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G Barth

Cambridge, MA, United States | Member Since 2000

78
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 531 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By James Surowiecki
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (817)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (160)

    In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

    G Barth says: "Very worthwhile listen!"
    "Very worthwhile listen!"
    Overall

    This audiobook delivers what it promises and then some. James S. starts out with a provocative premise about WISE crowds (honestly, don't we think that most crowds are uninformed, crazy, act like sheep, etc...) and delivers detailed, deep examples of how, darn it, crowds ARE smart given some broad and sensible conditions. But this audiobook touches on much more than crowd psychology: economics, statistics, business, politics, science, history, sports. The range is impressive and endlessly fascinating. Good narration, extremely interesting, I have returned to parts of this audiobook more than once!

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Dropped Names: Famous Men and Women As I Knew Them

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Frank Langella
    • Narrated By Frank Langella
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (151)

    Captured forever in a unique memoir, Frank Langella's myriad encounters with some of the past century's most famous human beings are profoundly affecting, funny, wicked, sometimes shocking, and utterly irresistible. With sharp wit and a perceptive eye, Mr. Langella takes us with him into the private worlds and privileged lives of movie stars, presidents, royalty, literary lions, the social elite, and the greats of the Broadway stage.

    Kathy says: "Delightful"
    "Good Dishing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Langella is a masterful narrator, to be expected of an actor I suppose, but still this is first rate. The writing is clever and smart and, necessarily, catty, mean, score-settling but...revealing of the actors craft: skill, rehearsals, the ruined family life, the travel, the rarified circle of friends and acquaintances. And the detailed memories of well-know people! This audiobook doesn't sound like People magazine, more like Insecure People magazine. George C. Scott, Liz Taylor, Paul Newman mix pathos with talent. Langella spares no one and certainly not himself. He sounds like he was a horse's ass of a young talent. Richard Burton comes off as a total ass no matter his age. Loved this audiobook.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rabbit, Run

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Updike
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (124)

    Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back....

    J. Kovler says: "A Thinking Man's Novel"
    "Wow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A devastating, blistering, painful and brutal tragedy. A train wreck of a main character who blithely bruises and ruins the lives of those he touches as he stumbles like an oaf through adulthood no more aware of his impact than a blind bull. A cutting look at men, marriage and meaning --- pretty timeless in its tale and painful to listen to. Superb narration. An unforgettable book that haunts me long afterward. One of the best Audible listens. I could not stop listening and looked forward to this book like few others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2252)
    Performance
    (1636)
    Story
    (1632)

    The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....

    Patrick says: "compelling father-daughter story"
    "Connecting the Dots"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of friends recommended this book. For me, a mixed bag: narrator was over dramatic even for a book of such dramatic events. Despite evidence of class bias, anti-Semitism, politics and business interests, it still it not clear exactly why the US was so reluctant, blind or naive to Hitler's Nazi advance. Ambassador Dodd, a true student of history, could not come to terms with the facts before him until late in his tenure. In the end, a frustrating book and one that certainly marks the US and its allies as fools or, at worse, complicit in the advance of Nazis. What is stunning is how much murder and horror was afoot as early as 1934, many years before the US was directly involved in the fight. Dodd's daughter slept her way through the men of the early Reich and it is her story that is really..a story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nancy Wake

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Peter FitzSimons
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    Overall
    (398)
    Performance
    (323)
    Story
    (319)

    In the early 1930s, Nancy Wake was a young woman enjoying a bohemian life in Paris. By the end of the Second World War, she was the Gestapo's most wanted person. As a naive, young journalist, Nancy Wake witnessed a horrific scene of Nazi violence in a Viennese street. From that moment, she declared that she would do everything in her power to rid Europe of the Nazis. What began as a courier job here and there became a highly successful escape network for Allied soldiers.

    Simone says: "Who The "BLEEP" is Nancy Wake??"
    "Amazing woman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a remarkable story of courage and grit in WW2. Nancy Wake is, or was, a real war hero. The audiobook is fair...maybe 20% too long, but that is a problem with the book. Not especially well written. The narration was about average. It was another time--an individual like this could really make a difference. Yes, these people really did exist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Desperate Networks

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Bill Carter
    • Narrated By Dean Olsher
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In a time of sweeping media change, the four major networks struggle for the attention of American viewers increasingly distracted by cable, video games, and the Internet. Behind boardroom doors, tempers flare in the search for hit shows, which often get on the air purely by accident. The fierce competition creates a pressure-cooker environment where anything can happen.

    G Barth says: "How Sausage is Made"
    "How Sausage is Made"
    Overall

    You have to be really be interested in corporate intrigue and the entire creative/business process to stick with this title. But for me, it was fascinating. How did three of the most recent TV hits --Desperate Housewives, American Idol and Lost -- ever get created? And how did highly paid executives MISS these hits in the development phase? Dean Olsher (confession, a former colleague) does a fine narration job. TV is an odd business of luck, talent, egos and score settling. Not a bad idea for a TV show...oops, it already exists on NBC!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • SparkNotes Guide for A Tale of Two Cities

    • ORIGINAL (25 mins)
    • By SparkNotes
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Created by Harvard students for students everywhere, SparkNotes is a new breed of study guide: smarter, better, faster. Geared to what today's students need to know, SparkNotes provides chapter-by-chapter analysis; explanations of key themes, motifs, and symbols; and a review quiz and essay topics. Lively and accessible, these guides are perfect for late-night studying and writing papers.

    G Barth says: "Too Short"
    "Too Short"
    Overall

    There's such a thing as too little knowledge. This particular SparkNotes guide like some others I have heard is just too brief. If this were half again as long, there would be more room to breathe, more room for nuance and pacing, more detail. As it is this production like the others follows a predictable and not very creative format. A Tale of Two Cities really cannot be distilled into 25 breathless minutes with any hope of retention.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakpoint

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard A. Clarke
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    The global village: an intricately intertwined network of technology that binds together the world's economies, governments, and communication systems. So large, so vital, and so fragile. Now a sophisticated group is seeking to "disconnect the globe" by destroying computer grids, communications satellites, Internet cable centers, and biotech firms. Hard to do? If only that were so.

    Edwin says: "Interesting but no cigar"
    "SciFi Thriller"
    Overall

    I could smell movie all over this. The epilogue of notes should come first, because it really fleshes out some of the SF stuff in the complex story. Richard Clarke has written a better novel than his first thriller. The characters are cookie cutter but the plot pulls on all the sort of things he did as a top DC official: terrorism, military stuff, computer and internet security, etc. A great audio book for a long drive. The narration was very good. Made me want to look into the concepts Clarke weaves thru the story.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Steven Brill
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    After is an astounding, inspiring, and exciting account of America in the first year of the September 12 era. Based on 347 on-the-record interviews and revelations from memos of government meetings, court filings, and other documents, award-winning journalist Steven Brill takes us inside the critical dramas of the year after the September 11 attacks, from the Justice Department's drive to find terror cells to Congress's decision to bail out the airline industry.

    G Barth says: "New Material---Worth Hearing"
    "New Material---Worth Hearing"
    Overall

    The narration of After is excellent and the story--one you think you might know--comes across as fresh, personal, gripping and ultimately frustrating. Hindsight is 20/20 after all, and I gritted my teeth hearing how unprepared and blind we were to the attacks heading our way. The detailed background of the INS screw ups, the creation of the TSA and the machinations in the Oval Office and on Capitol Hill are all very interesting. Brill's conclusions, though, are full of holes and inconsistencies. He ruins his own story by ending on what sounds like a naive civics lesson.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Patrick Radden Keefe
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (192)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (36)

    In Chatter, Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the international eavesdropping alliance known as Echelon, sorting facts from conspiracy theories to determine just how much privacy Americans unknowingly sacrifice in the name of greater security.

    Eric says: "Really neat look at intelligence gathering/secrecy"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall

    One of the delights of this audiobook is the clever and deft writing. For a guy who claims he is not an investigative reporter, he sure fooled me. This audiobook is full of "Really!" moments--and it does offer a good, critical evaluation of claims, counterclaims and explanations about intelligence gathering. The narration is wonderful and even those reasonably familiar with Elint and Sigint will find a LOT here of value. You'll be recommending this audiobook to friends!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Murderers

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Helen Morrison, Harold Goldberg
    • Narrated By Helen Morrison
    Overall
    (316)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    Dr. Helen Morrison has profiled more than 80 serial killers around the world. What she has learned about them will shatter every assumption you've ever had about the most notorious killers known to man.

    P. Minor says: "Boring reader,boring writing"
    "Listen with the lights on"
    Overall

    This is a terrifying audiobook. Gruesome--and it isn't just the gore and behavior of the killers that made me at times take a pause in the reading. Clearly, the author has restrained herself. But the real terror comes in some of the conclusions she has reached after a career of studying these people: serial killers kill without motive; they have no developed personality structure; they can ACT like healthy people; serial murder for them is an addiction. That being said, the author has some very strong opinions about these people and how to regard them: not as retarded, not as monsters per se, but as very complex puzzles to be understood---not out of academic interest but becuase we might better respond to serial killers in the future.Her most controversial statements have to do with whether nature or nurture creates serial killers---and she comes down firmly and totally on biology. "The serial killer is created before conception..."---she believes the role of DNA is key. And, this audiobook touches on the ethical implications of knowing that early whether a child has a propensity for serial murder. This audiobook would have been better if it had spent more time on those issues.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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