Santa Clara, CA, United States | Member Since 2011
Pretty basic stuff if you are a science buff. However, pass this one along to one of those adults who really didn't pay attention in school, or to an adolescent that you care about. A great superstition-buster.
What is it—science? Fantasy? Comedy? YES! YES! And YES!
What's fun about this book is how really crazy-sounding Randall Munroe's answers are—but what's great about it is how serious is the science. In a way, the entire book is a lesson in how to think scientifically without losing your sense of humor. Just the kind of thing that would have Richard Feynman falling out of his chair, laughing.
To be honest, this book is so completely zany you might want to take it in smaller bites, like I did. That said, bring it on. It's great entertainment for anyone with a wry sense of humor. Also ideal for a high school student who just needs a tiny nudge in a scientific direction, or—for that matter, any high school student.
Plus, Wil Wheaton is at the top of his form. His narration is absolutly perfect. He's energetic, lucid, and truly brilliant. And this book is the ideal showcase for his considerable talent. For fans of Wil, he's also fabulous narrating "Ready Player One," by Ernest Cline, and this narration is every bit as excellent.
No one loves history more than Will Durant. And arguably, no one writes more eloquently or vividly about history than he does.
It's hard to convey the superlative experience of listening to an audiobook written by Will Durant and narrated by Grover Gardner. History is revealed in the characters, while insights are gained through the analysis of significant events and those who witnessed them.
Durant's writing is transcendent—his use of language triumphant.
As for Grover Gardner—he has no equal in the reading of historical prose. With his narration, stories come to reality, and characters come to life.
This is a wonderful book.
Okay, the author did a pretty nice job of making his point regarding the non-historicality of Jesus—but why the limited point-of-view?
It's really interesting to learn about the lack of evidence for an historical Jesus. So far, so good. However—why confine that evidence inside the box of Christian myths? It seems that a reasonably comprehensive look at the topic would include not only the perspective of prevailing myths, yet also include a broader scope, based on all available historical evidence.
Perhaps the author is hoping to provide ammunition to those who chose to confront contemporary Christians with the lack of historical evidence of their savior.
Anyway, it's a wonderful bit of research, and a great listen. However—I'm left wanting more.
Not written for laymen, but as physicist to physicist, this book outlines the future direction of physics—on both the subatomic and cosmological scales.
This is the kind of book that makes you want to live long enough to find out the answers to the fundamental questions that contemporary physicists are asking right now.
There's nothing "dumbed-down" about this book, and the topics are wide-ranging and fascinating. I won't claim to understand all of it, but that doesn't matter—it's really, really interesting, and well put together. We owe John Brockman a debt of gratitude for compiling this wonderful collection of perspectives on modern physics.
If this book persuades you that either the Israelis or the Arabs are the villains in the current Arab/Israeli conflict, then perhaps you need to listen to it again.
Both sides of this issue have been thoughtfully presented—without any ranting or irrationality—in this remarkable and comprehensive analysis of the history leading up to the situation in today's Middle East.
Suffice it to say there is great tragedy—and far too much militarism—on both sides of this conflict, and I will not presume to weigh in on either side. Only this—if we are to understand the situation in the Middle East today, the perspectives voiced in this book must be understood and acknowledged.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
This book is an important recounting of the Six Day War, and also of the historical events leading up to it. The writing is slightly biased toward the Israeli point of view, yet this is understandable, given the magnitude of the Israeli victory in the conflict.
Personally, I chose to pair my listening of this book with "The Palestine-Israel Conflict" by Dan Cohn-Sherlock and Dawoud El-Alami, to gain a more up-to-date and hopefully more balanced perspective. This remains a sensitive and difficult issue, and hopefully listening to these books will serve to break down existing prejudices and pave the way to greater understanding and compassion.
Robert Whitfield is ideal as the narrator of this account.
I like this topic a lot—This book covers many great concepts in cosmology and theoretical physics, and they're beautifully presented. It's a significant contribution to that class of books which helps the listener piece together a consistent view of dark energy, dark matter, and the underlying structure of space itself.
One of the most interesting discussions is on the history of the ether, and how the fashion of this concept has ebbed and flowed over the past one hundred and twenty years. Wary of this antiquated term, we're left with a description of space as some kind of soup of particle pairs that spontaneously appear and annihilate, due to the basic uncertainty of quantum fluctuations.
However, what I found strange about this book was what it did NOT discuss. The fact that there was so much about spontaneously created and annihilated particle pairs begs the question—why is there no name given to this phenomenon? If the idea is truly distinct from John Wheeler's 1955 Quantum Foam proposal, then why is there no comparison drawn? And if space is full of this phenomenon, what is the possible extent of it, relative to the visible matter in the universe? Is the author purposefully avoiding questions to which he has no good answer? That doesn't seem scientific at all.
Furthermore, the predominant view of this book is from a particle-based perspective,
although there are many tantalizing references to quantum field theory—but no in-depth discussion of the specific nature of bosons vs. their associated fields.
Overall, it feels like there are so many opportunities lost in this presentation of a truly fascinating subject.
Now for the worst of it. The narration is intolerable. Walter Dixon narrates with a strange, affected whisper that's both distracting and demeaning. His unyielding, emotionally-charged tone is the kind of voice you'd expect of a dramatic fairy story told to a five-year-old. I've listened to more than three hundred audiobooks, and this reading is one of the worst. This is a book on SCIENCE, Folks—so what's with the reader's continual high-drama, hush-hush inflections? I only survived by continually mocking this ridiculous, over-the-top narration. Not that that's the whole of it—you've got to admire how Mr. Dixon can plow through a long, complicated sentence without taking a breath—but making a complex sentence go by quickly is NOT the best way to make it clear to a listener. Furthermore, at random intervals, his tone becomes strangely strident, making the listening experience both continuously frustrating and occasionally uncomfortable. You have to wonder—doesn't Gildan Media have a director to help wayward narrators match their tone appropriately to the source material?
John Scalzi's Sci Fi is supposed to be good, clean fun, and this book gets pretty close—but then, once you see where it's going, there are few surprises left in store. Fortunately, there's a lot of worthwhile humor in the story, which may explain its appeal.
I love Wil Wheaton's reading, but they must have used that software that squishes words together, and it seems they had it cranked up way too high, leaving the narration weirdly rushed and mechanical—not Wil's fault at all.
Furthermore, it get's pretty old when Scalzi's wording rarely varies from something "this person said" to something "that person said" then back to something "this person said" in rapid succession, page after page. It really seems like the author didn't pay any attention to the blatant repetitiveness of his writing.
Honestly, this book doesn't hold a candle to "Ready Player One" by Ernest Kline—also read by Wil Wheaton.
I hated this book for so many reasons, not the least of which is that the title is misleading—it's a morality play, not a technothriller.
I got so tired of all the drivel about who's religion is correct, together with all the characters' guilt, remorse, and desiring repentance. That same theme is played out over and over with every single character—far too improbably to represent any real collection of people.
Before the end of the first chapter it became obvious—the book is just a blatant excuse for J. A. Konrath to burden us with his narrow-minded views on religion, Jesus, God, the Devil, God—and Jesus. Sound good to you? Okay—lap it up. For my part, I skipped most of the book to find out if any possible ending could justify all the tedious religiosity that drips from every chapter. And the answer is—NO!
Some folks who reviewed this book seem to be impressed that it was gory, or creepy. For me, it was far less gory or creepy than just about any realistic history of WWI. I can only assume that the people who liked this book are mired in the same kind of religious conundrum that compelled Konrath write the book in the first place.
Oh—Luke Daniels is a terrific narrator.
This is a chilling and superlative insight into the politics of the Third Reich. We've heard of the battles, the bombings, the Holocaust, the slaughter—but this book details the political maneuvering of Adolph Hitler and his gang of pseudo-idealogues in a very unique way.
William L. Shirer was there, and his perspective as a correspondent through the rise, the fall, and the war trials, carries intrigue, adventure, and fascination.
Grover Gardner is, of course, the best at this kind of reading, and is flawless.
Highly disturbing, highly recommended.
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