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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2007

  • 18 reviews
  • 88 ratings
  • 217 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015

  • The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons
    • Narrated By Dan Woren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself - and thats a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology's most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds dont work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but were actually missing a whole lot.

    Joseph says: "Great Overview over Hygiene of Perception"
    "Outstanding survey of your cognitive foibles"
    If you could sum up The Invisible Gorilla in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, enlightening, scientific

    What other book might you compare The Invisible Gorilla to and why?

    "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman, or
    "Slights of Mind" by Macknik et al, or
    "The Seven Sins of Memory" by Schacter, or
    "How We Know What Isn't So" by Gilovich, or
    "Kulge" by Marcus, or
    "On Being Certain" by Burton

    All those books outline the irrational behaviour of humans, and how be arrive at beliefs that are not necessarily true.

    Any additional comments?

    I really like the format of the book. It is well organized into sections that address different cognitive illusions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Free Will

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Sam Harris
    • Narrated By Sam Harris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.

    Ellen says: "LIFE/ WORLD Altering sophisticated thinking!"
    "Free will is an illusion"
    If you could sum up Free Will in three words, what would they be?

    Short and to-the-point. Sam does a great job of illustrating that we do not REALLY have free will, even if we FEEL like we do.

    If you could give Free Will a new subtitle, what would it be?

    "The Illusion of Free Will"

    Any additional comments?

    My only complaint is that there is no real organization to the book, or his argument. It might help some listeners (readers) if he was more explicit about the argument behind his thesis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Kevin Leman
    • Narrated By Wayne Shepherd

    Dr. Kevin Leman's The Birth Order Book will help you understand yourself, get along better with others, overcome ingrained tendencies you never thought you could get rid of, and be more successful in the workplace. This revised and updated audio edition of Dr. Leman's classic book includes more than 30 years of experience and research, current examples, and fascinating stories to show how birth order impacts your life.

    bruce says: "Just for fun"
    "Bleh, like reading a horoscope"

    Sadly, this book fell well short of my expectations. I was hoping for some real insight into what makes a person tick. Instead, this book was more like a long, drawn-out horoscope. Leman makes little effort to substantiate his claims with objective evidence.

    I did get a sense of the three basic personality types.

    First born: Conscientious, orderly, organized, driven to please mom and dad

    Middle child: Peace maker, independent, chooses a different route to recognition than older siblings

    Last born: Disorganized, impulsive, attention-seeking, creative

    However, those personality classes are very difficult to apply. Why? Because his definition of who is in those categories is vague. You are a first-born if you are the first girl or first boy in your family, or if your next older sibling is at least 5 years older than you. Similarly, you are a last-born if you are the youngest in your family, or if your next younger sibling is at least 5 years younger than you. A middle child is one who doesn't fit those categories.

    I have an older sister (15 months older), and a brother who is about 5 years younger. That makes me a first-born and a last-born. But in many ways, I also fit the definition of a middle child. How uninteresting is THAT?! Without a clear picture of what class you're in, the book descends into an arbitrary list of personality types, and my personality spans across all of them. Bleh.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Survive: Stories of Castaways and Cannibals (Unabridged Selections)

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Edited by Nate Hardcastle, Clint Willis
    • Narrated By Colleen Delany, Nick Sampson, Erik Synnestvedt, and others

    These stories exude suffering at its worst - from the desperate cannibalism of the Donner Party to the brutal starvation and bitter cold endured by Ernest Shackleton's team. Tales of such suffering may be distressing to their listeners, but at the same time, they engage us, offering glimpses of our most fundamental needs.

    Ryan says: "Review"

    I agree with Ryan. This book seemed like nothing more than a collection of uncopyrighted material taken from writings by people who've gone through hard times. Moreover, parts of it are in old English. Disappointing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Evolution, Intelligence, and the Future

    • ORIGINAL (55 mins)
    • By Joseph Chilton Pearce
    • Narrated By Michael Toms

    The awesome potential of the human brain can only be tapped by providing the best possible learning environment at the earliest possible age. Scientific research has shown that television damages the full neural development of children's brains, crippling their capacity for symbol and metaphor. Pearce envisions a society in which our brains and spirits can develop to their highest potential.

    Jeff says: "Folk psychology, and little more"
    "Folk psychology, and little more"

    Can you handle an argument based around how intelligence and intellect are opposites? Me either. They blame most social problems on the faulty mom/baby bonding perpetuated by hospital births. Yah, Big-Medica is out to get us. They claim that the American child is the most emotionally deprived child in the world. Poor USA. Those tsunami orphans have it so much better.

    Even though they mention academic papers, this interview strikes me as unscientific opinion. Merely folk psychology.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Richard Wiseman
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley

    Richard Wiseman has been troubled by the realization that the self-help industry often promotes exercises that destroy motivation, damage relationships, and reduce creativity: the opposite of everything it promises. Now, in 59 Seconds, he fights back, bringing together the diverse scientific advice that can help you change your life in under a minute, and guides you toward becoming more decisive, more imaginative, more engaged, and altogether more happy.

    Paul says: "Wrong format for this book"
    "THE book for self-help seekers"

    I first heard of Richard Wiseman through the skeptical podcasts and blogs I frequent. And true to the skeptical point of view, this book is based on EVIDENCE. Indeed, evidence is front-and-centre right from the start. Every behavioural suggestion and piece of advice is backed by an experiment (a refreshing change from The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle). That's what separates this book from all the other self-help woo that's out there. Lots of books make claims that sound intuitive, but reality can often be very counter-intuitive. And this book has lots of examples. Here's one: praising children for their ACHIEVEMENTS can actually inhibit their progress by making them anxious about failure, while praising children for their EFFORT encourages them to work hard and challenge themselves. Hmmm!

    This audiobook is SO good, I went and bought the hardcover too.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Strange Bedfellows: The Surprising Connection Between Sex, Evolution and Monogamy

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By David P. Barash, Judith Eve Lipton
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman

    In Strange Bedfellows, David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton look at how biology actually promotes monogamy in some species and how these lessons apply to human beings. An accessible work of science that is relevant to our intimate daily life, Strange Bedfellows will reassure some people, surprise others, and engage everyone.

    Jeff says: "Great coverage of a sexy topic"
    "Great coverage of a sexy topic"

    This delightful and to-the-point book goes over the necessary material to understand the battle between monogamy and polygamy. It explains how each of the two strategies are evolutionarily advantageous, but also goes over their down-sides. Lots of examples are taken from zoology (gorillas, bonobo monkeys, prairie voles, etc.). Putting humans under the same zoological microscope, a myriad of evidence suggests that we fit the class of "mostly monogamous".

    The end of the book is a little patronizing, as if trying to soften the news for those who have trouble accepting our biological reality.

    All-in-all, a great little book. Well worth a read (or listen).

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

    The Greatest Show on Earth is a stunning counterattack on advocates of "Intelligent Design," explaining the evidence for evolution while exposing the absurdities of the creationist "argument". Dawkins sifts through rich layers of scientific evidence: from living examples of natural selection to clues in the fossil record; from natural clocks that mark the vast epochs wherein evolution ran its course to the intricacies of developing embryos; from plate tectonics to molecular genetics.

    Joseph says: "Well read, well explained, scientific."
    "Informative and inspiring"

    This books lays out all the best evidence for evolution in a way that is accessible to the layperson. Dawkins makes the point many times that the scientific consensus that evolution enjoys is a result of MANY separate lines of investigation all pointing to the same conclusion. The book even has some of the anti-religious vitriol that I loved in the God Delusion.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By George Friedman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Next 100 Years, Friedman turns his eye on the future. Drawing on a profound understanding of history and geopolitical patterns dating back to the Roman Empire, he shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, experiencing the dawn of a new historical cycle.

    Ryan says: "Take with a few grains of salt"
    "The world according to USA"

    This book was NOT what I had in mind. I was hoping for predictions of science, technology, pandemics, evolution, ecology, etc. But this book is entirely about geopolitics. UGH!

    What's worse, it is very U.S.A.-centric. OK, the US has a strong economy and an aggressive foreign policy. But this book puts America front and centre (notice the Canadian spelling) as the overwhelmingly dominant force for the next century. Maybe Friedman is right. But I'm not convinced. This book presents a narrative of how things might unfold, but ignores the unpredictable. I simply found it mostly uninteresting.

    20 of 40 people found this review helpful
  • The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind is Designed to Kill

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David M. Buss
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    As acclaimed psychological researcher and author David Buss writes, "People are mesmerized by murder. It commands our attention like no other human phenomenon, and those touched by its ugly tendrils never forget." Though we may like to believe that murderers are pathological misfits and hardened criminals, the vast majority of murders are committed by people who, until the day they kill, would seem to be perfectly normal.

    Ellen says: "Stays with me"
    "Great evolutionary psychology book"

    This book does a great job of outlining the evolutionary advantages, and costs, of murder. I believe that Dr. Buss is bang-on with his conclusions. The book is a window into our own behaviour, even if you've never killed anyone. It exposes the reasons for many of the drives and anxieties I've felt in my past: competition with other males, jealousy, etc. Excellent book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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