When choosing a narrator for books in specialized fields, I wish that Audible would use narrators who understood the subject matter well enough to read the terms correctly, or at least get someone who does understand the material to review the rendition and offer guidance to the narrator.
While incorrectly pronouncing 'Euler' as 'ewler' or pronouncing 'Von Neumann' alternately as 'von newman' early in the book and later correcting it to 'von noyman' may be forgivable errors, the biggest caveat is that this book is bursting at the seams with boolean algebra. When reading out these lengthy compositions, peppered with parentheses, the narrator makes no indication of whether there are opening or closing parentheses, everything is just a "parenthesis." So, "X, parenthesis, Y, parenthesis, U, parenthesis," for example. What does that mean? X(Y(U ? X(Y(U)) ? X(Y)(U)? In this early, simple, example, one can figure out what was intended, but, later in the book, where it comes to multiple terms within each set of parentheses, with the narrator making no indication of whether each is an opening or closing parenthesis, it becomes impossible to form a mental picture of what is being set out.
Once or twice, that would be annoying enough, but the book is heavy on the boolean algebra, so you will find yourself drowning in impossible-to-decode two-minute ramblings of "X plus Y plus Z parenthesis X plus NOT Y plus Z parenthesis X plus Y plus NOT Z parenthesis NOT X plus Y plus Z..."
The book itself sounds like it might be very interesting, but, without appropriate narration, I would suggest a printed copy to figure out what's actually going on in there.
I know that this doesn't bug everyone, but the lazy-sounding, tongue-knotted attempt at American accents by English narrator Nicky Henson were an enormous turn-off. Why not just read the book and not try to act it, especially if you don't have the acting chops to pull off the common accent you're trying for? If the publisher really needed an American accent, they should have gone with an American narrator.
I found the narration highly annoying and can't go back to this (unfinished) book.
The stories themselves held much promise.
The book is great. The story well done. The narration? Not so much. Quality is good, but somewhere between the printed word and the audio, someone just didn't "get it." I suspect the author would be quite upset at the cringeworthy slip-ups in his story. For example, the main character, who lives with some sort of autistic spectrum disorder, says that he counts powers of two in his head to calm himself, and "got up to 33,554,432, which is two hundred and twenty-five." That was allowed, despite making no sense to either the narrator or the producer. What was no doubt written was "two to the power of twenty-five." Also, the chapters are all meant to be prime-numbered. How on Earth is there a Chapter 176 in the audio version, then? Another case of not "getting" it. If you want to hear a good story, but this lack of attention to detail would irritate you, just hold your breath and count to 32,768, which is 215.
Dr. Rosen could have understood the technology better.
It doesn't take any longer to say "Facebook" than it does "FB." Written abbreviations need not always be duplicated on the audio representation. Avoid redundancy. "If you downloaded this audiobook digitally..." Well, I could hardly download it analogically.
As a technology geek who sometimes feels overwhelmed by it all, I was attracted to this book because it appeared to be handled from the perspective of a kindred spirit - someone who gets the technology and has analyses and ideas on how to take a more relaxed approach to dealing with the constant barrage of notification and information.
Instead, my anxiety is heightened by the author's constant misuse of terminology and misunderstanding of the technology and services involved. His forte is clearly psychology, and, in his endeavours to talk about digital devices and social networking, comes across as an old-timer trying to appear hip while brow-beating this newfangled computer stuff. If you're happy to "check your Twitter page," spend time "texting" on your "Facebook page," using a an "SNS" ("Social Networking System") and blocking a narcissist's comments from "your Facebook page" when they're commenting on a friend's status (or "page") update, and analysing someone's personality type based on the "20 main photographs" on their "page," then this may be for you.
The pop psychology "science" itself is weak at best. For example, a large number of respondents to a survey said they intended to take a "portable electronic device" with them on vacation. Does that include listening to music on your iPod to unwind? How about reading this very book on your Kindle? Is it okay if it's an ordinary paperback? Add to that sloppy grammar and poppy invented terms (WMD - "wireless mobile devices" - really?) and I am less than impressed.
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