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Paul

Eagan, MN, United States | Member Since 2008

ratings
14
REVIEWS
2
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Penn Jillette
    • Narrated By Penn Jillette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1594)
    Performance
    (1442)
    Story
    (1443)

    From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.

    Paul says: "More memoir than theology"
    "More memoir than theology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's been a while since I finished this book. I've delayed on the review because I've been busy and I didn't really know what to say. The book has been receiving a lot of pub, or at least seems that way to me since I've been following Penn & Teller on Twitter.

    Penn's been in show business for a while and knows a thing or two about self promotion. His tweets relay book signing and discussion events and hyperlinks to media coverage. Whether the book is actually getting more coverage than any other book or it just seems that way because of this promotion of the coverage isn't clear to me. Maybe just another case of “You see what you’re looking for”.

    Some of the receptiveness of the media to grab on to this book for a sound bite or two may come from part of the subtitle; "Signs You May Already Be an Atheist…”. But the book isn't really about that. Penn's un-region beliefs are discussed, but the book is more personal memoir than theological discourse.

    Penn isn't shy about discussing his views with the media, a recurring litmus test for Atheism he offers is something along the lines of answering a hypothetical question. If God told you to kill your own child, would you do it? If you say no, you already have doubt and may actually be an atheist. Seems a bit too simple for universal application, but you get his point pretty quickly.

    The majority of the book is a series of Penn's personal life experiences. Each is connected into the religion discussion in one way or another. An attempt is made to offer alternative versions of each of the 10 commandments, but it didn't come through on the audible version as a strong thread holding the book together, more a footnote at the end of each chapter. Maybe in the print version it works better.

    The audio book had a nice bonus, it was read by the author. This is personal material, and having it delivered by the person himself gave it the best read imaginable. Penn's also an entertainer, and he delivers on that front too.

    Overall an entertaining book, and that's the right word for it- entertaining. Questions on theology and deciding on religion probably won't be answered here. But you might be entertained and have some of your own thoughts on the concepts exercised along the way.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Why We Make Mistakes

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Joseph T. Hallinan
    • Narrated By Marc Cashman
    Overall
    (73)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (24)

    We forget our passwords. We pay too much to go to the gym. We think we'd be happier if we lived in California (we wouldn't), and we think we should stick with our first answer on tests (we shouldn't). Why do we make mistakes? And could we do a little better? We human beings have design flaws. Our eyes play tricks on us, our stories change in the retelling, and most of us are fairly sure we're way above average.

    Paul says: "Not very informative"
    "Not very informative"
    Overall

    Not a fabulous book. While it did list many examples of mistakes, only a handful of explanations for mistakes were supplied. The emphasis was clearly on displaying "here's another example of a mistake". When an explanation was offered it was obvious information, easily inferred by listening to the mistake description. On the few occasions a recommended solution was suggested it was very weak. The book seemed to be over stuffed with examples, many very obvious, burying the few good nuggets.
    Overall, this title seems to only have enough information for a magazine article but was stretched to reach book length.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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