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CHRISTIAN

United States | Member Since 2010

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 111 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Inside the Red Mansion: On the Trail of China's Most Wanted Man

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Oliver August
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Due to a mix-up, journalist Oliver August stumbles onto the hunt for China's most wanted man, Lai Changxing, an illiterate tycoon on the run from corruption charges. Sensing something emblematic in this outsized tale of rise and fall, August sets out to find the self-made billionaire, in the hope that if he can understand how Lai reinvented himself, he will also better understand the tectonic forces transforming modern China.

    Jon says: "Well written, and enjoyable"
    "Good story, solid audio production"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Inside the Red Mansion the most enjoyable?

    Interesting pursuit (tracking a Chinese businessman who went from rag-to-riches before succumbing a to bitter downfall).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    None in particular.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    All were OK.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The Chinese government's level of reaction to its runaway economy, in contrast to the old-school form of centralized planning and top-down controlling from the communist-Mao-era that seemed to dictate the future of the country.


    Any additional comments?

    Timely story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Andy Boynton, Bill Fischer, William Bole
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (49)

    Ideas are arguably the most valuable asset in an information-based economy. But how do you find the best ideas - the kind that can boost careers, change organizations, and ramp up the value of projects? Why do some people seem to come up with these ideas whenever they need them? In this myth-busting audio book, the authors reveal that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity, or necessarily from the minds of brilliant people.

    Chris von Rabenau says: "Idea hunter needs more ideas..."
    "OK content, but dreadfully slow, boring reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Somewhat. Many other writers and researcher present this information better (more accurately and more comprehensively) in various other venues. Yet, it's nice to have it collected here.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It's not a novel, so the ending isn't some big fireworks!


    What didn’t you like about Sean Pratt’s performance?

    Far too tedious. The rhythm is slow. The pause between each sentence is too long and put me asleep. The reading lacks energy, passion, variation. The reader sounds lethargic and not interested. The reading was so dreadful that I will avoid audiobooks by this reader (unless the previews sound livelier and more involved).


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Teaching in China: Seven Dog Years

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charlotte Salyer
    • Narrated By Carrie Steele
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    You are sure to laugh when a Nevada housewife, struggling through her own midlife crisis, shares her experiences while teaching in China. Through a plentitude of cultural nuances and interesting characters, Salyer details her touching and provocative journey leading to a greater appreciation for everything American. Whether you desire to teach abroad, make a life change or merely satisfy your own curiosity, this story is filled with the truths of one woman's journey and teaching experience abroad.

    CHRISTIAN says: "Light insight into the topic, odd audio editing"
    "Light insight into the topic, odd audio editing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    The topic, Americans teaching in China, intrigued me, but the writer's insight remained superficial.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    To learn more about this topic, I'll turn to other books, blogs, and resources on this topic (because this book is light on depth and breadth).


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    The conversational writing style facilitated the listening experience, but sometimes tipped into a gossipy tone with light substance. It frustrated me to get more insight into the writer's narrow American cultural vision and into her mid-life crisis than into the Chinese culture. For my taste, it felt a bit too self-centered and shallow, as if this trip to China was mostly a feel-good manicure to heal the author's mood. Regrettably, we don't feel much of her investment into her missions (helping Chinese students improve their English, being an ambassador of her culture), and she shares little about her classroom experiences.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    The reader articulates well, but she has a mild case of a California Valley Girl accent that reinforces the superficial overtone of the text (further highlighting the book's weakness). The production is sub-par because the silent pauses at the end of chapters are cut down too short, and it creates run-on sentences that combine the last sentence of a chapter and the title of the next chapter (confusing!). These too-short pauses occur in other places in the text. Otherwise, the audio quality is good.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    For the same topic, and a much better book (with more insight, cultural comparisons, teaching experiences, stronger prose, etc.), pick Peter Hessler's River Town. If you're still hungry for more, and can be satisfied with a light fare next, try this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Rob Gifford
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (395)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (155)

    National Public Radio's Beijing correspondent Rob Gifford recounts his travels along Route 312, the Chinese Mother Road, the longest route in the world's most populous nation. Based on his successful NPR radio series, China Road draws on Gifford's 20 years of observing first-hand this rapidly transforming country, as he travels east to west, from Shanghai to China's border with Kazakhstan. As he takes listeners on this journey, he also takes them through China's past and present while he tries to make sense of this complex nation's potential future.

    Roberta says: "An Outstanding Book on China"
    "Insightful analysis, nice reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Rob Gifford shares insight on China from years of experiences living in the Middle Kingdom. His East to West trip includes revealing anecdotes about the lives and values of Chinese people in various regions. He talks about his encounters with Chinese Amway entrepreneurs, muslim minorities, an abortion nurse and her assistant, AIDS whistle-blowers, long-haul truck drivers, a talk radio female star, and other intriguing types. The style is in line with the NPR reporting tone: it comes across as poised, respectful, but without much wit or intensity. Overall, a pleasant and revealing book. Gifford's prognostics at the end of his book are so far spot on. Four years after he wrote his book, several of the events he anticipated have happened, such as the peasant pushbacks and the tenuous financial balance with the real estate excesses.

    The reading too is calm, but not monotonous at all -- a bit soothing, yet active enough to stay interesting. A clear delivery, clean recording, and a hint of a British accent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Peter Hessler
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (97)

    In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.

    Ravenmaster says: "Peter Berkrot Again?"
    "Interesting insight, fair oration"
    Overall

    Though this narrative is almost 15 years old (Hessler worked for the Peace Corps in the late 1990's), and that seems a long time ago at the frantic pace of change in present day China, most of the observations seem relevant today, especially those addressing the human dimension. The narrator has a young 20s male voice, a bit on the nasal side, but reading at a lively and varied rhythm. He is great at making distinct voices for different characters. As is often the case with books on China, this reader mispronounces many Chinese names, but it's a minor issue. He has a good sense for dramatic pauses and for getting "in character." It's easy to mistakenly think that you're listening to the author himself.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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