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Rick

Sanford, FL, USA

29
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 10 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • Freakonomics: Revised Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
    • Narrated By Stephen J. Dubner
    Overall
    (2593)
    Performance
    (1084)
    Story
    (1081)

    Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life, from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing, and whose conclusions turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this audiobook: Freakonomics. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

    David says: "Good, but be careful"
    "Everyone should read this book"
    Overall

    First and foremost: this book has absolutely nothing to do with the economy. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This book, does, however, have everything to do with stepping back and looking at things from a different perspective.

    As the summary says, this book covers a range of topics: realtors, drug dealers, school teachers, crime, etc. But the point is not so much to teach you something new about those topics, but instead to get you to look at how those topics have been presented to you by others. Then, to shift your perspective and think about them in another way.

    This book isn't an education into the "what" or "who" or "where" or "how" that you generally see, but into the "why" of things. It shows that rarely can you take an explanation at face value, but instead you need to keep digging. Stopping at what seems to make sense isn't good enough -- you need to pick at it until you get to the true heart of the matter.

    I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone, and have been.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes. One Goal. And Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Neal Bascomb
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (57)

    In the tradition of Seabiscuit, critically acclaimed author Neal Bascomb reaches back to the golden age of sport and crafts an utterly captivating narrative of what may be the most remarkable athletic feat of all time.

    Brent says: "Most inpirational!"
    "Good story, but could use some editing"
    Overall

    The Good:

    This is, as other reviewers have said, a highly motivational story not just for runners or even just athletes, but for anyone who has ever put years of dedication into becoming the best they can be.

    The three interweaving stories are epic, told over the course of years and continents. The characters aren't presented as perfect or as superhuman, but as real people with real goals and real obstacles. In this way, the reader is not cheated by the inevitable conclusion, but can appreciate all of the work it took by everyone to get there.

    The Bad:

    Honestly, the book is as dedicated but imperfect as its subjects. The opening chapters are in need of an editor to tighten them up, as the chronology and settings jump around a bit too much to keep the reader sure of what happened when. Some of the later sections also have an almost "not quite done" feel to them, as if they wanted to tell more of a story but got trimmed to make for something more dramatic.

    The narration could use a bit of tightening up, too. There are several extended pauses and background noises which are at times distracting. The narrator also switches styles of reciting numbers several times, which can be a bit confusing as the book is so number-centric.

    The Good Again:

    Those minor nitpicks aside, it's still a good book and worth the price and time. It might not start off interesting to a non-runner, or non-athlete, but the story is engaging enough to pull you in if you give it time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Chopin Manuscript: A Serial Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Lee Child, David Corbett, Joseph Finder, and others
    • Narrated By Alfred Molina
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2089)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (475)

    15 thriller masters. 1 masterful thriller! Former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton possesses a previously unknown score by Frederic Chopin. But he is unaware that, within it's handwritten notes, lies a secret that now threatens the lives of thousands of Americans. As he races from Poland to the U.S. to uncover the mystery of the manuscript, Middleton will be accused of murder, pursued by federal agents, and targeted by assassins.

    BSquared67 says: "A rollicking thriller"
    "Interesting for a writer, notsomuch for others"
    Overall

    If you're not a writer, or are a hard-core thriller reader, this book will probably seem mediocre at best. As each chapter was done by a different author, the story changes direction with each change in scene -- sometimes jarringly so. Characters, locales, and threads are lovingly introduced and coddled by one author, only to be forgotten or killed off by another author in the chain. This leads to a noticeably disjoint story that is too amused with itself to bother entertaining the reader.

    Writers will get more out of this book, primarily as a lesson in how NOT to write a cohesive story. This book is audible proof that you might be an astounding writer with a mastery of language, but you have nothing if you can't bring everything together into one good narrative.

    Only slightly behind that lesson is another: as a writer you have to check your ego at the door. This book reeks of testosterone-fueled power trips, and not by the characters. You might think that this would be a sore spot to the authors, but they are all but proud of this fact during the interviews presented after the book.

    In the end, as a free download this audiobook is worth every penny. However, as entertainment it falls short.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (481)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (238)

    From the best-selling author of Kafka on the Shore comes this rich and revelatory memoir about writing and running and the integral impact both have made on his life. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers Murakami's four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston, among young women who outpace him.

    Rick says: "It is what it says it is"
    "It is what it says it is"
    Overall

    I don't understand the negative reviews that some other people have given. This book is exactly what it claims to be: the memoirs about running of a writer who runs. It's not meant to be motivational or educational, nor is it either.

    Yes, it is obvious that Murakami has control issues. No, his style of running and training will not work for everyone. No, you're not going to gain some existential epiphany from this book. (Unless, of course, you happen to have unacknowledged control issues of your own.)

    What it is, however, is well-written, well-narrated, and entertaining. It's a little on the short side, but by the same token it is an appropriate length. None of the stories drag on too far, nor do any of them leave you wanting for more information. The work is concise but not dry, amusing but not cute.

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Murakami's other works, with the caveat that it is much more straightforward.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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