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John

Menlo Park, CA, United States | Member Since 2007

23
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 41 ratings
  • 288 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    Overall
    (1987)
    Performance
    (865)
    Story
    (859)

    Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.

    Kenneth says: "Brilliant, Obnoxious, Narcissistic, Brilliant"
    "You're Smarter Than Everyone Else . . . we get it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some interesting material overall, as might be presented by the most tedious professor you can imagine. Ironically, the best review of the work (and author) is quoted in the text by the author's mother----paraphrasing----her secret to success: to figure out a way to buy [the author's] actual value to the world and turn around and sell it for his self-perceived value to the world. Ouch.

    Maybe that's why the author feels it is so important to continually reference his own brilliance.

    Good riddance Taleb . . . I won't be reading you again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (17981)
    Performance
    (15990)
    Story
    (15949)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Worthwhile, but read below"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My caveat: I do NOT normally read Stephen King's books. I have plenty of respect for him, it's just not my thing usually. So consider the following with that in mind.

    As a non-King reader, I enjoyed it, but it was more in the category of "beach novel" rather than life-changing book which is what I'm usually seeking. Reading beach novels I normally feel like I wasted hours of my life, but not so with this book which is to its credit.

    A bit longer than it needed to be, but well-researched and well-crafted.

    If you're seeking an engaging read, you could do a lot worse. If you're seeking a life-altering literary experience though, you might be disappointed.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 18 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Ann Patchett
    Overall
    (3053)
    Performance
    (2530)
    Story
    (2544)

    We are excited to present our members with a gift that is truly unique: an original essay, available exclusively here at Audible, written and voiced by best-selling author – and fellow listener – Ann Patchett. This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is a very real love story, and one that is much more about the journey than the destination.

    Lee says: "Was this our holiday present?"
    "Very enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very enjoyable "mini-book" for those of you running low on credits! :)
    (I'm assuming it's still a free download!)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Watership Down

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Adams
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2817)
    Performance
    (2128)
    Story
    (2142)

    Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.

    B. Cable says: "Still one of the best!"
    "Phenomenal . . . what fiction should be . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In recommending this book--enthusiastically--to my mother (who HATES anthropomorphic stories) I asked her: "did you like 'Charlotte's Web'?"

    I can understand the publishing conundrum--a "children's story" that isn't written like a children's story . . . who buys it?

    Nonetheless---it's simply an excellent tale. Well-written, engaging . . . I enjoyed it immensely and can't wait until my daughter is a few years older . . . I'll be reading it to her someday.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Ethan Hawke
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2537)
    Performance
    (1237)
    Story
    (1250)

    Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

    W. Seligman says: "What more can be said?"
    "What Great Books Are"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Should have listened to it a long time . . . never got around to it and am now kicking myself. Was in the middle of a poorly written book (albeit with good content) and switched mid-stream out of frustration.

    The immediate leap in the quality of the prose was SO refreshing! Truly a classic book---it will be read for generations to come. Remarkable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Christopher Evan Welch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5727)
    Performance
    (3666)
    Story
    (3677)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: If you’ve ever loved a dog - or even patted a dog - this book, told from the perspective of man’s best friend, will tug at your heartstrings...and won’t let go until long after Welch performs the last word. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master.

    FanB14 says: "Artful Surprise"
    "A charming book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nothing fancy, but a real nice story, well-told, humorous and poignant in equal measure, and a book that will leave you thinking fondly of a dog you have loved.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David McCullough
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1109)
    Performance
    (797)
    Story
    (803)

    The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

    John says: "Priceless! Best book I've read in years"
    "Priceless! Best book I've read in years"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kudos to Mr. McCullough! The book is this good: I raved about it to many friends and last week received an email from one of them. He was about 1/4 of the way into it and he sent me an email thanking me for recommending it because he was already enjoying it that much . . .

    . . . it's that good.

    I'm an artist, and teacher, and I've led trips to Paris as well as lived there, so obviously the appeal is there for me, but my mother, who has only visited twice and doesn't have the same background enjoyed it just as much as I did.

    A fabulous effort. I'll be shocked if it doesn't win the Pulitzer Prize again for Mr. McCullough.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Lecture

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
    • Narrated By Erik Singer, Randy Pausch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2223)
    Performance
    (668)
    Story
    (669)

    When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave - "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" - wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have... and you may find one day that you have less than you think").

    K. Giavelli says: "How to Live"
    "Heart-Wrenching but worth it."
    Overall

    This was a wonderfully painful book to listen to. With my first child being born in a month, and listening to the thoughts of a deceased father of three for his children ages 6 to 18 months, it was gut-wrenching to say the least.

    But it is very worth it.

    Maybe I identified with it because I'm also a college professor in a related field, but I have to think that any thoughtful person would enjoy this book and how it makes you think about what's really important in your life.

    A great use of the credit!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By George Crile
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3130)
    Performance
    (906)
    Story
    (925)

    Charlie Wilson's War is the untold story behind the last battle of the Cold War and how it fueled the rise of militant Islam. George Crile tells how Charlie Wilson, a maverick congressman from east Texas, conspired with a rogue CIA operative to launch the biggest, meanest, and most successful covert operation in the agency's history.

    Chuck says: "Best Non-Fiction Book - Extremely Compelling!!!"
    "Wow. A must read"
    Overall

    I enjoyed this book MUCH more than I expected. Simultaneously interesting, terrifying, fascinating, illuminating, even occasionally funny.

    A fascinating cast of (I thought) reprehensible characters acting with noble intentions and frequently . . . good!

    All the more amazing because it is not fiction!
    Wow. It's scary that this is how the world actually works at those levels.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Replay

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ken Grimwood
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (1027)
    Performance
    (672)
    Story
    (683)

    In 1988, 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact. This time around, Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he'd know how to do it right. Until next time.

    Jonathon says: "Entertaining and more than worth the price!!"
    "Ordinary"
    Overall

    After listening to this book I felt a little "suckered" by the prior effusive reviews. Great concept, yes, I'll give them that. Execution? Well, eh. I found it ironic that a book about time travel has aged SO poorly since 1988 that it is difficult to listen to through the end. It read like cheap, throwaway paperback fiction of the 1980's, which in a sense, maybe it was.

    One other thing: I am by no means prudish about such things but I found the constant insertion of sex scenes really distracting (as they were usually unnecessary) to the narrative. It felt like the writer had a counter . . . "it's been twenty pages . . . time for another sex scene!"

    I wouldn't describe them as misogynistic as another reviewer did, I just thought it was bad writing.

    Overall, while a great concept, and thought provoking in that sense, I would not recommend this book.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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