Fremont, NE, United States
This book has strengths and weaknesses, but is generally a good read. The beginning section about the history of genetics is generally pretty dull reading, and the explanations of the DNA replication are not, in my opinion, as well formulated for the average reader as they could have been. After reading Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", I was amazed at how well Bryson used easy to comprehend examples to help understand difficult or abstract concepts. I felt that Watson was pretty weak at performing this same task. The mechanics of DNA were presented, but it seemed that he jumped to more complex subjects before really ensuring that his reader understood the foundational principles.
The second part of the book, dealing with more of the "practical" implications of DNA research, was much more interesting. I would commend Watson on being very even-handed in dealing with touchy issues on this subject. There were times when he displayed more "liberal-minded" opinions, and other times when he represented a more "conservative" point of view. I also appreciated the balanced view on the "nature vs nurture" issue. Coming from someone who would probably be very biased in favor of nature, I felt he was very balanced in the effect both have on us.
The only thing I didn't like consistently in the book was what I perceived to be an underlying bias against those who hold strong religious views. Those who believe that human beings are more than just an amazing combination of chemical substances will probably find themselves at odds with Watson throughout the book. I wouldn't say that Watson frequently berates those of religious persuasion in the book, but Watson constantly implies (directly and indirectly) that we are no more than the sum of our chemical parts.
First of all let me say that I've read all but one or two of Forsyth's fictional works. Compared with all of his previous novels, I'd say this is one of the weaker ones. At times, I almost wondered if was reading an abridged version, as the character development seemed far less than most of Forsyth's other novels.
As is the case with all of his works, you learn a lot about the subject at hand, which in this case is terrorism.
The story in and of itself is not bad, but the twists and turns are not as surprising or clever as in other works like Day of the Jackal, The Fourth Protocol or Avenger. Nor is the story as well told.
I would also question whether George Guidall was the best choice as a narrator for this story. I think he is a very gifted narrator and have enjoyed numerous books that he has read, however this type of book doesn't really fit Guidall, in my opinion. I'm not sure if it's his age or his voice quality, but his voice and delivery doesn't really add to the suspense of the story. And I say this as one who very seldom quibbles with a narrator. Often times I'm puzzled by the number of people who don't like a narrator, but in this case, I just don't think George fits well.
All in all, if you are a fan of Forsyth and want to read all of his works, I'd go ahead and get a copy. If you are new to Forsyth, I'd skip this one (and The Dogs of War) and pick up one of his best novels, such as "The Day of the Jackal", "The Fourth Protocol", "Avenger", "The Veteran" or "The Cobra". He is really one of the best writers in this genre and one of my very favorite authors, I just don't think this is Forsyth at his best.
I had run into this story by accident when renting the newer version of the movie (with Bill Murray). I liked it so well that I rented the earlier version (with Tyrone Powers?) and loved it just as much, even thought the two are somewhat different.
Definitely a thought-provoking book, no matter what your position on matters of theology. In one sense, the book is summed up by a statement Larry (the main character) makes partway through the book. He says he is searching to find out if there really is a God, because everything else in life depends on the answer to that question (my paraphrase).
While you may or may not agree with Larry's final conclusion about God and morality, the search he goes through, and his commitment to REALLY search for the truth make for a great read. The characters around him, who are on a much different journey - seeking position, power and wealth - really contrast the "examined" and the "unexamined" life.
It is also an interesting literary device to have the author actually appear as a character in the story - something I don't think I've seen before.
If you've seen the movies, the book is much truer to the black and white adapatation.
Regardless of my differences in theology with the book, it was a great read and really makes you think!
I had put off buying this audiobook for over 2 years due to the reviews and comments about the narration and pronounciation. Very sorry I did.
This was a fantastic book! The stories behind each of the 5 films were VERY interesting. By the time I finished the book, I had seen all 5 of the movies (I had seen 3 of them previously).
Other than the obvious discussion of the 5 movies, other highlights of this book:
1. The story of the censorship code that quickly collapsed after a few exceptions were made. Two movies in particular were responsible for the change, one regarding nudity and one regarding language - both have interesting stories.
2. The behind-the-scenes mayhem with "Dr. Doolittle". Had been a big Rex Harrison fan (due to My Fair Lady) until I read this book. Changed my mind after reading this.
3. Interesting to see how "Best Picture" votes were 'bought' by the studios as early as 1967. Explains a number of puzzling things I've seen over the years in the Oscars. Must still be going on...
4. The treatment of Sidney Poitier during the filiming of one portion of "In the Heat of the Night" was quite shocking.
5. I was surprised to learn the general practice that caused pictures to be made in black and white even after color was available for decades. Very interesting.
If you aren't a Hollywood buff, you may not notice the pronounciation errors (I noticed a few, but not all those that are mentioned). Please note that these errors DO NOT get in the way of a fantastic book.
Don't make the same mistake I did and overlook this book for years due to the reveiws. It's a great book. As with all books of this length, a bit slow in spots, but definitely worth the time invested.
They don't get much better than this book! WOW! What a book!
I was a little too young to remember the Munich Massacre, so after this book, I also rented a documentary of the event.
There is so much good stuff in here, it's hard to know where to start.
The details of the hostage taking and the unbelievable response of the German Special forces were not only fascinating, but very troubling as well.
The author maintains his neutrality well. He portrayal of the German Special Forces is balanced with the story of the operatives who killed the wrong person (and went to jail for it). Hard to believe that some of this stuff really happened.
The one story that sticks with me is the one that really got the Israelis in trouble in France, when they took out a terrorist (while being very careful not to kill his wife and child) in a rather unorthodox way - something I didn't realize was possible at that time.
Another highlight is the "Chocolate" story - how the Israelis got to one of the terrorists living in Iraq.
VERY GOOD BOOK! I've probably listed to over 100 audiobooks, and this is one of my favorites! Highly recommend!
While there is both some good examples of the need for checklists and the benefits derived, this book could EASILY have been half as long and still been effective. Felt like the author trying to make a short story into a novel.
You'll learn some good things here, but will take more time than necessary to do it.
As a musician and former teacher who has heard the term "natural talent" thrown around quite a bit, this book challenged a lot of my beliefs about "inherent abilities". I'm not sure that the author changed my mind 100%, but it really made me think about things.
A few highlights:
1. The study on the violinists in German Universities who became either concert violinists or teachers was VERY interesting.
2. The story about Jerry Rice and his "natural talent" was something I had never heard, but found fascinating.
3. The estimation of how many hours it takes to master a skill seems to fit my experiences in the area of music.
4. The suggestions for companies as to how best train employees may be a VERY good reason to read this book. Working in the corporate world as well, the authors suggestions ring true.
Very well done - really makes you think about your presuppositions. Regardless of what your opinion is, this will give you a lot of food for thought AND can help make you more effective at the same time.
First a few thoughts: (1) This is a textbook, and unless you are interested in the subject matter, you will probably not enjoy the book, (2) Don't think about listening to the book without the attached PDF Files - you'll be very lost (3) This is a book that probably needs some amount of review as you move along.
I enjoyed the book, but I do agree it was very dry at times. When I first bought the book, Audible did not have the PDF's available. I tried to listen to it then and was unable to get very far into the book without being lost. I was also probably at an advantage, as I have read books on espionage and was familiar with some basic "encryption" techniques.
After Audible posted the content, I started again, and things made more sense.
I would recommend this book, but ONLY if you have a pretty good working knowledge of computers and are willing to put more time into it that reading an average book.
Really liked this book, although there are parts that will make you cringe.... I remember eating breakfast in my car while listening and having to set my breakfast sandwich down for a few minutes until the author moved on.
The history of surgery before anesthesia was probably most gruesome (as was the history of Lobotomies....yikes!), however I thought the author did an admirable job of condensing a vast sea of information into a small package. When a book calls itself "A BRIEF History of Medicine", it is my expectation that some things will be minimized or overlooked in the interest of brevity. Realize also, that I am NOT in the field of medicine, so what was new information to me may be common knowledge to others.
All in all, I was pleased with this choice.
While I wouldn't agree fully with some of more negative reviews, I do agree that the flow of the book was not totally linear in its organization. This may be because of so many "overlapping" areas discussed in the book, so I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt on that one.
Recommended for those who want to see the big picture of the development of medicine.
This book has some real positives - I learned a lot about the "subconscious" things that we can't control, or can only control to a degree. Many of the stories of interrogations were very interesting as well.
However, the author stated over and over that these things are only just PART of the whole picture, and that people can do many of these "tell-tale" things and really be telling you the truth. And to some degree, I thought there was a small to moderate degree of filler - primarily repeating things said before, or taking longer to say things than was necessary.
I would recommend having the PDF with you, or at least accessible, while you listen to this book. This book IS interesting and has a lot of good stuff....I just didn't think it was a great read.
What a fantastic book! Had this in my audible library and finally got around to reading it.
First of all, it was hard to believe that you could physically transform a white man to a black man, but I've seen the before and after pictures online and it was amazing.
Secondly, the various situations he encountered were almost unbelievable. From a man who picked him up while he was hitchiking, primarily to ask him about his genitalia, to the shoe shine man who didn't realize he was the same guy before and after, the stories in this book are simply astounding!
Third, it is also curious as to how dangerous an undertaking this actually was. Can't believe he came out physically unscathed, although there are some close calls in the book. (However, after the book was published, he and his family had to flee to Mexico due to death threats).
Like "Uncle Tom's Cabin", this is a must-read and really points out how it feels to be on the "other side". Highly recommend!!!!
Report Inappropriate Content