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Michael

NAPERVILLE, IL, United States | Member Since 2005

97
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 412 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Dr. Stephen Leeb, Glen Strathy
    • Narrated By Brian Emerson
    Overall
    (579)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (46)

    In The Coming Economic Collapse, Dr. Leeb shows that the U.S. economy is standing on the brink of the biggest crisis in history.

    As the fast-growing economies of China and India push global demand for oil beyond production capacity, Americans will experience a permanent energy shortfall far worse than the one in the 1970s. The result will be severe financial hardship for most people, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for investors to become incredibly rich.

    This is an urgent call-to-arms to avert an all-but-certain catastrophe and a survival kit for an era that offers us only two financial choices: poverty or wealth.

    Christopher says: "Interesting but painful."
    "Crisis explained"
    Overall

    A thoughtful approach to the explanation as to why oil will be in short supply and how the world will react to it. According to the author, the coming oil crisis will not be a temporary blip like that of the 1970s...this one will be ongoing and life altering.

    I particularly liked, this example highlighting the urgency for finding an new energy source. Think of a granary. Your neighbor owns it. You get all your food from them. You know that the silo is never able to be filled. More is going out than going in. You know they will run out at some point. Wouldn't you look for another source of food? Now imagine the neighbor does not like your family. Wouldn't looking for another source of food be a top priority? This put it in perspective for me.

    As for how to make money in this crisis...well that's one man's opinion. I'm not an expert in investments but I'll be monitoring his choices.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Statues That Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Terry Hunt, Carl Lipo
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (213)

    The monumental statues of Easter Island, both so magisterial and so forlorn, gazing out in their imposing rows over the island’s barren landscape, have been the source of great mystery ever since the island was first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1722. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast expanse of the Pacific islands, have built such monumental works?

    C. Telfair says: "Love Those Mysterious Islands!"
    "No More Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Easter Island was always a mysterious place I've wanted to see. Now that I'm getting older, it is officially a bucket list item. While still an exotic destination, this book has taken all the mystery away. Everything (the statues, the people, the deforestation) solved. Great to read about and glad to finally have answers but while all very interesting it lessens the appeal of one of my favorite places. A little mystery is good.

    I don't have too much to say on this one without spoiling it, so I will sum it up with a quote from Commander Barclay of the HMS Topaz from the book. It is regarding the consequence of Europeans arriving on the shores of Easter Island.

    "It is a sad fact that in these islands as in North America, wherever the white man establishes himself, the aborigines perish."

    No matter how benign their intent, makes me wonder what would happen to us should aliens ever come to Earth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10064)
    Performance
    (9366)
    Story
    (9369)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Travis says: "ADD TO CART, POWER UP +10000"
    "Miss the characters already"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like books that leave you with that bittersweet ending - glad to have reached the end but sad to know you’ll be leaving the characters you love behind - this one is for you.

    I loved this book! The references to the 80’s were fun and brought back some great memories from my earlier years. This is one of those few books that I thought about constantly when I was not listening to Wil Wheaton reading to me. I could not wait to commute to and from work. I could not wait to do my chores around the house. I could not wait to get back to this book. Even though I don’t listen to audiobooks before bed (I prefer to just read at that time), I would still find my last thoughts of the day drifting to the characters in this book rather than the typical stresses of everyday living.

    This was my first experience with Wil Wheaton as a narrator and I was very impressed. I would highly recommend him as he is now one of my favorite readers.

    Great story, great nostalgia, and great narration all add up to a great feel good story – yet I’m sad to have finished it. :-(

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3782)
    Performance
    (3256)
    Story
    (3229)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an affirmation! While listening to this book, I was constantly reminded of Al Franken’s Saturday Night Live character, Stuart Smalley, and his mantra, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Well, those who understand me do. Full disclosure, according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I’m an ISFJ.

    There were so many points of affirmation for me—things I intuitively knew. Things I’ve tried to share with others mostly to no avail. This book supplies all the data I need to support my case. Unfortunately, I don’t think the people who need to read/listen this book (extroverts) will.

    The book is not an “introverts are superior” diatribe but rather an explanation of how we can leverage personality types most effectively. There is no right or best personality type but like life in general, we need to understand each other for more harmonious relationships. Whether these relationships are family, work, or social, applications of understanding are documented throughout the book.

    There was one example in the book that hit particularly close to home. Although SAT or IQ scores do not support it, people who talk more are perceived as leaders. And, which personality type talks more? Extroverts. Now, assume that both extroverts and introverts have an equal amount of good ideas. Who is going to get their way more? Extroverts. This could be dangerous because they’re going to get their way more meaning that many of their bad ideas are also going to be implemented.

    Oh, another thing I intuitively knew but now have support for is brainstorming sessions. Studies show the larger the number of people involved in a session, the less effective they are. A 9-member group is less effective than a 6-member group which is less than effective than a 4-member group which is less effective than a 2-member group. The suggestion is to conduct brainstorming sessions electronically. Collect comments and then share them anonymously and build from there. One of the reasons is that most introverts are better writers than speakers.

    Other examples from the business world give tips for how both introverted and extroverted leaders can best work with their subordinates of each type. Take advantage of each of their strengths. Such as how studies show that introverts “inspect” and extroverts “react”. Neither adjective should be taken as derogatory but instead as strengths. Allow introverts time to examine and solve. Studies show they are more persistent trying to solve unsolvable problems. The famous introvert, Albert Einstein said, “It is not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” My hero.

    A final word on the narration—fantastic. Please listen to rather than read this book. Kathe Mazur does a perfect narration in a “Quiet”, calm, soothing voice. Very appropriate “in a noisy world that can’t stop talking”.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Symbol

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8841)
    Performance
    (3072)
    Story
    (3147)

    Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol. Within minutes of his arrival, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object is discovered in the Capitol Building. The object is an ancient invitation, meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. And when Langdon's mentor is kidnapped, Langdon's only hope of saving him is to accept this invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

    Frank says: "Not his best"
    "Don't understand haters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don’t get all the haters of the Dan Brown books. Are you really going in with the expectation that these books are going to be award-winning, works of art? If so, do you critique every book you read with that same expectation? It would be a pity if you did.

    Like movies, I don’t expect every one I watch to be an Academy Award winner. If I did, that would certainly narrow the number of films I’d see. No, I go to be entertained (whatever that may mean on any particular day). That’s the way I look at the books I read, particularly fiction and I think Dan Brown’s books are very entertaining. They are a fictional escape.

    We’ve all seen the stats that show how few books Americans are reading these days (present company excluded) and I think these types of books are an excellent way to get the masses to pick up, read, listen and get back involved in books. That’s what it is all about…like starting children with books from an early age, once they’re in, who knows where it can lead them. I want more of my friends to read books and if this is the hook, then I’m happy to bait it and reel them in.

    My personal opinion of the Lost Symbol was that I liked it, but after reading all his other books I found this one more predictable. Still it was entertaining and I recommend it. I think many others will enjoy it as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Ever since its "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" commercials from the 1970s, Coca-Cola has billed itself as the world's beverage, uniting all colors and cultures in a mutual love of its caramel-sweet sugar water. The formula has worked incredibly well, making it one of the most profitable companies on the planet and Coca-Cola the world's second-most-recognized word after hello.

    Michael says: "Say it ain't so"
    "Say it ain't so"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’ve read the anti-Coke reviews of this book and went in with the sneaky suspicion that the author had an agenda and I began reading with that understanding. I believe anyone could pick any company and write a book about them in a similar style.

    I have to say as a marketing researcher myself, I found the history of the company extremely compelling and appreciate their marketing and branding from their earliest days. I found it clever the way they thought to get people to drink more Coke. . . bigger bottles. Seems so simple now but back then it was an innovation and now look at the sizes of the sodas we drink today--Big Gulps, Super Big Gulps, etc. It is reminiscent of how toothpaste manufactures got people to use more toothpaste. Think about it, how do you do that? Bigger holes in the tubes! Marketing genius.

    So while I enjoyed all of that, I have to say I—with relief, ultimately agree with my fellow Goodreaders and can sum this up by saying, Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Coke (or any soda for that matter) drinkers for which there are many reasons. The first being health. I still cannot believe that researchers cannot definitively prove there is nothing more than correlation (not causation) between high fructose corn syrup and obesity and/or diabetes. In my mind, the stuff is poison and it is in everything.

    Second, I now feel they abuse marketing and show little ethics in this regard. Research shows that infants begin to recognize brands between 6 and 18 months of age. By age 3, children begin requesting brands. Coke manipulates this to their advantage through such marketing campaigns as the cute polar bears and Santa. For the 12 and under cohort, they target such shows as Spongebob Squarepants and for the teen group, they use product placement on shows such as American Idol as well as targeted advertising. While believing in capitalism and the goal of being an industry leader, you must do it responsibly. I don’t think that Coke does this.

    Then there are the Coke wars in Mexico and Colombia. We exploit these markets by manufacturing our Coke there where the people become obese through drinking it as Coke drains their water supplies leaving little clean water to drink. The result is the population has to drink the cheap alternative Coke as a water substitute. Coke also overlooks union battles in these countries. These battles ultimately lead to murder in many cases for which Coke assumes no responsibility. Ironically, these two countries ship us their “Coke” but in powered form (cocaine). While one is legal and the other not, the result is unhealthy for all.

    It kills me to believe this about one of my favorite brands. While I don’t think I can boycott their products as they are just too ubiquitous, I will severely limit my use of them in my household. C’mon Coke to what’s right and become a good corporate citizen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Abigail Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Woody Holton
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (37)

    Abigail Adams offers a fresh perspective on the famous events of Adams's life, and along the way, Woody Holton, a renowned historian of the American Revolution, takes on numerous myths about the men and women of the founding era. But the book also demonstrates that domestic dramas---from unplanned pregnancies to untimely deaths---could be just as heartbreaking, significant, and inspiring as the actions of statesmen and soldiers.

    Michael says: "A Remarkable Woman"
    "A Life Well Lived"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fantastic book...especially if you've read/listened to John Adams. I have to comment once again on the remarkable and mellifluous voice of Cassandra Campbell. As soon as I noticed she was the reader I was in. I highly recommend that you look for her.

    Anyway, Abigail Adams. What an amazing woman she was. This book presents the other side of the the John Adams story. How she coped and ran the family during his extended absenses as a career public servant.

    Anyway, Abigail Adams. What an amazing woman she was. This book presents the other side of the the John Adams story. How she coped and ran the family during his extended absenses as a career public servant.

    It was interesting to learn how archaic society's view of women was during that time and how she struggled for her own identity within those constraints.

    From John Adams and hearing about the love letters they wrote, I had the impression that life between the two was all lovey-dovey but it really wasn't according to this. Additionally, the book details the sensitive perspective of the family trials and tribulations as they relate to family relationships. From John Adams, I knew of the key personal tragedies but they were told from John's male perspective. Not that any of the events were less painful to him but they were written with less emotion that a female does (we're just wired different).

    I was most impressed with Abigail's financial savvy and contribution to the family's wealth through investing and her own business. This woman could do it all...and she did!

    Remarkable...a life well lived.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Annie Jacobsen
    • Narrated By Annie Jacobsen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1404)
    Performance
    (973)
    Story
    (981)

    Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.

    A User says: "Reality, always more interesting than fiction."
    "A great biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not what I thought it would be???but still surprisingly better!

    I had anticipated a book about UFOs and the secret testing and/or cover up of alien beings. Instead this is basically a biography of Area 51 and its environs. Well researched and documented with people who were willing to talk to set the record straight about what happens there. Some of it more mundane and some scary, but all very interesting.

    The stories told are compelling and the narration by the author, professional. It made for a highly interesting and entertaining book. An amazing biography that I highly recommend for UFO buffs and those interested in history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beat the Band

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Don Calame
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Cooper Redmond has only one thing on his mind: tagging as many bases as possible by the end of sophomore year. He’s already picked out a prime target: the divine Prudence Nash, whose sexy serpent tattoo haunts his dreams. But when Coop is paired with the infamous “Hot Dog” Helen for a semester-long Health project on safe sex, his hopes of making it to the Majors are suddenly DOA. It’s going to take something seriously epic to resuscitate his reputation.

    CRISTY says: "I "Arnold Murphy Bologna Dare" you not to love it!"
    "Arnold Murphy's Bologna Dare"
    Overall

    An outstanding sequel to Swim the Fly! Like the Harry Potter characters, I loved reconnecting with these fellows and their exploits. Nick Podehl's narration is outstanding and those character voices will be forever ingrained in my head. Should there be another in this series, Nick Podehl better do the narration.

    Swim the Fly was written from the perspective of Matt, who is one of the three boys whose exploits we hilariously follow. It is in this character's voice that the author/narrator tells the story.

    Beat the Band, is from the perspective of Coop and therefore it is in Coop's voice the story is told. I don't ever recall this character perspective switch in any series I've previously read. It was initially a surprise since the first book had me loving the Matt character. His switch to a supporting character in this book took a little getting used to as it was so unexpected. It was this unique perspective switch that helped spark even more interest in this book and I quickly came to like Coop just as much.

    There is one major character left, Sean. I sincerely hope the author has at least one more story in him regarding this series. I would love to read/listen to another from Sean's perspective so that I may love each of the characters equally.

    Again, like Swim the Fly this was laugh-out-loud, young male adolescent humor which is just my speed but this time with a touch of seriousness and sincerity. I loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Swim the Fly

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Don Calame
    • Narrated By Nick Podehl
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Sean and Coop, always set themselves a summer-time goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time. As far as Matt is concerned, they’d have better luck finding the lost city of Atlantis. But seeing a girl in the buff starts to seem like child’s play compared to the other summertime goal Matt sets for himself: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) in order to impress Kelly West, the hot new girl.

    CRISTY says: "Kept me laughing throughout!"
    "Good times. . . good times"
    Overall

    Hysterically funny male adolescent humor which is just my speed. I may have said a book or two made me laugh out loud but I think it was actually laughing in my mind. This was seriously verbally laugh out loud. The story of three friends and their summer goal to see a naked woman. The plans they hatch and their foibles, along with their interpersonal relationships bring me back to my youth of that time with my friends. Good times. I only wish we set such lofty goals.

    Guys will love it for that reason and women, if they can take the potty humor, will have real insight into being a young teenage male.

    I've immediately started his second book with these characters and am equally impressed thus far. LOL, really. I'm not kidding, you butt-wipes :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moonwalking with Einstein

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Joshua Foer
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1468)
    Performance
    (992)
    Story
    (985)

    Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives. On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget.

    Christopher says: "Got the Ball Rolling"
    "Historically proven methods that work"
    Overall

    I love his style of writing...fun and chatty. Nice introductory chapters and a technique I learned while listening on the train (for half an hour) that allowed me to come home and impress my kids by having them write down a 50-digit number and then me recalling it digit-by-digit in order for them after studying it for 10 minutes.

    I never thought about it before, but the book points out that before pen and paper, anything that needed to be preserved had to be memorized. That is why so many of the techniques mentioned in the book are from antiquity and continue to stand the test of time.

    The mind likes sequential memories. Memories that are stored as part of a story that are made as multi-sensorial in the mind as possible are easily recalled. After finishing the book and applying some of the techniques, I can attest to the fact that my mind does operate in this fashion. Once a memory association is started vast amounts of information can be easily stored and retrieved. It is like knocking over the first domino in a series. They just lead into the next thought, which leads into the next. I was amazed how effortless it becomes once you get going.

    The book also chronicles the author???s story of covering both the U.S. and world memory championships as a journalist that ultimately led to his own appearance in the tournament one year later. No spoilers here regarding how he did.

    His story, the history of memory, and how to apply some of these memory methods make for an enjoyable book with practical applications in your daily life. I have been inspired to see how big of a memory athlete I too can become. Highly recommend.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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