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Douglas

College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

Auburn, WA, United States | Member Since 2008

1287
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 278 reviews
  • 390 ratings
  • 793 titles in library
  • 67 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
32
FOLLOWERS
241

  • Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Joshua Greene
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    A pathbreaking neuroscientist reveals how our social instincts turn Me into Us, but turn Us against Them - and what we can do about it. The great dilemma of our shrinking world is simple: never before have those we disagree with been so present in our lives. The more globalization dissolves national borders, the more clearly we see that human beings are deeply divided on moral lines - about everything from tax codes to sexual practices to energy consumption - and that, when we really disagree, our emotions turn positively tribal.

    Douglas says: "An Exceedingly Interesting..."
    "An Exceedingly Interesting..."
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    study in the grounds--both reasonable and unreasonable, beneficial and destructive--that we have for gathering together into groups...which seem to end up somehow inevitably pitted against some "other." Cliques, clubs, organizations, political parties, cults, class-systems, and...teams. I have a story that relates very well to this book. I live near Seattle. "WE" (the Seahawks--I don't play, mind you, and I don't even watch, though I find myself included somehow) are playing the Broncos (hereafter "THEM") in the Superbowl next week. Some years ago, I bought a Broncos hat to wear to the barn when I interact with my horse--I hate football, and I bought the hat because it has a horse on it. (Witness my avatar photo above.) I have grown attached to the hat. I have also been threatened and taunted by Seahawks fan-atic-s for wearing it in public, and greeted heartily by strangers in stores from Denver who mistake me for a fellow Colorado "WE..." At present, I continue to wear the hat to the barn, but not if I need to run into the store afterward. And, if the Seahawks win on Sunday, I think maybe I will be able to wear it publicly in say, a year or so...if the Broncos win...I will never be safe wearing it again. (I had a student once actually physically assaulted for wearing a NY Yankees cap into a Seattle bar.) All this has made me aware of one thing: Nazi Germany is easy to understand once you get this element of human nature: we too often need someone to hate in order to feel decently about ourselves. The Nazis had the same mentality as football fanatics--or any other group fanatic. They just had a lot more freedom to persecute the "THEM."

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Deepak Chopra
    • Narrated By Deepak Chopra
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Can God be revived in a skeptical age? What would it take to give people a spiritual life more powerful than anything in the past? Deepak Chopra tackles these issues with eloquence and insight in this book. He proposes that God lies at the source of human awareness. Therefore, any person can find the God within that transforms everyday life.

    elan says: "God's new makeover"
    "Chopra wrote this in response...."
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    to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, a virulent bit of atheist grandstanding that has gained attention more from cranks than serious thinkers. It also came in the wake of Dawkins ambushing Chopra in a tabloid-show style in what he wanted to pass for an "interview." (Chopra claimed he talked with Dawkins, despite the ambush, for three hours, only to have Dawkins chop it up into three minutes of the latter sneering and jeering, and then Dawkins slapped the title "Enemy of the Truth" on the thing and posted it on youtube. Chopra defended himself on television, and then, despite being perfectly justified and not nearly as aggressive as Dawkins, showed himself the bigger man and posted an apology video himself...) I say all that to say this: Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens (one cannot say "rest his soul," I suppose), and Harris have gone from being legitimate critics of certain aspects of religion to mocking atheist fundamentalists which blind themselves entirely to the deeper aspects of spirituality and metaphysics of any kind and poke fun at anyone who does not agree like bullies in a schoolyard they now consider to be solely their territory... I must say that Deepok Chopra is not my first choice as a defender of things spiritual (try reading some Dietrich Bonhoffer, Luther or Karl Barth, or even Emerson or James), but The Future of God (perhaps a play on Freud's Future Of An Illusion) is a book that had to be written for its time. I give this book five stars for its message and because it pushes back at the current tide--not because I think Chopra can never be a bit flaky or too ethereal or vague (although he makes some definite points in regard to consciousness and the spiritual in relation to science and physics. Having had my time with Buddhism, I think the idea that the entire universe and everything in it is conscious, and that we are just certain manifestations of that consciousness makes perfect intuitive sense, even if you can't put it in a test tube.) I guess at last I will say this book can perhaps save us a bit from becoming too jaded, too cynical, too one-eyed in our approach to the world--and perhaps even the enlightened Christian can keep from throwing the baby Jesus out with the bath water.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Carson McCullers
    • Narrated By Christopher Kipiniak
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    Set on a Southern army base in the 1930s, Reflections in a Golden Eye tells the story of Captain Penderton, a bisexual whose life is upset by the arrival of Major Langdon, a charming womanizer who has an affair with Penderton's tempestuous and flirtatious wife, Leonora. Upon the novel's publication in 1941, reviewers were unsure of what to make of its relatively scandalous subject matter.

    Douglas says: "Enthralling..."
    "Enthralling..."
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    Carson McCullers was one of the southern masters. She learned from the rich, ornate prose of Thomas Wolfe, the razor sharp accuracy and poetics of Capote, and the bitter irony of Flannery O'Connor. With writing to rival that of her masterpiece, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Reflections In A Golden Eye comes forward as a classic southern novella. Potentially scandalous for its time, Golden Eye maintains a steady, objective dignity that allows one to see beyond the sexual entanglements and the violence to the depths of the human condition. The ability to show us ourselves, even in our most extreme moments of good and evil, was McCullers wonderful gift.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell
    • Narrated By Randye Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Dr. Jean M. Twenge focuses on the pernicious spread of narcissism in today's culture, which has repercussions for every age group and class. Dr. Twenge joins forces with Dr. W. Keith Campbell, a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, to explore this new plague. Together, they provide an eye-opening exposition of the alarming rise of narcissism and its catastrophic effects at every level of society.

    Die Falknerin says: "Feeling "special?" Snap out of it!"
    "Much Better Book..."
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    than Eleanor Payson's grammatically clunky, repetitive, Alice Miller worshippiing, simplistic metaphor sodden The Wizard Of Oz and Other Narcissists. The Narcissism Epidemic does what few books on the subject do: includes the scientific research on the subject, avoiding the easy, breezy Milleresque platitudes directed at so-called victims (which often enough only teach THEM to be self-indulgent and self-focused). Read this book instead of the pulp self-help books on the narcissist.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Eleanor Payson
    • Narrated By Cathryn Bond Doyle
    Overall
    (105)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (90)

    This ground-breaking book offers hope and help to those who have been drawn into these devastating relationships. She includes illuminating case studies that identify the problems that occur in the different types of relationships, from co-workers, to friends, to parents, to lovers. Listeners employing these insights and skills will find new abilities to identify and protect against the narcissist's manipulations and take back control of their lives.

    Die Falknerin says: "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road"
    "Simplistic but informative..."
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    Very basic book on the subject, but it does have useful information. More of a self-help book than science. It even has chapter summaries like an eighth grade text. But it is a good book for what it is. She does push the "Wizard Of Oz" metaphor--which doesn't work completely, as Dorothy never really comes to any deep realization, other than that she likes being home. (She doesn't learn how to deal with narcissists like the Wizard.) At any rate, it's a pretty good book if you don't expect anything too in depth. Read some Robert Hare if you want something a bit better.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John J. Ratey
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    Overall
    (2673)
    Performance
    (1703)
    Story
    (1684)

    Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? The evidence is incontrovertible: Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brains for peak performance.

    Kathleen says: "Spark"
    "Science of the obvious..."
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    Exercise makes you feel better and perform better. Exercise is the best treatment for depression and can replace many meds with harmful side effects. About all that can be said about this is...it's about time!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Emerson: The Mind on Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Robert D. Richardson
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (39)

    Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important figures in the history of American thought, religion, and literature. The vitality of his writings and the unsettling power of his example continue to influence us more than a hundred years after his death. Now Robert D. Richardson Jr. brings to life an Emerson very different from the old stereotype of the passionless Sage of Concord.

    John says: "Entertaining, erudite, engaging"
    "Finally!"
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    A comprehensive study of Emerson! How long have we been waiting for that! Back in the 90's, I read everything by Emerson, the essays, the poetry, the travel books, absolute every delicious metaphor and trope. I have read bios of the man before, but none so in-depth and comprehensive as this marvelous volume. If Emerson had written a formal autobiography, I suspect it would have been much like this book. An absolute must read for the Emerson fan!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Consciousness and the Social Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Michael S. A. Graziano
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    What is consciousness and how can a brain, a mere collection of neurons, create it? In Consciousness and the Social Brain, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano lays out an audacious new theory to account for the deepest mystery of them all. In Graziano's theory, the machinery that attributes awareness to others also attributes it to oneself. Damage that machinery and you disrupt your own awareness. Graziano discusses the science, the evidence, the philosophy, and the surprising implications of this new theory.

    Douglas says: "Cutting edge..."
    "Cutting edge..."
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    I have encountered Graziano's "Attention Schema" theory of consciousness before in other books, but this volume explains it thoroughly and decisively. While it comes somewhat short of the Holy Grail of the FINAL EXPLANATION of what makes us conscious--one questions if such a thing is ever at last possible, any more than the fish explaining how its bowl was made, ultimately unable to escape its confines--Attention Theory is about the best psychological and neurological theory that we have at present. It is a definite step forward over all former theories. A book well worth reading.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives - and Our Lives Change Our Genes

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    • Narrated By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (57)

    Conventional wisdom dictates that our genetic destiny is fixed at conception. But Dr. Moalem's groundbreaking book shows us that the human genome is far more fluid and fascinating than your ninth grade biology teacher ever imagined. By bringing us to the bedside of his unique and complex patients, he masterfully demonstrates what rare genetic conditions can teach us all about our own health and well-being. In the brave new world we're rapidly rocketing into, genetic knowledge has become absolutely crucial. Inheritance provides an indispensable roadmap for this journey.

    Douglas says: "Joining Many Good Books..."
    "Joining Many Good Books..."
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    refuting the notion of the Tabula Rasa (Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, Nicolas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance, and Edward O. Wilson's On Human Nature, for example), Moalem's Inheritance continues this idea with an important twist: she shows not only how genes shape how we respond to the environment but also explores how the environment shapes the gene. Cutting edge and well written. An important read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • On Human Nature: Revised Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Edward O. Wilson
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    This revised edition of Human Nature begins a new phase in the most important intellectual controversy of this generation: Is human behavior controlled by the species' biological heritage? Does this heritage limit human destiny?

    With characteristic pungency and simplicity of style, the author of Sociobiology challenges old prejudices and current misconceptions about the nature-nurture debate.

    Douglas says: "A Heralding Voice..."
    "A Heralding Voice..."
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    of the neo-Darwinean movement. If you know the work of Pinker, Dawkins, Dennett, Wright and other writers who have expounded on the evidence that an innate, biological human nature is a real and tangible thing (as opposed to the concept of the "blank slate" put forth most famously by Skinner, Watkins and the behaviorists during the early part of the century), you should know the work of Edward O. Wilson, a man who was so far ahead of the now accepted modern decriers of the "tabula rasa" that his early work was deemed scientific heresy. Wilson does not deny the influence of the environment on the genetic basis of human nature, but wipes away the absurd notion that a human being is shaped soley and absolutely by culture and surroundings. On Human Nature is a fine summation of his main ideas and comes highly recommended from these quarters.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Stanislas Dehaene
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    How does the brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before. In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind a conscious state.

    Douglas says: "Good Stuff..."
    "Good Stuff..."
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    First, I guess I, unlike the other reviewer, did not find the narrator "cocky," nor could I imagine how that could influence the listening to a book on neurology... That aside, the book itself contains a lot of important, if basic, ideas about neurology and the current knowledge concerning human consciousness. It tends, perhaps, to be a bit on the computational side of things, but the theories presented here are pretty sound. (There is debate as to what extend the mind really works like a computer, and I am one who is more in the Jonathan Haidt camp, believing that the mind is more complex, and much more emotionally driven, than the computational model allows for--listen to a couple of books by Haidt after finishing with this one.) I would recommend this as a beginning or even as an intermediate book on consciousness and neurology. Michael Gazziniga or Rhawn Joseph (the latter not yet in audiobook) might be better advanced studies in this subject.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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