San Francisco, CA, United States | Member Since 2010
Depends on the friend. But yes, to someone open to good character development, and an entertaining read, absolutely!!
This is actually a fantastic story if you can get past the elderly narrator -- who's polished, sophisticated, and perfect for a lot of (other) Audible books, but not to represent a character who's billed as the most elite of the pack, in physical skill & ability to kill . . . In under 5 seconds, with his bare hands, no less.
My main gripe, tho, is that Flynn, who obviously seems to have the talent to entertain, refuses to exert any energy in solving the challenge(s) that all WRITER's face - for example, figuring out how to suspend the readers's disbelief regarding an agent who's 'allowed' to torture and kill with immunity w/in the US despite protests from his boss, field partner, not to mention the fact that this main character has sworn to uphold those pesky 'right to due-process laws' that set the US apart from our 'enemy' countries.
Yet Flynn refuses to come up with a creative solution to Flynn-the-writer's dilemma -- I.e., how to come up with a reason (besides Rapp being crazy or somehow out-of-control) that gives Rapp-the-main-character an excuse that allows him to somehow get away with torturing, then killing other US citizens, including a top-level administrator. That would take true writing chops. But, instead, Flynn lazily uses a comparison to PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION -- a procedure only used when the mother's life is threatened (and NOT for "depression"), as Flynn writes to his (stupid?! he thinks) readers?!! saying that this kind of abortion is the same thing, morally, ethically & legally, as Rapp's torture and murder. All I'm saying here is, Put some effort into the writing process, Flynn, instead of resorting to these knee-jerk, divisive tactics. Why? Because when you don't, like in this story, you insult the intelligence of the very people who allow you to live the life of a king. Shame on you. And (gently, kindly) lose the narrator, too.
Otherwise, a really good book. Seriously.
Do you know what triggers your shame? And do you engage in a daily 'gratitude practice'? And creatively involved in something you love, too? In addition, do you get plenty of sleep, and also know what it means to regularly laugh, play, and prioritize friendship as well? Well, guess what the latest research shows? These are the similarities of people who choose, and experience high levels of happiness over following the conformist tendencies of the 'in' crowd.
After a handful or so years of doing hours-long 'interviews' of research subjects, and picking out repeating themes in American life, researcher and professor Brene Brown's focus on shame, fear & vulnerability almost brought her to her knees -- until she realized another emerging theme: Authenticity. That is, among and within an epidemic of irresponsibility and blame (which have increasingly been our 'default responses' to the fear and insecurity brought on by 9/11, 2008's Wall Street meltdown, plus the corruption we see everyday in our so-called leaders), Brown was also able to identify and focus on a more positive trend leading us toward more authentic lives. Let's hope that the 'hundredth monkey' theory continues (see book with same name, by Ken Keyes) in which a small group of people can literally change the way we live!
This small group of people who resist cultural pressures to conform, not only live a certain way (see paragraph one, above), but are happier than others because of their choices in bucking the stultifying trends toward falseness -- who, instead, embrace authenticity. Yet be forewarned because no matter what you've been taught, showing your feelings and learning to be/embrace vulnerability and authenticity is not a journey for the weak!
In this hours-long taping of a live seminar where Brown speaks in her down-to-earth, often funny, manner with an audience of two-thousand mental-health professionals, she's more than able at reaching her audience, revealing her OWN cringe-worthy journey (which we can all relate to) from a tough Texan with a quick-draw ability to defend at all costs, to a woman, who, "saved by her data" and research, begins, and unashamedly continues, her own journey at being and teaching the how/when& why a 'whole-hearted life' is as good as it gets! But it's not an overnight scheme, nor a scheme at all. I've already listened to this fantastic presentation three times. My only request is that Brene Brown present & record ALL her material, even to the point of redoing the two books she's had others narrate. Because this is your main, and your most intimate, channel in which to reach the most people. Please do so, I beg you. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. I can't say enough about the importance of Brene Brown's work. It's the antidote in this otherwise increasingly false world of ours.
This story and narration, together, boggle the mind. Yet having heard it right out of an unexpected gallbladder surgery, it'd be an equally perfect (read, 'perfectly insipid' - and, yes, sometimes 'insipid choices are 'perfect' for the right circumstance) - oh darn, I've just moved above my own ability to think right now. Just don't buy it unless you're trying to find the right book to tear apart in one of your beginning creative writing courses. "What is this book missing? Or after so manner better books, why would Steele even bother (money . . ., to get over a back relationship, who knows, who cares).
But if you're over 15 or intelligent or if you like to learn something while you're reading, please don't shed your shekels on this young girl's fantasy-come-true (which doesn't even emerge until, well, near the bitter end, I believe) . . .
In short, spare your money. Instead get, 'The Cottage', if you're wanting a story showing growth (I guess you could call it 'growth') - a much better D. Steele. Or, if you haven't yet read 'The Walking Series' books, by Richard Patrick Evans, give it a go. Talk about having an author touch your heart (altho he skimps out a bit around book 4 or so, with the shorter books. (Note: Just make sure you start from Book 1 - read some 'reviews' to find out.)
Or my fave, by Evans, 'A Winters Dream' narrated by the incomparable Fred Berman.
I was going to say that this is a grownup Nancy Drew for the young and mature - especially those who are fascinated by a mix of WWI-era history, the plight of vets (who survived that war, and there weren't many) - yet as Maisie gets her Investigation biz underway, using her Cambridge education, her nursing experience on the front lines of war (poise) & her years of psychological training by a Freud-like elder (perception & intuition) - she hires one of these surviving vets, Billy, who's young, streetsmart, no real formal education but perfect as the right-hand, investigative-trainee to Maisie. A good team, and she's definitely got the lead role, which she earns compassionately, shrewdly, and via networking with the Inspector Chief of Dectives of the Police Dept. Imagine what intelligence that took in the early 1900s. But above all, Maisie's one dogged, tireless worker.
The book's focus, mainly, is about finding people, finding who done what, etc. - and a healthy mix of family & romance. But mostly work, like any new entrepreneur. Romance is seemingly just around the corner, and that corner is approaching. But Maisie is wise beyond her years due to great advice and being open to it, plus she wants a good job. And as most wise women know, if you don't get your own career in place BEFORE you get married or seriously attached, you're not likely to meet the partner (and I do mean partner, not master/mistress) of your most contented dreams. Or she dates, has crushes, and more I dare say. But like any serious biz-building person, her nose is to the proverbial grindstone. And she loves what she does!
Maisie Dobbs is one character who evolves from book to book; she learns from her clients, as the best people do, at their best. I admit, gladly, being swept away, delighted, even captivated by both the author & this cluster of 3D characters circling around this young woman, nurse-veteran of WWI, psychologist by training from the best in the field (not the coke-addled, client-abusing Freud, who's never mentioned but is around at this same historical time. In fact, Freud meets Carl Jung via letters around 1911, so it's very contemporary to the WWI era.)
There's so much in this story, yet it's effortlessly revealed, because, as in all the best work, the 'art is concealed'.
Meredith, please don't give up, but do practice more or stick to female characters which you do very well, albeit somewhat inconsistently just yet. But oh my. I just happened to have the print copy first and thought, just maybe, the audiobook would be a delight. Why? Any Edith Wharton fans out there will LOVE the book. And maybe contribute to Jennie Fields, author, to have this gem re-narrated. Because the original print version IS that excellent! For now, go to the public library or order it, 'cause this 'performance' not only shows the difficulty re the art & craft of narration but also makes you wanna cry.
First, you've got an author with the elegant name, a complex mind and a hot pen, then a narrator who is perfectly cast to match this character, who, best of all, never seems to get in the way of the words or the story. And then you, the reader, learn more about this main character, Maisie Dobbs, who's as refined as a Windsor but wait -- she's got a past that'll knock your socks off. No silly, frail female, this, yet vulnerable enough to identify with and tough enough to admire; in short, she's real, not a cardboard cutout. Plus her assistant, a recovering WW I vet who's decent, married with a few small kids -- all of who/which grow in depth with every book. I'm so happy to know this series is here, for so many reasons. Finally, a smart female whose voice is something I myself can identify with. Know, if only I too could meet a few mentors to impress. Oh well, that's what books are for, right? And no zombies, thank you very much! This one, although not my favorite, still hits all the notes pitch perfect - characters who feel like real people. Winspear continues to show that she's got more than a few well-paced stories that both keep this reader curiously attentive and reading to the very end - something very few others except the masters (like Michael Connelly et al.) have been able been disciplined enough (and brilliantly able to continue their own growth along the way, I imagine, to successfully continue to deliver such hits. This is one author who's going to be around for a very long time.
Not 'House of Cards' exactly, yet intelligence with specks of 3D warmth re Minnesota investigator, Lucas Davenport, who's got several million (after building up & selling a security software application - legacy - that made millions after Sept 11 attacks). Of course, he wears English shirts, Italian suits, etc., has a beautiful wife, surgeon, and a daughter too, plus the confidence of Democratic governor, who taps Lucas to spearhead a confidential quest just 10 or so days before the gov's probable reelection. But the Rep opponent, Smalls (a womanizer who's been caught too many times to deny it), becomes the target of a vicious slur campaign. The gov doesn't want to win this way, the insinuations & the further destruction of the democratic system, such that it is. So Lucas starts quietly searching around. And just when you feel like turning to another book (b/c this one seems to have gotten terribly predictable ...), everything changes. Sandford is the best I've read so far, a master at timing & tone, like no other. And if you think this is a Dems vs. Rep story, then your POV isn't wide or high enough. Maybe it's 'depth' I'm looking for, for Sandford's ultimate view (told via Lucas Davenport, that is), is that those 'elected' officials who make it to the Senate, well, they all seem to share a lack of empathy & a desire for risk: psychopaths. And not many would disagree I dare say, whatever party you support. It's one exciting read, all the way.
I got this book because, after years of having unusually high levels of self-discipline, I seemed to lose it (the discipline) after three major surgeries that resulted in a years' long recovery period. What happened, I thought? It wasn't that I didn't want to accomplish more goals; in fact, I have alot I wanted, needed, to do. So I began to read about HABITs. This book, The Power of Habits, is worth the read. And yes, there is a solution.
Researchers used to believe that the ability to be 'self-regulating' , e.g., not eating that tempting cookie, was merely a skill. Then after a decade or so more of studies, researchers found that habits are not only triggered by something in our lives, but that once we become aware of our personal 'triggers' that we can 'swap' the bad habit with a healthy one. Trigger-Response-Result. Of course, the goal is to create healthier, more productive habits. So how do we do that. And that's what you'll learn from this book. Everything from seeing how the brain works, how that understanding helps our process of changing habits, how to use this info if we're a parent, coach, CEO, there are case studies for Everyone. And they're really quite fascinating. About the obstacles Michael Phelps had to overcome, the positive habits his coach had him focus on to help him to relax, since all Olympian athletes have perfectly formed bodied (for their sport, at that level, so it was all about calming the mind, pretty much). And that case study was compelling to read. Also one about a well-known CEO of Alcoa, who used this info to change the entire process involved at Alcoa, in a most clever way (while getting everyone to hop on his bandwagon, which we know is virtually impossible at the corporate, heck, the family level!) Those are just two of the many references to specific situations that could be applied to your own personal/professional lives.
The point being, creating a new habit, or swapping a unhealthy habit with a healthy one (i.e., people who start exercising may reduce smoking); or people who start keeping a food journal one day per week, lost twice as much weight as the people who didn't (keep the journal); these are just of few of the studies which are fascinating. The beginning of the book spends maybe a bit too long on the guy who lost his memory and what they did to help him (it's related to the brain and referring to past habits), yet once you slog through that, you'll see how important it was and the rest of the book goes much faster.
Change one habit in your life and, as this book shows, it'll have a ripple effect, a positive affect on creating more and more positive habits throughout your life.
Support, by the way, is also important factor for anyone wanting to create new habits; so make your life easier by finding just one person who's interested & committed to meeting for a half-hour a week, 15 minutes for each to discuss solutions, what are your challenges and how to surmount them. It'd also make an interesting blog, for anyone who wants to change something in their life while discussing the ideas in this book and how you're applying them (to your situation). Help others while helping yourself. Or as the saying goes, "When you help another to get her canoe across the river, you also end up being across the river too." Or something like that, ha.
Back to The Power of Habit. Yes, we all have triggers in our life because the feelings that cause 'triggers' to overeat or smoke or drink, etc., are universal. We all feel these feelings. It's when we isolate, which many do, that our triggers may result in these unhealthy Responses and Results. (The book called Toughness talks about building up 'toughness', as if that's a muscle too. It's not as good a book as this, is mostly sports oriented, but well worth it for anyone realizing how important 'mental toughness' is.) The book, The Power of Habit, is also about building up a form of 'mental toughness', teaching us that, yes, we can use this information to respond to the difficult things/feelings in life IF we learn the skill and practice so as to strengthen the muscle.
Feelings that are hard to feel, such as loneliness, anxiety, stress, etc., that, in large part, is what this book is dancing around, without focusing directly on 'feelings'. Learning how to respond to our life in a way that's healthy, instead of destructive.This book explains how the brain works, illustrates with well-known people and case studies, and offers practical solutions for a wide variety of situations. Yes, it's definitely worth getting, and learning, again and again, until we 'get it'. As long as that takes.
The material is arranged in an easy-to-follow order and the narrator is pitch perfect, as well.
Want to change your life? It's about taking self-responsibility. And this book shows that it's not only possible, but feasible. Support is good, maybe necessary. And the more you/we all bring our best Self to the table, the more we'll all be able to contribute. It's about living life with meaning, not at the mercy of our parents' bad habits or our own. Yes, we can have more control over our lives. And isn't that alot of what happiness is. To make a difference, to be the person we're most capable of being? To connect with others and have something like this to share, because we were able to achieve it ourselves?!
If you're drawn to this subject, it's definitely worth your time.
Great writing and narration. Simple and clear. Like Hemingway. (But print out the pdf before you start listening, to make it even easier to follow this history-type book that brings us up to speed on probability theory applied to the stock market, in clear English.) Do you need to know math or physics? Nope. But you do need to be open to learning. And able to concentrate. That's it.
Have you ever wondered what theory explains the movement of dust particles (the ones you see in a stream of sunshine flowing through an attic window)? It's the same theory that explains the movement of stocks. The Random Walk theory is the main thrust. Based on the Bell Curve. Don't worry, it's clearly explained by a physicist who's obviously a good professor too. (FYI: As we listen/read, we learn that this theory is quite old. But like the Heliocentric Theory - which was silenced for over, what, 15 hundred years(!) - this old/new theory, too, was silenced, but not as long. But for the same reasons; because the people with political clout in physics in the day didn't want anyone to publish a theory that would cause too much change. In short, it was 'ahead of its time'. (Similarly, the Heliocentric Theory was silenced because the anti-Science Inquisitors of the time, i.e., the religious right, would've lost their power over the world. So you can say that both theories were 'ahead of their time' or that 'they both upset the status quo'. P.S. Think 'astrology', and you'll embody the same mindset of people who poo-pooed these two theories. But that's another subject, related but way too 'ahead' of the status quo.)
Anyway, what we learn about in The Physics of Wall Street is apparently quite old, well not like the Heliocentric Theory, but only decades old. It was a theory that was then 'rediscovered' around the 1980s or so, by an econ professor who thought he was inventing it for the first time. Until he found out. Ah, what a disappointment, imagine.
The book's narrator relates all this related history at a clear, simple, and fascinating clip. You'll be glad your read this.
Learn about what makes this Fund earn over 40%-plus returns since the 1990s - twice the annual average returns of Warren Buffet. (This Fund also made 70%-plus returns during the 2008 meltdown, while Buffet lost half the 'value' of his fund.) And did you know, this 2008 meltdown wasn't caused by the middle class buying subprime mortgages, Oh No!. (Isn't that special.) Instead the 2008 debacle, which is still melting our socks off was caused by this cadre of 'specialist physicists' on Wall Street, who used math to create computer models (that didn't work). These specialists are called Quants, and initially caused the HUGE multi-Billion dollar loss in August 2007 (called the Quant Crisis, which was pretty much covered up. Did you know about it?) Well, these same fund physicists kept their fingers crossed, hoping that the worst was over w/o having a clue as to what caused the original fiasco. Unfortunately, the Quants' prayers didn't work, just like their models. The same thing brought everything down around our ankles in 2008, which led, and continues to affect, our current situation. Those quants!
Everyone lost their shirt in 2008 (even Buffet, right!) -- everyone lost, except for this one Fund that we start hearing about from the beginning of this book. And few of us off of Wall Street have heard about this fund, right? They're like EF Hutton. "When they talk, everyone Listens. (Whoever wrote that ad campaign was great in the day, but is currently one of the many reasons why advertising is currently ineffective now. Unlike Public Relations, which includes customer referrals like this one. Note: Don't use customer referrals/testimonials w/o using the person's first & last name. Why? Credibility is King in the Internet Age.)
Ok, enough. Read it so you don't weep. But just so you know -- the founders of this Fund won't hire anyone associated with Wall Street nor anyone coming from a related, traditional background in Finance or Trading etc - because they know these folks don't have a clue. (Yet its 40%-plus returns - except for 2008, when it had 70%-plus returns -- these returns are enough to convince you of this Fund's effectiveness, at least for me.)
Note: A fascinating read for astrologers who know there's a link btwn physics and astrology (a la Will Keepin, the physicist-astrologer-environmentalist, and a contemporary who's coined astrology as "the Science of Meaning.").
The Physics of Wall Street. And it comes with a pdf so you can follow along and see the figures used in the book.
Fascinating stuff. All of it.
Considered to be a groundbreaking book on a new science of how & why we pursue the relationships we do. Don't let my dull review-writing stop you from getting this important new book. For parents, therapists, teachers, divorced, married or single. For anyone who values, and knows the importance of intra-personal & interpersonal intelligences. It's all about how we each make our relationship choices, even bad ones, based on the new science of Attachment which explains how we each connect with important others (3 styles that can overlap a bit: Secure, Anxious & Ambivalent) based on the latest in brain-based science & psychology/relationship research.
Learn more about how you can (easily) figure out your own primary mode of connecting with others, how MRI research shows we're more connected and/or dependent on our partners than mere choice allows; that is, it's part of our body, not just a habit or mental response to another. Some believe we must learn how to be less dependent, but the latest explains credibly & intelligently how we're wired to be less anxious when we're around our partner. The key is to learn how to manage any anxiousness in new relationships (practical tips) to avoid that 'crazy love' feeling that occurs with Anxious types of 'attachment', while Ambivalent types are the people who ignite the Anxious response with their Push-Pull, always withdrawing as soon as one moves toward them. Avoid this painful trap by reading this great, PRACTICAL book. Learn how to protect yourself from this type of unhealed & all-too available date, i.e., until you know how to protect yourself while dating & until you meet someone who is truly compatible.
I strongely suggest this fascinating book even if it's the only self-help book you read. (And by the way, how do you expect to have a great relationship with the people around you if you aren't open to learning something more?
The perfect book if you're a therapist, teacher, recently divorced, unhappily married, caught in a cycle of getting involved with unavailable people, etc. (why that is & what you can do to avoid this type of all-too available prospect) and much much more.
Out of nine possible types of 'intelligence', the two most important are 'intra- & interpersonal intelligences, writes Howard Gardner (Harvard, author of Multiple Intelligences). This book, Attached, will teach everyone more about both.
Well-written, -paced & -narrated autobiographical story about a kid who comes of age with panache, showing his penchant for living confidently & creatively, being truly open & receptive toward the people, places & experiences he most desired to experience - which is what 'living life fully' is all about even tho most of us let our conditioning or whatevers hold us in check. But not this fascinating guy, who starts hanging out at these guys' artistic household that's always filled with fetching models, underground filmmakers, and more. Not a few famous people are a part of this scene - and you'll love it!
Allowing his circle of artistic friends to influence him, Ken rises to the challenge when someone dares him to draw his own art. 'Lo n Behold, his first attempt is received well by these truly supportive, amazed people, which serves to encourage Ken to learn everything he can about Art.
And what a great beginning for an artist who almost by accident develops this long-term friendship with an art dealer-of-sorts who is also the son of a known mafia guy in NY, which certainly adds excitement & moments of dangerous living-on-the-edge. As is often the case with people who follow their energy w/o much planning, we watch & listen to Ken's trials, tribulations & reasons for creating the most incredible copies of masterpieces that use techniques that pass close inspections by the pros for decades (which techniques are explained enough for the nonartist to grasp Ken's ongoing abilities at to soak up life & knowledge, as well as meeting & developing helpful relationships with everyone he meets).
A historical story about the art scene on the edges, with mentions of famous people you are sure to recognize. Made me wish I'd lived in NY City in my 20s in the 60s & 70s. Any artist or art lover will not want to miss this lively, descriptive & true tale. Ah, the creative life when on has connections in the top of the art world, wise guys & even the tough lawyer, Roy Cohn. Even Andy Warhol wanted to meet Ken; and so will you.
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