I have listened to this book four times, and will undoubtedly re-visit it again. A truly valuable and wonderful guide.
A delightful book, full of great stories, great characters, and great insights. Bryson's writing is as charming and entertaining as ever.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bryson's narration is notably halting and stilted throughout—not nearly as coherent as his reading of "In a Sunburned Country," or "At Home." I'm hoping his next book will be narrated by Richard Matthews, who did such a wonderful job with "A Short History of Nearly Everything."
In spite of that, the audiobook is fascinating and fun, and the author's less-than-perfect narration shouldn't keep you from enjoying it. It brings back a wonderful slice of American history that will leave you feeling fullfilled and enriched.
Nicely told and fascinating. Highly recommended. The reading is very good--not flashy, but well-paced, and quite professional. The story is nothing short of amazing, and the telling is amusing, entertaining, and intriguing. The writing style is crisp, fun, and adult. A great listen.
Nicely done, respectful, and to-the-point. No hype, just get to your inner calm place. A very professional job on this audiobook.
This book has been sitting on my iPod for months, as I listen to book after book, occasionally re-visiting it, trying to enjoy it from any possible perspective. I give up. I'm not going to finish it. The reading style is completely demeaning. Even if the content were intelligently presented, which is both impossible to tell—and very, very unlikely—the reading makes this book completely unlistenable. Come to think of it, the content is strangely presented, so that it's not very interesting either. This from a science history buff who usually enjoys just this kind of fare.
Want to know why Hunter S. Thompson is revered as one of the great writers of the 20th century? Just listen to this book. And Phil Gigante's reading is flawless—in fact, brilliant. This book is hilarious and ingenious. It's so clever that it will actually give you insights into your own mind. In a word, amazing.
Nicely written, nicely read. (Although geeks will wince when the narrator refers to ASCII as "ASC2") The narrator really puts life into the main character. I'll look for his books in future. Overall, not too heady—but well thought out, and a lot of fun.
I kept waiting for an insight—any insight—that wasn't just ridiculously obvious to surface in this book. Maybe you don't already know that our minds evolved from a more primitive base that doesn't always serve us well. Maybe you've never heard how to meditate. So, okay, go ahead and give it a listen. Personally, I recommend "Buddhism Without Beliefs" instead. It's much shorter, and doesn't get lost in (really) elaboration.
"Civilization: The West and the Rest" is a must-read for any history buff. The book is packed with insights into culture, history, and human nature. The pacing is remarkably good (especially for a history book) and kept my interest throughout. Amusingly, there is so much emphasis put on textiles, clothing, and blue jeans in particular that I found myself thinking that a subtitle about the significant role of blue jeans in modern history wouldn't be unwarranted. However, the book covers the whole of human history with equally fascinating insights.
After listening to this book, I feel better informed about, and have a new perspective on the human world in which we live. It is both intellectually satisfying and entertaining. I highly recommend it.
With respect to the narration—usually, when an author reads his own book, it raises flags of caution, but Niall Ferguson turns out to be a top-notch narrator—in fact, one of the best I've heard. One strange thing about the audiobook, though—there are other narrators brought in from time-to-time to read quotes from historical figures. Not one of these readers approaches the high quality of Mr. Ferguson's narration, and I found myself wishing that these quotes had been read by him instead. When he retires from his teaching position at Harvard, there's a future for him narrating both fiction and non-fiction books for Audible.
Replay is a great listen. The plot is imaginative, and the ending is satisfying. The pacing of the story is flawless, and the characters are compelling. I found it hard to put down.
William Dufris narrates with consistent verve, and is a real pleasure to listen to. Mysteriously, he mispronounces a few common place names, but on the whole, his reading is so good that he's become one of my "go to" narrators on Audible.
I'm not given to handing out 5-star ratings lightly, but Replay is one of the most entertaining works of fiction I've encountered in years.
This book intends to be the definitive work on the life of Nikola Tesla, and it undoubtedly succeeds. I'm glad I learned about the man through this book, although the storytelling is disjointed, since it's told in an unusual kind of non-chronological order. The overall telling is chronological, but the author jumps back and forth in time without being clear that he's doing it. It would have been simple to let the reader know that background material was being provided, but usually he just launches into the backstory without any cues. It can be quite confusing.
Another odd aspect of the book is the exhaustive detail that's given to ancillary characters, such as those that Tesla was trying to court as investors, even though they never actually became involved in his business ventures.
One significantly disappointing part of the book is its vagueness regarding the Supreme Court decision that upheld the precedence of some of Tesla's radio-transmission patents. There are countless references to the decision, as well as several courtroom vignettes, but no very clear specifics on what was actually decided.
On the up side, I loved the detail regarding Tesla's famous, never-completed tower, which he constructed with funds misappropriated from J. P. Morgan. It's a sad thing for all of us that he never got the chance to fire that sucker up!
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