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  • The Road to Serfdom

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Friedrich A. Hayek
    • Narrated By William Hughes

    Originally published in 1944, The Road to Serfdom has profoundly influenced many of the world's great leaders, from Orwell and Churchill in the mid-'40s, to Reagan and Thatcher in the '80s. The book offers persuasive warnings against the dangers of central planning, along with what Orwell described as "an eloquent defense of laissez-faire capitalism".

    Scott says: "Classic"

    My son and I have decided that this is now our absolutely favorite book ever - replacing what had held as our previous favorite for almost 20 years. It is just that good. We enjoy about 40 books a year together- mostly nonfiction. We got this book after listening to several other books recently which referenced it and after hearing that it was a pivitol work in forming the thinking of both Reagan and Thatcher. The author can say in one sentence things that took me many minutes to share with my husband. Every sentence is a gem.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Humans: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Robert J. Sawyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this Hugo-nominated novel, Neanderthal physicist Ponter Boddit brings Canadian geneticist Mary Vaughan back to his world to explore the near-utopian civilization of the Neanderthals. Boddit serves as a Candide figure, the naive visitor whose ignorance about our society makes him a perfect tool to analyze human tendencies toward violence, over-population, and environmental degradation.

    Guillermo says: "Missed the Mark"
    "Following the trend of most modern Sci-fi books"

    Like a lot of recent Sci-fi books, the theme of the Earth being ruined by Humans is a big one. The first book of the series was really good, Sawyer painted a very interesting society. This one lived up in uniqueness of ideas, but it was superficial, rather than the source of the stories conflict. The Global Warming theme is over done, its very cliche. I have read quite a few books dedicated to the subject, i don't need a fiction book to address the matter for me. I probably won't get the 3rd book of the series unless it's on sale sometime. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 30 mins)
    • By Arnold Bennett
    • Narrated By Eric Brooks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This classic personal time-management book, originally published in 1908, has inspired generations of men and women to live deliberate lives. Not just another collection of timesaving tips, this book is more of a challenge to leave behind mundane everyday concerns, focus on pursuing one's true desires, and live the fullest possible life. Reflection, concentration, and study techniques make it easier to accomplish more truly rewarding undertakings than anyone ever dreamed possible.

    Lauren says: "Well written, well read."
    "Well written, well read."
    Would you listen to How to Live on 24 Hours a Day again? Why?

    Yes. I liked the tone and the fact that it is a century old makes for interesting companrisons to life today. It was a pleasant read.

    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    We have to be at work for so many hours a week, but most people fritter away most of the remaining time. A little time each day should be set aside.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "Not as good as Snow Crash"
    Did Malcolm Hillgartner do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Good voices and accents, nicely consistent.

    Could you see Reamde being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Nope, not good enough.

    Any additional comments?

    The plot was interesting, but after part 2 is was very foreseeable, i don't know if Neal foreshadowed deliberately, or if he's losing his touch, assuming it was deliberate, he must have a pretty dim view of his readers. the last half of the book was one big drawn out ending.

    I feel like Neal tried to imbue Richard with the persona of Hiro from Snow Crash by making them similar, but it made me feel as though Richard just had a good back story but no personality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jeremy Scahill
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner

    A largely untold facet of the war on terror is the widespread outsourcing of military tasks to private mercenary companies. Accountable neither to the citizenry nor to standard military legal codes, these largely unregulated corporate armies are being entrusted with ever-greater responsibilities on behalf of the nation.

    Stanley says: "Truly frightening"
    "Poorly written and tactless"

    Jeremy Scahill repeats the quotes and one liners that he thinks are zingers, its detracting from the message, i got the point the first time.

    Scahill back tracks, stating that Americans were actively killing civilians in Fallujah, then saying a few sentances later, that acording to Iraqis, Americans were killing civilians. If you want to make a statement like that, then stick to it and back it up, don't say it and then say, well that's what i heard.

    When Scahill describes the look of the Blackwater personnel, he does it in a condescending way to give the impression that they even dress like jerks, ie "Tacky Wraparound sunglasses", get to the story, don't try to villainize them for dressing in a certain way, that has tactical and physiological benefits .

    Blackwater, by Scahills own account, runs convoys, and security. Yes they are armed. Yes they d get into combat, becuase they are in a high risk area. and yes, they get paid more for it. this makes them security guards. You don't call security guards at the bank, or the ones working for armored truck companies Mercenaries. the only difference is the ammount of training and the chances of being attacked.

    Scahill doesn't state what he thinks would be better, but it appears that he believes that the US military should be in charge or guarding the offices and supply trains of private businesses.

    If you still think that they are getting paid to fight and that makes them mercenaries, then all of our infantry men are mercenaries by your definition.

    Scahill had a chance to show me the light, I enjoy reading books that challenge my viewpoint, but Scahill took information that makes Prince and Blackwater look good if you state it objectively, and tried (poorly) to spin it to poke fun at the dead and the good deeds of men.

    I was willing to listen, so don't think otherwise. This book only received awards due to the negative nature of the military industrial complex, and for actually having some facts.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Fundamental Cases: The Twentieth-Century Courtroom Battles That Changed Our Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Alan M. Dershowitz

    It was Alexis de Tocqueville who, when he visited the new republic for the first time, said that America was a unique country when it comes to law. Every great issue eventually comes before the courts. With this in mind, esteemed professor and civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz looks at history through the prism of the trial, which presents a snapshot of what's going on in a particular point in time of the nation's history.

    Amazon Customer says: "I'd rather be able to rate each section."

    The cases included in this series were not fundemental and most had no lasting impact on our court system. The cases reviewed were media sensational cases, although all very interesting. I think, however, that the cases were chosen for another reason. Each had some social implication he could champion. While I agreed with his conclusions on the facts of almost every case he chose to review, his opinions marred the presentation.
    He defends judicial activism and then condemns conservative judges for doing so. I hope that history will condemn both left and right for this practice.
    His treatment of Roe v Wade was fair, but ultimately tainted by a long lecture of his personal views, which I do not share. Most of the justifications for his opinions would not stand up to even a mild scrutiny of logic. The fact that european countries have abolished the death penalty is presented as a reason we should do so.
    The only case that was shockingly and irresponsibly misrepresented was the Al Gore presidential vote counting case. He presented no argument, claiming that this was the "worst decision in the 200 year history of the Supreme Court" and that the Supreme Court "may never regain credibilty." Not one actual legal fact or argument was introduced to support this. He cited no law or precedent. He just went on about Sandra Day O'Connor's alleged preference for who would win as though that made her incapable of fairness or legal reason. Mr Dershowitz is billed as a professor, but is clearly just a lawyer trying to persuade.
    There is a wealth of cases both state and federal which actually did change our legal system. None of my top 10 were in this book.
    While I did learn details about some cases I would not have otherwise looked into, if you are interested in cases that actually did change our legal system try "Men in Black" by Mark Levin.
    I love the Modern Scholar series and will not let this deter me from enjoying other installments

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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