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Kazuhiko

TUXEDO PARK, NY, United States

ratings
126
REVIEWS
35
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
70

  • What It Is Like to Go to War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Karl Marlantes
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (253)

    In 1969, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience.

    Lynn says: "Destined to become a Classic"
    "Recommended for everybody"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do not like wars. They should be obsolete by now. But I know they will be around for some time. So, I need to understand what it is like. This book was amazing. It was educational in so many levels. I am grateful that this author survived the war and the post-war condition/environment to tell us what he went through during and after the war honestly and frankly. Also, the narrator was so natural that I assumed the author was reading this until I checked. I will listen to this again.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Crime and Punishment

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator)
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (285)
    Story
    (285)

    In this intense detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary, Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately "benefit humanity".

    Mubarak says: "Excellent Excellent Excellent!"
    "Great story and outstanding narrator, but"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is no question that Dostoevsky is a great writer. I love it when his characters say outrageous things (more fun than Tolstoy's stories, I think). But the motivation of the murder was not strong enough for me. I liked Brothers Karamazov better.

    The narrator was outstanding. I am giving 4 stars to the narrator rather than 5 only because his voice's dynamic range is so wide (from whispering to yelling) that it was not suitable for listening during my commute, which consists of subway riding and walking through busy streets, even with a good pair of earphones. The narrator's voice got lost in the surrounding noise when he was whispering, but his yelling (during the characters' arguments) got too loud when I was walking through less noisy areas so that I had to be constantly re-adjusting the sound level. After listening to more than a hundred audiobooks, this is the first time I faced this technical problem, not because the narrator was not good but because he was too good! So, if you are a commuter like me, be warned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Helaine Olen
    • Narrated By Lyn Landon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    For the past few decades, Americans have spent billions of dollars on personal finance products. As salaries have stagnated and companies have cut back on benefits, we've taken matters into our own hands, embracing the can-do attitude that if we're smart enough, we can overcome even daunting financial obstacles. But that's not true. In this meticulously reported and shocking audiobook, journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen goes behind the curtain of the personal finance industry to expose the myths, contradictions, and outright lies it has perpetuated.

    Johanna Turner says: "The dark side of my industry"
    "My suspicion about the industry confirmed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I often smelled dishonesty in the personal finance industry ads. This book tells me that the reality is much worse than I had imagined. The author's arguments seem backed by well-researched information and credible, and I could tell that she is honest, as she herself was once a financial columnist. I wished that she could provide some concrete recommendations to fix the problem, but pointing out all the problems is a very good start. The narrator could have done better though - she did not sound she had rehearsed at all. But overall, I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Richard Wiseman
    • Narrated By Peter Noble
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (21)

    Almost a third of your whole life is spent asleep. Night School uncovers the scientific truth about the sleeping brain - and gives powerful tips on how those hours of apparently ‘dead’ time in the dark can transform your waking life.

    Julia says: "One half of a very good book"
    "I now try to sleep longer because of this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't have a problem falling asleep, but I always thought I don't sleep long enough. This book gave me enough information about the danger of not getting sufficient sleep. For example, brains apparently clean up toxins while we sleep. Imagine what happens if we don't sleep enough. This is just one example. Brains do all kinds of other processing tasks that don't happen while we are awake. So, I now trust my brain and let it do what it needs to do, just by sleeping. The book also explains why taking a nap can be so beneficial. The book is full of useful information, and the author has a great sense of humor. The narrator is also excellent. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • After Dark

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Janet Song
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (50)

    Here is a short, sleek novel of encounters, set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami's masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. At its center are two sisters: Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny's toward people whose lives are radically different from her own.

    Jessie-messie-bo-bessie says: "Very enjoyable, but loose ends"
    "A story-seen-through-a-movie-camera kinda approach"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Because I liked "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Kafka on the Shore" so much, it's hard for me to get satisfied as much with his other stories available as audiobooks so far. And I am running out of Murakami's audiobooks. But I do appreciate that Murakami experiments with a different approach every time. In this story, you feel like you are walking with a movie camera to observe a sequence of scenes and characters during one evening (until morning). Because of this format, I wasn't upset that story did not resolve. Nice. Not great, but nice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator)
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (143)

    What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories.

    Darwin8u says: "Hottest Economic Beach Read of the Season"
    "Audio format still useful to get the gist of it"
    Overall
    Performance
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    I agree with the other reviewer who warned that the PDF has 106 pages of figures and tables and that the audio format may not be the best way to "read" this book.

    However, in my case, there is no way for me, who is not an economist or a student, to get through 685 pages (577 pages of main text and figures plus notes, index, etc.) in the hardcover copy just by, uh, reading. While the audiobook's 25 hours is longer than the length of an average audiobook, I got through it in less than 10 days just by listening during my daily commute and chores, and I feel I got the gist of the content. It was interesting enough and, I felt I missed some important aspects of the argument depicted in the figures, so I went out and got a hardcopy and a notebook so that I can even take notes. Yes, this audiobook got me interested in this book.

    An unexpected bonus of this book for me was the author's references to the characters and the financial/societal backdrops of stories by Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac. I did not realize how much I missed and did not comprehend the important nuances of the stories from the 19th centuries world (or 18th or 20th for that matter). We don't usually pay attention to how culture is influenced by the distribution of capital in the society and how that affects day-to-day mood of people in it.

    I noticed that this book has been greatly politicized. But to me, the book simply provides DATA-DRIVEN analyses and recommendations for a fair society.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2857)
    Performance
    (2048)
    Story
    (2053)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Lynn says: "A Rip Snorting Story"
    "The guys who helped shape the data-driven world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Since the advent of the Internet, it was probably a matter of time that the society became more data-driven. But the two founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, definitely pushed this process forward like no other people could. As mentioned in the book, this probably had to do with the fact that both guys happened to be educated in Montessori schools (which encourage students to question the authority and follow one's own quest) earlier in their lives. The book provides a fair assessment of how they evolved as Google became a big company, and yet they tried to retain their original goals. Google tends to be criticized for their invasion of privacies, and I admit that I also always felt nervous about what data they were collecting and how they were using them. But after listening to this book, at least I understand their original intentions and appreciate what they have done to a large extent. I thought the book was a bit too long (nearly 20 hours) - perhaps the author could have delivered the same information with a 2/3 of the length. The narrator was very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Margaret Heffernan
    • Narrated By Margaret Heffernan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (89)

    Margaret Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don't see - not because they're secret or invisible, but because we're willfully blind. A distinguished businesswoman and writer, she examines the phenomenon and traces its imprint in our private and working lives, and within governments and organizations, and asks: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? Why do some people see more than others? And how can we change?

    Lynn says: "Why We Ignore What Is About Us"
    "It took me some willingness to finish listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an important book that everyone should read, but, after I bought it, it took me several months before I finally got around to listen to it because the title, "Willful Blindness", (I thought) also hinted at my own problem of this nature operating in my own life. But the book is not so much about psychological analysis at personal levels but more about how the societal structure (e.g., division of labor) lead to major catastrophes due to willful blindness of those who were suppose to be in charge (yes, I know, I could be causing a catastrophe) . The author goes through many examples of this problem (e.g., Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, etc.).

    Yes, yes, I get it - the author's analyses and observations are convincing, and we need to do something about this type of problem, but it is unlikely that corporate executives or federal officials would read this kind of book. So, we need structural changes (regulations) in society. It is not just those who are at the top - the whole town could be going along with it, in some cases. Thus, the purpose of the book is to raise awareness on this issue.

    I am generally against authors narrating their own books, and this is another example that reinforces my opinion on this. The upside is that you get to hear her frustrations with the nature of the willful blindness in these examples. The downside, to me, was that, of many examples she went through, she was often quoting those whom she researched or interviewed, and sometime I got confused if "I" in the segments was the author or the person whom she was quoting. A professional narrator could have clarified the distinction by using different tones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sense of an Ending: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Richard Morant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (751)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (637)

    Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumor, and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

    Chris Reich says: "Stunning. I'm Guilty. Are You?"
    "A very good book and a great narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some reviewers thought that the plot was not very plausible. I actually thought it was plausible and even realistic. It's just that I did not expect it to turn out that way, which made the story even better. I listened to the last 10 minutes three times because it was just so well written. But even without the ending, I enjoyed every segment of the story. The narrator was also excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James D. Watson
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Roger Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (273)
    Performance
    (236)
    Story
    (236)

    By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.

    A. Lai says: "Fabulous book!"
    "A bit disheartening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    True, his story seems to be very honest account of his version of how things happened leading up to the discovery of the DNA structure. But because of his honest depiction of what he was feeling and thinking at the time, I also learned that this guy is not a likable character (unlike, say, Albert Einstein or Richard Feynman). His depiction of Rosaline Franklin is condescending to say the least (almost character assignation), though he tried to make up for it in the epilogue. It is amazing that he remembered so many details of events, parties, what people said and did and the timelines, which he attributes to his "weekly" letters to his parents (a bit creepy). In the end, I felt sad that a repulsive character like this was behind the great discovery.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Siddhartha

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Hermann Hesse
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (528)
    Performance
    (326)
    Story
    (327)

    Siddhartha is Nobel Prize-winning author Hermann Hesse's most famous and influential work, a novel of self-exploration that will linger in your mind and spirit for a lifetime. A young man, blessed with loving parents and a safe home in a world where want and neglect abound, leaves this haven in search of himself.

    Ramanujam says: "Very Interesting to Listen"
    "Philosophical and yet poetic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is about a man who takes a life-ling journey to find a spiritual truth. While the story takes place in India during the time of the Buddha, and Buddhism idioms are used, this is not about Buddhism at all, I thought. I am not religious or even spiritual, but I enjoyed the book tremendously. The story sounded like one long philosophical poetry.

    While I was listening to this, I had to fight my urge to search the Internet to find out why this German writer (who, as far as I knew, was not a Buddhist) wrote a story that takes place in ancient India. I was glad I didn't. The Publisher's Summary in Audible.com does not mention this, but the last 50 minutes or so of this audiobook is actually an essay by some professor who explains the background where Hesse wrote this book, which made me appreciate the experience even more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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