This book was highly recommended by a friend. Despite a persuasive argument, Ridley's book cannot be considered in the absence of context, for Ridley chaired the English bank Northern Rock, a bank which, due to its high-risk lending practices, went to the wall during the GFC with red ink to the tune of twenty-some billion UK pounds, and was subsequently nationalised to prevent a 'run' on the banks and the collapse of the British financial system. Thus, while I'm a conservative who is naturally sceptical of the size and role of government in virtually every economy, I find it extremely ironical that Ridley, at the outset, states that he cannot refer to the collapse of Northern Rock 'for legal reasons' yet it is, in the style of other libertarians such as Ayn Rand, the free market which serves as the bedrock for virtually every subsequent argument. Ridley should have withdrawn the book and rewritten it in the very context of his own aristocratic background (he is now a Viscount!) and on the basis of the events which occurred at the bank of which he was Chair. In addition, I would have thought a UK narrator more preferable to a US narrator given Ridley's own background. With reality incorporated into the narrative rather than rationality, Ridley may have been onto something.
McCall Smith has clearly run out of ideas. I was a great fan of Mma Ramatoswe and her doings, even if those doings were done relatively slowly. In this book, however, after 3 hours, the earlier books appear turbo-charged. Absolutely nothing happens. We are reminded about the various marriages of the detectives, Mma Makutsi's talking shoes, her husband's disability, the cows of Mma Ramotswe's father, but there is nothing at all that makes you want to keep listening. It's as if McCall Smith's publisher demanded one last book and he wrote it in his sleep rather than at his normal time of 5 in the morning. Really extremely disappointing.
FE Peters reminds me of one of the "god professors" of yore. In other words, he seems to think that by his very presence us poor, unintellectual plebians benefit. Life has moved on, however, and it rather seems to me that FE Peters has been given a bottle of gin for each lecture and been given permission to move round and round, to great redundancy, the point of his lectures. If we are lucky, he give us one point of value. If not, we are left without the veritable crumb. He repeats himself ad nauseum, duplicating and triplicating and quadruplicating his message to the point where one sees this audio as a potential cure for insomnia rather than of any educational value. Quite simply, this is embarrassing.
As a business owner and a teacher of entrepreneurship, I love the stories of entrepreneurs and the insights that they can provide. These tend to be best derived or naturally emerge from the stories of their businesses and their own ups and downs. I was surprised to see how popular this title is but would not recommend it for anyone but absolute novices with very little knowlege of business and entrepreneurship. For the rest of us, there is very little in this book that will change the way your do business or think more creatively. Instead, I'd recommend Trump's "Think Big and Kick Ass" or Felix Dennis's "How to Get Rich" as among the best titles available from Audible.
I found that the narration was so "gushing" as to be virtually unlistenable and the content was less than original with virtually nothing new. Disappointing.
The first segment of the audio describes the Pimsleur method. I'd like to say that it is as revolutionary as claimed, however I'm not sure that it is. Perhaps I'm slow, however I had to go over and over the first lesson just to remember the basics. Then, after much practice, I tried out my only sentence or two on a class of visiting Chinese professors in Sydney last week. At the conclusion of my presentation, one came up to me and said, "Your teaching was great but your Chinese was terrible." So, that's it for me Mr Pimsleur and your method. In the traditional Chinese way, I lost face and you are to blame!
After Tess of the D'Urbervilles, I was keen to listen to more Thomas Hardy, however the differences between Tess and this title could hardly be greater. While the Audible information indicates that Jill Masters is the narrator, the cover of the audiobook indicates that it is "read by Alan Rickman". Unfortunately, Jill (or Alan, depending on what she likes to be called) is simply abominable as a narrator. She sounds like the Queen reading her Christmas address inside a trunk at the bottom of the ocean...in 1972. Not only does her very posh voice not suit the context of this book, she is simply unable to alter her voice in any significant way to make the characters in the narrative come alive. It is as though she is reading to 8 or 10 year old children. As noted, the "echo chamber" in which she appears to be reading is a constant distraction. There is no clarity at all. I love my Audible books, but this one is a complete and utter shocker.
While this title has sold well in Australia, I'm not sure that I understand why. The writer focuses on the worst of his characters' characters, descends into unwarranted crudity on a regular basis, and resolves few of its plotlines. If the virtue of this book is that it mirrors the messy realities of our own lives, why read about it? Books can do such much more.
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