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Scott

SUNNYVALE, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

11
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 78 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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  • Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Sebastian Seung
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (67)

    Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It’s where nature meets nurture. Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain’s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse.

    aaron says: "A Nice Addition to Your Brain Science Library"
    "Less than Expected = Disappointed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It should have been exciting and fresh... but it was just lightly warmed up science with an appeal for money to run a connectome project. The connectome is a mapping of synaptic connections that can be done by slicing a brain really thin over and over and then scanned by high speed computers. It costs lots of money and it might yield some exciting science someday. The brain is complex and mysterious and this book wasn't.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Discovering the Philosopher in You: The Big Questons in Philosophy

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Colin McGinn
    • Narrated By Colin McGinn
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (67)

    Everyone has their own inner philosopher - a voice within that asks, oh so insistently, philosophical questions. Everyone wants to know what the ultimate nature of the world is, what the self is, whether we have free will, how our minds relate to our bodies, whether we can really know anything, where ethical truth comes from, what the meaning of life is, and whether or not there is a God.

    Sergio says: "Recommended"
    "Key questions and concepts presented beautifully"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Philosophy has a limited number of concepts and questions that animate the field and professor McGinn introduces them all with skill. I appreciated the fact professor McGinn made it clear which arguments are most convincing to him, he is no overly evasive professor that keeps his own view hidden. McGinn is famous for his mysterian arguments, and his book the Mysterious Flame is a very interesting argument attempting to show that the mind cannot be explained in physical terms. However his strong views were not forced upon the reader, rather he showed how a serious person tends to take up a position and that this can actually help illuminate the field. Very enjoyable and interesting to anyone no matter their level of exposure to philosophy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Patrick Lencioni
    • Narrated By Charles Stransky; introduction by Patrick Lencioni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1733)
    Performance
    (686)
    Story
    (676)

    In keeping with the parable style, Patrick Lencioni begins by telling the fable of a woman who, as CEO of a struggling Silicon Valley firm, took control of a dysfunctional executive committee and helped its members succeed as a team. Story time over, Lencioni offers explicit instructions for overcoming the human behavioral tendencies that he says corrupt teams. Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group.

    Mark says: "Clear Headed Guidance on Building Teams"
    "Start here if you want to be a better leader."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good business books are rare, the business book publishing machine is content to churn out time wasters... but not this book. The 5 principles are presented in a way that help a person see and then diagnose dysfunctions that undermine high performance. If you are a team leader and things are not clicking for you and your team then this is probably the best 3 hours you can spend to help turn it around. I am a team leader, and this book has helped me. Thank you Patrick Lencioni.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    Overall
    (2402)
    Performance
    (1874)
    Story
    (1857)

    The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains....

    Mike says: "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    "Big Insights. This is the real deal."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Asymmetric loss relative to gain is an important principal to try and understand. It is has been shown that we feel losses stronger than gains. The way that this concept was expressed provided some great insight into the everyday struggle to maintain ones place in the world. Many other insights were shared in this remarkable book, your time and attention is rewarded with good ideas and clear writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Daniel Goleman
    • Narrated By Daniel Goleman
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    Head and heart. Maybe you read the recent article about companies that are now testing applicants for their emotional intelligence as well as their skills. Listen to what started this practice: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Also, in unabridged. See more from Goleman.

    Carla says: "More appropriate for someone interested in psych"
    "Vanilla Pop Psychology: Thin"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No lasting insights were found here but accept and express your emotions positively. What is the all fuss about with this guy???

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By George Dyson
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    In the 1940s and '50s, a group of eccentric geniuses - led by John von Neumann - gathered at the newly created Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Their joint project was the realization of the theoretical universal machine, an idea that had been put forth by mathematician Alan Turing. This group of brilliant engineers worked in isolation, almost entirely independent from industry and the traditional academic community. But because they relied exclusively on government funding, the government wanted its share of the results....

    Monte Johnston says: "Needed an editor"
    "Excellent modern history of science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has real value to those interested in the history of computation. So many history of science books are thin and give the reader almost nothing, but if you are really interested in mathematics and computation you will enjoy this book.

    The Narrator does a good job, not great but solid performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Evolution of God

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Robert Wright
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (571)
    Performance
    (258)
    Story
    (254)

    In this sweeping narrative, which takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy.

    Joseph says: "Very interesting and thought provoking"
    "A center point in a new discussion on religion."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Provides a center reading and view point for the discussion of religion among the secular. Could be on a par with William James and The Varieties of Religious Experience. Makes me want to learn about Philo of Alexandria and the divine logos. I first encountered the distinction between personal and social salvation in this book, which appears to me to be a useful way to organize some important religious ideas.

    A direct question for theists in this book is the basis for their singular conception of god and a historical weight of evidence showing gradual development of a singular conception as opposed to an instantaneous revelation and change. A silent question for theists in this book is the basis of a singular conception of the divine living in a world which on the surface is a plurality of concepts and cultures. Perfection is conceivable in many forms... perfect circles, perfect squares, perfection could come in as many forms as can adapt to different niches, and in the exciting discovery of new niches leading to new forms.

    Another step for a constructive engagement on this profound subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Leonard Mlodinow
    • Narrated By Robert Blumenfeld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (296)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (156)

    Through Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow brilliantly and delightfully leads us on a journey through five revolutions in geometry, from the Greek concept of parallel lines to the latest notions of hyperspace. Here is an altogether new, refreshing, alternative history of math revealing how simple questions anyone might ask about space -- in the living room or in some other galaxy -- have been the hidden engine of the highest achievements in science and technology.

    Eric says: "Wow!"
    "Just tips the scale into the positive"
    Overall

    Mlodinow's Euclid's window does not get the reader too deep into Geometry but presents more of an overview of the development of our abstract understanding of space. The part of the book that stands out for me is the development of Elliptic and Hyperbolic geometry with Riemann and Gauss. Here Mlodinow really shows the depth of his knowledge and does a great job. He also touches on interesting facts that Gauss had read Kant 5 times and then dropped his ideas as inadequate. He also seems to present a thesis that Mathematicians are born not made, as only 1 in 3 million individuals contribute creatively to the field. I did not feel that the development from Riemann to String Theory to Ed Witten’s M theory had the concepts as coherently explained as the section on curved spaces.
    You will also find a bit of a polemic against religion and philosophy mostly in the first half of the book. The most interesting section was his story of Hypatia, and if you are looking to confirm anti-theist sentiment this is pretty persuasive. On a wider scale this book fits with the growing number of scientists that are anti-religion and anti-philosophy. Some of the stand out writers of this type are Stephen Hawking, Dan Dennet and Richard Dawkins but you also have second tier writers like Steven Weinberg and Leonard Mlodinow. You cannot learn too much science from books like this but the cultural voice of the physicist is interesting in pointing out how religious dogma holds back the pace of discovery and the freedom of the individual to follow wherever the facts lead. Anti-philosophy is also part of the mix for Mlodinow, for speculations without the guide of experiment mean nothing, he appeals to both Gauss and Feynman who called philosophy BS. There is a sense that to understand the world that science and mathematics is now the only path and that religion and philosophy should be left behind. The big question remains, who well can science, replace religion and philosophy?

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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