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Amr

ratings
14
REVIEWS
14
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
7

  • The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By David Remnick
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    No story has been more central to America's history in this century than the rise of Barack Obama, and, until now, no journalist or historian has written a book that fully investigates the circumstances and experiences of Obama's life or explores the ambition behind his rise. Now, from a writer whose gift for illuminating the historical significance of unfolding events is without peer, we have a portrait of a young man in search of himself and of a rising politician determined to become the first African-American president.

    Jeanmarie says: "Good biography"
    "Good biography even if you know the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read quite a number of books about Obama, from the ones that were available during the 2008 campaign like David Mendell's "Obama: from Promise to Power" to the ones covering his first year in office like Richard Wolffe's "Revival", Bob Woodward's "Obama's Wars" and Jonathon Alter's "The Promise", not to mention Obama's two books. I list these books to brag but rather to show how David Remnick's book "The Bridge" is different.
    Even though Remnick's book goes through all the events of Obama's life like any biography would, it offers an analytical look into those events. It reviews Obama's first book and tries to look into the author's intentions sometimes. It's a little skeptic on some aspects of the author memories of certain events. Maybe my focus on this analytical look is because I've read an Obama biography before, but I think it's also because it's the intention of Remnick who chooses to cover the 2008 campaign in its relation to Race rather than cover the day to day events or uncover new secrets like "Game Change" does for example.
    However, the book does shed some light on events that weren't covered in other biographies of Obama like this time in Hawaii, the story of his mother, the process of selecting him as president of the Harvard Law Review, and other.
    One thing I like about "The Bridge" is the dive into the history of other characters that affects Obama's life even in indirect ways. The election of Harold Washington as Mayor of Chicago is a good example. Also, I liked the review of Obama's performance as a Law Professor, it's a good indication of how thinks.
    I listened to the audio version of the book and the narrator does a good job at changing voices to reflect the different characters participating in any dialog. He's at good pace and made following a 20+ hours books easy.
    "The Bridge" is a good biography of Obama whether you already read another biography or not. Hope you enjoy it too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Medieval World I: Kingdoms, Empires, and War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (80)

    This all-encompassing investigation of a highly influential time period includes the major events of the era and informative discussion of empire, papacy, the Crusades, and the fall of Constantinople. During the course of these lectures, Professor Madden also addresses the rise of Islam, reform movements, and schisms in the church. In so doing, Professor Madden underscores the significance and grand scale of an age that continues to hold an undeniable fascination for people today.

    Chi-Hung says: "Another good course from a master"
    "Nice Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nice overview on the political history of Europe in the Medieval time. Highlights the important turning points, and the events that lead to shape Europe as we know it today. It's a bit difficult to keep up with all the names and people if you're not already familiar with them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By A. J. Jacobs
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Cantor
    Overall
    (433)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (178)

    Early in his career, A.J. Jacobs put his Ivy League education to work at Entertainment Weekly. He emerged five years later knowing which stars have fake boobs, which stars have toupees, which have both, and not much else. This realization led Jacobs on a life-changing quest: to read the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Britannica, all 33,000 pages, all 44 million words.

    Steve James says: "What were they thinking?"
    "Fun Book. Fantastic Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Promising idea. I wasn't sure you can actually get a whole book out of it, but apparently you can. It's really just as the summary suggests, guy reads the Encyclopedia Britannica, gives all kinds of interesting facts that he reads about, along with personal stories, and his journey to become smarter.
    Interesting read. I've listened to the audio version of the book on Audible, and the narrator is the best narrator I've listened to. he made the book a joy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rachel Bertsche
    • Narrated By Annie Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (57)

    When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, Bertsche realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan....

    Amr says: "Joyful even if you're not the intended audience"
    "Joyful even if you're not the intended audience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this book is about finding new friends, but actually it's about a woman finding new girlfriends. That's its biggest flaw for me, I'm not the target audience.
    However, I really enjoyed the author's easy style of writing, how she moves from one story to another with ease and how she switches from stories to facts, statistics, and quotes from psychological studies about friendship.
    The book can get too 'girly' at times, not just for me but I think for most people but that's understandable given the author's fascination with pop culture in general, Harry Potter, Glee and Entertainment Weekly which she reads cover to cover.
    On the other hand, the author offers great information on friendship, making friends, and relationships in general. She uses number of books as a source (The Lonely American, Bowling Alone, and others) but also meets with a Professor who is an expert on the issue.
    The book doesn't offer any grand conclusion on the experience, it chronicles the author's experience throughout her quest to make friends in a new city. Sometimes it can get a little bit repetitive, but you can enjoy the progress she makes in approaching new "friend date" as she calls them.
    Don't try to keep up with all the people that she meets, there's way too many of them. You can use the author's husband way of remembering them; "the one with the ...". You can enjoy how the author come up with all those different ways to meet new people. This falls into a "tip and tricks" type of information, it can be very helpful. There's plenty of those tips regarding how to approach people without scaring them away.
    You can see throughout the book how trying to make friends can make you more social, even if you don't end up with a new BFF, you can still enjoy the benefits of being more open to new relationships, more adventurous, and more at ease when talking to strangers.
    I've listened to the audio version of this book. I've found the narrator to be very good. Her normal tone matches the spirit of the book; happy, discovering and uplifting. She does an excellent job of switching between all the different characters (and there's a lot of them).
    In general, I found the book to be a fun read. I'm not really the target audience but it was a nice break from all the serious (and mostly depressing) books I normally read. The book can be too happy at times, but most of the time it will just make you laugh.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Jesse Boggs
    Overall
    (4443)
    Performance
    (1901)
    Story
    (1921)

    Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real-estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his number-one best-selling Liar’s Poker.

    Jill Pagano says: "Finally, I understand what happened!"
    "Amazing Story, Beautifully Told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the tsunami of the economic crisis of 2008, there's a million story. I've read many books on the topic and they cover it very well. "All the Devils are Here" covers the history. "Too Big To Fail" covers the top guys on Wall Street and Government during the crisis. "The Big Short" tells the story of few people, who are not connected at all, saw it coming. Not only did they see it coming but also made ton of money off of it.
    Michael Lewis have a talent for adding a human touch on a tough cold subject like economics and trading on Wall Street. He dives in the background of the characters deep enough to make us understand why they do what they do but not too deep to make us bored with characters that are not known to the general public.
    I don't really have much comments on the book itself other than the story is well told. I have lots of comments on the content of the story but I don't want to spoil it. All I can say is, this is probably the closest an economic story comes to a horror story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Heilemann, Mark Halperin
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1929)
    Performance
    (776)
    Story
    (781)

    Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasion-ally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

    Sara says: "Out Dated Even When It Was Current"
    "Very Very Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though the authors of this book don't provide evidence on many of their stories, the reason for that is understandable and the stories are reasonable on many aspects (except for stories about the Edwards who are very surprising, but now seem to be not surprising at all).
    One thing the book does is (unintentionally?) compare the three candidates (Obama, The Clintons, and McCain) and their attitude towards the different events they faced throughout the campaign and you can draw your own conclusions on how attitude - not just plans and strategies - greatly affected their campaigns.
    Something I really love about the book is its story-like way of stating what happened. It sound like a novel rather than actual events. Of course, the drama of events itself helped with that but the writing style also did.
    "Game Change" is a great read and really good look into the insides of American politics as it played out on the 2008 presidential campaign.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Promise: President Obama, Year One

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Jonathan Alter
    • Narrated By Jonathan Alter
    Overall
    (162)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (52)

    Barack Obama’s inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of “Change We Can Believe In” was immediately tested by the threat of another Great Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama’s historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery.

    Martin A. Siegel says: "Amazing journalism and writing"
    "A bit Biased"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The fairly liberal author really likes Obama and his accomplishments in the first year, which is not surprising but it becomes very obvious sometimes (even for me, someone who favors Obama) which is not good for a book that is supposed to be a very early draft of history of the first year of the Obama presidency.
    However, the book is full of details about what happened in the first year (even though they mostly favor Obama) and more importantly it offers details on Obama's management style and his attitude towards the commander-in-cheif and top executive job.
    Enjoy the details of the book (especially, if you're interested in politics like I'm) but remember that it's a first somehow biased draft of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Too Big to Fail

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Andrew Ross Sorkin
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1144)
    Performance
    (501)
    Story
    (504)

    A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.

    Laura says: "Surprisingly Revealing"
    "Loooooooooooong Story but still entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    22 hours of personal stories and minute-by-minute account of what happened from the collapse of bear stern to the TARP program. Lots of background stories about the participants and there's a loooot of them.
    Let me list some issues and observations I have on the book:
    - There's way too many characters and way too many details to a level that cast doubt on the author's ability to collect all that information. To his credit, he puts a disclaimer that some of the stories are sourced by only one source with no way to prove them. This makes the book a way to understand the circumstances of the crisis not to make a historical account of what actually happened.
    - If you're new to characters, try to find pictures of them (which is available in the hard cover and the paperback)It helps remembering who is who.
    - The book mentions nothing about what caused the crisis. This was a disappointment for me as I was looking forward for that part.
    - The book gives a kind look at the heads of financial institutions that participated in the crisis, their history, their families, their short comings in their careers and lives. Sometimes it make them look like the people who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the middle of a perfect storm and not the ones who caused it. Though at the very end, the book describes the executives insistence on avoiding limit on bounces and reveal that the true intension of quickly paying back the TARP money is actually their desire to access their bounces, it generally gives executives a favorable treatment as people who are racing to save the financial system.
    - One of the things that struck me is the ease with which people on such high level managing huge financial institutions deal with important decisions. The number of possible merges between huge companies is big. Meetings over the weekend, phone calls to ask "Do you want to buy JP Morgan/Lehman Brothers/etc.?". It just amazes me.
    Read the book but don't count it as the only account on what happened, it's only one version of the story. The story of what happened, not what caused the crisis and who's to blame.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jon Stewart
    • Narrated By Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, and others
    Overall
    (1942)
    Performance
    (998)
    Story
    (995)

    Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These questions have puzzled us since the dawn of time, but when it became apparent to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show that the world was about to end, they embarked on a massive mission to write a book that summed up the human race: What we looked like; what we accomplished; our achievements in society, government, religion, science, and culture - all in a lavishly produced audiobook.

    Lee says: "Good book, not great. But let me explain."
    "America The Book is a tough act to follow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not as good as America the Book. Not great as an Audiobook. Hard cover version is much better.
    America the book was more of a single story with some related stories around it. This is more of a collection of stories bound together with one story.
    I liked that it made some serious points on few occasions.
    Not for children at all. Way too many sexual references.
    The stuff about religion is just not funny.
    Still think The Daily Show is great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Richard Wolffe
    • Narrated By Richard Wolffe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Revival, by best-selling author Richard Wolffe, is based on exclusive and extensive interviews with President Obama and his inner circle inside the West Wing. It is an intimate and revealing portrait of the Obama White House at work in a critical period for the country and for the president.

    Amr says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't disagree with the theme of this book. Obama is a revivalist who wants good for America. Republicans are bad. Yet I don't like the way the case for those conclusions has been made.
    Richard Wolffe is not one of those partisans who are biased to one side over the other. He present himself (or at least I see him) as a journalist whose opinions are based on facts and grounded into reason. And in making the case for any of those conclusions, he would demonstrates the facts and reasons for those conclusions. Unfortunately, this is not the case here.
    While the book is full of analysis to the transformation of the Obama campaign as it moved to the White House and faced the realities of governing, it's light on reporting. There are no new insights into the White House as you find 'Game Change' does to the 2008 campaigns.
    One thing I really didn't like is making assertions about people and policies without explaining how did you jump to those assertions. One example is the description of Larry Summers.
    The book maybe right about conclusions but that is not what you look for in a book. You can get that in a short TV segment. Maybe my expectations were wrong.
    The book makes a good case for Obama. It's a good chance to see things how Obama sees them. It reflects the authors knowledge of the president.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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