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Abdur Abdul-Malik

Sacramento, CA USA | Member Since 2009

ratings
164
REVIEWS
12
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
105

  • The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By David Kirkpatrick
    • Narrated By David Kirkpatrick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (525)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (215)

    In little more than half a decade, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects, even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.

    Kenneth says: "Great history, poor analysis. TERRIBLE recording."
    "Good Info, But Take With A Grain of Salt"
    Overall

    This book is well written and gives a rounded history of the company. However, as has been noted by other reviewers, Kilpatrick may be a little too close to Zuckerberg to assess him objectively. This book is essentially an "official" history of Facebook.


    And, yes, Kilpatrick should NOT have narrated his own book. He needs to know you're not supposed to sniff, breathe loudly, or cough when doing a professional narration. I think he states in the appended interview by Randi Zuckerberg that he only spent a day or two recording the book. Go with a pro next time...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (110)

    Robert A. Caro's life of Lyndon Johnson continues - one of the richest, most intensive, and most revealing examinations ever undertaken of an American President. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer/historian carries Johnson through his service in World War II and the foundation of his long-concealed fortune and the facts behind the myths he created about it. But the explosive heart of the book is Caro's revelation of the true story of the fiercely contested 1948 senatorial election.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: ""If You Do Everything, You'll Win""
    ""If You Do Everything, You'll Win""
    Overall
    Performance
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    The second installment of Robert Caro's "The Years of Lyndon Johnson" is, in essence, an exposé.

    Robert Caro's almost singular focus on LBJ--he has spent over 40 years chronicling events of the 36th president's life--has resulted in Robert Caro himself becoming part of the story. He has been accused of bias and thinly veiled contempt, for going out of his way to make his subject a caricature and a spectacle for his readers. While I do not agree with such assessments, this volume is Exhibit A for Johnson apologists who prefer to view the 36th president through rose-colored glasses.

    Caro is very careful to document Johnson’s monumental impact on the body politic and recognizes that he is a seminal figure in American history. There are noble achievements that are diligently fleshed out and contextualized for the reader in order for their remarkability to be noted. In the first volume (The Path to Power) he shows how Johnson transformed the lives of poor farmers in the Texas hill country by means of rural electrification. In the third volume (Master of the Senate-broken up into three volumes here on Audible) he shows how Johnson tamed the nearly ungovernable Senate to have the first civil rights legislation passed in nearly a century at that time. In the fourth volume he shows how Johnson was the one who made Kennedy’s idealism begin to have concrete legislative movement once the presidency devolved to him and he occupied the oval office. However, Caro freely admits to the reader in the second volume that the complex alternation of light and dark is not present during this segment of Johnson’s life. It’s all dark.

    This volume is a story of Johnson’s time in the military (Johnson saw one day of actual combat and only as an observer); how Johnson used political influence to amass an immense fortune (when Johnson became president he may have been the richest man to do so up to that point); and how Johnson won the democratic primary for the open senate seat in 1948. In a one-party state as Texas was at that time, winning the primary was tantamount to winning the election. (I leave it to the listener to find out how he did that.) And, sadly, Johnson’s treatment of his wife, Lady Bird, is on full display here and will make the listener wince--often.

    All that being said, this volume is so funny in spots I needed a tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes. There is a reason Caro has devoted most of his professional life writing about Lyndon Baines Johnson: he is a complex man, a larger-than-life figure, a man with an indomitable will to power, a man who wanted the presidency his entire life, a man who said, “If you do everything, you’ll win” and DID do everything. The roman orator Cicero wrote that no immoral act can be expedient. Johnson did NOT read Cicero…

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Famous Greeks

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Join Professor Fears for this riveting 24-lecture examination of fascinating figures who shaped the story of Greece from the Trojan War through the rise of Rome. What do their lives, studied in the context of their times, tell us about virtue and vice, folly and wisdom, success and failure? Inspired and informed by the monumental works of Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch, these lectures allow you to do exactly that, guided by a truly great teacher.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "Fine Introduction"
    "Fine Introduction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Professor Fears does a fine job bringing to life the world of ancient Greece and illuminating the ideas, philosophies, and motives of some of the towering figures of ancient Greek history. Pericles, Socrates, Plutarch, Thucydides, Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus, and Cleopatra are discussed among others. I was a bit bummed that Alexander the Great was only given one full lecture. The final lecture on Cleopatra was very interesting. I have been studying Roman history for years and found new material about Mark Anthony.

    This course is overshadowed a bit by his "Famous Romans" course, but I don't think that is the professor's fault. Rome was vast, integrated (more or less) and operated on a time scale of centuries. It's stories are bound to be a bit more gripping and fascinating.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Famous Romans

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    These 24 lectures retell the lives of the remarkable individuals - the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers -who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture. Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "Captivating Biography"
    "Captivating Biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Hands down one of the most thrilling historical courses I've ever listened to. The description of the Second Punic War makes me wonder why Hollywood hasn't tackled it yet. The war with Hannibal shows just how close Rome came to being eradicated. Had Hannibal fully pressed his advantages Rome may have been a historical footnote and we'd all be speaking a Phoenician derivative.

    The sections on Julius Caesar were also extremely well done. The course ends with the philosopher King, Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "Five Good Emperors". His decision regarding succession is given a strong rebuke by Professor Fears.

    The first lecture is done in a style a little different from the rest, so let the course build up. Once Hannibal starts crossing those Alps, you'll be hooked!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Robert A. Caro
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (815)
    Performance
    (667)
    Story
    (663)

    The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "From Powerful to Powerless"
    "From Powerful to Powerless"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The fourth installment of Robert Caro's majestic and sweeping biography of LBJ is a mammoth achievement and ranks favorably with all prior installments.

    I stumbled onto the series a couple of years ago after seeing Robert Caro on a television program and began my exploration of the series with "Master of the Senate." Since the first two installments have not been made into audio books yet, I purchased "The Path to Power" & "Means of Ascent" on my Kindle and found both to be riveting.

    For those of you who have gone thorough the entire series as I have, you know that LBJ's life contained periodic reversals. This installment chronicles the 3 years he spent in the most desolate wilderness of them all: The vice presidency.

    Daniel Webster is reported to have said when the Whig Party offered him the chance to be vice president, "I do not propose to be buried until I am dead." LBJ???after he bungled securing the 1960 nomination and JFK mopped the floor with him???made a different calculation; to friends who wondered why on earth he would trade the second most powerful post in the land (senate majority leader) for the vice presidency he said, "seven of them got to be president without even being elected."

    For 3 years LBJ was ignored, insulted, and treated with thinly veiled contempt by the Kennedy group???particularly by Robert F. Kennedy who DETESTED Lyndon Johnson. Newspaper headlines began asking, "Whatever Happened to LBJ?" His genius for legislation went untapped and Kennedy's domestic program was floundering.

    Then it happened...

    Half the book covers a roughly 7 week period of time. The coverage of the assassination is the summit of "history as thriller" and finds few if any equals.

    For conspiracy theory buffs, sorry, but Caro does not give credence to the idea LBJ was involved. Caro has chronicled just about every fault Johnson has from the megalomaniacal to the scatological, but murder isn't one of them.

    Grover Gardner, as another reviewer already mentioned, was the only possible choice for this book. He lends it his usual gravity and precision. Why Caro hasn't contracted him to record the first two books in the series, I don't know. "Means of Ascent" was so funny in places I needed a tissue by my side to wipe the tears.

    Caro's penchant for exhaustive research has meant that he has taken over 35 years to produce four books. The man is now 75 and he still has all of Johnson's election and Vietnam to cover. Let's hope his health holds out and he finishes the job.

    40 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers for Algernon

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Daniel Keyes
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1372)
    Performance
    (1115)
    Story
    (1125)

    Charlie Gordon knows that he isn't very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie's brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon.

    FanB14 says: "Phenomenal Classic"
    "Don't Even Debate It, Just Click "Add to Cart""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The story and narration were superb and the plot was engrossing. After listening to about 60+ nonfiction books I have started to dip my toes into fiction--particularly science fiction. I remember listening to a classmate give a review of this book in a high school English class and decided to use one of the 'ol two credits on this one. Smart decision. Even though I knew the ending before I hit the play button, the journey--as any good book reveals--is more important that mere facts.

    The ending will hit you.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Amy Chua
    • Narrated By Amy Chua
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (660)
    Performance
    (395)
    Story
    (399)

    All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.

    Diana - Audible says: "Surprisingly touching (and well-read)"
    "Ignore the Noise, Every Parent Should Read This"
    Overall

    Amy Chua has come under a lot of fire for this book. I think most of the people decrying her as an abusive parent are basing their claims on the distorted synopsis done by The Wall Street journal article "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." (The title wasn't Chua's choice.)

    This book is written with a lot of humor and brutal honesty. It gives the reader much to think about. I don't agree with everything Chua says and definitely feel she could have dialed it back a bit, but she raises important issues every parent must face. Every kid has 24 hours each day to use, should they use it texting for 4 hours a day? Watching TV for 6 hours? Playing stupid Facebook games for hours on end? Blasting enemy soldiers into gobs of goo on their Playstation 3s or Xboxes?

    While there is a lot of space between letting your kid be a "typical" American and being a Tiger Mother, the USA's dismal education record says more parents need to be as engaged as Amy Chua.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Ides: Caesar’s Murder and the War for Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Stephen Dando-Collins
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most notorious murders in history. Even now, many questions remain about his death: Was Brutus the hero and Caesar the villain? Was Mark Antony aware of the plot? Using historical evidence to sort out these and other puzzling issues, historian and award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins recaptures the drama of Caesar's demise and the chaotic aftermath as the vicious struggle unfolded for power between Antony and Octavian.

    Garcia says: "Not Good History"
    "Excellent Historical Survey"
    Overall

    This title came to my attention while listening to the excellent podcast, "The History of Rome." This is a fine & concise primer that gives the listener an overview of the issues & men surrounding Caesar's assasination. It is rich in facts & tidbits and I learned much that I hadn't heard or read before. The author spends a lot of time leading his listeners to that fateful day in March, but then seems to rush a bit towards the end as he reports on the fate of the participants in the murder. After listening to this book I suggest you then download, "Augustus: The Life of the First Emperor."

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Paul Greenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (147)

    Our relationship with the ocean is undergoing a profound transformation. Just three decades ago nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex and confusing marketplace.

    Dan says: "Great listen"
    "Provocative Look Into the Future of Fish"
    Overall

    This book provides a well-researched and well-rounded look at the state of fishing by examining four principal edible fish. This is NOT an environmental screed that says we should all be vegetarians and leave the ocean alone; rather it is a sensible, sober look at the ocean's problems and what the practical solutions are.


    The narrator is PERFECT. In some audible books I feel the narrators try a little too hard to do other voices and accents, but this narrator nails it. When you get to the section on Tuna and hear the 9/11 anecdote, you'll fully appreciate this narrator's range.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Randall E. Stross
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    The first inside account of life within a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, eBoys is the fascinating true story of the six tall men who backed eBay, Webvan, and other billion-dollar start-ups that are transforming the Internet and setting a new pace for the economy - an audible.com audio exclusive!

    Sean says: "Entertaining but misinformed"
    "Strong Language Alert"
    Overall

    This is a fascinating book but it contains numerous sections of densely packed profanity. I know there are two schools of thought on this, to include crude profanity or not to. However, I found the straightforward reporting (sans the macho quotes from overamped venture capitalists) to be engrossing. But hearing an F-bomb every few minutes was too jarring and I reluctantly had to abandon ship.

    This book is not safe to listen to with kids in the car with you...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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