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Andy

Member Since 2004

ratings
200
REVIEWS
23
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
71

  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2204)
    Performance
    (844)
    Story
    (838)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "Top notch spy story"
    Overall

    it's difficult to write contemporary spy thrillers and have them be believable and entertaining at the same time but this author succeeds. the reader isn't the best in Audible but he's very good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Goliath

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Scott Westerfeld
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (542)
    Performance
    (504)
    Story
    (502)

    Alek and Deryn are on the last leg of their round-the-world quest to end World War I, reclaim Alek’s throne as Prince of Austria, and finally fall in love. The first two objectives are complicated by the fact that their ship, the Leviathan, continues to detour farther away from the heart of the war (and crown). And the love thing would be a lot easier if Alek knew Deryn was a girl. (She has to pose as a boy in order to serve in the British Airforce.) And if they weren’t technically enemies.

    The tension thickens as the Leviathan steams toward New York City with a homicidal lunatic on board....

    Eileen says: "Wow!"
    "Amazing narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is fluff steampunk, but this is an amazing audiobook because Alan Cumming does such an impressive job jumping in and out of male/female/adult/teen/mutant/ voices with English/American/Austrian/Slavic accents. There are many talented narrators on Audible, but his performance in this series is really a tour de force.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Pamela Druckerman
    • Narrated By Abby Craden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (615)
    Performance
    (540)
    Story
    (533)

    The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here. When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent". French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special. But French children are far better behaved and more in command of themselves than American kids....

    Emily - Audible says: "Inspiring"
    "Grounding the helicopteres"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The parenting advice is common sense and not necessarily French. This brings up the question of just what is the deal with the U.S. helicopter parents (as opposed to all U.S. parents), but that is not really explored. 4 stars overall because there is a somewhat funny story with cute kids and the advice could definitely help families who are somehow not getting it otherwise.
    Considering that the book is presumably for Francophiles, the narrator's French pronunciation is pretty bad (e.g. "Nouvelle vague" said "vayg" instead of "vog") unless the idea is to sound like the author who spoke bad French, in which case the performance is excellent. But the author's personality is irritating enough with her neurotic cluelessness; one does not need to add in special effects to amplify that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Lynne Lancaster, David Stillman
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    As the Millennial generation (those born between 1982 and 2000) rapidly enters the workforce, their introduction into the workplace has been anything but seamless. In fact, you might have already heard one of these jaw-dropping stories: the mother who called HR to complain when her daughter got a mediocre performance review. The recent college graduate who dialed the CEO directly to tell him what the company could be doing better....

    Pauline says: "I'm sure this was well researched"
    "Talking to both sides of the generation gap"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Differences between Gen Y and older generations can cause frustration at work. While stereotypes don't apply to everyone, there is some obvious general truth to the current generation gap, and this book does a decent job of offering some explanations and potential solutions. The explanations are based on differences in childhood experiences, and the solutions are based on accepting the resulting discrepancies in behavior.

    "the M-factor" makes a special effort to see things from the side of the Millennials instead of just bashing them. This is useful for trying to figure out how to get along and better advice than I've seen elsewhere that just says to treat Gen Y like overgrown children.

    The lessons are mainly in the form of stories about misunderstandings, revealing both views of what happened, with eventual happy endings.

    One particularly interesting fable was about parents who moan about the #@$%& Millennials at work while encouraging in their own children the exact traits that drive them crazy in their co-workers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2087)
    Performance
    (1739)
    Story
    (1717)

    Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course The Science of Willpower, The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters.

    Niv says: "life changing one of the best I read"
    "Follow your instinct, avoid this book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I teach behavior change so I read books like this. This one was painfully slow even using the faster feature on the iPod. It was also generally useless.
    The amazing info revealed is that it's good to relax, and sleep, and be healthy, and maybe meditate, etc. There are better books available to explore those obvious topics.
    It eventually got into some interesting psych studies with counterintuitive findings but these were not Earth-shattering or terribly practical, and they contradicted each other: willpower is like a muscle, so if you're trying to lose weight, you should put a bowl of candies on your desk at work to challenge yourself----but wait--- willpower is like a gas tank you don't want to deplete, so if you want to lose weight, you should keep candies hidden so they are harder to get at.
    Brilliant!
    I guess the author didn't have the willpower to read her own book.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1937)
    Performance
    (1211)
    Story
    (1213)

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Maximum verbiage for minimum story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed Willis's previous books, but this is like the winner in a contest to see how many times you can get away re-using the exact same sentences over and over and over in one novel. (I can't go to Dunkirk! I need a skirt. I need to get to the drop. OMG maybe I changed history, etc. etc. etc.) Do they not have editors anymore? Oh and this is just part one of a two part book. Is she paid by the word? Buy her a delete key please. I downloaded the second half already but won't listen to it.

    the leads are boring dorks. The "premise" is maybe they changed history and made Hitler win the war, but what they are worried about is their boss man will be really mad at them. Seriously?

    The only thing sort of keeping the book moving forward is that it keeps switching b/w lead characters often enough to distract you from the fact that nothing much is happening with any of them.

    It's a shame because the Blitz is interesting and there are several very engaging minor color characters.

    Time travel is the device making this more than just a catalogue of vignettes from the Blitz but time travel in Dr. Who or even Diana Gabaldon is more logical than here. Tip for time travelers lost in the past: put an ad in the paper.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3912)
    Performance
    (2886)
    Story
    (2889)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Evelyn says: "Excellent listen"
    "Post-nuclear apocalypse BBQ"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    1959. One of the early nuclear war stories. You know what happens.

    Much of it seems dated now, but then that's interesting as an insight into 1950s American life in the South. Characters are fleshed out enough to carry the story. Not too melodramatic; brutally matter of fact.

    I'd be curious to know more about the reception/impact of this book at the time. I think stories like this did help save us from nuclear apocalypse by clarifying the madness of mutually assured destruction.

    Excellent narration.

    Thanks Audible for rescuing this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Dan Buettner
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    In the first book to identify demographically proven happiness hotspots worldwide, researcher and explorer Dan Buettner documents the happiest people on earth and reveals how we can create our own happy zones. Detailing extraordinary new discoveries and meticulous research on four continents, Buettner observes happiness in unlikely places and gleans surprising insight into what generates contentment and what it means to thrive.

    Andy says: "Around the world with circular reasoning"
    "Around the world with circular reasoning"
    Overall

    The question of the book is important: what's special about places that rank highly in happiness surveys? The author travels to visit them for National Geographic. One meets colorful characters and learns about the cultures of various communities around the world, and so it's a worthwhile book for that alone. And the topic of how to promote happiness is interesting to ponder. "Thrive" does provide a useful catalog of hypothesized happiness factors and a clear short summary of happiness research.

    Ultimately, the answers to the central question are unsatisfying because they are contradictory from one place to another (political freedom is key / a strong dictator is great) or else it is not clear what is cause and effect (happy people trust each other / trusting people are happier). Also, the author doesn't perform the critical test of visiting any sad places to see if they have more or less of the supposed happiness factors: there are, for example, places with sunshine and fresh vegetables that are nevertheless perfectly miserable.

    Although it is whinier and not as supposedly scientific as "Thrive," "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner might in the end be a more insightful take on the exact same topic.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Law of the Garbage Truck: Take Control of Your Life with One Decision

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David J Pollay
    • Narrated By David J Pollay
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Twenty years ago, while riding in the back of a New York City taxicab, syndicated columnist and business consultant David J. Pollay had an awakening - and he converted the lesson he learned that day into a life philosophy: By letting other people's garbage - their negativity - simply pass by, and not dumping garbage on others, you can become happier and more successful, both personally and professionally.

    Gary says: "Easy to live by"
    "Offensive to garbage truck drivers"
    Overall

    Helping people to be less stressed out is a good idea. But there is nothing new here in terms of content, so the plus-value is from the garbage-truck analogy, which makes no sense at all. The story about his epiphany that the whole book is based on does not even involve a garbage truck. The garbage truck is used as a metaphor for badness in life. The garbage truck is referred to hundreds of times in the book as something that runs over people and dumps garbage on them. I don't know where this guy lives, but in my neighborhood the garbage truck takes garbage away and does not routinely run over people.
    So if you think it will help you to hear "garbage truck" a thousand times for no particular reason, then this is the book for you. Otherwise, to get the same content without the incessant garbage truck nonsense one could read many authors from Dale Carnegie to Stephen Covey to Kabat-Zinn to Lao Tzu, or any of the many books on modern happiness research.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Gary Greenberg
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Am I happy enough? This has been a pivotal question since America's inception. "Am I not happy enough because I am depressed?" is a more recent version. Psychotherapist Gary Greenberg shows how depression has been manufactured---not as an illness but as an idea about our suffering, its source, and its relief. He challenges us to look at depression in a new way.

    Sebastian says: "Modern Gonzo Tour de Force"
    "Manufacturing a book out of a rant"
    Overall

    The content is important but this book is overloaded with personal anecdotes and irrelevant trivia. In addition, the author is so negative about everything, that it's hard to know if he could say something worked if it did.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Sharon Moalem, Jonathan Prince
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    How did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Was diabetes evolution's response to the last Ice Age? Will a visit to the tanning salon help bring down your cholesterol? Why do we age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on or off? Survival of the Sickest reveals the answers to these and many other questions as it unravels the amazing connections between evolution, disease, and human health today.

    Maurice says: "An Eye Opener"
    "Are his ideas the fittest?"
    Overall

    The book revolves around the author's fascination with the idea that a specific genetic disease exists because it helped people survive the bubonic plague, but he offers no convincing proof of this. Then he goes off onto things that are even more speculative.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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