Overall: a great way to learn some basics about WWI from a certain narrow perspective. I'm generally interested in broader social aspects of history but this is great for what it is.
Content: This is about the dozen or so generals and heads of state who got the world into WWI and all the messes that followed. Given that, I felt that there was surprisingly little about the Austrian Kaiser and what led to the decision to invade Serbia after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. This was the key decision that started the cascade but we don't really get to know Franz Josef and his entourage or hear anything about the world trying to get him to take back his move. I don't usually think of history this way, but if that is what the book is about then it seems like this would be the key plot point but it's more of a footnote. ???
One reviewer said it was anti-German. I'm not sure how. All the leaders come off as lunatics willing to kill hundreds of thousands of soldiers (including their own) for nothing. Under the Kaiser's orders, the German army did invade neutral Belgium and commit atrocities there against civilians.
Narrator: WIth regards to the previous reviews I have to agree that doing foreign voices in English with a funny accent is silly, but a common Hollywood device. The pronunciation of foreign names was was excellent compared with most Audible narrators. Overall, I thought she did a very good job.
This is fluff steampunk, but this is an amazing audiobook because Alan Cumming does such an impressive job jumping in and out of male/female/adult/teen/mutant/ voices with English/American/Austrian/Slavic accents. There are many talented narrators on Audible, but his performance in this series is really a tour de force.
The parenting advice is common sense and not necessarily French. This brings up the question of just what is the deal with the U.S. helicopter parents (as opposed to all U.S. parents), but that is not really explored. 4 stars overall because there is a somewhat funny story with cute kids and the advice could definitely help families who are somehow not getting it otherwise.
Considering that the book is presumably for Francophiles, the narrator's French pronunciation is pretty bad (e.g. "Nouvelle vague" said "vayg" instead of "vog") unless the idea is to sound like the author who spoke bad French, in which case the performance is excellent. But the author's personality is irritating enough with her neurotic cluelessness; one does not need to add in special effects to amplify that.
Differences between Gen Y and older generations can cause frustration at work. While stereotypes don't apply to everyone, there is some obvious general truth to the current generation gap, and this book does a decent job of offering some explanations and potential solutions. The explanations are based on differences in childhood experiences, and the solutions are based on accepting the resulting discrepancies in behavior.
"the M-factor" makes a special effort to see things from the side of the Millennials instead of just bashing them. This is useful for trying to figure out how to get along and better advice than I've seen elsewhere that just says to treat Gen Y like overgrown children.
The lessons are mainly in the form of stories about misunderstandings, revealing both views of what happened, with eventual happy endings.
One particularly interesting fable was about parents who moan about the #@$%& Millennials at work while encouraging in their own children the exact traits that drive them crazy in their co-workers.
I teach behavior change so I read books like this. This one was painfully slow even using the faster feature on the iPod. It was also generally useless.
The amazing info revealed is that it's good to relax, and sleep, and be healthy, and maybe meditate, etc. There are better books available to explore those obvious topics.
It eventually got into some interesting psych studies with counterintuitive findings but these were not Earth-shattering or terribly practical, and they contradicted each other: willpower is like a muscle, so if you're trying to lose weight, you should put a bowl of candies on your desk at work to challenge yourself----but wait--- willpower is like a gas tank you don't want to deplete, so if you want to lose weight, you should keep candies hidden so they are harder to get at.
I guess the author didn't have the willpower to read her own book.
I have enjoyed Willis's previous books, but this is like the winner in a contest to see how many times you can get away re-using the exact same sentences over and over and over in one novel. (I can't go to Dunkirk! I need a skirt. I need to get to the drop. OMG maybe I changed history, etc. etc. etc.) Do they not have editors anymore? Oh and this is just part one of a two part book. Is she paid by the word? Buy her a delete key please. I downloaded the second half already but won't listen to it.
the leads are boring dorks. The "premise" is maybe they changed history and made Hitler win the war, but what they are worried about is their boss man will be really mad at them. Seriously?
The only thing sort of keeping the book moving forward is that it keeps switching b/w lead characters often enough to distract you from the fact that nothing much is happening with any of them.
It's a shame because the Blitz is interesting and there are several very engaging minor color characters.
Time travel is the device making this more than just a catalogue of vignettes from the Blitz but time travel in Dr. Who or even Diana Gabaldon is more logical than here. Tip for time travelers lost in the past: put an ad in the paper.
1959. One of the early nuclear war stories. You know what happens.
Much of it seems dated now, but then that's interesting as an insight into 1950s American life in the South. Characters are fleshed out enough to carry the story. Not too melodramatic; brutally matter of fact.
I'd be curious to know more about the reception/impact of this book at the time. I think stories like this did help save us from nuclear apocalypse by clarifying the madness of mutually assured destruction.
Thanks Audible for rescuing this.
The question of the book is important: what's special about places that rank highly in happiness surveys? The author travels to visit them for National Geographic. One meets colorful characters and learns about the cultures of various communities around the world, and so it's a worthwhile book for that alone. And the topic of how to promote happiness is interesting to ponder. "Thrive" does provide a useful catalog of hypothesized happiness factors and a clear short summary of happiness research.
Ultimately, the answers to the central question are unsatisfying because they are contradictory from one place to another (political freedom is key / a strong dictator is great) or else it is not clear what is cause and effect (happy people trust each other / trusting people are happier). Also, the author doesn't perform the critical test of visiting any sad places to see if they have more or less of the supposed happiness factors: there are, for example, places with sunshine and fresh vegetables that are nevertheless perfectly miserable.
Although it is whinier and not as supposedly scientific as "Thrive," "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner might in the end be a more insightful take on the exact same topic.
Helping people to be less stressed out is a good idea. But there is nothing new here in terms of content, so the plus-value is from the garbage-truck analogy, which makes no sense at all. The story about his epiphany that the whole book is based on does not even involve a garbage truck. The garbage truck is used as a metaphor for badness in life. The garbage truck is referred to hundreds of times in the book as something that runs over people and dumps garbage on them. I don't know where this guy lives, but in my neighborhood the garbage truck takes garbage away and does not routinely run over people.
So if you think it will help you to hear "garbage truck" a thousand times for no particular reason, then this is the book for you. Otherwise, to get the same content without the incessant garbage truck nonsense one could read many authors from Dale Carnegie to Stephen Covey to Kabat-Zinn to Lao Tzu, or any of the many books on modern happiness research.
The content is important but this book is overloaded with personal anecdotes and irrelevant trivia. In addition, the author is so negative about everything, that it's hard to know if he could say something worked if it did.
The book revolves around the author's fascination with the idea that a specific genetic disease exists because it helped people survive the bubonic plague, but he offers no convincing proof of this. Then he goes off onto things that are even more speculative.
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