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PHIL

San Diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

289
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 129 reviews
  • 134 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
88

  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1000)
    Performance
    (837)
    Story
    (840)

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Grant says: "Hot"
    "A fine subject, another underwhelming book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book's release coincided roughly with the author's correctly calling the Obama reelection, and I know there was some promotional buzz. I enjoyed the book, but like so many others, it is laden with all sorts of random anecdotes and stories that don't really cohere well, so it serves as a very light repast of actionable, penetrating statistical methods, slathered over with plenty of entertainment and filler. So, it probably nicely fulfills the contemporary book industry formula for popular writing and its marketing.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Wall Street: A History, Updated Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Charles R. Geisst
    • Narrated By Stephen McLaughlin
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Wall Street is an unending source of legend - and nightmares. It is a universal symbol of both the highest aspirations of economic prosperity and the basest impulses of greed and deception. Charles R. Geisst's Wall Street is at once a chronicle of the street itself - from the days when the wall was merely a defensive barricade built by Peter Stuyvesant - and an engaging economic history of the United States, a tale of profits and losses, enterprising spirits, and key figures that transformed America into the most powerful economy in the world.

    PHIL says: "Many books in one; best linking of stories, eras"
    "Many books in one; best linking of stories, eras"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read dozens of books in this genre. Yet, here I had many "gee whiz" moments, understanding in new ways (and sometimes clearly for the first time) how many of these dots connected between personalities, groups in society, financial innovations and eras, and various world players affecting, and affected by, Wall Street. The explanations are sensible and clear, and flow sensibly across time and through these overlapping factors. Many books have picked up some segment of this, and I have heard many of these stories in a fragmented way, but these fragmented books tended to wander into details that can lose the thread of important facts and ideas, or to start and stop at arbitrary points. Half a dozen segments here could be books in themselves.
    As for the narration, at first I thought it a bit on the relaxed and plodding side, but as time has passed, I have found it very listenable, and able to hold my attention.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Legacies of Great Economists

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Timothy Taylor
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    When it comes to economics and economic theory, a few thinkers dominate the landscape. Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes, and a handful of others have shaped the world of economics and influenced our lives. These 10 lectures acquaint you with the thoughts, theories, and lives of these great economists.

    PHIL says: "A fine basic survey: a home run for Prof. Taylor"
    "A fine basic survey: a home run for Prof. Taylor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This professor is passionate, obviously engaged with his subject, clear and accessible. This survey moves across many big books full of ideas pretty quickly, so naturally it does not get into the more abstract and technical fine points. But to readily get a good basic feel for these ideas and thinkers (and their writing, which is critiqued a bit, and explained in light of the prevalent ideas of their times), one couldn't start at a better place.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking Like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Randall Bartlett
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    Economic forces are everywhere around you. But that doesn't mean you need to passively accept whatever outcome those forces might press upon you. Instead, with these 12 fast-moving and crystal clear lectures, you can learn how to use a small handful of basic nuts-and-bolts principles to turn those same forces to your own advantage.

    Cynthea says: "A difficult subject made easy!"
    "Clear, useful, accessible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was a pleasure to listen to this. I never found myself zoning out or wondering (as I often do) when the speaker will cut through the fuzzy jargon and get to the point. The points are all set out. This has helped me think more clearly in my own decisions, and express myself more clearly in my own business teaching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Alan Greenspan
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Like all of us, though few so visibly, Alan Greenspan was forced by the financial crisis of 2008 to question some fundamental assumptions about risk management and economic forecasting. No one with any meaningful role in economic decision making in the world saw beforehand the storm for what it was. How had our models so utterly failed us? To answer this question, Alan Greenspan embarked on a rigorous and far-reaching multiyear examination of how Homo economicus predicts the economic future, and how it can predict it better.

    PHIL says: "I profit from listening, and sometimes disagree"
    "I profit from listening, and sometimes disagree"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a wide-ranging tour of ideas and history that have been capturing Mr Greenspan's attention since he left the Fed, and he thereafter admitted before Congress as the Great Recession unfolded, that some big assumptions and models he was using hadn't worked. I like to listen to his mind working, as, for example, he loosely cobbles together an economic model in front of the reader, or walks through a stretch of history, lucidly pointing out big salient features of how we got here. Like many very smart people I know, he shows a gift sometimes for displaying (what seem to me glaring) gaps in his reasoning, or for ignoring a 900-pound factual gorilla looming in the situation. (This is the reputed libertarian Ayn Rand disciple who yet worked in and around government much of his adult life, openly disliked government's solutions, yet became arguably the most powerful individual inside government, whereupon he showered cheap credit into the banking system for a very extended period (meanwhile refusing to exercise his statutory powers to regulate various mortgage finance practices) as a vast unstable housing bubble heaved up and (soon enough after he left the job) collapsed into the worst mess since the Great Depression.) This wouldn't be the first time models worked well until they didn't. But, aside from some sidestepping perhaps, he intrepidly wrestles with some big questions. For example, he tackles why this recovery was seemingly this tepid and slow. I don't agree with all the answers he finds, but along this journey I find this book has helped me clarify and sharpen and update my own views and opinions. And for that, I give Mr Greespan credit and thanks. In that light, I think this work is a success.
    I've seen reviews that complain about the wide range of sub-topics. But all of them are interesting to me, and I like the way the guy describes things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By John Brockman
    • Narrated By John Allen Nelson, Khristine Hvam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world's most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

    Benjamin says: "Amazing book!"
    "A sampler of spicy ideas to liven up the mind"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm finding this series habit-forming. I like the quickness of each little vignette: it introduces an idea or new phrasing or view of things that may be novel to me (great!) or not (fine, it's not too long). From time to time one hears a very gifted explainer: it introduces me to authors whose full-length books I also read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Money: The Unauthorized Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Felix Martin
    • Narrated By Nicholas Guy Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    From ancient currency to Adam Smith, from the gold standard to shadow banking and the Great Recession: a sweeping historical epic that traces the development and evolution of one of humankind’s greatest inventions.

    PHIL says: "Meandering, repetitive, pseudo-clever; not all bad"
    "Meandering, repetitive, pseudo-clever; not all bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Take a reasonably interesting idea: e.g., the Yap islanders' use of largely stationary stones as money (seen many times in other books), and various interesting implications of that. Repeat it ad nauseum, as if the listener was too dense to get the simple logic of it. (How many versions and iterations of this simple explanation must I hear? Did you think I forgot since the last Nth time you repeated it? Is there an editor in the house?)
    Lard on all sorts of low-information padding, strings of words roughly in the nature of 'you might be astonished to hear ...', interrupting the flow of actual information, which add bulk and a wordy pseudo-academic sound, but no meaning. (At least it is read in a clear and pleasant voice!)
    Purport to challenge various common ideas and traditional (and quite useful) understandings about money, but don't really raise an effective challenge; just say they are wrong. Insert colorful descriptions of such things as long-dead peoples' intentions in doing certain acts, without good evidence. Pretend that a few easy inferences about money (apparent to any clear thinker who has done much of any reading in the field) are new or clever ideas, while these are often repackaged truncations of existing ideas or obvious inferences.
    Dress it up, perhaps in a UK-centric style, try for a gravitas-but-wide-audience-snappiness reminiscent of Clarke's 'Civilisation' or Ferguson's 'Ascent of Money' (anticipating a TV special maybe?), with colorful stories and a lofty British tone. Now you are getting close to sensing some of what goes on here.
    So what do I like about this book? It is a nice fit for walking around my river park, reflecting, pondering certain stories and features of money and credit, without being taxed too hard mentally. It gives nice gentle nudges to the imagination from lots of angles about these topics. Since this subject is of great interest to me, it doesn't hurt to do walk-throughs from lots of viewpoints. Here and there a novel phrasing of some idea is a nice fit with my growing knowledge. It is a pleasant presentation and, for someone with an interest in this (and perhaps not quite as far along the scholarship curve), and subject to some of the above issues, time pretty well spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ceo Guide To Doing Business In Middle East: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain And Qatar

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ade Asefeso, MCIPS, MBA
    • Narrated By Susan Lee
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The UAE is situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The UAE is a federation of seven Emirates each with its own Ruler. Saudi Arabia's command economy is petroleum-based; roughly 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings come from the oil industry.

    PHIL says: "A fine presentation"
    "A fine presentation"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have many business students from various of these countries, and I feel much better informed about the settings they are coming from. Of course, a book this short must be a summary, but I appreciate having a much better sense of the identities of these individual nations/emirates. It is certainly not "one size fits all."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • CEO's Guide to Doing Business in USA

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ade Asefeso MCIPS MBA
    • Narrated By Jeff Porter
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The main objective of this audiobook is to provide you with basic knowledge about the USA; an overview of its economy, business culture, potential opportunities and an introduction to other relevant issues. Novice exporters, in particular will find it a useful starting point.

    PHIL says: "A fine introduction/summary"
    "A fine introduction/summary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like this series. This one does not disappoint. I teach business law, and wanted a nice walk-through just as a refresher and to catch some details I might have left out of my lectures. This author seems well-informed and bright, and has put together a good succinct presentation. The perspective seems to be primarily from Britain, but many can benefit, even US locals. I am also raising the quality of the international aspects of my course by listening to various of the international versions of this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wiseguy

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Nicholas Pileggi
    • Narrated By Nicholas Pileggi
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (36)

    This is the true-crime bestseller that was the basis for Martin Scorsese’s film masterpiece GoodFellas, which brought to life the violence, the excess, the families, the wives and girlfriends, the drugs, the payoffs, the paybacks, the jail time, and the Feds... with Henry Hill’s crackling narration drawn straight out of Wiseguy and overseeing all the unforgettable action.

    Read it and experience the secret life inside the mob - from one who’s lived it. Now with an introduction by Martin Scorcese.

    Ronnie says: "ABRIDGED!"
    "I prefer movie or unabridged version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This version adds almost nothing to the movie, and it lacks the imagery of the movie. I read the unabridged version long ago (before the movie came out) and enjoyed it. But this seems chopped down too much.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wisdom of the Talmud

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ben Zion Bokser
    • Narrated By Allen O'Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    This is a highly comprehensive introduction to the Talmud, the age-old storehouse of Jewish wisdom. Bokser covers the long history of the Talmud, from its origin in the Babylonian exile, its growth through the five centuries after the Roman destruction of the Temple, and the later persecution of the Talmud. The book covers a number of high-level topics, including social ethics and personal morality, with numerous examples from the Talmud. Ben Zion Bokser was one of the major Conservative rabbis of America.

    Brian says: "Hard to follow, rapid-fire narration"
    "Very introductory: nice as far as it goes, but ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not Jewish. However, my scholarly interests mix so often with Jewish history that some closer, focused look at it was inevitable. As a first introduction to some of the history and background, this work is satisfactory. However, I just bought an actual volume of Talmud and it is a large and complex work, not thoroughly described or demonstrated in this audio. As a legal scholar, I can now see what people are referring to with their common aphorisms about the detail of Talmudic scholarship. I guess all this indicates I am growing more scholarly, and I'm seldom satisfied with a "lite" version of anything anymore. That is not the author's fault here; I think, given the length and scope of this presentation, the author did fine work. But anyone with a serious curiosity about the Talmud might quickly survey this and move on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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