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Tom

Macquarie Hills, Australia

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 27 ratings
  • 181 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2014
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  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Reza Aslan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1367)
    Performance
    (1231)
    Story
    (1222)

    From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.

    Charles says: "Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
    "Time travelling masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Three things set this book apart.
    1) It is entertainingly written and passionately narrated.
    2) The author's ability to make you feel like you're in Galilee and Judea, in biblical times.
    3) You get to hear a balanced non-christian view of the new testament.

    The descriptions of the places and times of the events really bring the gospel narratives to life and give you a sense of what it may have been like, the day to day goings on of ordinary folk, the violence of the time, the brutality of the roman reign, the politics of the temple, and so on. And its delivered mostly in a way that accepts the detail of gospels as pointers to historical truth while reminding us the bible does not really seek to present "history" as we know it, but truth. Occasionally the author's opinions jar the senses, but hey, this is a great book for promoting discussion about the gospel, so what could be bad about that?

    Anyway, extremely well written, worth a listen.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (316)
    Story
    (317)

    When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way.

    Mary McCarthy says: "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"
    "I loved it, right up until the last chapter..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book totally captured me. I loved it.

    And then it fell apart in the last chapter.

    So, for the first umpteen chapters, 5 stars. For that last falling apart drivel in the last chapter, 1 star.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (2705)
    Performance
    (1827)
    Story
    (1844)

    First appearing in print in 1890, the character of Sherlock Holmes has now become synonymous worldwide with the concept of a super sleuth. His creator, Conan Doyle, imbued his detective hero with intellectual power, acute observational abilities, a penchant for deductive reasoning and a highly educated use of forensic skills. Indeed, Doyle created the first fictional private detective who used what we now recognize as modern scientific investigative techniques.

    David says: "mouth watering"
    "What an unexpected treat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I never realised how rich and interesting all the characters in these stories were.

    While the plots are predictable, the solutions to the mysteries, the unexpected outcomes, and the fascinating people that inhabit the Holmes/Watson universe make it all worth it.

    I get it now: Sherlock Holmes is cool, and I am a convert.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Diarmaid MacCulloch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (226)
    Story
    (230)

    Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read or heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.

    Celia says: "Generally quite good"
    "Awesome, Epic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK. I'm only 3/4 of the way through this epic read, but what a fascinating story.

    There are many "aha!" moments when you get a sudden insight into why the church (or churches in their various forms) - and society in general - is the way it is today. I find this actually makes christianity in all its various forms more accessible and understandable.

    If there is a pattern in the history of the church and christianity, it seems to parallel secular society: good ideas and rulers rise to the top, give way to corruption and abuse over generations, leading to reformations and revolutions. And so it goes...

    A timely reminder to me to keep going back to the bible as the main source of Christianity, and a warning to be wary of dodgy translations (such as the russian sect that, due to the misinterpretation of one word, castrated themselves).

    I find the author to be genuinely sensitive to the beliefs, and the history and motives behind the traditions, of christianity. The book is instructive, informative and entertaining.

    Awesome, epic read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (583)
    Performance
    (438)
    Story
    (431)

    Durant lucidly describes the philosophical systems of such world-famous “monarchs of the mind” as Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, and Nietzsche. Along with their ideas, he offers their flesh-and-blood biographies, placing their thoughts within their own time and place and elucidating their influence on our modern intellectual heritage. This book is packed with wisdom and wit.

    Arthur says: "Beginners start here! This is the one you want!"
    "Surprisingly Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, I need a rest from philosophy now. But for an introduction to philosophy, and philosophers (what is a philosopher?) I found it very engaging, entertaining and illuminating. I'm sure I'll listen to it again one day.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman
    • Narrated By Quincy Dunn-Baker
    Overall
    (717)
    Performance
    (644)
    Story
    (654)

    A dominant force in the sport of ultrarunning, Scott Jurek is a seven-time winner of the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and a two-time winner of the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through Death Valley. Eat & Run offers an inspirational account of Jurek’s life as a runner and vegan. Regaling listeners with jaw-dropping tales of endurance, Jurek also delivers sound science and practical advice—as well as his favorite plant-based recipes.

    Andy says: "one of the better ultramarathon books"
    "Sometimes you just got to do stuff!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I go it. I liked it, and I'll listen to it again. Felt very real, the childhood stories, the hard training yards, the focus, the competitiveness, the ups and downs and so on. Very listenable.

    It was very worthwhile to hear a success story based on hard consistent work.

    But, whatever happened to Dusty? I'd like to read that as a sequel!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Good Book: Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Plotz
    • Narrated By David Plotz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (313)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (112)

    Good Book is what happens when a regular guy actually reads the book on which his religion, his culture, and his world are based. Along the way, he grapples with the most profound theological questions: Does God prefer obedience or good deeds? And the most unexpected ones: Why are so many women in the Bible prostitutes? Why does God love bald men so much? Is Samson really that stupid? Good Book is an irreverent, enthralling journey through the world's most important work of literature.

    Michael Trick says: "Lots of fun!"
    "Clarifying, thought provoking, endearing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    To anyone (like me) who has read the bible cover to cover before, and thought - no, wait, I have to re-read that bit - or - "How come I never heard that verse in church before?" - this is a refreshing reminder that you are not alone. Opening up the bible and embracing its complexity, and providing a wonderful summary of it in all its difficulty and glory, this is a great non-Sunday School re-listening to all the old stories.

    I've always felt that many of the Christians and churches I know cherry pick the bible before re-interpreting it and mixing it with pop-psychology to spout some way of living that doesn't always feel biblically authentic actually does the bible a great disservice. This book does not do that - it just lays open the stories and thrust of the words, along the way asking valid - if often irreverent - questions. Listening to the bible like this, you actually feel the Good Book evolve and grow up as it makes its way from Genesis to Chronicles.

    I will listen to this again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mark Goulston
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1146)
    Performance
    (907)
    Story
    (896)

    You’ve got a business colleague who’s hostile...a client who’s furious...a staffer who’s deeply cynical—how do you get people to do what you want in tough situations like these? In Just Listen, veteran psychiatrist and business coach Mark Goulston reveals the secret to how to get through to anyone, even when productive communication seems impossible.“Here's the challenge,” Mark says.

    Joseph says: "Not for everyone"
    "Starts great, fizzles out a bit but still worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Starts really good, has great information and reinforces the need to shut up in order to actually listen. Has some great techniques, presented well, explained well. Lots of anecdotes.

    But I always find this problem with books about "Listening". Somewhere along the line, you need to be listened to, and the unspoken presumption is that if you listen, REALLY listen, then your turn will come around and the other person will listen to you. But in my experience, that doesn't happen so often.

    A great follow up book would be "How to be heard".

    Having said all that, I'll listen to it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins
    • Narrated By Paul Costanzo
    Overall
    (2154)
    Performance
    (1819)
    Story
    (1797)

    Listen to this book and send your nonverbal intelligence soaring. Joe Navarro, a former FBI counterintelligence officer and a recognized expert on nonverbal behavior, explains how to "speed-read" people: decode sentiments and behaviors, avoid hidden pitfalls, and look for deceptive behaviors. You'll also learn how your body language can influence what your boss, family, friends, and strangers think of you.

    Jackie says: "I should have listen to the other reviewers"
    "Good info made boring by monotone delivery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Mr Navarro establishes his qualifications at the start of the book. And then again every few pages or so. I would have liked less of that.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins ? Why or why not?

    I would listen to another one. The information is helpful, and interesting.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Monotone. For a while I thought he might actually start spelling out words. Clear? YES. Interesting? NO.


    Any additional comments?

    While the constant restating he is an FBI Agent, and the monotone delivery was annoying, on the whole, the information is useful, often surprising, fresh and clearly presented. The emphasis on what can and cannot be read from viewing body language was honest and informative. I'll listen to this one again.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Power of Now

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Eckhart Tolle
    • Narrated By Eckhart Tolle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3423)
    Performance
    (1435)
    Story
    (1403)

    To make the journey into The Power of Now you need to leave your analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Access to the Now is everywhere - in the body, the silence, and the space all around you. These are the keys to enter a state of inner peace.

    Kosmas says: "I'm so glad I got this book!"
    "Good, but not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Power of Now in three words, what would they be?

    Illuminating, edifying, listenable


    What does Eckhart Tolle bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    It's got to be said that Eckhardt's voice is velvet smooth and crystal clear: it's both calm and compelling, while he himself is humorous and hypnotising.


    Any additional comments?

    It's good - it really is a worthwhile read/listen.

    The only bad bits are where he drifts into BS-science+biology - (like saying animals are truly free and have no ego. Half an hour of Discovery Channel dispels that notion).

    But overall, his interpretations of scriptures and texts from Buddhism, philosophy, Christianity, The Tao, etc., are worth listening to and examining, and his explanations are clear and easily understood.

    Not too much mumbo-jumbo.

    Seeing / hearing these in a fresh light opens up the concepts he covers in a whole new light, makes them fresh. He tackles the really big questions, like - What is suffering, surrender, presence, mindfulness, consciousness, heaven and so on?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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