You no longer follow PHIL

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow PHIL

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

PHIL

San Diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

383
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 159 reviews
  • 165 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
130

  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By Joe Ochman
    Overall
    (827)
    Performance
    (689)
    Story
    (693)

    In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

    Liz says: "big fan but what is up with the bleeps?"
    "Some good ideas, smart guy, not smart as HE thinks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a longtime reader of Taleb, I find him at best mostly bracing, sometimes head-turning with new twists of ideas, sometimes charmingly abrasive. He can be like a bright, independent-thinking pal to spend a walk with (and I walk with books mostly). This book is worth it on that level. There are important ideas here which the herd misses, probably to its ultimate regret. But plenty of time is spent here with ideas not as new and revolutionary as he touts them as, and of course the self-absorbed cheap-shot attacks on straw-man "academics," etc. Why spend so much time attacking mediocrities in that corner of the world? It gets repetitive, and that's where (despite his protestations) a SMART editor (unlike, again, the mediocre straw-man editors he criticizes) would come in handy. There seems to be a framing effect, a saliency bias, Mr Taleb is brilliant but very wrapped up in his world of airport luggage, dinners, academics, with a certain adolescent resentment about elements of it. I feel sometimes like I'm trapped in an airport luncheon with him and his loathsome dull academics, as he prattles on.

    45 of 47 people found this review helpful
  • A New Era in Banking: The Landscape After the Battle

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Angel Berges, Mauro F. Guillén, Juan Pedro Moreno, and others
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    A New Era in Banking: The Landscape After the Battle identifies the main drivers of change at the heart of this wholesale transformation of the financial services industry. It examines the complex challenge for financial institutions to de-risk business models, reconnect with customers, and approach stakeholder value creation.

    PHIL says: "Solid, if elementary; some useful bits"
    "Solid, if elementary; some useful bits"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For those who have followed financial services and the trends in regulation since '08, a lot of this is not new. The narrator, with his blandly casual, unvarying bored yuppie intonations intensifies the feeling at moments of listening to an interminable corporate slide show; every single sentence (no exceptions) begins and ends in the exact same sound registers, and I get the feeling he was just clocking in and picking up a paycheck. The review of recent history was very pedestrian and unimaginative, and I didn't hear anything at all new until some time in the 30th minute. Maybe every half hour I heard something that really made me perk up. The fresher ideas (at least, fresher in my experience, having absorbed many of the big mainstream books on this area) involve thinking in new patterns about future growth and change in this industry. Though few sharp-etched answers are offered, and plenty of bromides are here about honoring all stakeholders (without really digging into how incentive structures can specifically and concretely change to get us there), the listener is invited to consider many directions and niches for banking in the near future, and some opportunities and dangers, from the community level to internationally. I don't regret hearing this one, though I will refrain from much, if any, "wow" response.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By MiMi Swartz, Sherron Watkins
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    From inside the walls of Enron, a lone whistleblower attempted to avert the course of events leading to the largest bankruptcy in American history. On August 16, 2001, Sherron Watkins wrote an anonymous letter to Enron's Chairman, Ken Lay, laying out problems with Enron's use of partnerships to hide debt. She warned of a possible scandal that could topple the company if investors and the news media learned of the operations. Then, she revealed her identity and confronted Lay directly.

    Kevin Christy says: "A Truly Compelling Look at Greed and Arrogance"
    "A worthwhile addition to my Enron library"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is maybe the sixth book I have read on Enron. Full disclosure: I am an aficionado, fan and amateur scholar of the Enron story. This one (for readers who already have a basic grasp of the narrative) has its own useful and illuminating angles and facts, large and small. Sherron Watkins' personalized journey through the company helps show the nervous, semi-entrepreneurial kind of path many felt they must follow, to be linked to the personalities and the "action" where advancement and even survival could be found. On occasion, the personal trivia veered into the stupid -- ski and paintball encounters and such. But I guess this shows some of the silly juvenile trash that I am given to understand still permeates the halls of many corporations, as team- and spirit- building exercises. Apparently the cheerleaders still stalk the halls of business. But these sidetracks are mercifully short, and the discussion often touches (if simplified, then comprehensibly) on quite substantive matters -- some details of accounting devices used to puff up revenues and hide debt, and the legalities of entering, say, retail electricity sales in multiple states. Then, too, we get a good portrait of the principals' (Skilling's and Fastow's, particularly) reactions to such obstacles, as mere technicalities to be creatively overcome. And there, the story is quite current, in view of globalized corporations' armies of numbers and law personnel brainstorming to "arbitrage" every such obstacle. Some of this is a natural (and not necessarily always nefarious) part of doing business -- creativity IS often about stretching existing boundaries and obstacles. And sometimes the legalities ARE sketchy. Of course, Enron became a caricature and a cartoon of this, as is skillfully laid out here. The narration is clear, punchy and quite suitable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned - and Have Still to Learn - from the Financial Crisis

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Martin Wolf
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis, but the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us about modern economies and economics. The audiobook identifies the origin of the crisis in the complex interaction between globalization, hugely destabilizing global imbalances and our dangerously fragile financial system.

    PHIL says: "Good on Europe's problems, fair global update"
    "Good on Europe's problems, fair global update"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Gordian knot entangling the Euro members is fascinating and well explicated. This author's prescriptions strike me as pretty straightforward neo-(neo-) Keynesian, but I wouldn't let that dissuade me from hearing him out. He does at least roughly map a lot of areas that need vigilance -- we are not (ever) out of the woods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Merchant of Venice

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 58 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Michael Redgrave, Peter Neil
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    Award winning actor Sir Michael Redgrave leads a full-cast performance of Shakespeare's dramatic comedy.

    Jeanette says: "Tis a LIAR"
    "Riveting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm primarily a "business history guy," and not into fiction much. But I'm also an Anglophile, raised on Shakespeare, and this play is very revealing of much business/cultural history. Modern ears, I think, will likely deplore the injustices done to the Jewish merchant Shylock, which might not have been Shakespeare's (or his audience's) views at all. This was billed as a "comedy," right? As in, having a "happy" ending? But I love the way the pretzel logic leaves everyone, even the most virtuous, tinged with a bit of larceny and trickery. The hypocrisy of the supposedly virtuous Establishment gentiles was well on display here (perhaps unintentionally?). The performance I thought delightful all around. I can only wish audible would produce the earlier Christopher Marlowe play "The Jew of Malta," and maybe the nonfiction book "Shylock's Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe" by Derek J. Penslar. But meanwhile, Ferguson's "The Ascent of Money" is available, which sheds some limited light on the topic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street's Bullish 60s

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By John Brooks, Michael Lewis (foreword)
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The Go-Go Years is the harrowing and humorous story of the growth stocks of the 1960s and how their meteoric rise caused a multitude of small investors to thrive until the devastating market crashes in the 1970s. It was a time when greed drove the market and fast money was being made and lost as the "go-go" stocks surged and plunged. Included are the stories of such high-profile personalities as H. Ross Perot, who lost $450 million in one day.

    PHIL says: "Colorful, illuminating, puckish"
    "Colorful, illuminating, puckish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This ride through 60s Wall Street moves well, though unevenly here and there. Everywhere are telling details and anecdotes (matching cultural tidbits I remember, though I was a kid) in tales of every kind of operator from wiser financiers to high-fliers. There are countless wise observations of the fascinations and failings of markets, that are still meaningful today. In the foreword, Michael Lewis seems to damn it with faint praise, but I might speculate there's a little envy here, for the work of such an animated storyteller. As I listened to this, I also read "The Money Game" by (the pseudonymous) 'Adam Smith,' a similarly wry-and-sprightly-yet-wise look into many matching stories and aspects of 1960s markets and their denizens. I enjoyed mentally comparing this account of the mild downturn of 1970 (ending the "go-go years") with our Great Recession: quite amusing was the author's lamenting unemployment at a whopping 6-plus percent, and such awful privations for the middle class as replacement of steak meals on airliners with sandwiches, and cloth napkins with paper ones! Oh, the horror! I see many Americans in that time period as spoiled brats squandering their historic world supremacy and opportunities, veering into zany and infantile frivolities, and there is ample evidence of that here. But knowing the rest of the story, the way the 1970s did unfold into some serious macro-problems, casts a sobering light back onto this. I see more books by John Brooks recently released here, and I look forward enthusiastically to hearing them. This author can convey a lot of useful and meaningful content in an engaging and listenable, non-technical form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Financial Literacy for Managers: Finance and Accounting for Better Decision-Making

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Richard A. Lambert
    • Narrated By Kaleo Griffith
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    The language of business. In order to understand how your business is performing right now and to evaluate, assess, and devise new strategies to boost future performance, you need information. Financial statements are a critical source of the information you need. In direct and simple terms, Richard A. Lambert, Miller-Sherrerd Professor of Accounting at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, demystifies financial statements and concepts and shows you how you can apply this information to make better business decisions for long-term profit.

    Willy says: "Pleasantly Surprised"
    "Clear, practical, tremendous value"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my favorite audiobooks ever (and I've listened to hundreds). I took financial and managerial accounting classes a few years ago. This worked as a refresher and went beyond that into solid, basic finance topics, very effectively. The information is useful to me for personal finance decisions as well (such as, using discounted value of future cash flows in decision support). Rarely have I found so much useful information so well and so compactly delivered. I will listen to it many times. I hope for more content form this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Man: Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life

    • ABRIDGED (2 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert Lacey
    • Narrated By Ron Silver
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Based on interviews with Lansky's family, his close friends and criminal associates, law enforcement experts, and using previously unpublished documents written by Lansky himself, this is both the biography of a mob boss and a social history of American crime.

    PHIL says: "A good, straight, factual account"
    "A good, straight, factual account"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am grateful for the lack of razzle-dazzle and the straight-faced discipline here of sticking to known facts. Lansky was a cautious man with a sharp memory and a good head for numbers. He was more honest in dealings than his cohorts generally, and would avoid direct participation in the worst excesses of organized criminals, but he would team with some with no such scruples, such as Siegel and Luciano. Lansky was not the sensationalized demi-god of international criminal finance he is sometimes exalted as (a narrative which might dovetail with the mythos of shadowy international Jewish conspiracies). There were plenty of people he could not bribe and corrupt. We hear this in the later stages of his life, where he was a guy with a weak heart and limited assets fleeing the Justice Department from place to place. His interactions with Israel, as he attempted to use the right of return to emigrate (and to die) there, were interesting and well told from a legal point of view. Though Lansky had made some efforts in aid of the combatants founding Israel, and put on a full court press with forceful lawyers to make his case, the Israeli justice system appears (in my opinion) to have come to the right conclusion in ultimately rejecting his petition for citizenship. Lansky's children are given brief roles, and they turned out to be as flawed as anyone, and did not come away with great fortunes. Often stories like this are embellished a lot, maybe for sales. But I prefer this approach.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Scandal!: Amazing Tales of Scandals that Shocked the World and Shaped Modern Business

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Editors of Fortune Magazine
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Consider, for example, the case of the Swedish match king. At one time, Ivar Kreuger, manufactured almost half of the world's matches, with monopolies in 16 countries. He had so much money that he was a reliable lender to many countries, becoming known as the 'saviour of Europe' for his willingness to give aid to banks crippled by World War I. At the time of the 1929 market crash, his was the most widely held stock in the world. When he killed himself three years later, the whole thing went up in flames.

    Christine Renner says: "So much scandal...so little time"
    "Reads like a magazine, for better or worse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By "better," I mean it is light and entertaining, as business fare goes, and has enough detail to give a sketch of the histories, personalities and so on. By "worse" I mean it dwells on superficial but attention-getting things like the perks of the scandal-mongers and their more glaring eccentricities, rather than really digging into deal details. In this phase of my business-finance education and sophistication, I tire quickly of the list of silly consumer goods and the mistresses and such that many of these characters pursue. So, I listen to this as a "relaxation" business book, when I am a little fatigued or distracted. In those times when I am more focused and really wanting to learn with precision, this shallow flashiness bores me. A person earlier or less sophisticated in business studies may benefit from the listenable quality of this -- I would term it "sugar coated."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How the Stock Market Works

    • ORIGINAL (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (146)

    This course is an introduction to the stock market and stock investing for novices and experienced investors alike. Professor DeGennaro uses simple analogies to explain the origin of stocks and other securities, as well as their relative risks. He stresses the danger of trying to beat the market by trying to pick winners, predict price trends, or otherwise find opportunities that other investors have missed.

    Eric Dudeck says: "Bad analogies and useless anecdotes"
    "A very fine primer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have recommended this to several friends who are novices in this area. It stands alongside "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" as a favorite introduction to investment thinking. These ideas have earned my trust in the markets. It ranges beyond stocks to give some limited, basic explanations of other investments and markets.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Posthumanities)

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Timothy Morton
    • Narrated By Dave Wright
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    Global warming is perhaps the most dramatic example of what Timothy Morton calls "hyperobjects" - entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions that they defeat traditional ideas about what a thing is in the first place. In this book, Morton explains what hyperobjects are and their impact on how we think, how we coexist with one another and with nonhumans, and how we experience our politics, ethics, and art.

    PHIL says: "Imperfect, sprawling, hypnotic, brilliant"
    "Imperfect, sprawling, hypnotic, brilliant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This work has changed my thinking and everyday experience -- my highest praise. It's not that I swallow whole every assertion made there about a narrative flow of the "end of the world," though a credible if very non-rigorous model is sketched. This is not a formal work trying to bring a microscope to the exact problems we face as a species. What uniquely grabbed me was the radical approach to meaning and experience that peels off every comforting and supposedly "safe" surface or refuge and instills an amazing vertigo and bracing penetrating discomfort about -- pretty much whatever one clings to. I admire someone with the courage to rip into my stodgy mental structures and at least shake them up. And aside from its content, its form is arresting too. I think this a great performance in the audiobook genre specifically. The narrator's intonations coupled with the writing style make it a work and experience of -- philosophizing art -- an incisive commentary and a prose poem in the same moment. The least appealing parts to my mind were perfectly fine (and occasionally brilliant) descriptions of modern art works and their rhetorics -- I preferred when the author put his mental scalpel right into the stuff of everyday experience and thought, and turned the same in effect inside out. If one wants to open doors of perception, there's no need to make recourse to drugs. Just strap this sucker on and take a walk, anywhere. It is like walking inside a vast many-faceted work of art.
    People more versed in such schools as poststructuralism may not have this beginners' delight in the arresting clashes with the comfortable I find here. That's my next stop.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.