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Fox Chapel, PA, United States | Listener Since 2008

  • 8 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 510 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By John Lanchester
    • Narrated By James Langton

    The wildest story in the world these days is not fiction; it's what's really happening all around us as the world's global economy has gone into freefall. How did we get here? What does it all mean? How could so many smart people be so dumb and believe their own hype? Accessibly, cleverly, and with mordant humor, journalist John Lanchester trots the globe in search of the answers to these questions.

    R. Sippel says: "Economics for dummies"
    "Good Facts, Bad Philosophy"

    Lanchester presents excellent observations of what happens when risk is removed from finance. He tries to validate his personal beliefs that Socialism is necessary to keep capitalism honest. Removing risk from finance is actually a manipulation of capitalism and is the direct cause of financial collapse. Lanchester thinks capitalists no longer have to be nice to others because there is no socialism to compare their actions to - a Karl Marx as yardstick, if you will. He suffers the same inattentional blindness many liberals suffer. (Watching the basketball - missing the gorilla) Watching the harmful escalation of bad behavior of "bankers" while missing the increasingly complex but well intended regulations which pushed those bankers by moving the cheese. There are no perfect regulations. It is always best to connect self interest to behavior as directly as possible. Allow banks to fail - caveat emptor doesn't work is everyone is protected from negative consequences.

    Still, Langton is an excellent narrator. The book is a pleasant listen.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Virtue of Selfishness

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By C.M. Hernert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society.

    Scott says: "Rand Lovers Only"
    "Don't Blank-Out"
    What did you love best about The Virtue of Selfishness?

    This is a well put together chain of reason and logic. I believe that Socrates would have been won over by Ayn Rand with this one work. Ayn is very patient and very systematic in this presentation. I have spent time studying several popular philosophies, and traditional beliefs. There is so much built-in contradiction in so many philosophies that are explained with impenetrable mysteries that end in unreasonable statements. The clarity of Ayn Rand presents a startling contrast to all those philosophies. She asks only for clear reasoning, not for a leap of faith.

    It is a frustrating experience to speak with someone who chooses not to think beyond a point. Art Markman points out in "Smart Thinking" that thinking uses a lot of energy and that the human brain is designed to conserve energy. This may explain the abdication of thinking and reasoning that so many choose when faced with the challenge of thinking all the way through a philosophical presentation.

    Please listen to this several times before you decide Ayn Rand, Objectivist philosophy is just wrong. If you are a libertarian, but you have no philosophical underpinning for your beliefs, listen closely to Ayn Rand's challenging essays on Objectivism. If you get tired of thinking, take a break and come back to it, don't give up. Don't decide that your brain is not qualified to reason it out. To allow others to think for you to stop thinking things through and understand clearly what you believe is to throw yourself on the pyre of another's unreasoning sacrifice. It is blanking out. Make yourself valuable to yourself. Work for yourself. You get what you want by providing what others seek or need.

    Whether you call it enlightened self interest or selfishness, you are attaining what you seek in a society of peers who reward others who produce what they want. Ayn Rand uses the term selfish to get your attention. To act selfishly, she indicates, it to make your own decisions based on your own resources, perspectives, goals. Helping others is an act of goodwill, not of duty. A charity is only a charity if contribution is voluntary. To give with another's money is taking, not giving.

    Is it abusing others to give them a task or job and pay them what at the level they request? As soon as one is rewarded based on need versus based on what they earn, that entire society will parish. Reward for accomplishment is reasonable. One way to look at it is to say that the only thing worth more than gold is trust. I offer my pay (gold) to someone I trust to deliver something I want (plumbing or food, etc.). This is exactly what I offer to those who pay me, trust that I will deliver what I promise. My reputation and demonstrated skills result in the value of what I offer. The value is different to others based on their need or desire.

    Ayn Rand lays these simple, reasonable principles end to end in a very logical presentation.

    You may ask who will protect me or others from people or organizations who do not deliver what they promise. The role of a government is simple. It is to review the promise as presented (contract) and help enforce this promise for the weaker participant in the contract. Simpler contracts and straight forward trades make it easier for contract participants to understand what to deliver and when. Complex agreements will require help to define the agreement. As it stands now, all the rules, laws, subtleties to commitments makes it impossible for anyone to know where a commitment begins and ends without professional assistance. By complicating the contract with interfering laws and inferences, all parties enter into unknown risks, The one with more influence and professional assistance gains advantages in this system. Reducing government interference benefits the ones with limited means and influence.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Laura Schroff, Alex Tresniowski
    • Narrated By Pam Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the tradition of the New York Times best-seller The Blind Side, The Invisible Thread tells of the unlikely friendship between a busy executive and a disadvantage young boy, and how both of their lives changed forever

    Linda says: "Amazing but painful"
    "Sometimes choices we make bore others for hours"
    Would you try another book from Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski and/or Pam Ward?

    This author needs better editors. There seems to be a story here worth reading. Unfortunately, the reader has to adapt and repair the content to find it. This is the failure of the editor.

    What could Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Read Angela's Ashes and The Man Who Listens to Horses. These are examples of techniques for developing similar biographical material that work. This book stalls and drags. This story remains too tedious and pointless for too long. Consider the timing and plot development when intermingling past present and retrospective reveal. We need a sense of perspective. Where are we when you are telling the story? Are we moving through time on one line while considering another? Is there a third line that we see the first two from? I still cannot answer this. Please find a good editor.

    What about Pam Ward’s performance did you like?

    Very good narrator. The one thing that kept me listening as long as I did was the very good performance of the narrator.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Bewilderment is not what the author was trying to create in her readers, I'm sure. Due to using a difficult technique - personal childhood history, recent events, retroactive revision to reveal misperceptions or lies - all told concurrently. I spent too long wondering why lies and second thoughts were revealed as the narrative of the simultaneous stories develop, or failed to develop. I sense that you have a good story, it is just not well told.

    Any additional comments?

    I am hoping that a revised edition of this book is released eventually. I might take another shot at it. I am sure a good editor cout manage this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chinese for Dummies

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Mengjun Liu
    • Narrated By uncredited

    Like the other titles in this series, the appealing, on-the-go philosophy of Chinese for Dummies includes fundamental training and practical examples to get Mandarin language learners functioning quickly and effectively.

    William says: "Poorly organized and ineffective as an audiobook"
    "Poorly organized and ineffective as an audiobook"
    What disappointed you about Chinese for Dummies?

    Perhaps a good reference book but a useless learning tool.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Pimsleur does a good job. I think Fluenz is top of the line in language learning. Rosetta Stone is far better at marketing than at developing good content. All in all, these three are better than Chinese for Dummies.

    Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is my first Menguin Liu listen. His voice is the best thing about this book. The pace is a bit fast for learning, at least for Dummies. :)

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Good pronounciation by the narrator is the redeeming quality of this book.

    Any additional comments?

    Perhaps it is worth having a paper copy of this one, but audio is impossible in this organization of material.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Deciding Factor: The Power of Analytics to Make Every Decision a Winner

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Larry E. Rosenberger, Josh Nash
    • Narrated By Scott Peterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The authors draw on over 50 years of experience in helping companies automate, improve, and connect decisions. Using analytic techniques first pioneered by Fair Isaac Corporation, the authors clearly show how today's forward-thinking executives and managers are using analytic insights to ensure their decisions keep up with information complexity and the pace of change - especially changes in consumer behavior and attitudes, in regulations, and in competitive actions and reactions.

    Felipe says: "An interesting guide."
    "Fiar Isaac sould be the title of this book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Be prepared to lean more about FICO scores and how businesses use them as The Deciding Factor than you ever wanted to know. The first seven sentences of each chapter are worth writing down. Beyond that the words Fair Isaac and FICO are repeated endlessly. Yes, many big and successful companies have used FICO scores to change the way they do business. Rosenberger and Nash seem to believe that those example companies uses the Fair Isaac consulting and FICO scores to, in some way - never really made clear - improve their business. For example, apparently, Paris Hiltons father made a mess of the Carte Blanche credit card they created. With Fair Isaac's help, it became less of a mess before the media revealed that it was a mess. I'm not familiar with the details, but the implication is that it was eventually a failure in the end. Good thing Paris' dad hired Fair Isaac. I believe that FI balance sheet has fared much better than Carte Blanche. I guess Hilton corp. survived without too much impact.

    The bottom line is that the book is one of the bigger wates of time I've experienced in the past couple hundred books I've listened to. If you need to know how better to use credit scores 10 to 20 years ago, this is the book for you. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur trying to grow your business, this is a WASTE OF TIME.

    Narrator is very good.

    What could Larry E. Rosenberger and Josh Nash have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    More accurate title, PLEASE! I had no opinion of FICO or Fair Isaac prior to listening to this. Now, I think you protest too much.

    What does Scott Peterson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Very clear and understandable presentation. I like the cadence. THe narrator sold me on this book during the sample.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    This is a disappointment!

    Any additional comments?

    Please make it clear in the summary that this is a commercial for Fair Isaac.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Find Out Who's Normal and Who's Not: The Proven System to Quickly Assess Anyone's Emotional Stability

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By David Lieberman
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Do you have to worry about your co-worker, nanny, neighbor, or date? If you’re concerned about a new relationship, or even an old one, you will no longer need to rely on instincts, hunches, or horoscopes. Even when interaction is limited to mere observation or a brief exchange, whether you’re at a bar, restaurant, park, or even in an elevator, you can discover how to assess the general emotional stability of a person in just minutes.

    morton says: "A Great Audio!"
    "More technical than title implies"
    What made the experience of listening to Find Out Who's Normal and Who's Not the most enjoyable?

    This book is great for anyone interested in psychology or just wanting to better understand others. Narrator Sean Pratt is great - very listenable. The content is serious science and based on mostly recent research.

    What other book might you compare Find Out Who's Normal and Who's Not to and why?

    More practical than The Psychopath Next Door.

    Which character ??? as performed by Sean Pratt ??? was your favorite?


    What???s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    David Lieberman gives several conversational evaluation methods that are very usable.

    Any additional comments?

    Nicely organized and nicely presented.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Inspire! Why Customers Come Back

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jim Champy
    • Narrated By Stow Lovejoy

    In an era of commoditization and ever less loyal customers, this book shows how to keep customers coming back. Drawing on dozens of original case studies from companies in a variety of industries, new and old, Champy reveals how to define a consistent value proposition your customers will be passionate about--and will stay passionate about.

    William says: "Infomercial Material"
    "Infomercial Material"

    If you've listened to as many business audio books as I have, you know the stories of Ben & Jerry, Honest Tea, Stoneyfield Farms, et. al. That's all you get with this book is the stories. Where is the insight? Where is the application and common truths for the rest of us. With a title like Inspire, I shouldn't expect more than a few mildly inspiring stories. I've been spoiled by the likes of Seth Godin and Tom Peters with inspiration followed by action items and lessons learned. Jim Champy writes in a simple style, lacking depth and insight. It leaves you wanting more. A "How To" book it is not.

    Stow Lovejoy does a very nice job narrating this (un)inspiring business book. If you are going into the yogurt business: read/listen to this book. For the rest of us, time is much better spent elsewhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Kathryn Schulz
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    To err is human. Yet most of us go through life assuming (and sometimes insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken, and why do we react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness, and shame?

    Mike Kircher says: "A good read"
    "Good Topic Disappointing Presentation"

    My expectations were high. This is a topic that I could sink my teeth (or ears) into. Why is everyone so committed to being wrong? People seem to become so happy with a position, an idea, an answer, that it no longer matters to them that the answer is wrong. Ayn Rand used the term "blank out" to describe the way people stop responding when they would have to concede a point or when they break a chain of reasoning to get to the answer they prefer.

    Ms. Schultz certainly appreciates the many ways we humans arrive at the incorrect. She is well researched and of broad perspective. Her book includes psychological, biological, and neurological aspects of self deception. From a philosophical perspective, she points out that it is impossible to say truthfully that "I am wrong", because we can only realize that we were wrong by adopting a new idea different from the old, wrong idea. She quotes many great and some terrible thinkers on the subject of being wrong. The quotes are the best part of this book.

    The frustrating aspect of this book is Ms. Schultz' organization of ideas. Just as a concept is being developed just to insert a distracting non sequitur. It gives the effect that she wants to make a point that has nothing to do with the concept that was being developed. I wait and listen patiently for the digression to end and the thoughts to be completed. Unfortunately, she doesn't return to the original thought - ever. Apparently, she feels obligated to begin her chapters on the topic, but feels no such obligation to conclude the chapter on the same topic.

    In a paper book, we might be able to deal with the author's meandering by turning pages until we find the topic or a new topic to bridge the continuity on our own. In an audio book, we lack the resources to compensate for her inconsistencies. It becomes maddening to encounter the unclosed loops, unjustified digressions, repeatedly.

    I listen to approximately ten audio books per month.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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