In classical Rand fashion, she delivers a controversial rebuttal of societal norms. While I am sympathetic to her point of view, I think the book is mostly word play more than truly presenting a new view of ethics. She spends time redefining selfishness, only to come back and coalesce her view close to what is already the norm in society. For those not versed in Rand the content may seem outrageous and lead to a entertaining listen. For those versed in Rand, it is a primer in the underlying philosophy behind characters such as Howard Roark which was not explicitly discussed in the novel.
Coben's "Six Years" is an irresistible journey. The twists and turns of the novel take you to the height of curiosity, so much you cannot even hit the pause button. While it is not classic literature, or even a classic in its genre, it fits so well to the mystery archetype the shallowness of the underlying plot is never even noticed. The character development is excellent, and relating to them is easy. The narration is apt for this type of fiction, not over delivered as is sometimes the case. Definitely worth a listen, just make sure to juice up your iPod before hitting the play button.
Unraveling is a superb mystery novel for the younger reader. While there are many aspects of the book that are superficial, it certainly hits the mark for its intended audience. It is well written, thoughtful, and entertaining and mixes mystery and scifi in a surprisingly good way. The narration is excellent and is a convincing narration of the novel that is written in the first person. Given my vast experience with mystery and espionage novels it is incredible that it held my interest throughout given the subject matter and less sophisticated mission of the book. Overall it and was a pleasant listen and my expectations were vastly exceeded.
Given the high praise for the novel I was surprised how oriented the book was towards a Catholic vision of the world. While it provides valid insights, the different periods of the story do not allow the listener to have a coherent experience. It is mildly entertaining, and has its moments of intrigue. Overall it is nothing special and certainly not a classical listen or read unless you are one that can really get caught up in the undertones of darkness that could only be saved through redemption by God.
As a huge fan of apocalyptic fiction, I was severely disappointed. The book is written and read as if it is for someone of a 1st grade intellect. The characters are not compelling, and do not build any suspense which would normally be basic in a fiction novel. The author, under the surface, puts into small attempts at proselytizing towards the reader that are annoying. This is certainly not consisten with the genre, and should be avoided if that is your expectation.
The Launch Pad clearly presents the listener with a picture of what it is like to endure the pressure of the Y-Combinator startup process. In more of the style of a newspaper article, the author logs specific events providing insight into the lives of early entrepreneurs. While the book clearly achieves its purpose, it does not provide any stunning revelations or drama. While mundane, it is a worthy read for those interested in taking on a venture in the technology sector.
Debt is a magnificent intellectual history of debt. It clearly disassociates many of the myths common in society about the nature and history of debt. Challenging the predominate default view of capitalism, Graeber provides many good examples of how the state, capitalism, war, and money have interwoven over time to produce modern problems in society. While the book was well sourced and convincing, the author did occasionally dip into political issues, even specific individuals, with really no apparent relation to the core content. Absent this, the book would have received an easy 5 out of 5.
Emotional Intelligence provides a look into how emotion drives everything we do. Those that are able to understand this, and can deal with it, have a larger potential than those with a more pure intellectual outlook on how people behave. Goleman's book does an excellent job of peeling back myths about how rational people are, and challenges the listener to analyze how emotions drive them. It also provides some minimal guidance on understanding other people's emotional behavior.
This book outlines the obvious, but hidden aspects of why teams do not perform at a level that they are capable of. It delves into content that is much deeper than normal, and is not a technique driven instruction booklet. The dysfunctions discussed are profound and the type that nobody likes to discuss. While more specific advice could have been provided, the toughest aspect of using the material would be to get past our own egos and do what is right. I liked that the basis of this material was building trust, as it seems that dealing with any issue openly and honestly has to begin with faith in the relationships among team members.
I know many friends who love the Hitchhiker's Guide. I simply could not get into it. The performance seemed fined, but it seems as those predisposed to the story my like it better.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad used the example of two archetypes to explain the good and bad aspects of managing your finances. Kiyosaki uses these figures to contrasts the good and bad behaviors that are likely to produce financial success. Keep in mind that this is not purely a book about investing or managing your finances. I think it provides a big picture as to how to avoid common misconceptions about what is right and what is wrong in pursuing wealth. It certainly provides an uncommon view of debt, assets, hard work, and business. It is not great at providing specific guidance, and focuses too much on trying to market "financial education" (he sells many other products). Otherwise it is enjoyable with an first class performance.
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