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Eric

San Diego, CA, USA

198
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 29 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Lessons of History

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Will, Ariel Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (130)

    The authors devoted five decades to the study of world history and philosophy, culminating in the masterful 11-volume Story of Civilization. In this compact summation of their work, Will and Ariel Durant share the vital and profound lessons of our collective past. Their perspective, gained after a lifetime of thinking and writing about the history of humankind, is an invaluable resource for us today.

    Brad the Dad says: "This is a must for every Educated Person"
    "6,000 Years In a Nutshell"
    Overall

    The book, itself, is a swift collection of fascinating ideas. It reminds me of Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence" in its ability to draw ideas from the famous events and characters of history. Since it is so quick, one isn't able to follow the roots of the ideas that surface like one might with Barzun. One must take the author's word for a lot of his conclusions. But, the thoughts stimulated from this survey are quite rewarding nonetheless.

    The narrator is reliable and appropriate for the tone of the book. The quite enjoyable interviews are more for learning the personality of the Durants rather than amending the ideas in the book, but are still insightful.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Way of All Flesh

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Samuel Butler
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (22)

    This brilliant satirical novel, tracing the life and loves of Ernest Pontifex, has continued in popularity since its original publication in 1903. Every generation finds in The Way of All Flesh a reaffirmation of youth's rightful struggle against the tyranny of harsh parents and its admirable will for freedom of personal expression.

    Jake says: "Really spectacular"
    "A masterpiece&the narrator isn't so bad after all"
    Overall

    When I originally attempted to listen to this book, I was completely offended by the narrator. After bearing through it for some time (and adjusting the equalizer to drown out his slurping and breathing) I was treated to a wonderful story about morals, morality, and moralism. The difference is subtle, but striking, and Butler conveys it masterfully with fine character development, plot, and not too little psychological and philosophical anlysis. It is even better than I expected too because the narrator turns out to be an amazing actor and he is really able to draw the audience in with his diverse voice. The book is truly a masterpiece and it is a wonder how it was written before the 20th century (so many of its themes became mainstays in the literature of the last century). Listen and enjoy.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Brad Miner
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    At a time of astonishing confusion about what it means to be a man, Brad Miner has recovered the oldest and best ideal of manhood: the gentleman. Reviving a thousand-year tradition of chivalry, honor, and heroism, The Compleat Gentleman provides the essential model for 21st-century masculinity.

    Eric says: "Good argument (with a single near-fatal flaw)"
    "Good argument (with a single near-fatal flaw)"
    Overall

    This book is a joy to read for anyone longing to escape the confines of our decadent culture. The history of gentlemanliness, chivalry, courtship, and honor that comprises the first portion of the book is sound and thorough enough, but the point of this text comes toward the end, where Miner explains what it is to be a gentleman in today?s society. He shows how it is possible and gives examples of modern day gentlemen (largely centered around the military and the heroes of 9/11).

    The argument for chivalry stumbles when the author tries to make a case for martial combat. Simply, our age cannot condone martial combat because technology has eliminated the possibility of honorable combat. School shootings and the prospect of nuclear war are proof that we should find a better outlet for physical prowess. Sport is the closest thing I can think of, but it is not mentioned in the book.

    The big problem with Miner?s examination is his exaltation of coolness. The way he puts it, cool (sprezzatura) is the ultimate aim of the gentleman. And while a solid case can be made for sprezzatura, coolness means nonchalance and insouciance, and those things do not always lead to refinement and excellence. Indeed, coolness is the primary aim of our culture these days and it leads directly to all the problems that Miner is trying to correct with the compleat gentleman.

    It is a fine collection of refreshing ideas and is well worth the read despite its near-fatal flaw. The author is diligent in locating the source of words and ideas and it is worth the read just to know where the word ?romance? came from. Ultimately, the book will probably add some energy to the growing movement toward a more civilized society.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Speaking in Public

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Reid Buckley
    • Narrated By Thomas Andrews
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    It's easy to be mediocre, but if you want to give speeches that your audience will never forget, you must listen to this program. In this program, Buckley covers many of the tips and principles for winning arguments and getting your point across that he taught at the prestigious Buckley School for Public Speaking.

    Marc D says: "Preserved in aspic..."
    "Great perspective and entertaining too"
    Overall

    One can easily tell that the author is comfortable and persuasive in front of an audience. Spending 10 hours with him is practice for public speaking in itself. By the end of the book the reader wants to speak as confidently and clearly as the author does and is given good insight into how to do so. A lot of time is spent on debate and logic and personality types (at the front of the book) and the reader gets the sense that Buckley just barely misses conveying the big picture of public speaking (i.e. what is its proper aim?), which would have been very helpful. But ultimately one does find countless tips throughout the book that will assist development. At the very least, the reader is treated to time with a very enchanting personality--rare these days--and that is worth the book's cost alone.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Philosophy: From Kant to William James and the American Pragmatists

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    The Story of Philosophy is a timeless overview of Western thought. Will Durant's goal was to humanize knowledge by centering the story around certain dominant personalities. He brilliantly illustrates how philosophy has evolved over time, explaining the historical, cultural, and political context of each movement and each great thinker. The best-selling philosophy book of the past century, this masterpiece of eloquent, clear prose continues to fascinate.

    Eric says: "Insightful and Invigorating"
    "Insightful and Invigorating"
    Overall

    The amount of time the author spends on each philosopher allows for a sufficient examination of their lives and their philosophies and is still short enough for the sake of flow and interest. Instead of getting bogged down with various nuances, Durant consistently brings the story back to reality. At the end, the reader is familiar enough with each philosopher to know whether he wants to investigate further. But this book stands on its own as a brilliant survey of human thought and potential. Read it if you are interested in politics, the arts, entertainment, social sciences, psychology, medicine and even love, all of which play significant roles in this epic story. Mostly it is for lovers of philosophy and its branches and the ease and precision with which Durant is able to explain the greatest ideas in history will reinforce and multiply that love. This is one of the most enjoyable books ever written.

    31 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Philosophy: From Plato to Voltaire and the French Enlightenment

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (204)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (32)

    The Story of Philosophy is a timeless overview of Western thought. Will Durant's goal was to humanize knowledge by centering the story around certain dominant personalities. He brilliantly illustrates how philosophy has evolved over time, explaining the historical, cultural, and political context of each movement and each great thinker. The best-selling philosophy book of the past century, this masterpiece of eloquent, clear prose continues to fascinate.

    Martin says: "Both anecdotal and informative"
    "Insightful and Invigorating"
    Overall

    The amount of time the author spends on each philosopher allows for a sufficient examination of their lives and their philosophies and is still short enough for the sake of flow and interest. Instead of getting bogged down with various nuances, Durant consistently brings the story back to reality. At the end, the reader is familiar enough with each philosopher to know whether he wants to investigate further. But this book stands on its own as a brilliant survey of human thought and potential. Read it if you are interested in politics, the arts, entertainment, social sciences, psychology, medicine and even love, all of which play significant roles in this epic story. Mostly it is for lovers of philosophy and its branches and the ease and precision with which Durant is able to explain the greatest ideas in history will reinforce and multiply that love. This is one of the most enjoyable books ever written.

    28 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Charlotte Simmons

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (684)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (156)

    Dupont University: the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition....Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina, who has come here on full scholarship. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

    Eric says: "Decadence through the eyes of a ?good girl?"
    "Decadence through the eyes of a ?good girl?"
    Overall

    The account of college life in this book is as authentic as it can be. In order to be so true-to-life, though, it has to be very vulgar. Do not read this book if you intend on avoiding foul language and extreme sexual content?it is filled with both. The sex is not very steamy or erotic either; it is as unromantic as can be, just like it is on campus. ?Charlotte Simmons? is a thorough survey of the most self-destructive and immoral environment imaginable?the modern university.

    If one can bear the vulgarity and decadence, one will be treated to superb story telling and a fine display of literary genius. Wolfe combines the bland, vulgar statements of the characters with his own witty and enlightening additions. His commentary makes the foolish characters somewhat coherent to the non-college student and provides some insight into the reasons for this dismal state of affairs.

    Most of all, however, Wolfe sticks to description of characters and events and draws the audience in with the most colorful word manipulation. The audience is compelled to root for the good girl even as her path takes her further into trouble. Indeed, the innocent protagonist does not figure out a way to avoid being contaminated by the dirty culture. But even through this painful fall, the audience receives a great tool in figuring out what goes on at college and perhaps that is all one needs to invent their own way of dealing with the challenges such an environment presents.

    71 of 76 people found this review helpful
  • Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Donald T. Phillips
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (186)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (60)

    In this remarkable book, hailed by CEOs, politicians, coaches, and college presidents alike, Donald T. Phillips examines Lincoln's effective leadership style. As he explores the President's diverse management skills, he demonstrates how you can succeed with them in today's complex world.

    Henrik says: "A few things you should know before downloading"
    "Shallow with some interesting tid-bits"
    Overall

    This is an interesting look at one great statesman in Lincoln and a very compelling idea in leadership. It doesn't provide the reader with insight into the reason for good leadership and theoretical aspects of the subjects, but rather gives shallow suggestions for leadership techniques. It is thus repetitive and not very penetrating. It is a well-written survey though and worth taking a listen.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (2287)
    Performance
    (370)
    Story
    (374)

    In A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson takes his ultimate journey - into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.

    Brent says: "This audio edition is abridged!"
    "Nearly Everything Is Missing"
    Overall

    When I picked up this book, I thought the "everything" in "nearly everything" was everything. In the introduction, the author makes it seem that way too. He fails to mention (anywhere in the book) that his perception of "everything" is just the natural sciences. It is a fun, engaging, acceptably thorough survey of the way mankind first discovered and now views the natural sciences, and for that, it is worth notice. But to say that it is a take on everything is not only wrong, but arrogant and blind.

    The biggest part of "everything" is man's culture and it is not even regarded except in the findings of science. And even then, it is severely deficient. When it looks at Relativity or Evolution, for example, it passes up the opportunity for really exploring the theories so that the author can spend more time on the scientist's lives and events surrounding the actual science. I guess that's why it's a history, but getting just a taste is painful for those seeking more than just cocktail party anecdotes. The book doesn't even touch on all the sciences--most notably lacking a survey of psychology. Neuroscience is perhaps at the forefront of "everything" and it isn't even hinted at here.

    Instead, Bryson broadcasts, in the officious, repetitive and sarcastic way so many outside of science do, that man and his culture are insignificant, lucky and dangerous. Amnesia strikes the author several times as he asserts how innovative and creative we have been by examining a few of the great natural philosophers and then abruptly claims how harmful and puny we are. He will claim how vast the earth is and how easily it (or an asteroid) could destroy the insignificant mankind and then notes how we are destroying the earth and are a likely candidate for the most destructive thing in the universe.

    Bryson sees man's product as shameful and the rest of the universe as brilliant and awesome. The truth of the latter should not necessitate the former.

    16 of 48 people found this review helpful
  • From Dawn to Decadence, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jacques Barzun
    • Narrated By Edward Lewis
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (24)

    Master historian Jacques Barzun has now set down in one continuous narrative the sum of his discoveries and conclusions about the whole of Western culture since 1500. And when he rates the present not as a culmination but a decline, he is in no way a prophet of doom. Instead, he shows decadence as the normal close of great periods and a necessary condition of the creative novelty that will burst forth - tomorrow or the next day.

    Bruce says: "An essay in liberal arts"
    "To Start a New Era"
    Overall

    If everyone read with intent this masterpiece, the Western decadence would cease and a new, virtuous and productive future would begin. Left to the reader to distinguish moral value on the West's history, Barzun most eloquently and thoroughly weaves an epic of man's struggle to be free. He favors the French unmistakably, but everything he says is both truthful and the source of vast inspiration. Particular genius is witnessed in chapters entitled Utopias, Invisible College, Encyclopedic Century, Things Ride Man and Embracing the Absurd. The perspective gained in the momentous work is nothing less than enlightening. The reader will feel grateful after taking in the wisdom--and much, much more intelligent. Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence" is a testament to humanity and the lingering volition for creativity, intellect, religion, righteousness, integrity, virtue, productivity, idealism. Read this book and then, go create a stunning history for generations to read 500 years from now!

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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