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Mike Hart

California | Member Since 2003

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 90 ratings
  • 482 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • The Second Coming of Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Alan Deutschman
    • Narrated By Charles Stransky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1223)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (144)

    From the acclaimed Vanity Fair and GQ journalist - an unprecedented, in-depth portrait of the man whose return to Apple precipitated one of the biggest turnarounds in business history.

    Thomas says: "Awesome background on Apple, NeXT, and Pixar."
    "Good Steve, Bad Steve, always entertaining..."
    Overall

    I grew up in Cupertino in the 70s in the shadow of Steve Jobs. I have had Bad Steve angry with me (with some justification)and have sat absolutely transfixed when Good Steve introduced NeXT at Davies Hall in SF- no one does it better. The author got it right- Steve represents what most of us in business wish we could be and tracks the resurection of this utterly fascinating icon.

    If there were no such thing as Steve Jobs, we would have to invent him...

    Only drawback was the book clearly was not written all at once, there were several very obvious repetitions that good editing should have caught. Minor item- overall very good!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • How to Make Money: The Top Ten Businesses and Business Men of All Time

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Paul Beck
    • Narrated By Michael Larkin
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (25)

    This is how they did it. These are the strategies that built the biggest companies in the world, and made their owners the richest men in the world. Includes sections on Steve Jobs and Apple; Bill Gates and Microsoft; McDonald’s and Ray Croc; Thomas Edison and General Electric; the Coca Cola Company; the Rockefellers and Standard Oil; the Hershey Chocolate Company; Sam Walton and Walmart; Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company and Andrew Carnegie of U.S. Steel.

    Mike Hart says: "interesting treatment"
    "interesting treatment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Paul Beck and/or Michael Larkin?

    First off, I appreciate the book- it covered the backgrounds of ten very interesting companies and the author had many insights that I had missed in my own knowledge about them. I enjoyed listening to the book and feel I learned a lot.

    That being said, the book had some very odd choices made in the way it was written. It is essentially a corporate history book, covering the very unlikely starts to some massive modern brands. But often the author seems to have simply allowed someone to dump a few dozen pages from the corporate website or wiki page into the book. Random acquisitions or forays into odd markets many years after the start of the corporation are chronicled in a way that suggests that it came straight from a corporate press release.

    Fasciniating stories about the companies, such as Coca Cola's efforts during WWII or in their creation of Santa Claus are overshadowed by trivial digressions into later corporate expansions. It felt like padding.

    There was a great deal of data, but very little analysis. The author titled the book about how to make money- but it really isn't about that at all... It is about how to grow a brand. Really fascinating insights looking across all ten brands are ignored- the book had everything it needed, but let it go. For example, of the ten powerful brands, how many of them were started by the actual inventor? How often did the inventor actually benefit from their creation?

    The moment when each of these companies had to "bet the farm" to transform themselves to the next version is a pretty big deal (some of them had to do it many times of course) but the first time is a big deal. How they each dealt with it is deeply instructive.

    The book talks about invention, deals with finance but in the end- it is largely a book about the history of mass marketing. Innovations in some specific product (chocolate, soft drinks, fast food, steel, computers, lighting, retail, cars, gasoline, software) are overshadowed by the brilliant marketing insights of the innovator who grew the business into a global brand.

    Sorry for going on at such length being critical- again, it is a good book. I would LOVE to see the author go back through the book and edit out about 1/4 of the digressions and write a unifying set of themes to go back through the book. All the material is already there.

    The themes could be;

    A great invention does not neccesarily lead to wealth...

    An innovative product must be matched by even greater innovations in marketing...

    Great wealth rarely leads to great happiness, sadly the opposite. In fact- it would appear that to make your impression upon life, you must not allow life to leave its impression upon you...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 28 Business Thinkers Who Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Rhymer Rigby
    • Narrated By Colin Mace
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    28 Business Thinkers Who Changed the World is a guide to the people who have fundamentally reshaped their industries and the way we do business today. Some of these game changers are great intellectuals while others are 'gut instinct' types; some are motivated by desire to change the world, while others are driven by money and power. Rhymer Rigby profiles the top business brains of our time to reveal the humans behind the headlines and how they changed the global business landscape.

    Mike Hart says: "great business thinkers organized poorly"
    "great business thinkers organized poorly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    the chapters!!!! It is 28 stories but whoever organized the book made two poor decisions- one, they insisted on reading the bibliography for each of the 28 stories aloud- this is not a good thing to listen to for anyone! But they then insisted on breaking the 28 stories into 14 chapters. This means that if you are like me and hear the mind-numbing recitation of publication dates and websites for 20 references, you will advance to the next chapter- and only get 14 stories! If you then have to plow to the end of each of the 14 stories and try to fineses the access to the next story- you waste a lot of time and hassle.

    Bad organization!!!! Please either dump the citations or turn it into 28 chapters!


    What did you like best about this story?

    the stories were brief but good


    Do you think 28 Business Thinkers Who Changed the World needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    yes- there are many more


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Variable Star

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson
    • Narrated By Spider Robinson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (411)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (200)

    At his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein left a legacy that almost single-handedly defined modern science fiction. But one of Heinlein's masterpieces was never finished. In 1955, he began work on Variable Star, a powerful and passionate tale of two young lovers driven apart by pride, power, and the vastness of interstellar time and space. Now, the Heinlein estate has authorized award-winning author Spider Robinson to expand his outline into a full-length novel. And the result is vintage Heinlein.

    Michael says: "BRVO!"
    "sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Robert Heinlein and I have read and enjoyed Spider Robinson since Callahan's! I hate writing a negative review, but I just couldn't finish the book. Perhaps I have outgrown the style or something. There was just too much jocularity, exaggeration, over the top situations, I don't know... just too much grinning by the author/reader. I felt like they were winking and nudging me at every sentence until I finally just gave up. Sorry Spider, I really love your work!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sharpe's Triumph: Book II of the Sharpe Series

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (243)

    The paths of treachery lead Sharpe's company to join the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, to take on the Mahratta horde. Sharpe must survive the carnage and live to tell the tale of what will be remembered as one of the greatest battles of the 19th century.

    Don says: "Great story - Poor narration quality"
    "great series!"
    Overall

    Very impressive early work. I had only heard the later versions through Books on Tape and was quite happy to see that Audible has gone back for books 1-6 (well 1 and 2 so far) to complete the story. Good read and wonderful reader!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Flashman and the Tiger

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By George MacDonald Fraser
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Flashman is back! When the memoirs of Sir Harry Flashman, the celebrated Victorian soldier and scoundrel, first came to light 30 years ago, we were introduced to adventures related with verve, dash, and meticulous historical detail. Now come three new episodes in the career of this eminent and disreputable adventurer.

    Michael Burton says: "But I hate Anti-heroes!?"
    "Not quite a Tiger"
    Overall

    I am a huge fan of all things Flashman, I have the entire series in both print and from Books on Tape. This is probably my least favorite book of the series and it is unfortunate that this is the only selection avaialbe from Audible, its not a bad book by any means, it just is not the strongest of the series. David Case IS Flashman- he has done a splendid job with all of the readings. I look forward to the balance of the series being added to the Audible Library! I also acquired this book as a tape from Books on Tape and the tape quality was poor- the Audible version is better.

    Flashman remains my favorite series!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bell Labs: Life in the Crown Jewel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Narain Gehani
    • Narrated By Stow Lovejoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Narain Gehani tells the fascinating story of the transition Bell Labs is undergoing as it adapts to new business conditions. Bell Labs researchers, who once were free to focus on innovation, research excellence, and prizes, now have to worry about business relevance. The culture of lifetime employment is gone and the pendulum has swung from basic to applied research.

    Greg says: "Boring  couldnt finish listening"
    "boring..."
    Overall

    perhaps for an insider this might have been useful, but too much talk about jobs and positioning and not enough about the technology.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2767)
    Performance
    (1325)
    Story
    (1346)

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Connie says: "Enhanced version seems to correct audio defects"
    "The reader groks Jubal"
    Overall

    Very well done. The voice of the reader in conveying Jubal Harshaw was great and added a lot to the story for me. I have read the book many times over the years and it simply doesn't age. This reading of the book was very well done and I enjoyed it very much!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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