A complete history of everything that went wrong.
This book provides a reasonably unbiased view of the policies, the good intentions, the abuses and the sheer ignorance that preceded the financial crisis of 2008. It discusses the American Dream and how it evolved into the current ideal of home ownership and how politicians flew that flag in order to curry favor with voters and how the financial institutions rushed in to take advantage. It doesn't point fingers as much as it tells the story about a system built to fail from the start.
I've read a couple of books about the financial crisis and what makes this book stand out is the fact that it goes way back in time, long before anyone had ever thought of a credit default swap or even the sub-prime bubble and details the policies, government infighting and good intentions that formed the foundation for what was to transpire much, much later.
These are good people forced to do what they can in a terrible system. That's the message I picked up from this book and it was strangely heartening. Far from demonizing any one political viewpoint or depicting all law-makers as greedy, self-absorbed, cheats and liars, Lessig instead describes a system where any person, regardless of intentions, will be forced to play the same terrible game that has been played up until now.
Perhaps the only real downside of this book is that the 'plan to stop it part' is, by his own admission, is improbable. On the other hand, it's a plan and it's the best I've heard so far.
Highly recommended for anyone trying to understand why our government acts the way it does.
There were times listening to this book, I would literally be screaming at the radio, "How much is enough? How much is enough you greedy [insert expletive here]" It is well written and methodical detailing the rise and fall of one of the most infamous corporations in American history
What I found most facinating about this book was the cult of personality present at Enron during it's hay day. It's a cast of characters that are highly unlikable and, at the same time, intruging. From Andy Fastow's fixation on Star Wars, Jeff Skillings strange management philosophies, Lou Pai's love for the Houston-area strip clubs; the author does a fantastic job trying to get into the minds and motivations of the people responsible for one of the biggest criminal enterprises in history.
Where the author often lost me was when he was trying to detail the finer points of how exactly Enron managed to cover it's financial tracks. To be fair, it's so amazingly complicated that even the author admits that he's not even sure exactly how some of this economic voodoo was pulled off. Still the explainations just become a jumble of acronyms and numbers that are very hard to actually follow.
Even so, remarkable book. It's a large time commitment, but it's worth every minute.
A well-written, engaging and facinating story about a part of history that's often little more then a footnote in American history textbooks. It's well known that Gengis Khan very nearly conquered the entire world, but what does that actually mean?
This book answers that question.
The part I found most facinating was the stories about the early life of the boy that would grow up to become the Universal Ruler. Like many stories about the origins of great people, you have to take it with a certain level of skepticism, but regardless whether it is true or not, it's a good story.
The one thing I didn't like; this book glorifies the rise of the Mongol Empire and, of course, Genghis Khan in particular. It details how this event shaped the world we now live in and how much better the world is for it. It tends to gloss over the fact that the man was a butcher. It downplays the horrors inflicted upon the conquered people in favor of the great rewards the world reaped as a result of their suffering. While the authors could easily go overboard with the grizzly details of slaughter, it is worth more then just the occasional passing reference.
Overall, a good read. I hadn't given rabies a lot of thought, like most people I would assume. It was still around occasionally. I think I remembered seeing new paper articles about the NYC breakout with mild interest, and I remember seeing Old Yeller from my childhood.
(The author, of course, talks about this movie including the changes that Disney was trying to make.)
Paints a vivid picture about the legends surrounding the disease, it's effects on culture and art and the scientific breakthroughs that helped us harness, but still not completely control this deadly disease.
I was especially fascinated by the modern cases and the fact that, until just recently, late stages of this virus still carried a 100% death rate.
My one critique was that it focuses a lot on animal-born pathogens in general. Clearly that is something worth taking about in a book about the most infamous disease carried by animals, but after a while I found the authors repeating the same information and veering off topic slightly.
Well read and interesting enough that I more or less listened to it straight through without stopping much. Interesting reflections of class, race and cultures within our society. Not a radical new way of thinking, but a interesting look at the world as perceived through raw numbers.
People have already mentioned the narrator, and he was awful, so I will leave it at that. The section on Egyptian Myth was pretty good. It was hard to follow at times, but overall informative.
The section about Mesopotamia eventually turns into a summery of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The section about Ancient Greece is basically a summery of the Illiad and the Odyessy.
Also, I don't know if it was just poorly recorded or if there was something wrong with my download personally, but there were a lot of points in the book where it repeats what it just said. Then, at the end, it just kind of trailed off. There was no summery or ending, it just kind of stopped. It felt like there was a part that I wasn't getting.
There are better books for those interested in Ancient Mythology, but this has some good information. But I'm glad I didn't spend any more than I did on this
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