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James Orlin

Winchester, MA USA | Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 107 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015

  • 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

    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, 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.

    Scott Fabel says: "Learn About Statistics Without All The Math"
    "Good, but below my expectations"
    What did you love best about The Signal and the Noise?

    Nate Silver is really knowledgeable, and he covered an array of topics that he knows a lot about.

    Any additional comments?

    Silver gives an interesting perspective on many topics on which he is knowledgeable. But he does not do nearly so good a job of explaining "why so many predictions fail but some don't." My summary of his explanation of the subtitle is "There is not enough information (or signal) to make good forecasts in the areas where forecasting is bad." This provides little insight if one is considering forecasts on a topic not covered in his book. I was disappointed because I was interested in learning more about forecasting in general.

    Silver loves focusing on the rich details that relate to forecasting in politics, sports, economics, and more. I believe that most of the readers who follow Nate Silver will enjoy this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Robert M. Pirsig
    • Narrated By Lawrence Pressman

    This lyrical, evocative, thought-provoking journal of a man's quest for truth - and for himself - has touched and changed an entire generation, and is ready to reach out to a new one. At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a motorcycle trip across America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal.

    David LaSpina says: "Fantastic performance of a great book"
    "The narrator really captured my interest."
    If you could sum up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating; not Zen

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

    When the author revealed that he had had a mental illness.

    Have you listened to any of Lawrence Pressman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first time I listened to Pressman. His performance was really gripping. Pressman seemed to inhabit the narrator in the book. He was simultaneously brilliant (just as the author was brilliant) while giving a strong sense that there was a lot underneath his surface (as one would expect of the very best actors).

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending

    Any additional comments?

    For many readers, this may be their primary knowledge of Zen Buddhism. While there are some connections to Zen, the author is presenting his own philosophy as well as rich personal details. Readers will not learn much about Zen. Having said that, the book is excellent for other reasons.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Harold S. Kushner
    • Narrated By Harold S. Kushner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Offers a moving and humane approach to understanding life's windstorms. Raises many questions that will challenge your mind and test your faith regarding the ultimate questions of life and death.

    James Orlin says: "Could be comforting to many, but not me"
    "Could be comforting to many, but not me"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    For those who believe in an all-powerful God, Kushner describes a theology in which God does not prevent bad things from happening, but He is great at helping those who have had bad things happen to them. This permits those who are suffering to continue their belief in God while not believing that they deserve the suffering.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator is the author. He sounded like the rabbi from an episode of Seinfeld. Most likely the rabbi on Seinfeld deliberately sounded like Kushner.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


    Any additional comments?

    Once I understood Kushner's beliefs about God, there was little additional value obtained by listening to the rest of the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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