First, all the bluster about revealing operational secrets, etc.---it is not there. Nothing I heard in this narrative was particularly a surprise. If any adversary could gain some type of tactical advantage from this, they obviously have not done their homework elsewhere. I suspect some of that bluster is because the author is not particularly complimentary of Obama and his willingness to take credit for the operation. The author does not drone on about this, but simply makes an observation and moves on with the rest of the story.
To learn the inside story of what actually happened with the mission is very interesting, particularly how close it came to going horribly wrong. This book is mostly about the men who train relentlessly becoming professional operators and the work that goes on to allow them to succeed. If you have an interest in current events and like to know the intricacies of how this event actually occurred, this is recommended.
Benedict Carey offers some interesting insights of the learning process in some non-traditional but evidence supported methods. Even though I have studied learning and educational psychology some, I was not familiar with some of the research Carey offered. Some of the insights helped me to understand a few of the observations I had made in my professional degree program students over the years. Indeed, some of this content will be woven into recommendations for future courses. I rated everything as a 4-star for this book because of tending to be stingy with 5s. If available, 4.5s would have been perfect. If you are an educator at the secondary level or higher, I recommend this book. It could change the way you do things or the evidence presented therein could prove to be the impetus behind your own creative strategies for your students or even adult learners.
Throughout the book, the author uses narratives of several famous Individuals to generalize to the population. In effect, he attempts to validate his perspective with scattered anecdotal evidence. I found this somewhat misrepresentative during the progression of the book and then it all made sense listening to the interview at the end. The author purposefully planned the book as an "assault on rugged individualism"--his description. He appears to do this to advance some sociopolitical perspective (again, listen to the interview). Sure, circumstances and opportunity play a role in all our lives, not only the rich or famous. The hockey team story is way overblown. Could 6 more months of physical and emotional maturity make a difference in adolescent athletes? Sure, but are not most sophomore athletes better than their freshman year? Yes, it is simply development, practice, and competitive play. That some are denied opportunity because of these factors and it is unfair is nonsense. The author also seems to discount all the other intra-individual characteristics that could be significant factors in the courses of these lives and the outcomes of the stories. If you have ever made something out of nothing by virtue of your determination, had insights and developed some innovative project, or creatively solved a dilemma, you may not like this book. According to the author's perspective, you just got lucky and then anyone could have done the rest. He magnifies one factor in the equation disproportionally and minimizes the other contributors. I enjoyed Blink, but he's off target here. These are interesting stories, which is why I suspect so many people rate the book so highly. Anecdotes do not equal evidence.
As this began, I was not as enthralled as other reviewers. As the story continues and the voyagers managed one hardship after another, one might begin to ask, "could I have endured that?" Time after time they did and against tremendous odds. What astounding constitutional strength by so many! In the end, they accomplished so much more than they intended, albeit at quite a cost. By the end, it truly was gripping.
I did not realize until the notes at the end, the book was published that long ago. As others have commented, the reader does a great job. His pacing, tenor, emphasis, etc. are near perfect. He does a wonderful job projecting the emotions of the men and portraying the various characters in their voices.
After completing it today, I have already begun to listen to it again to absorb it all more fully again. Stories like this are exactly why non-fiction is so much more interesting.
I am baffled how people are rating this so high. It is a rambling, discontinuous stream of conscious kind of work. I have purchased approximately 40 books on Audible and this is the first one that simply did not warrant finishing. At 2/3rds of the way, I surrendered---no more. I, too, am in a medical field and so was particularly attracted to this about getting better in practice and teaching. Nothing in this collection of anecdotes provides a basis for self-study insights toward improvement. The narrator is fine. In fact, he has my admiration for doing his job on this one.
This one is, indeed, a must for blues fans. Buddy Guy's story is compelling--from working in cotton as a child to being a world-wide acclaimed guitarist. The history he tells of other blues musicians over the decades, however, is priceless. After listening to this, you will probably be a greater fan of Buddy's and you will have loved all the stories he told along the way.
If you are a fan of the ABB, you will love the story of how the band was formed. The group's struggles are well documented, but you will likely learn a few things along the way. Any discussion of the ABB invariably includes "what ifs" and we are again left to wonder what music could have been created had Duane lived longer. Gregg's personal account appears to hold nothing back. I confess to being a fan and have worn out multiple vinyl copies of Fillmore East before finally switching to CDs. It is still one of the finest sets every produced. The story behind the cover photos was interesting--and probably not what you might have imagined. This is but one of many nuggets along the way. Will Patton's reading is spot on. He seems to capture Allman's soulful expression from the text to match what Allman delivers in performance. Patton's delivery adds tremendously to the story, giving it great realism. I would have given this an overall of 4.5 had that option been available.
Recommended if you really want to know Brother Ray, but be prepared for his candor. He makes no excuses and offers no apologies for his choices. His was a fascinating life and he was an amazing talent. I thought I knew something about him, but how little I knew was revealed with this memoir.
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