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Edmonton, Alberta | Member Since 2009

  • 4 reviews
  • 52 ratings
  • 196 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Francis Fukuyama
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

    blah says: "Best Summary of Political History I've Read"
    "Compelling historical narrative of state formation"
    What did you love best about The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution?

    Fukuyama begins by describing pre-state human social groups--and human biology--to be used as a foundation for the rest of his compelling theory for how states are formed--or rather were formed in history. His historical account of the development of states in China, India, the Ottoman empire, and Europe demonstrates that the road of state formation varies greatly, and is not at all purely progressive. The outcome of state formation is also varied (as we can see in the modern world).

    If nothing else, the first half of this book is a great overview of the development of different societies. Fascinating. And really not dry.

    Fukuyama is just detailed enough to make his theories convincing, one being that central components for a modern political state as we see in Western democracies require: a strong state, the rule of law, and state accountability to all citizens. Many states have one or more of these things, but every modern political order must have them all.

    His whole book is a build up to an upcoming second volume which will describe why in modern times state formation can proceed more directly and purposely than it has in history: with so much violence and suffering.This first volume is interesting, but is not directly relevant for understanding the workings of modern states we currently live in. Such insight I believe will come in the next volume. Still, a fascinating read!

    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    This is a narrative--the author's narrative--of how states formed in history. And it reads like a narrative. It's not exactly a light read, but the strong narrative aspects make it a very compelling read.

    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Davis narration is very clear with perfect pronunciation of works in other languages (well, as far as I can tell). His pace is great and his emphasis of works in sentences actually helps in understanding what Fukuyama is saying.

    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Fukuyam's insight of the pre-conditions for a modern liberal capitalist state is convincing and based not just on his historical research, but a solid socio-political philosophy as well.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "perspective on different ways of being"

    This was a decent book providing perspective on how different people approach the world. I'm not sure how scientific this was; it was perhaps more of an investigation or survey into other people's works on extraversion/introversion. definitely worth a read especially if you're am introvert.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "fun and entertaining"

    I like the idea of providing a narrative of this mystery through the eyes of three different women. Unfortunately, these women we're not as developed as they could have been. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining story that kept me wanting to know what happened. Nothing in this book gives me great insight into humanity or anything like that. Except perhaps what it's like to live as an alcoholic. mostly though this was pure entertainment. Luckily, the ending is satisfying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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"
    "Insightful arguments, condescending performance"

    Hayek is not the most exciting writer, but he is clear, and his discussion does hold your attention. Especially this book which is directed not at academics, but to us regular folk.

    The discussion about the dangers of socialism is somewhat dated: the particular dangers he is concerned about are with regards to post-war England. Still, there are insights here that apply universally.

    My main complaint is the condescending tone of the reader. I do not think the book is written as a talking down lecture. But it comes across this way through the reader.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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