This is a very funny and odd book. You have to pay attention to catch the humor and stay on track. If you make a little effort, you'll get some great laughs and hear some very interesting points.
As both a solar astronomer and someone who works in the solar industry, I really enjoyed the book.
One caution. The humor is dry and not for everyone.
I've enjoyed and endured a few of Professor Greenberg's courses and have come to the conclusion that he is best enjoyed in small portions. Also, the audio format works better than the video for me.
My first Greenberg was his well-presented opera appreciation course. While I found the yucks annoying, I still enjoyed the course and consequently developed a love of opera.
Having enjoyed that series so much, I ventured into other Greenberg territory and discovered a very mixed bag. His Wagner course is awful. His Stravinski lectures are pretty good. The Shostakovich lectures are wonderful. I bought his Verdi series a long time ago and struggle to complete it.
So what makes this guy so annoying to me? The yucks upon yucks. No, not everything needs to be deadpan serious but when you get a huge set of lectures like this one, you have to consider how much time is wasted per lecture on very low brow jokes. Add to that the canned applause, music preceding each lecture, the repetition of every title by the narrator followed by Greenberg and you've got enough padding to build another Kim Kardashian. Yuck yuck. Add to that, his use of the royal 'we' as in "we quote...." and the whole presentation gets a bit nauseating.
There is a lot of great material in every Greenberg course but the jokes and the pompous phrasing grate on the nerves. So I deduct stars.
Ok, so again, why the low rating? Much of this material is found in the other courses I've taken by Bob GreenMountain. That makes sense as the mini courses cover the important composers who will be a part of a larger appreciation course.
I prefer more time be spent on teaching the music and terminology. If I want the biographical background, I can get it from one of his "Life and Works of ..." courses.
As much as his style annoys me, until the Great Courses offers an alternative to Greenberg, I'll have to recommend him if I want to promote the humanities. I do.
If you enjoy science books, you are sure to enjoy this book. It is a well structured book with a good balance of history, science and personal quest. It is not overly technical nor is it watered down.
A book that motivates me to want to know more about a given subject is a winner. Now I want to know more about feathers! I bought the print book to have as reference.
This book by far soars above the books written by non-scientist columnists. I really dislike most of those "I was curious about ---- so I decided to write a book" type science books. I like my science to come from someone who knows what they are talking about and not just a compilation of quotes from 'research'. This book is the real deal.
This goes on the highly recommend list if you like science.
I can't say much about this book except that it's not to be missed. It's great fun built around a sweet story of comical characters.
Take a break from self-improvement, vampires, how [name here] beat drugs with Jesus and the latest anti-Obama conspiracy and give yourself a real light-hearted treat.
This book is just fun and a vacation from the real world.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Chris Reich, BizPhyZ
Herzog! Bam! Henderson the Rain King! Bam! The Victim! Bam! The Adventures of Augie March! Bam!
I seem to have fallen into a Saul Bellow groove. I've enjoyed (Very good to Great) every audio title until this one. I wasn't crazy about the narration but the reader is supposed to be jaded and snarky so I'll give Hurt a pass though I believe much of the Bellow philosophy of life is lost in the monotonous delivery.
I don't think this is Bellow's best but it's still got plenty of meat and a lot of it very tender and delicious near the ample bone. There's a bit of fat and a vein of gristle that makes the book a little dated---it's destined to be a period piece.
The biggest complaint is the awful, tin can like audio quality. I tried all the formats and it made no difference. I thought my ear buds were failing so I got new ones. This book just has lousy sound. If there was another version, read by someone else, I'd ask Audible for a credit. But, alas, there isn't and I may come back to this again so I'll keep it.
I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Chris Reich, The Business Physicist
This book is like On the Road: The Original Scroll - Jack Kerouac. Tone it down a bit and you've got a pretty similar story. In fact, I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an influence of one upon the other though I couldn't specify the direction of flow.
If you haven't experienced Bellow, I'd start with Henderson the Rain King. This book is brilliant but might drag on you if you're not used to the style. Bellow gives a little story and then injects a bit of philosophy or insight. These sparks are beautiful, like having your way lit through a wooded path in the night with the flicking of a lighter that never lights. But that's not a criticism, it's the bright flashes that give snap shots that a steady lighting would only blur.
And there it is. You get this series of flashes of this guy's life. It's a wonderful, flawless romp.
I loved every minute.
I made it through 2666 and it changed my life. After dragging my way through this pretentious, poorly written, poorly crafted and poorly conceived waste of pulp, I learned that a book either shows promise by the mid point or it does not. I learned that critics are easily fooled.
The life changer for me is the freedom to never again have to finish a lousy book because some critic thinks it good because it has to be good, right? I stick with books unless they are obvious pap. I'll invest the time and make the effort. This book is an absolute mess. I am forever free to walk away from a book that is an obvious dud which the critics fear---is it just me? This is 900 pages of crap. I'd better play it safe and talk about the "reach" or the "expanse" so no one really knows that I think it's worthless.
Look at the reviews. When the best a critic can do is recap the book (need those 1,000 words!) and then call it massive or expansive which just means long, skip it. I now understand a code that can steer me clear of future time wastes like 2666.
Save your time. If you want to read Latin literature, turn to Marquez.
This book is not for adults. It's a book for kids who are looking for a rather soap opera style "me and my gay angst" book.
This about the third book I've fallen into based on reviews of originality and great story lines that simply aren't there. There is little in an audio book I dislike more than launching into an anticipated listen only to discover it's some hack teen pap that lies about 10 notches below Dog with a Blog.
Oh me, I'm kissing a boy! Yahoo. Whoopeeee. Deep stuff.
If you are over 14 years old this will be below your maturity level. Skip it.
Since I'm on a nasty tear I might as well slam the narrator. MacLeod Andrews can turn an 18 year old boy/man into a whiny 11 year old. He has a gift. I've not heard such sappy narration in a book read by anyone else. No 17, 18, 19 year old would sound as deserving of a kick in the butt with an admonition to grow up as the characters Andrews portrays.
Am I angry? Probably. I wasn't paying attention and stepped in this mess right after cleaning my shoes of "Jumper", an equally awful book.
So, 12-13 year olds can ignore this if your standards are relatively low. 14 - 18 year olds? I'm sorry for you if you think is worth your time. If you are over 18? Well, stay away from playgrounds please.
Audible: PLEASE MARK CHILDREN'S BOOK AS SUCH.
Final Note. Am I just anti teen? NO. Read Skippy Dies. It's BRILLIANT. Read the Virgin Suicides. BRILLIANT. It can be done.
You have to give this book a chance. It's a little rough to get started but once you catch all the implications, it's a funny and brilliant look at academia and humanity.
I laughed out loud at a few lines and then I felt this rather sad pathos start to come over me. It's just a spoof, right? A brilliant spoof, but the book is merely satire and so we shouldn't be disturbed by it. But it is disturbing and it runs a lot deeper than spoof.
The feeling you'll experience are real.
Even the title...
Give it a chance. Buy a hard copy. Try. It's certainly one of the finest assembly of words ever.
I hate to write a trite review about a great book so I won't. I won't recap the story.
I will say that if you are male and have 40+ years under your belt, you will enjoy and be deeply touched by this incredible book. All others? You probably like it, maybe a lot.
This, I believe, is a book men need to read. And women? You'll get the inside scoop on the male psyche.
Don't miss this masterpiece.
This is the same stuff that I have been teaching in my presentation training classes for years. Steve Jobs didn't invent this technique, he learned it. How? He took the time to study.
Still, the book has a ton of great material---I really liked it until I hit the Joel Olsteen stuff. I personally don't care for or feel trust in the Olsteen machine.
So yes, if you are new to presenting, this will your first exposure to much of this material. If you're a seasoned speaker, stick with your own style.
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