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Alexandria, VA, United States | Member Since 2007

  • 4 reviews
  • 35 ratings
  • 343 titles in library
  • 50 purchased in 2014

  • Existentialism and Human Emotions

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jean-Paul Sartre
    • Narrated By Pam Tierney

    In this provocative philosophical analysis, Sartre refutes the idea that existentialism drains meaning from human life, by claiming that the philosophy instead gives man total freedom to achieve his own significance. Sartre’s Existentialism and Human Emotions is a stirring defense of existentialist thought, which argues that “existence precedes essence.” While attacks on existentialism claim that the philosophy leads to a kind of nihilistic gloom, Sartre contends that instead existentialism is the only path toward giving man meaning.

    Jennifer says: "Extremely difficult prose read way too fast"
    "Extremely difficult prose read way too fast"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It needs to be annotated and should come with a pdf glossary of terms. Sartre created several terms of art, such as Being for itself and Being in itself, facticity, and "the nothingness of Being" in his prior works.Without any reintroduction of the concepts, this work starts discussing "the for itself" and "the in itself." It's been 20 years since I last read any Sartre, so I had to look up all of these terms online just to understand the sentences.

    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It probably cannot be enjoyed in an audio format. Existentialism isn't actually meant to be enjoyed, though. It's just a different way of looking at the world. I only chose to read it on audio because I have a disability that makes it hard to read text.

    What didn’t you like about Pam Tierney’s performance?

    My MP3 player lets me play books on a slower-than recorded speed, and I had to use the slow speed for the entire book. I don't think the narrator or the producer comprehended the prose. The words that needed to be emphasized or read more slowly were lost amid all the other monotonal words. I had to rewind and re-listen to many sentences multiple times, especially in chapter two.

    Was Existentialism and Human Emotions worth the listening time?

    Because of my disability, this audiobook was a better alternative than a digital text-to-speech version of the book. This audiobook is only something I would recommend to people well-versed in existentialism.

    Any additional comments?

    If you are a lay reader, this book will sound like gibberish to you. A better book for you is "Man's Search for Meaning," by Victor Frankl.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jang Jin-sung
    • Narrated By Daniel York

    As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

    David says: "Stop browsing and get this Book"
    "The 21st Century's First Masterpiece"
    Would you listen to Dear Leader again? Why?

    I have listened to this book 3 times all the way through in 6 weeks, and I have also purchased the Kindle edition to WisperSync. I am on my fourth reading now. This book has also led me to listen to Great Courses on The Eastern Intellectual Tradition and on The Foundations of Eastern Civilization. I feel that I have misunderstood 1/3 of the world's people, and Jang Jin-sung is responsible for my awakening.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Jang allows readers to live in his head and see through his eyes in a way few memoir writers do. For example, Twelve Years a Slave, Man's Search for Meaning, and The Diary of Ann Frank are indisputably great and intimate memoirs, but they do not involve an awakening that one's dearly held articles of faith---beliefs around which you have been required to organize your life-- are an elaborate deception. Another unique difference is that Jang makes a decision to pursue truth despite the risk to himself and those he loves. Under North Korean law, it is a capital offense to seek information about the outside world. After the offender is executed, his family and closest friends are imprisoned indefinitely unless they prove they had no knowledge of the crime.Lastly, Jang has the soul of a poet and understands the value of words. Even though this book was written in Korean, Jang writes beautifully and chooses his words thoughtfully. His memoir is not merely a call to action or a tribute to the innate curiosity and courage at the core of all people. Jang writes with his reader in mind, and he wants to give a small gift to each reader who joins him on his journey.

    What does Daniel York bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The dialog and emotions would not be as crisp.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A real Winston Smith. A real Big Brother. But this time Winston runs.

    Any additional comments?

    Jang deserves the Nobel Prize for literature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Barry Michels, Phil Stutz
    • Narrated By Phil Stutz, Barry Michels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A groundbreaking book about personal growth that presents a uniquely effective set of five tools that bring about dynamic change. The Tools offers a solution to the biggest complaint patients have about therapy: the interminable wait for change to begin. The traditional therapeutic model sets its sights on the past, but Phil Stutz and Barry Michels employ an arsenal of techniques - "the tools" - that allow patients to use their problems as levers that access the power of the unconscious and propel them into action.

    Jennifer says: "You Owe It to Yourself to Try"
    "You Owe It to Yourself to Try"
    Where does The Tools rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's the most important audiobook I've ever read, hands down. This may ultimately be the most life-changing book I'll ever read. If it doesn't change my life, it will be because I didn't work hard enough with the tools every day. This is not so much a self-help book as it is an existential guidebook to the universe.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Tools?

    Barry tells about how he discovered, while talking to his very skeptical friend, that all the adversity we face in life is meant to get us to access the Higher Forces. It helped me to answer the question of suffering very clearly. Earlier in the book, Barry refers to Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning," in which Frankl recounts how he persevered in the Nazi death camps by holding onto the fact that the Nazi's could not take away his right to determine his response to his suffering. In my case, most of my suffering is not a result of human evil. I was born with a genetic progressive neuro-muscular disability, and now I am fighting day by day to survive. When I read Frankl years ago, I was very moved, but I didn't get satisfaction from the answer that I am in control of my response to my circumstances. I had nobody to point to as the cause of my circumstances but God, yet I couldn't bring myself to be angry at God the way Frankl was angry will the Nazi's. The standard Christian answer is that God let suffering into the world in response to the sins of the first humans, or that satan is the cause of suffering, not God. C.S. Lewis said that suffering in life was to prepare us to spend eternity with God, and we would become better people through our suffering. I now think Barry's definitely on the right track. The adversity is not to make us better people or to punish us for the sins of the first humans. For us to access the Divine, to get to know God, and to have compassionate, meaningful lives, we need to access the Higher Forces. To access the Higher Forces, we have to have problems, pain, and emptiness, or else we will not understand courage, love, inclusiveness, compassion, or creativity. These gifts are available to us all, but in first world countries, we are all tempted to either believe that humans can solve their own problems, or that there is a "treatment" for all suffering, whether mental, physical, or spiritual. The Tools are not cures, but they help you to access Higher Forces, which I call God, which makes life a powerful, divine undertaking.

    Have you listened to any of Phil Stutz and Barry Michels ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    If Barry wanted another career as a reader for Audible, he could easily do so. He's in the top ten percent of readers. Phil's New York accent and soft tone make me feel like he's talking to me about the tools, and his life, in a restaurant over dinner.

    What did you learn from The Tools that you would use in your daily life?

    This Tools are not going to be easy to use daily, but I know I must use them. The methods in the book will be used side-by-side with my prayers, in my case. The tools will enable me to love my enemy, to walk with Jesus on the Jordan in a storm, and to break bread with my inner leper, unclean woman, and tax collector. I just hope the jeopardy tool will give me enough will power to become disciplined, because I have already died, and I am already in real jeopardy. I will have to be like Vinny and "just think about death all day."

    Any additional comments?

    If you have clinical depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, addiction, or any other major psychiatric disorder, do not kid yourself into thinking that the tools are going to be all you need. You do need professional help and quite possibly medication. Consider going to a support group such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance or Alcoholics Anonymous (or other Anonymous programs.) The Tools will help you, but you must get your brain chemistry under control to actually use the tools effectively. Trust me, I've been there.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues.

    Robert says: "Interesting but wandering"
    "A new look at evil"
    Would you listen to The Psychopath Test again? Why?

    The author's soft British narration gives insight into his personality--humble, a bit shy, yet funny-- that I think would be missed in the text. You can sense the nervousness he has when talking to

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jon Ronson himself. He takes us on his journey into the world of psychopaths and the clinicians who have the authority to identify them. He respectfully questions the reasonableness of the clinicians who define mental illness and are given authority in their patients' lives. For example, the doctors at psychotherapy colony in the 60's allow a patient with schizophrenia (not to be confused with psychopathy), housed in a basement, to

    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    His voice almost says

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I may have wanted to hear it in one sitting, but it is a little too long for that. Each chapter is a story in itself. Good beside reading.

    Any additional comments?

    If you have been in an abusive relationship, the tone of the book may seem to sympathize with people have the diagnosis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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