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CHET YARBROUGH

Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States | Member Since 2014

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 268 reviews
  • 680 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 24 purchased in 2015
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  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By George Packer
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (291)

    In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives. The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

    G. House Sr. says: "Nicely woven threads of contemporary history"
    "AMERICAN ANGER, FEAR, AND FRUSTRATION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George Packer drives a stake into America’s heart in “The Unwinding”. American anger, fear, and frustration build in the minds of all—whether Republican, Democrat, Tea Partyer, or Libertarian.

    Whether an accolade of private enterprise or government, Packer offers stories of Americans that show American’ belief makes no difference because America is no longer a land of opportunity but a land of greed; not of the free but of the shackled—a risk noted by Thomas Hobbes in the “Leviathan”. The shackles come from society’s failure to protect individuals from the tyranny of special interests. One side argues that it is because of ineffective government–the other side argues it is because of too much government.

    The unwinding of the financial crises reflected in the dot-com bubble of 2000-2001 and the 2007-08 sub-prime mortgage crises unfolds in stories told by Packer in this disturbing narrative. America has become a nation of extremes with each extreme using whatever means necessary to deny success of either “tea party”, “libertarian” or “occupy wall street” followers. The consequence is a “do-nothing” congress, an ineffectual President, and a politicized Supreme Court. One is left with fear, anger, and frustration after completing Packer’s diatribe. The only consolation is in history.

    America has been in crises before–in 1776, 1789, 1865, 1929, 1941, 1951, 1967-68, 2001. Americans survived before; Americans will survive again but how angry Americans are, and how frustrating it is to watch America muddle along while Congress fails to act.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1325)
    Performance
    (1140)
    Story
    (1128)

    Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

    Mark says: "A History of the Ancient Geeks"
    "DIGITAL REVOLUTION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Walter Isaacson offers a whirlwind history of the digital revolution in “The Innovators”. Isaacson raises the question of whether revolutions come from extraordinary leadership of geniuses or societal imperatives. Tolstoy suggests the former while many biographers infer the latter. In the end, Isaacson’s history of “The Innovators” places one squarely on the fence. (Fence-sitting is not Isaacson’s intent, but his argument for collaborative invention discounts geniuses like Isaac Newton and Paul Dirac, who were notorious loners.) At times, one concludes geniuses are the prime movers of the digital revolution but listening to Isaacson’s explanation of the contributions of an Ada Lovelace, William Shockley, or Andy Grove (among others), suggests genius is subordinate to societal imperatives.

    Isaacson may be wrong in his assessment of “The Innovators” in the history of digitization but quite right about its revolutionary categorization. This is an enjoyable and informative audio book, well worth listening to, or reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2276)
    Performance
    (2037)
    Story
    (2025)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not up to par"
    "COPS AND CRIMINALS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “The Burning Room” is an entertaining cops and criminals’ story set in Los Angeles by its author, Michael Connelly. Not having read any of Connelly’s books, Hieronymus Bosch is a recurring figure in many of Connelly’s novels. Without background in the series, Connelly writes a self-contained story of a police detective nearing the age of retirement. Harry Bosch is handling cold cases with a rookie police woman.

    In general, the dialogue of the story makes a listener feel the tedium and thrill of being a cop in a big city. With few exceptions (one being the hackneyed comment, “copy that”), Connelly’s dialogue is crisp, informative, and absorbing.

    As in real life, solving Bosch’s and his acolyte’s two cold cases is a mixture of satisfying resolution and frustrating irresolution. Some justice prevails but injustice reasserts itself. The arbitrariness of society and the nature of human beings continue to allow some criminals to go free and some institutions to punish the wrong people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The House of the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By Walter Covell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (21)

    The House of the Dead is a fascinating portrait of life in a Siberian prison camp - a life of great hardship and deprivation, yet filled with simple moments of humanity showing mankinds ability to adapt and survive in the most extreme of circumstances. Dostoevsky tells his story in a chronological order, from his character's arrival and his sense of alienation to his gradual adjustment to prison life.

    James says: "In the Prison House"
    "LITERARY GENIUS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fyodor Dostoevsky’s writing and psychological insight seduces admirers into reading or listening to his lesser known works. Seduction comes from wanting to know the source of Dostoevsky’s human insight and literary genius.

    Dostoevsky spent time in a Siberian prison, was scheduled for execution by firing squad, received a last-minute reprieve, suffered from a gambling addiction, and lived to write two of the greatest masterpieces of all time, “Crime and Punishment” and “Brothers Karamazov”. Long before Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind, Dostoevsky understood and wrote about subconscious human motivation. (He also wrote a lesser known work, “The Idiot”, that rivals his masterpieces in character development.)

    Prison is sometimes home to the innocent that are victimized by life because of their pacific nature. The innocents seek to please everyone. They are like Prince Myskin in “The Idiot”, or Alyosha in “The Brothers Karmazov”. These innocents are drawn to violent or dominant characters, either as supplicants or enablers. The Prince Myskins become servants to intellectuals in the prison. The Alyoshas are the intellectuals, the aristocrats, the educated, the wise men; in some respects the enablers, that are sought by the insecure for advice, guidance, knowledge, or forgiveness.

    “The House of the Dead” is not a well written book but it is a useful primer on character development in literature. It shows that great writers develop over time and that their development is based on experience recollected, and disciplined observation in quietude; i.e. in prisons of their own making.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (562)
    Performance
    (503)
    Story
    (500)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "FORENSIC PATHOLOGY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In Judy Melinek’s and her husband’s book titled “Working Stiff”, a perspective on careers in forensic pathology is drawn in the light of history’s worst single incident of lost American’ lives. Two months before 9/11, Doctor Melinek is working at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City at East 26th Street and 1st Avenue. Melinek remembers seeing a commercial plane on an odd flight path in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. American Airlines Flight 11 is the first plane to hit the World Trade Center.

    The final chapters of “Working Stiff” suggest the New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner (Dr. Charles S. Hirsch) is an unsung recovery’ hero of the 9/11 Trade Center tragedy. The competence of the Chief Medical Examiner is revealed by Melinek in a speech the CME gives to his staff before bodies begin to arrive. He notes that the focus of the department’s job in the 9/11 tragedy is to identify victims; not determine specific causes of death. Each body part is to be bagged and tagged with its own number. He explains that duplication of body parts that belong to the same body is irrelevant. Any body parts that offer clues to identity; e.g. fingers, dental work, skin tattoos, bone pins, etc. are to be separated and numbered. The CME explains that the most important thing for everyone to understand is that all victims must be identified so families will know of their relative’s death. He goes on to explain that each body part is to be treated as an individual death, with dignity and solemnity.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Children of Henry VIII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (253)
    Story
    (259)

    New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir is one of the most popular chroniclers of British and European royal history. In this fascinating book she sheds light on the scheming, backstabbing and brutality that plagued England after Henry VIII’s death. Filled with remarkable and sometimes shocking details, The Children of Henry VIII is an arresting narrative that brings the past to life and infuses it with all the flair of a riveting novel.

    Neil Chisholm says: "A very dysfunctional family!"
    "ROYALTY, RELIGION, AND RULE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Royalty, religion, and rule, like the three heads of Cerberus, protect 16th century England, after the death of Henry the VIII. Cerberus defends royalty. Alison Weir tells the story of England’s royal succession. Weir explains that 3 children, from different mothers, succeed Henry the VIII. The youngest, and first in line, is King Edward VI. Young Edward is nine years old when King Henry dies.

    King Henry identifies the order of succession in his will; first is King Edward, then Queen Mary, and finally Queen Elizabeth. King Henry designates King Edward VI as first successor because he is a male. However because he has not reached the age of majority, Edwards rule is subject to a guardianship that will govern the Empire until he reaches the age of 18. As fate (or poison) would have it, King Edward dies at 15. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth are next.

    Queen Elizabeth survives a multitude of accusations, threats, and imprisonments to finally succeed to the throne at 25 years of age when Queen Mary succumbs to pneumonia at 42. Elizabeth goes on to be ruler of England for nearly 40 years. She is considered by most to have been a highly successful monarch with excellent skill as statesman and ruler of an independent nation that shed the shackles of a Roman Papacy, and the seductive temptation of alliance with stronger nations.

    Royalty, religion, and rule are watchwords for understanding the history of 16th century England. Weir does a nice job of explaining what happened in England after the death of King Henry the VIII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5121)
    Performance
    (4394)
    Story
    (4371)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "AMERICAN HOMGENIZATION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both “Coming Apart” and “Quiet” are disquisitions on America that have an apparent appeal to a consuming audience. “Coming Apart” points to a belief that America has become an aristocracy of education and money. “Quiet” makes the sociological case that human beings are either extroverted or introverted and that extroverts rule American government and business because they talk the most, and argue the best. Both books infer american cultural homogenization.

    If Murray is right about the homogenization of American management and Cain is right about being misled by too much extroversion and not enough introversion, maybe America is “Coming Apart”. On the other hand, maybe Murray and Cain are just selling books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Charles Murray
    • Narrated By Traber Burns
    Overall
    (183)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (138)

    In Coming Apart, Charles Murray explores the formation of American classes that are different in kind from anything we have ever known, focusing on whites as a way of driving home the fact that the trends he describes do not break along lines of race or ethnicity.

    Brent says: "great insights to today's culture wars"
    "AMERICAN HOMOGENIZATION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both “Coming Apart” and “Quiet” are disquisitions on America that have an apparent appeal to a consuming audience. “Coming Apart” points to a belief that America has become an aristocracy of education and money. “Quiet” makes the sociological case that human beings are either extroverted or introverted and that extroverts rule American government and business because they talk the most, and argue the best. Both books infer american cultural homogenization.

    If Murray is right about the homogenization of American management and Cain is right about being misled by too much extroversion and not enough introversion, maybe America is “Coming Apart”. On the other hand, maybe Murray and Cain are just selling books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Them: Adventures with Extremists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (657)
    Performance
    (596)
    Story
    (594)

    Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and more.

    aaron says: "Dated but VERY Good... and FUNNY!"
    "WING NUTS AND CONSPIRACY THEORISTS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wing nuts and conspiracy theorists are the subject of Jon Ronson’s “Them”. With the exception of Ronson’s treks into the woods of an American’ Ku Klux Klan camp, Ronson’s adventures seem benign more than dangerous.

    They, who are called “Them”, all have followers that threaten freedom of choice; i.e. that freedom which does not infringe on freedom of other’s. They all say “It is my way or no way”. The truth is–the only controller of our future is human nature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By William Easterly
    • Narrated By Jonathan Yen
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (44)

    Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right "expert" solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place. Further, they produce an accidental collusion with "benevolent autocrats", leaving dictators with yet more power to violate the rights of the poor.

    CHET YARBROUGH says: "INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS"
    "INDIVIDUAL HUMAN RIGHTS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    William Easterly argues that economic progress is a function of individual human rights; more than any past or current form of government. William Easterly is an economist with a theorist’s interest in history. He particularly vilifies autocratic and collective forms of government like North Korea, Ethiopia, and Cuba.

    Easterly infers that former imperialist and colonial governments like France and Great Britain have impeded rather than accelerated economic growth of other countries. The suggestion is that, in the long arc of history, the poor are better off without expert’ intervention from today’s World Bank, yesterday’s League of Nations, or other outside organizational experts. Easterly argues that supporting indigenous leaders that focus on individual human rights are the best catalyst for economic growth. He argues for Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” as the best guarantee for economic growth.

    Easterly, like all human beings, views the past through eyes of the present. Denying individual rights remains a threat to society but definition and understanding of those rights may be more universally appreciated today because of technology, and the internet. Easterly may be on the right track for societal improvement but his arguments, based on history, are weak. Economies have grown dramatically in the past; despite the denial of individual human rights. Sadly, as Easterly knows, economic growth does not raise all boats, whether prescribed by experts or a free indigenous population.

    Guaranteeing individual human rights is not a magic bullet for reducing poverty or improving the lot of the poor. The tyranny of autocrats, experts, and dictators will continue. The poor’s only voice is through consensus building movements like Occupy Wall Street. Movements like Occupy Wall Street are only at their beginning. Public understanding and demand for individual rights is growing because of the internet, but social change remains part of the long arc of history. As in Plato’s time, knowing the good is part of the difficulty of being the good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By David Deutsch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (169)
    Story
    (174)

    A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe.

    Gary says: "Covers nothing to everything"
    "BECAUSE I SAID SO"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “Wired” titled an article naming David Deutsch “The Father of Quantum Computing”–Deutsch is a British physicist and information’ scientist at the University of Oxford. “The Beginning of Infinity” is Deutsch’s most recent publication. Deutsch argues that history shows that all problems are solvable. By inference, Deutsch assures humanity’s survival.

    Deutsch refuses to accept the parental guide of- Because I said so – because it clogs the human minds’ efforts to refine its search for knowledge. It is better to give a wrong explanation rather than clog the machine with dead-end pronouncements. A wrong answer leads to further questions that lead to discovery of truth. Skeptic refusal to accept “Because I said so” encourages the human machines’ search engine.

    There is a perverse implication in Deutsch’s hypothesis. The persistence and precision of computers will likely replace the human brain. With the advent of artificial intelligence, the human mind’s role in discovery becomes less potent, if not impotent, in the face of tireless computers and infinite computer power. The new meme will be “What does the computer say is the truth”. The danger is that the computer is saying “Because I said so”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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