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Cynthia

Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

Monrovia, California, United States | Member Since 2012

6152
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 232 reviews
  • 232 ratings
  • 525 titles in library
  • 49 purchased in 2015
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  • Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Andrew Solomon
    • Narrated By Andrew Solomon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (522)
    Performance
    (443)
    Story
    (439)

    A brilliant and utterly original thinker, Andrew Solomon's journey began from his experience of being the gay child of straight parents. He wondered how other families accommodate children who have a variety of differences: families of people who are deaf, who are dwarfs, who have Down syndrome, who have autism, who have schizophrenia, who have multiple severe disabilities, who are prodigies, who commit crimes, who are transgender.

    C. Beaton says: "A Gripping Masterpiece"
    "Parenting a Different Child/Astounding Book"
    Overall
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    The morning of December 14, 2012, I had a long drive and intermittent NPR stations, so I continued to listen to "Far From the Tree". The printed book is 702 pages long, and it's about 40 Audible hours. I was on Chapter X, Crime.

    The book is beautifully narrated, and author/narrator Andrew Solomon's pronounciation of difficult terms is flawless. Even so, it's a difficult listen.

    I have often wished that Audible had a true Table of Contents, and never more than with this book. The chapters are (with thanks to Amazon print) I. Son; II.Deaf III. Dwarfs IV. Downs Syndrome V. Autism VI. Schizophrenia VII. Disabilities VIII. Prodigies IX. Rape X. Crime XI. Transgender XII. Father.

    Each section could, on its own, be a separate book - with the exception of I. Son and XII. Father - combine those two, and those would make a book.

    Dwight Garner and Julie Meyer, writing separate reviews for the New York Times in November, love the book unreservedly. After listening to "Columbine", I was thinking of using a credit for this new book. I purchased "Far From the Tree" right after reading Meyer's rhapsodic review.

    I am the mother of two teenagers who would not be in any of Solomon's chapters, but each and every section made me ache with my love for them. The challenges of normal teenagers, with raging hormones, lightning fast mood changes, and their sudden bursts of astounding clarity pale in comparison to what Solomon's families face. I am a better parent to them knowing that they are 'normal'.

    I'm not a physician, sociologist or therapist - I'm just a Mom. I gained real confidence in trying my best to be a good Mom from this book. It was the best 'parenting' book I've read since "What to Expect When You're Expecting" by Heidi Muroff and Sharon Mazel. The books are entirely different, but reading them has the same effect. I am more (not less) confident about my mothering because of these books.

    Which brings me back to December 14, 2012, the day of the Newtown/Sandy Hook mass murder. I have been wondering since then whether Sue Klebold, if given the choice, would have rather have been in Nancy Lanza's position - killed before she knew what her son did. I suspect not, and I hope Solomon can answer the queston for us.


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    28 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Death on the Nile

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By John Moffatt
    Overall
    (559)
    Performance
    (476)
    Story
    (474)

    John Moffatt stars as the famous Belgian detective in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of one of Christie's most popular novels. Linnet Ridgeway has led a charmed life. Blessed with beauty, enormous wealth, and a devoted husband, she has everything anyone could wish for. But as the happy couple set out on an idyllic honeymoon cruise on the Nile, storm clouds are gathering. Linnet's former friend, Jacqueline de Bellefort, follows her and Simon wherever they go and Linnet senses she is in danger.

    Lady M says: "Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot"
    "A Memory of Murder"
    Overall
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    Story

    Late one hot, humid summer growing up in Minneapolis, I read all of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot mysteries. The Hennepin County Library sent a Bookmobile to our South Minneapolis neighborhood. It was walking distance close to a lovely lake, but no where near a brick and mortar library. On Tuesday evenings, I'd check out a stack of Christie paperbacks, and exchange them a week later for new books.

    This performance of "Death on the Nile" (1937) was a nice reminder of that long ago time. It's a radio play, rather than a narration of the 288 page novel. The book had a host of characters - and suspects - that are edited and combined for this adaptation. It was a good decision, but there are still enough potential culprits to make the listen good. I knew the "who dunnit" going in, but with the notable exception of Christie's "Mousetrap" (1947, radio play, 1952 - present, West End Play), it's hard for any classic mystery fan not to know the ending to a Christie mystery. The enjoyment is in the telling and the listen.

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    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Rational Economics (Harvard Business Review)

    • UNABRIDGED (18 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Todd Mundt
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Dan Ariely, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, writes about how it's time for companies to abandon the assumption that customers, employees and managers make logical decisions.

    Cynthia says: "Easing the Cost of Retribution"
    "Easing the Cost of Retribution"
    Overall
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    Dan Ariely is a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Ariely's a lively writer, and "The End of Rational Economics" is a quick but informative piece from 'The Harvard Business Review' (2008).

    The piece has several good ideas. The one I liked best was a discussion about angry customers who might exact revenge with a bad review, and how to defuse them. That alone was worth the download and the listen time.

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    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dan Ariely on Understanding the Logic Behind Illogical Decisions

    • ORIGINAL (16 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Dave Summers
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Dan Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money.

    Cynthia says: "Ariely is a Kick"
    "Ariely is a Kick"
    Overall
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    I finished listening to "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008) a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Ariely explains complex studies on Behavioral Economics in a way that's easy to understand and apply.

    "Dan Ariely on Understanding the Logic Behind Illogical Decisions" (2014) is a quick introduction to the concepts explored in "Predictably Irrational". I listened to this AMA (American Management Association) second, and it was a complement to the much longer book.

    Ariely himself was actually interviewed for the podcast, and he's a lively speaker.

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    From the author of the New York Times best seller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana comes the poignant and gripping story of a groundbreaking team of female American warriors who served alongside Special Operations soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan - including Ashley White, a beloved soldier who died serving her country's cause.

    Cynthia says: "A Diamond Among Diamonds"
    "A Diamond Among Diamonds"
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    I haven't slept much since I downloaded Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's "Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield" (2015) three days ago. It's no more disturbing than 'Mark Owen' and Kevin Maurer's "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden" (2012), and it's definitely less disturbing than Helen Thorpe's "Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War" (2014). The reason I haven't slept so well is that the writing and narration of "Ashley's War" is so good I didn't want to turn it off. It's the Audible equivalent of "I couldn't put it down."

    There's a rough balance between Afghan women and American female soldiers. The majority of Afghan women are illiterate, married by age 16, have an average of 5 children, and live in family compounds carefully screened from the world (source: United Nations). In a world so small, they are the observers and family preservers.

    In contrast, American women are more educated than their husbands, if they choose to marry; average fewer than 2 children each (source: Pew Research, UN); and are free to travel wherever their talents and money can take them. American women have been informally serving as soldiers since 1775, and formally a part of the Army since World War I.

    The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) - the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS of legend -badly needed the intelligence that Afghani women had. Tribal mores meant that those women would not speak to men. They would, however, talk to female soldiers. General Stanley McChrystal, who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1976 - the same year women were first admitted - encouraged development of what became CSTs - Cultural Support Teams.

    CSTs are teams of women "enablers" attached to Army Rangers or Green Berets to facilitate questioning AfghanI women and children. Female soldiers volunteer and then are selected for modified Ranger training because they are physically capable of matching those elite soldiers, and they are chosen for assignments because they are mentally capable of doing the job.

    "Ashley's War" is the story of the first of the CSTs. "Ashley" is Lt Ashley White (Stumpf) one of the best of the best. Lt. White and the other female soldiers who became CSTs didn't ask for special treatment - all they asked was for the chance to prove they could do the job. And they did. Lemmon's writing was so vivid, it was like being set in a ruck march at Ft. Bliss.

    The U.S. Armed Services didn't officially allow women in combat MOS's (Military Occupational Skills) until 2013. The CSTs were and are there ahead of time. Personally, I was surprised to find myself with a bitter taste of jealousy underlying the pride I feel in those soldiers . I served from 1982 to 1986, and I would have loved to have the same opportunity. I doubt even at my fittest I could have made the cut, but I had friends that surely could have. And oh, just to have had the chance . . .

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    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ann Brashares
    • Narrated By Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (114)

    Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn't look all that great; they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they're great. She'd love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they're fabulous. Lena decides they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly.

    M.W. says: "A good read for older children"
    "Unexpectedly Nostalgic"
    Overall
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    First of all, a disclaimer: I am more than 3 times the age of the target audience for Ann Brashares' "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" (2001). I haven't seen either of the two movies based on the book either. Looking back on when the first movie was released, I know I spent what little movie time I had that year taking my kids to see JK Rowlings' "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and the remake of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

    "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is a loving portrait of teenage American girls, forever friends, right as everything changes for them. It's their first summer apart. There's Bridget, the reckless athlete who goes to soccer camp in Mexico; Carmen, whose divorced father suddenly acquires a brand new family: Lena, who visits her grandparents in Greece; and Tibby at home, working her first job at 'Walmans', donning a double layered polyester smock and an nose-ring-wearing attitude. I was a little disappointed in the stereotyped four best friends: did Carmen really have to be a 'hot blooded' Latina? And is every athlete driven to win at any cost?

    Brashares inadvertently sketched an entirely different time, the last summer before the United States lost its ersatz innocence. Teenagers could travel at will, without ID, without parents' permission, and without the careful planning national security requires now. Cell phones existed, but that's all they were: actual phones. Local calls were expensive, and making a long distance call? Landline was really the only option, and there was no guarantee that the person on the other end would even have a phone.

    Before 2001, it was possible to actually be an alone, unwatched kid with some real autonomy. The 20th Century wasn't a more innocent time by any means - but it was a more private time for teens and adults alike. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" has some sex, although its implied and not explicit. It is described in pretty clich├ęd terms, though, and I found myself cringing at the mental imagery words like 'hungry' created for me. All of the sudden, I was thinking of pot roast.

    The book was a good listen, and the vocabulary wasn't overly pretentious. It is worth 9 Accelerated Reader (AR) points. Here's a helpful parenting 'hack' (rapidly becoming its own trite term): if you've got a kid with reading issues, have them listen to the Audible and follow along with the written text.

    I do think I will enjoy the movie, so I'll watch out for it. America Ferrera plays Carmen, and she's always good. The Audible narration was okay, but I did occasionally have trouble realizing when a new character was talking.

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    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2750)
    Performance
    (2450)
    Story
    (2440)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Barbara N. says: "Great story, narration a disappointment"
    "La Linea de Oro"
    Overall
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    I've listened to Michael Connelly's entire, but much shorter, "Lincoln Lawyer" series on Audible. Mickey Haller, the eponymous attorney of that series, is Hieronymus "Harry" P. Bosch's much younger half brother. I didn't avoid listening to Connelly's Bosch series - I just didn't need to. I'd already read them all, on honest to goodness real paper bound between actual covers. They're still on my bookshelf, an honor I reserve for books I know I'll read again someday.

    "The Burning Room" (2014) is my first Bosch book on Audible, and it's a treat. It's narrated by Titus Welliver, who plays the LAPD detective on Amazon's Prime Instant Video Service series "Bosch". I hadn't even realized there was a Bosch television series until I looked up Welliver to write this review. The reason I looked up Welliver? His voice is so much like the prolific Mike Rowe (The Dealiest Catch, American Hot Rod, Dirty Jobs & etc.) I wanted to see if they were the same person. They aren't, but I did discover I wasn't the only one who'd noticed the Rowe-Welliver sound similarity.

    Connelly, as always, writes Los Angeles like an old lover. "The Burning Room" is centered on Mariachi Plaza, an 80 year old Boyle Heights fixture. It's now a gentrified stop on the 2009 expansion of the Metro Gold Line. (Yes, Los Angeles actually has a fast, clean, transportation system that runs so on time it could be a Snopes legend, all hidden in plain sight.)

    Bosch is working cold cases. Connelly moves back and forth between the late 20th Century desperation of Mariachis living in flop houses and traveling in old vans to play Quincea├▒eras, to the arid but energy efficient, culturally diverse and sometimes culturally divided Los Angeles of the 21st Century.

    Connelly introduces "Lucky Lucy" Soto, a young detective who, after a heroic gun battle, made the "Cold Case" unit her choice assignment. Lucia is a strong female character, in the tough-as-nails-but-secretly-scarred Kiz Rider mold. Soto vies with Bosch to see who's in the office the earliest, who puts in the most hours, and who is the most intuitive detective. Bosch is a proud mentor to Soto, and to his own daughter, Maddie, a Police Explorer.

    Bosch is a good detective, and "The Burning Room" is a good listen.

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    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (4192)
    Performance
    (1623)
    Story
    (1626)

    In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

    Stephen says: "Well researched, well written, & well read"
    "Amusing MicroEconomics"
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    One of my favorite not-available-on-Audible writers is Nicholas P. Money, PhD, a mycologist at Miami University of Ohio. He's written some laugh out loud books about fungi. Yes, I mean the stuff that grows in the corner of the shower and on old bread. "Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold" (2004) was great.

    Dan Ariely, PhD joins my short list of "University Professors that make Somewhat Obscure Topics Interesting, Understandable and Fun." Ariely is a well known and often downloaded TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) speaker, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke. Yes, that Duke, the home of the NCAA basketball champions.

    One of the studies Ariely conducted and discusses in "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008) was of students who camped out for a week, waiting to participate in a lottery to buy playoff tickets. How did the winners and losers value those tickets? The losers, just at slightly over face value; and the winners, at 10 or 20 times the face value. "Predictably Irrational" explains the experiment and the psychological factors that caused the mental increase in value.

    Ariely's actual academic research papers have daunting titles such as "Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: self-control by precommitment." Ariely D, et al. Psychol Sci. 2002, or an article he was a co-author on called "Ego depletion decreases trust in economic decision making" Ainsworth SE, Baumeister RF, Voha KD and Ariely D., J Exp Soc Psychol. 2014. Just reading the abstracts is daunting, and well - purchasing the articles? I'm willing to pay the cost of an Audible listen that's amusing and intriguing, but at thirty five bucks an article, I'm not that interested in Behavioral Economics.

    Ariely and several colleagues were awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine for research published as "Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy". Ariely, Rebecca Waver, Ziv Carmon, Baba Shiv discovered that when people know the price, expensive medicine works better than less expensive medicine, even if they're exactly the same. That study is discussed thoroughly in "Predictably Irrational." It makes behavioral or emotional sense and only seems irrational from a purely economic analysis.

    This was a fun and informative listen. I'm definitely planning on listening to more of Ariely's books.

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    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By David Sedaris
    • Narrated By David Sedaris
    Overall
    (4152)
    Performance
    (3768)
    Story
    (3747)

    From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.

    FanB14 says: "Devout Fan Disappointed"
    "Good for the Bleak Hours"
    Overall
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    I'm a habitual insomniac. Every weekday, I wake up about 2:30 am, obsessing about things that happened earlier in the week, the month, the year, or even the decade. I can usually fall back asleep in 10 or 15 minutes, but not always. Those are my bleak hours, and David Sedaris has eased some of them.

    It's not that "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" (2013) helped me fall back to sleep. It didn't. For the last six months, every time I listened to something with the idea that it would be the Audible equivalent of Ambien, I put Willkie Collins "The Woman in White" (1859) on sleep timer. In the grand tradition of Victorian writers, Collins relies heavily on intricate descriptions, lengthy foreshadowing, and post-drama discussions amongst friends and neighbors. It's totally possible to drift off after a few minutes of listening and not miss a thing.

    "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" takes the dark obsessions that come to life when the house slumbers, turns them on their side, and makes them funny. Worried about the garbage accumulating in your neighborhood? Turn yourself into a one person trash collector listening to "Rubbish". Missing your first love and wondering what if, and what could have been? Listen to "A Man Walks into a Bar Car". You just had your 50th birthday and those friendly by terribly persistent people at your HMO are insisting that it's time for a colonoscopy? "Happy Place" makes the whole procedure a hoot. It's very difficult to take obsessions seriously when you're laughing at them.

    My favorite quote from the book? "Their house had real hard-cover books in it, and you often saw them lying open on the sofa, the words still warm from being read."

    Sedaris is a raconteur, and this collection of essays is really best as a listen.

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    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (651)
    Performance
    (550)
    Story
    (547)

    From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

    Megan says: "You'll never look at public shaming the same way"
    "Play the (Shame) Game"
    Overall
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    Jon Ronson begins "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" (2015) with an introduction about how a spam bot hatched by supposedly ethical college professors hijacked his Twitter identity. His ethereal alter ego started living an exciting but fictitious life, going to clubs and presumably mentioning how much he'd enjoyed drinking fabulous drinks and eating scrumptious food the bot creators had been paid to promote. Ronson, a gonzo journalist and inspired researcher, was at his wits' end trying to figure out who was doing it and how to stop it.

    Dictionary dot com defines "empathy" as "the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another." Ronson wasn't publicly shamed like the people he profiles, including Jonah Lehrer, a writer who made up Dylan quotes, and then lied to cover up his lies; Justine Sacco of the ill-conceived AIDS/South Africa tweet; and Lindsey Stone of the 'shouting into a cell phone while making a rude gesture at Arlington Cemetery' photo. Ronson's situation was a good way to ease those convinced that 'it can't happen to them' that it's possible to completely lose control of a digital life.

    Ronson doesn't outright ask if the shamed "asked for it" but I think in the world of bullies, the bullied and bystanders, "asking for it" is a justification that everyone except the victim uses. I remember seeing that photo of Stone the first time it went around. Since I'm a veteran, I saw it a lot. I thought it was a joke then. It's a bad joke, a tasteless joke - but no kid should have her life ruined over an inept visual stunt. Did Stone deserve to have what must have felt like all 21.8 million American veterans condemning her? No, she did not - but it must be cold comfort for her that most of us knew it for what it was and just ignored it.

    There is a portion of "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" discussing people who are aroused by being shamed. It was sexually explicit and somewhat graphic, and it might be difficult for parents to explain to kids who read or hear it. The section on shaming by four chan (not quite the organization's name, but that's close enough for an Audible review) has some pretty disturbing descriptions of fetishes. Four chan denizens are notorious for trolling, but what Ronson describes in "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" is trolling on steroids.

    Ronson's writing style for a bit of the book - using the collective "we" to examine the collective consciousness of the righteously offended - reminded me a bit of William Faulkner's short story, "A Rose for Emily" (1930). Faulkner used the collective "we" for the voice of the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. In that Southern Gothic story, the town goes to great lengths to avoid shaming Emily, and "So she vanquished them . . ." Ronson's about as subtle as a mobile phone store sign spinner and I'm probably drawing parallels that were never intended, but I liked the juxtaposition in attitudes on shame between small town American South in the early 20th Century and 21st century global urban life on line.

    Ronson is Welsh, and his accent makes "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" a fun listen. I really liked that he described photos that were in the text version of the book.

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    18 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1639)
    Performance
    (1318)
    Story
    (1317)

    There have been many books - on a large and small scale - about Steve Jobs, one of the most famous CEOs in history. But this book is different from all the others. Becoming Steve Jobs takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. The conventional, one-dimensional view of Jobs is that he was half genius, half jerk from youth, an irascible and selfish leader who slighted friends and family alike.

    Douglas Vincent says: "Contextual, Insightful, Inspiring"
    ""Design is How it Works" -SJ"
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    One of the first books I listened to when I joined Audible was Walter Isaacson`s 2011 authorized biography, "Steve Jobs." I listened to it on my iPhone 3 on a long drive up to Bakersfield from Los Angeles. On the way back, I pulled over at the McDonald`s in Grapevine to use their free Wi-Fi to download the next section of the book so I could keep listening.

    I revisited my Audible review, and I'd noted, "Isaacson's biography doesn't answer the question of whether Jobs was successful because he was a jerk, or if being an a** prevented him from achieving even more." Brett Schlender and Rick Tetzeli's 2015 book, "Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader" doesn't answer that question, but as Jobs himself might have said, "That's a stupid question." What I should have asked - and what Schlender and Tetzeli answer - is why anybody would want to work for Jobs.

    As founder of Apple, Jobs was an enfante terrible who scr**** over his genial, brilliant co-partner Steve Wozniak; denied paternity of his first child, Lisa, and had to be forced to pay child support; and was unceremoniously booted from his own company after badly misreading the mood and position of his closest co-workers. Jobs was, in short, as a young man, the absolute jerk that Isaacson portrayed.

    After Jobs' 1985 exile from Apple, he started NeXT with massive Silicon Valley venture capital funding. NeXT appeared to do little more than deliver what we used to call 'vaporware.' That was the term for hardware, software or both that just existed in the mind of marketing. What NeXT actually did was develop the Unix based operating system that became OS X, and eventually IOS, the iPhone operating system.

    While running NeXT, Jobs turned his attention to a very small computer company he'd picked up on the cheap from Star Wars director George Lucas, who needed the cash for an expensive divorce. Pixar was almost a hobby for Jobs, who supported the technical work of the company; made it financially viable; and stayed out of the way the creative people who dreamed wonderful stories. A younger Jobs, ego raging, would have interfered Pixar to ignominy. Instead, Jobs guided Pixar to a deal with Disney and a series of unforgettable movies starting with Toy Story. Disney eventually nominally acquired Piixar, but in actuality, Pixar controls Disney now.

    Apple was nearly bankrupt when the Board of Directors lured him back as an advisor in 1996. Jobs turned Apple around. It's been profitable since 1998. It survived Jobs' death and is now the world's most valuable company.

    I listened to "Becoming Steve Jobs" on my iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 is out now, and while I'm an "early adapter" of books, I wait to upgrade technology until I need to. The Audible downloaded quickly, in one file instead of multiple sections. I didn't have to clear out old books to make room. I wrote this review in Notes, using Jobs' virtual keyboard. (Months ago, I downloaded Microsoft's version of Word from the App Store, but that turned out to be a piece of garbage.)

    Listening to "Becoming Steve Jobs", I realized that Jobs had grown exponentially both professionally and personally. He'd matured into someone people wanted to work for and with. Comparing the two books, it was sad to realize that while so many people had forgiven Jobs, he lacked the insight to realize that he'd grown into a better person. He could have forgiven himself.

    The book was an intriguing listen, but it got repetitive in places. The narration - well, it's odd. George Newbern's a pretty well known television and voice actor, and he doesn't usually sound robotic. For a good part of this book, though, he sounded like the male version of Siri. Siri's fine for a line or two, but listening to someone narrate chapters like that - ow.

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    51 of 64 people found this review helpful

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