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Dr A

A reader of biographies, history, and other non-fiction

Wilmington VT | Member Since 2004

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 33 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Janet Groth
    • Narrated By Judith West
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    Thanks to a successful interview with the painfully shy E.B. White, a beautiful, 19-year-old, blue-eyed blonde from the cornfields of Iowa lands a job as a receptionist at The New Yorker. There she stays two decades, becoming general all-around factotum - watching and registering the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, scandalous affairs, failures, triumphs, and tragedies of the eccentric inhabitants of the 18th floor. Though she dreamed of becoming a writer, she never advanced at the magazine.

    gail says: "Reader just isn't right"
    "Rambling & boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a long-time reader of The New Yorker, I ordered this book but found it oddly bloodless, even the lengthy chapter on the loss of the cherry. The author is very intelligent and a great connoisseur of literature, but after three chapters i began t skip, and then deleted this ebook from my ipod.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Lee Billings
    • Narrated By Lee Billings
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    Since its formation nearly five billion years ago, our planet has been the sole living world in a vast and silent universe. Now, Earth's isolation is coming to an end. Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of "exoplanets" orbiting other stars, including some that could be similar to our own world. Studying those distant planets for signs of life will be crucial to understanding life's intricate mysteries right here on Earth. In a firsthand account of this unfolding revolution, Lee Billings draws on interviews with top researchers.

    Dr A says: "Bloated"
    "Bloated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book can be easily reduced to two good essays: "The origin and the future of the Earth" and "A search for planets around stars." Tht's what I took away from this book - but only after listening to endless flourishes, personal profiles of various scientists, etc, etc... This book has substance, but is way too long and unpruned,

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jonah Berger
    • Narrated By Keith Nobbs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (691)
    Performance
    (583)
    Story
    (588)

    Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It's more influential than advertising and far more effective. Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.

    Doug says: "A Primer on Viral & Memorable Marketing"
    "Smart, but painfully verbose"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author’s advice on marketing makes sense, but I found his audiobook a stressful listen, as his endless stories, spelled out in a host petty details really distracted from the message. It would have benefited from a much tighter re-write.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1933)
    Performance
    (727)
    Story
    (744)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "Powerful and energetic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to this audiobook is like going to a gym for language - the author not only tells a fascinating story of language development but also sets a model of writing that is both muscular and refined - English at its best!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1648)
    Performance
    (902)
    Story
    (894)

    Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? Have sex? Smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour?

    Roy says: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know - and More"
    "Spinning out of control"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author gets off to a strong start, describing challenges of space travel for humans but quickly runs out of gas and rambles, rambles, rambles. She has a preocculation with bodily functions - yes, defecating in weightlessness is a challenge, but how many chapters can one carp on this topic. Do I really need to know that the author has no body odor - how relevant is that to space travel? This book just spins and spins, like an untethered austronaut.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tony Hsieh
    • Narrated By Tony Hsieh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2272)
    Performance
    (1338)
    Story
    (1359)

    In this, his first audiobook, Tony Hsieh - the widely admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer -explains how he created a unique culture and commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success.

    Ben says: "Do one thing exceptionally"
    "Three unanswered questions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tony Hsieh is a very smart and very rich man. As an occasional customer of Zappos, I decided to read his book. His focus on quality and building a corporate culture made sense, but in the end I was left with three puzzles:

    • His writing is extremely opaque. Any people he mentions are like cardboard figures – father, mother, partner – he never tells anything personal about any person. Once in the book he mentions “my significant other” but nothing who that person might be and what they are like. Seems friendly but tells you nothing
    • In describing the sale of Zappos to Amazon he says that announcing a 40% bonus to employees let to a mass celebration by people who would now be able to take their kids to Disneyland or afford a medical procedure. Hello, Mr Benefactor of Humanity and the carrier of happiness – what about health insurance and pay levels? People who work for you have to wait for a once-in-a-decade bonus to afford medical care?
    • The bonus chapter in the audiobook contained a long interview. While advertised as spontaneous, major chunks of it were word-for-word repeats of the book, creating an impression that the author has a script that he keeps repeating as he crafts his public image.

    Something in that whole story did not fit. While I do not regret having read this book, I’m left puzzled…

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (94)

    Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have pioneered the use of randomized control trials in development economics. Work based on these principles, supervised by the Poverty Action Lab, is being carried out in dozens of countries. Drawing on this and their 15 years of research from Chile to India, Kenya to Indonesia, they have identified wholly new aspects of the behavior of poor people, their needs, and the way that aid or financial investment can affect their lives. Their work defies certain presumptions: that microfinance is a cure-all, that schooling equals learning....

    D. Martin says: "Excellent for non-economists"
    "Poor Listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having grown up surrounded by many poor people and having worked with many of them early in my career, i picked up this book after seeing it recommended by The Economist. After the first few chapters I began skipping forward. I mean this book would be good for someone professionally interested in poverty, but for a regular listener - I kept thinking this would have made a great article in The Wall Street Journal, but do I really need all those details of all those different studies...

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934 - 1961

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Paul Hendrickson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (36)

    An award-winning historian and author, Paul Hendrickson here turns his attention to one of America’s most cherished literary icons, Ernest Hemingway. Drawing on previously unpublished material, Hendrickson focuses on Hemingway’s life in its twilight, just prior to his suicide, and the seemingly singular constant in the man’s life: his boat, Pilar. On this vessel, Hemingway would entertain and travel, but it would also be the scene of some of his greatest tragedies.

    Sonoma says: "He manges to make Hemmingway boring"
    "Made me sea-sick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a life-long Hemingway fan, but this author, in the words of an earlier reviewer, 'manages to make Hemingway boring.' Descibes every meaningless detail of any person who ran into Hemingway - that's irrelevant... e-n-d-l-e-s-s ... soooooo long

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (674)
    Performance
    (546)
    Story
    (549)

    More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

    Amazon Customer says: "fasinating new perspective on history"
    "Around the World One and a Half Times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading this author’s 1491 – a book on pre-Columbian America – I downloaded an unabridged audio of this volume. Again – a fascinating story of the world becoming intertwined, with people, plants and germs moving from one continent to another, with massive consequences for everyone involved and their descendants. Again – an utter lack of author’s self-control as he goes off on one tangent after another. Some of those digressions are quite interesting, for the example a long one on the Irish potato famine, but hey! – it was over 300 years after Columbus. Your book is not called ‘interesting stories I’ve heard that pop into my mind.’

    To me, a great example of a book of this genre is The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding. Robert Hughes moved his story forward at a good clip, with multiple vignettes quickly returning to the main channel. He pulled it off beautifully, while this author did not. I still recommend his book, just do not get it on audio because with a regular book it is easier to skip its huge number of irrelevant bits.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Collins
    • Narrated By Jim Collins
    Overall
    (1991)
    Performance
    (1290)
    Story
    (1283)

    Built To Last, the defining management study of the 90s, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about companies that are not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

    Anaxamaxan says: "Good info, over-the-top narration"
    "Loud and vulgar, with thin contents"
    Overall

    The author is a fantastic salesman of his own company, but listening to this audiobook soon begins to feel like running into a supercharged salesman at a department store. After he sells you a shirt, a suit and a tie he does not stop – talking, talking, talking, selling, selling, selling. The contents of the book is quite thin. The author mentions a study of a statistically insignificant number of companies – never tell you any details, but tries to make it sound like he has the secret of success. Right! His reading, engaging at first, quickly becomes tiresome, loud, and annoying. Grades: salesmanship A+, contents C-, style D.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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