point after one or two examples but Al carries on for chapter after chapter about the failings of conservatives, this administration in particular. I did find some enlightening references sprinkled through his diatribe so it's not a total loss.
Finally, in chapter 9 reason regains it's footing and Al does a fair job of tying up the thread he began in the introduction. The bottom line: The Internet has the potential to enable dialogue between we the people which will help us re-engage our minds with the hopeful outcome that we'll once again hold the government accountable to the rule of law and of reason. If you're a conservative, read the intro, skip to chapter 9 and you'll get the meat of his message. But you may find it very enlightening to hear how a liberal views the world. Of course, if you're a liberal, enjoy the pep rally.
I recently completed Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton." In a nutshell: It's a must read for anyone interested in politics, finance, human nature, Americana or even just the trivia of the early history of the U.S.A. Hamilton provides a thrilling subject to be sure, but Chernow did a yeoman's work in sifting through an incredible mound of background literature on this key player in our nation's birth. Scott Brick's narration never bored me (I confess, I often neglected responsibilities during key sections of Hamilton's life.) I never knew about Hamilton's very humble beginnings as an illegitimate child. I was impressed by the role of honor and the importance of a man's word. Witnessing Hamilton's astonishing failures and the the way George Washington helped protect him from his own flaws was also enlightening. For a more complete picture of the era, read David McCullough's "John Adams." It's particularly good to get the difference in perspective both from the author as well as the subject. I would love to sit in a parlour, listening to Adams and Hamilton argue over details as they related the story of our nation's birth!
Besides being a thrilling account of overcoming incredible odds, this story should be used as a textbook for anyone who wants to engage their readers. I could vividly see, smell, hear taste and feel each scene as LaMore hurt, laughed, loved and cried.
Warning: You'll have a hard time finding a stopping place with this one.
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