I have to disagree with everyone who slagged off the reader - i thought he did a great job. Unfortunately I wasn't very interested in the book itself, no matter who was reading it. Funnily enough, I loved the preface (which is at the end...) but the rest of it I could take or leave. Not awful but not great either.
I bought this because I was told i needed to sell myself more and there are some good tips to avoid alienating people. Some of the stock sales lines he quotes near the end for you to use on your punters just made me feel nauseous. Maybe just a cultural thing (I'm british) but it really didn't make me want to emulate the guy at all. Why would I want to manipulate people into buying something they don't want?
Ach! Still, if all you want is a short, easily digestible toolkit of tricks of the trade you may be able to get what you need here!
I like Sherlock Holmes a lot and I read enough pop-sci books to follow the point he's trying to illustrate. This left me feeling a bit unsatisfied though: the author obviously knows his Sherlock, but the characters weren't really alive and the central conceit (the Reichenbach Falls as a sort of cosmic schrodinger's cat situation) was all a bit stretched. It's Ok for a free listen but I'll not be buying the book!
I read this today and was relieved to find it was written by someone who can actually write, has a sense of humour and - best of all - can succesfully avoid triggering the gag reflex of a 41-year-old male curmudgeon. I was quite interested at the range of emotion it provoked in me, from wanting to shake her hand and buy her a drink to wanting to hurl the book across the room. I didn't hurl it though because it's an audiobook and my ipod is precious so I hurled James Joyce's "Ulysses" instead. Even after all these years it's surprising how therapeutic that can be.
Anyway, she's very good* on educational toys, Baby Einstein DVDs ("Even Mozart didn't listen to Mozart as a kid. His kids did though - and who's ever heard of them?"), and general running-about-outdoors-and-making-a-mess. she is fundamentally unsound** on breastfeeding and bicycling***. There are some dodgy applications of statistics in there and some hackneyed health-and-safety-gone-mad stories are trotted out, such as that old chestnut - no pun intended - about conkers being banned throughout England by government fiat. On the whole, the buy-her-a-drink tendency outweighed the throw-Ulysses-across-the-room tendency about 80:20, so buy the book if you're in the mood to have an argument with the author in your head or if you need an antidote to society's excesses but that's about it.
*=by which of course i mean "she reinforces my prejudices"
**=by which of course i mean "she does not reinforce my prejudices"
***=alliteration aside, even i would have to admit it is unwise to combine the two...."
After the first two stories (dull sketches, read stiltedly) I almost gave up but there were enough plums in what was left that I was glad i stuck it out. He has a great ear for dialogue and for the little self-deceptions and manipulations that pepper his protagonists' dialogues. There are numerous readers and most of them are really good. This is the tragedy though: I read the review on amazon and some of the stories that didn't make the cut sound really interesting, so why did they get dropped in favour of what sounded like padding? Ach, I'll have to buy the papery version and read it myself I think.
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