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Ben

ratings
38
REVIEWS
8
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
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HELPFUL VOTES
7

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1563)
    Performance
    (1318)
    Story
    (1354)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Amazon Customer says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "SO LONG! But So Worth It"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Team of Rivals in three words, what would they be?

    Masterful emotional intelligence


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Impossible! This is a very lengthy tome. At times slow, especially in the beginning when the author is still developing the profile of the central characters, but worth reading if you have an interest in Lincoln, politics or political science, history, or just human influence. I have a new appreciation for the brilliance of our 16th President.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee
    • Narrated By TBA
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (173)

    In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies — with hardware, software, and networks at their core — will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.

    Michael says: "Upbeat but Limited Survey of Exponential Change"
    "Well Researched and Expansive Analysis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Second Machine Age?

    This is not just another book about artificial intelligence or the pace of technological advancement. It's a very thoughtful treatment of the broad implications for society and civilization.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Second Machine Age?

    The discussion of income disparities and capital accumulation was fascinating. It left me less hopeful about America's future without significant reform but more inclined to acquire equities and real estate.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I found the book very interesting from start to finish. If you like Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near) or Peter Diamandis (Abundance), you should definitely read/listen to this one.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (336)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (269)

    Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence.

    Barbara says: "A visit with our ancient ancestors"
    "Jared Diamond's Interesting Life and Career"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jared Diamond and/or Jay Snyder?

    Yes, only because I've read others from Jared Diamond, and they are much better than this one.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Least interesting - all the anecdotes from Jared's life and career. That might be the most interesting to others but not the reason I picked up this book. Not a lot of new insights, just anecdotal filler complementing a lot of what he already said in Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (395)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (355)

    Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation - into the meetings, postmortems, and "Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture - but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, "an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."

    Joe Sparks says: "Bought the instant I saw it."
    "Good Anecdotes but No Reveleations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes with a caveat. There are better books on creativity. This one should be read for an interest in Pixar more specifically.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Creativity, Inc.?

    The defense of Steve Jobs against the profile of his character which has become popular since his death


    Was Creativity, Inc. worth the listening time?

    Not for me but maybe for others


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Richard Thaler
    • Narrated By Robert Bair
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder.

    Douglas C. Bates says: "An Important New Concept: Libertarian Paternalism"
    "Save This Book from its Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Nudge? What did you like least?

    The notion of libertarian paternalism is interesting, even if impossible to actually implement. Nonetheless, the revelation that decisions can be so widely influenced puts a great deal of responsibility on choice architects - even reluctant ones. You will never look at another salad bar line quite the same.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More anecdote, rather than details on scientific studies, to bring it all to life. The story comes across as rather sterile and clinical.


    What didn’t you like about Robert Bair’s performance?

    Perhaps it was the material, but I found him to be painfully slow, even at 2x playback speed.


    Could you see Nudge being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Never. Perhaps a documentary, but this book is advocacy, not fiction. The authors develop a position for the role of government and even corporations in society. The case studies are generally more scientific than anecdotal in nature.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • On China

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Henry Kissinger
    • Narrated By Nicholas Hormann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (190)

    The eminent historian and strategist reflects on how China's past illuminates its 21st-century trajectory, drawing on 40 years of intimate acquaintance with the country and its leaders.

    Ben says: "Long, academic, bland - AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!"
    "Long, academic, bland - AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ!"
    Overall
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    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Put this book on double speed playback. It's long. It's very dry and somewhat repetitive at points. It's clearly the bias opinion of one person who has been criticized for his role in world affairs. Nonetheless, the historical perspective on China and the specific insights into the Chinese/American dynamic should not be foregone by anyone interested in political policy or business relationships with China. I came away with a more empathetic understanding of China than I had before, and while I do not think I am qualified to set American policy on China just from reading one book, I no longer view the issue of Taiwan or the Communist party in the same way. America must learn to engage China in a positive way, and informed American voters should read this book.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2525)
    Performance
    (1968)
    Story
    (1952)

    The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains....

    Mike says: "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    "A business must read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Thinking, Fast and Slow in three words, what would they be?

    In business, people do not consider well enough the heuristics and biases that affect decision making. Whether it's picking stocks or making business decisions, controlling for these cognitive variables when comparing choices can really give you an edge. Kahneman makes his academic work accessible to the average reader, bringing it to life with anecdotes from his own life and research. One of the better books I have read on cognitive psychology for the layman, and I've read a few.


    Any additional comments?

    As a business person, I particularly enjoyed the tips and practices suggested for recognizing and controlling for heuristics and biases. The author applies them both to general real world contexts and to business situations in particular.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1856)
    Performance
    (1531)
    Story
    (1545)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "Great follow up to The Big Short"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Boomerang the most enjoyable?

    I have been a fan of Michael Lewis's writing since Liar's Poker, which I re-read during the peak (or should I say nadir) of the financial crisis and general panic. It was fascinating to see how he presaged what would come of the securitization of mortgages - back in the 80's and 90's! Boomerang is a fantastic follow up to Lewis's equally enthralling account of the mortgage bust in The Big Short. I finished this book while traveling in Ireland on business, and it really brought the urban landscape to life there for me. Excellent author, scarily interesting topic, I highly recommend listening to this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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