I wasn't impressed with this lecture series but wonder if the method of delivery might have something to do with it.
My Great Courses library contains over 25 DVD courses and they are mostly in the 90% percentile for excellence. To date I have purchased three courses on the audio format and have not been impressed with any of them. I'm not sure if it is because the audio format fails against the full video courses or if I have simply chosen courses that do not come across well in audio alone.
For example, Greenberg's Wagner course is awful. He is constantly detracting from the material with sophomoric jokes. Without the silliness, the course would be excellent. Can't blame audio for that. I also purchased the Divine Comedy course. It's like a radio program with two panelists supporting each others position. That's right Bob, Dante based his work on the Bible! Sure Dave, and he used the style of the time.
I find it a bit annoying but haven't passed judgement yet.
This course didn't appeal to me at all. I do like professor Wolfson and greatly enjoy the video series, "Physics in You Life". In this course, he speaks way too fast. I had hoped to gain some scientific insight into climate change but there really is not any new material here. Essentially it amounts to telling us the earth is getting warmer, the warming is caused by carbon and man is at the heart of the problem.
If you already understand that, save the credit.
I wanted to understand the arguments that go like this: The earth has been warmer in the past, well before man, why? How did it cool? Why was the temperature so much higher 200 million years ago? Yes, there was a mini ice age 400 years ago, why? I know these questions do not have definitive answers but I had hoped for some science on those questions.
Also, I believe Wolfson is too definite on his outlook for the future. Carbon content goes up, temperature will rise by this range. He mentions that the earth my have trigger points which could cause climate to change in an opposite direction and then dismisses that in a sentence. I'm not so sure.
The earth is a lot more complex than Venus which is always used for comparison. I don't think we can say with certainty that a temperature increase here will not cause a reaction leading to a decrease in temperature there. For example, if warming causes the heat conveyor of the Atlantic to stop delivering warmth to England, then Europe could plunge into a deep cold period. It is not clear if this is possible but the oceans distribute heat---altering currents can change climate.
Okay, this isn't about my theories. The course is rather basic and might be better in video format.
If you are completely new to the subject, give it a go. If you already have some background, you can probably skip this without missing anything.
Too fast. Too shallow.
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.
After a very disappointing Wagner course followed by a stupendous Shostakovich course, I decided to put Greenberg in the lineup once again. This course started rather pleasantly with solid biographical background and excellent musical analysis of Stravinsky's early life and works. There's the typical Greenberg train wreck at about mid way through. He launches into a sort of "whose on first" dialogue about Stravinsky and another artist discussing a new piece.
Again, the jokes. This time we get a full routine smack in the middle of a serious discussion about World War 1 and the Russian Revolution. From there out, we get the usual corny Greenberg humor but not in as strong an application as usual. Perhaps his seemingly endless parody satisfied the frustrated comedian long enough to limp through the remaining lectures without need to ham it up?
I did learn from the course and enjoyed it for the most part. I am, however, weary of Greenberg's jokes which detract much from the subject matter. If you want to learn a bit about Stravinsky and get some insight into the technical aspects of his music, buy the course knowing you'll have to endure some bad humor.
The Great Courses should consider adding a couple of other music experts to their stable. It would be wonderful to have some variety in this category.
While not a home run, the course is a hit that will get you to first base of Stravinsky understanding. It's got some solid content and Greenberg obviously knows his stuff. Scale way back on the sophomoric humor and this would be a much better course.
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