I was looking for some insight on economic and social inequality after seeing a clip of Robert Reich speaking about the topic on a news program. I bought this without knowing much about the author, but he didn't sound like a demagogue and the reviews are so glowing that I thought it would be an interesting listen. The last 3 hours of listening to semi-hysterical talking points have proven me wrong.
This book is probably well regarded on Audible for the same reason that Ann Coulter's toxic brand of punditry get high marks - most people who buy Beyond Outrage are the proverbial choir.
The three part book can roughly be summed up as:
Part 1: Big business and it's senior leadership are wealthy sociopaths.
Part 2: The republican party lacks compassion.
Part 3: Get out and demonstrate/debate
As a left of middle moderate who understands our financial system reasonably well, I found Reich's arguments to be fairly standard Democratic rhetoric. I did not hear technology, globalization, or economic efficiency mentioned at all. As huge contributors to the current state of the world's economies, these are usually central concepts when discussing long term solutions to US economic woes. Additionally, Reich is strangely mute on the rising bar of entry for would be entrepreneurs and how that impacts economic and social inequality by closing the door on the traditional American method for bootstrapping out of poverty.
Ultimately, this book addresses a really complex set of issues in a short period of time. The approach means that a lot of things are going to be rolled up into oversimplified sound bytes, but it doesn't mean that the material has to come across as political propaganda. Unfortunately, I can't help but feel like I've been at a three hour Occupy Wall Street rally. If you are looking for intuitive, insightful commentary on the current state of the US economy and its challenges, you might want to look elsewhere.
This is a bad detective novel lent credibility by Reynolds ability to write good speculative fiction. At times, the writing feels lazy and contrived, forcing characters into situations through auspicious circumstances or really poor decision making that fulfill the literary checklist for writing fiction novels. While this may be because Reynolds got bored writing the book and just wanted it to conclude, it feels more like he lacks any real understanding of how large organizations operate, replete with politics and how senior executives operate in their lofty positions. Thus the human side of the story suffers from amateurish over-simplicity while the sci-fi elements try to rescue an increasing irritating plot that was seemingly written for the sole purpose of setting the final chapter's stage.
On the plus side, John Lee's reading was excellent. He delivers his usual range of characterizations, which are both pleasant to listen to and provide a clear picture of whom is speaking and when.
The narrator for this book was so difficult to listen to for my husband and I. I can't help but conjure an image of a chain smoking Angela Lansbury. Not the image I had in my head for Kinsey Malone and her attempts at male voices made the men in the book sound pretty effeminate. Especially distracting when the men are supposed to be hardened types. So..disregard the overall and story ratings (couldn't write a review without them), the narrator just didn't seem right for the part.
The reading is great, but the story itself is so drawn out with fillers and the scenes of the final confrontation with Galbotorix are so mind bendingly cliche I wish I hadn't spent the money.
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