I would encourage listeners to try the abridged edition for two reasons: 1. Isaacson's writing does drag on, especially at the end, when he delivers a dry bones evaluation of Franklin's character. 2. Nelson Runger has a pleasing voice, but he made a critical mistake that is funny and annoying. He speaks all the quotes from Franklin - and there are hundreds of these - in the worst, sing-song, old man voice imaginable. Ironically, the text says it's a shame to categorize Franklin as a "genial codger," while this is exactly the way Runger portrays him. I don't know who made the decision on Franklin's voice. I'm not sure this convention of changing voices works, anyway. I'm in favor of the old, "Quote," "Unquote."
I learned some interesting things about Franklin. He was a typical egomaniac, brilliant at communication, always holding others to standards he avoided himself. For example, he expected his family to follow his instructions and support his politics, even though he chose to spend most of his life far away from them.
Good: The writing is more than competent. Don Leslie is the best reader now working; wonderful, rich, expressive voice.
Bad: The author simply does not have enough ideas on managing modern life to fill a book this long. He starts off well, then repeats his descriptions of how busy we are, over and over for hours. He even runs out of normal words for our modern, harried life, so makes up several of his own. We must listen as he defines and re-defines these made-up words, uses them in made-up sentences. I can't finish this book, and neither should you. I won't even recommend the abridged version, because that's just three hours of your life, listening to variations on, "We're too busy these days."
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