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Kevin

Trying to support 1) the comparably smaller non-fiction selection and 2) the few here that are not misinformation. Got mind? Use it.

Member Since 2014

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
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  • How the Mind Works

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    Overall
    (477)
    Performance
    (387)
    Story
    (377)

    In this delightful, acclaimed bestseller, one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness?

    David says: "Excellent, but a difficult listen."
    "Essential book on the mind. Challenging listen."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to How the Mind Works again? Why?

    My approach is to take notes/bookmark throughout the book the first time, so I can refer to certain sections in the future.

    Definitely has enough info in this book to be a textbook, but fortunately it is a more enjoyable read.


    What other book might you compare How the Mind Works to and why?

    Steven Pinker's other masterpiece "The Blank Slate" is still my favorite non-fiction. "How the Mind Works" is a more technical and challenging read/listen, but both are highly recommended based on their wealth of researched facts and arguments.


    Any additional comments?

    Probably the best way to absorb "How the Mind Works" is to read it. I found myself rewinding multiple times to re-listen to the more technical parts. Be prepared to exercise your mind, and you will be rewarded.

    For an easier listen, "The Blank Slate" is just as informative; it is more on societal impact of our understanding on the mind rather than the technical mind mechanisms explored in this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By (edited by Clayborne Carson)
    • Narrated By Levar Burton
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (66)

    He was a husband, a father, a preacher - and the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world. Now, in a special program commissioned and authorized by his family, here is the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr. Featuring King's I Have a Dream Speech.

    John-Mark Stensvaag says: "A Fascinating Slice of History"
    "Great overview of MKL's ideas and times..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. to be better than the print version?

    MLK translates well in any format as each offers a different perspective. The first 2 audio speeches were not very clear, so it's recommended to do a quick search for the speeches online and read along with the audio.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's an important piece of history, and many of the subjects covered are still very relevant. Non-violent progress is a fundamental human struggle.

    If there's every an autobiography worth reading, this would be one of them.


    Have you listened to any of Levar Burton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I actually really enjoyed the narration, clear and easy pace.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    MLK describing the darkest moments of his many protests, the social and personal dilemmas...

    "Even the most starless midnight may herald the dawn of some great fulfillment."


    Any additional comments?

    This autobiography is so large in scope that it serves as a great introductory overview of MLK and his times, with audio excerpts of his speeches.

    I was more interested in digging deeper into some of his beliefs and tactics, which needs to be found elsewhere, a 9-hour autobiography is limited. Despite being an autobiography, this was pieced together after MLK's death so it does do a good job covering his ideas and speeches.

    Now, how about an unabridged audio version of Malcolm X's autobiography?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By E. Fuller Torrey
    • Narrated By Stephen McLaughlin
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    E. Fuller Torrey's audiobook provides an inside perspective on the birth of the federal mental health program. On staff at the National Institute of Mental Health when the program was being developed and implemented, Torrey draws on his own first-hand account of the creation and launch of the program, extensive research, one-on-one interviews with people involved, and recently unearthed audiotapes of interviews with major figures involved in the legislation. As such, this book provides historical material previously unavailable to the public.

    Kevin says: "Devastating analysis on US mental health policy!"
    "Devastating analysis on US mental health policy!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to American Psychosis the most enjoyable?

    This audiobook starts pretty slow, but the historical preamble sets the stage for the more-concise facts that start pouring in during the 2nd half.

    The topic of mental health, de-institutionalization, lack of accountability, and for-profit "solutions" are highly relevant. Just walk in the city and you'll encounter the consequences when you pass the homeless people muttering to themselves. And that's only the portion that are not incarcerated or in for-profit nursing homes (which should be used for the elderly).


    What about Stephen McLaughlin’s performance did you like?

    Honestly took me a while to get used to, but the story makes up for it.


    If you could give American Psychosis a new subtitle, what would it be?

    When making public policy, use science/research/evidence over ideology.

    In this book, the shutting down of State mental hospitals was based on ideology around society and mental health that sounded good but parts of it were simply not backed by scientific evidence (which admittedly was sparse during that time since psychiatry was still in its infancy). The movement had no chance of evolving during the Nixon/Reagen era: they not only supported privatization, they were hostile to psychiatry!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Julian Assange
    • Narrated By Tom Pile
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Cypherpunks are activists who advocate the widespread use of strong cryptography (writing in code) as a route to progressive change. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, has been a leading voice in the cypherpunk movement since its inception in the 1980s. Now, Assange brings together a small group of cutting-edge thinkers and activists from the front line of the battle for cyber-space to discuss whether electronic communications will emancipate or enslave us.

    Tyler says: "Excellent"
    "Musings on the struggle for freedom & the Internet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Cypherpunks rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Powerful topic and unique format (the book is mostly discussions between Julian Assange & three other hacktivists, and I found the format refreshing and easy-to-follow). Definitely recommended.


    Any additional comments?

    A perfect precursor to this book would be "This Machine Kills Secrets", which provides a great overview of the backbone historical details of modern encryption, all in an easy-to-understand and open-minded narrative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Christian Parenti
    • Narrated By Vikas Adam
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe - the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's mid-latitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters.

    Kevin says: "Absolute must-read topic!"
    "Absolute must-read topic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Tropic of Chaos in three words, what would they be?

    Open your eyes.


    Any additional comments?

    This book's topic is critical for anyone who is not deluded enough to think they and their children/grandchildren can live in a protective bubble regardless of that happens to the rest of the world.

    The book exposes the convergence of climate change with previous trends of economic imperialism and Cold War arms/violence. Thus, this book primarily frames the issue of climate-induced poverty, migration, and xenophobia in the political theater.

    At first glance I might prefer more analysis on the economic side, but I do appreciate the author's argument that the #1 priority is to curtail greenhouse emissions and not wait for any drastic restructuring the world's socioeconomic structure. However you frame it though, both are connected.

    For more environmental details, try "Eaarth" by Bill McKibben

    A great read/listen on free market/austerity consequences to public health: "The Body Economic"

    For more economics:
    "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" (Piketty)
    "All the Presidents' Bankers" (Prins)
    "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap" (Taibbi)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu
    • Narrated By Tim Andres Pabon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In The Body Economic, Stuckler and Basu mine data from around the globe and throughout history to show how government policy becomes a matter of life and death during financial crises. In a series of historical case studies stretching from 1930s America, to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s, to present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, and the U.S., Stuckler and Basu reveal that governmental mismanagement of financial strife has resulted in a grim array of human tragedies.

    Kevin says: "Powerful & Relevant facts on Austerity & Health..."
    "Powerful & Relevant facts on Austerity & Health..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Body Economic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The topic of how economic ideologies affect healthcare policies, and how that in turn affects you, me, our families and friends... well, it's an essential topic indeed.


    What other book might you compare The Body Economic to and why?

    Plenty of gems like this one to broaden one's understanding of Economics and how it actually works in the real world. It is critical to realize how much of establishment Economics is more ideology than actual science! Austerity is clearly a mechanism to funnel money to the top, no one can argue the atrocious short-term consequences and this book demonstrates the long-term consequences are not rosy either.

    Other related non-fiction gems:
    "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"
    "A Fighting Chance" (Elizabeth Warren's memoir, easy read)
    "Retirement Heist" (technical but very informative)

    I've heard impressive reviews for the following:
    "Wall Street: A History" (Geisst)
    "Predator Nation"
    "All the Presidents' Bankers"
    "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires"
    "Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism"
    "The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind"


    Have you listened to any of Tim Andres Pabon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Perfect narration: clear and easy-to-follow-along pace.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Asides overarching facts, this book provided personal cases to make the reader/listener realize that there are faces, lives, and loved ones behind each statistic.


    Any additional comments?

    The writers of this have their hearts in the right place, but keep in mind their background (healthcare policies) restricts them to frame questions in that arena... which does offer new perspectives, but clearly this topic needs to also be explored in the economic arena more deeply. There are many "but why?" moments to economic events that the story encounters but cannot address.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ellen E. Schultz
    • Narrated By Nicole Vilencia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    It’s no secret that hundreds of companies have been slashing pensions and health coverage earned by millions of retirees. Employers blame an aging workforce, stock market losses, and spiraling costs - a perfect storm of external forces that has forced them to take drastic measures. But this so-called retirement crisis is no accident. Award-winning investigative reporter Ellen E. Schultz reveals how large companies and the retirement industry - benefits consultants, insurance companies, and banks - have all played a huge, hidden role in the death spiral of American pensions and benefits.

    Michael says: "Understanding the next financial crisis"
    "Absolute hidden gem!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Retirement Heist the most enjoyable?

    Always pleasantly surprised when insightful non-fictions sneak into Audible.

    This book takes one segment of predatory Capitalism, the exploitation of employee pensions for CEO profiteering, and tears the issue wide open, exposing all sorts of criminal and psychopathic behavior benefiting a few and harming the masses.

    Not only is it a chilling expose, this book is highly-relevant. Who isn't affected by retirement and pensions?


    Any additional comments?

    Other related audio gems: "Predator Nation" (author directed "Inside Job"), "Treasure Islands" (offshore tax havens), "The Divide" & "Griftopia" (Matt Taibbi)...

    An easy, more personable starting point may be: "A Fighting Chance" by Elizabeth Warren.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Trial of Henry Kissinger

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens, Ariel Dorfman (introduction)
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    America need look no further than its own lauded leaders for a war criminal whose offenses rival those of the most heinous dictators in recent history: Henry Kissinger. Employing evidence based on firsthand testimony, unpublished documents, and new information uncovered by the Freedom of Information Act, and using only what would hold up in international courts of law, The Trial of Henry Kissinger outlines atrocities authorized by the former secretary of state in Indochina, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, and more.

    Bruce says: "We need more people like Christopher Hitchens"
    "War criminial exposed in style..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Trial of Henry Kissinger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As ever, Hitchens comes out swinging and holds nothing back; it helps that war criminal Kissinger providers such a large target.

    Like the polemics "No One Left to Lie To" (neocon Clintons) and "The Missionary Position" (Mother Teresa), Christopher Hitchens tears down any residual public misconceptions with facts and finesse.

    This book presents numerous criminal activities regarding Indochina, Bangladesh, Latin America, Cyprus, East Timor, journalist Demetracopoulos, and Kissinger's personal corporate profiteering.

    Strap on your seat belts and enjoy the ride.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Andy Greenberg
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    The machine that kills secrets is a powerful cryptographic code that hides the identities of leakers and hacktivists as they spill the private files of government agencies and corporations bringing us into a new age of whistle blowing. With unrivaled access to figures like Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and Jacob Applebaum, investigative journalist Andy Greenberg unveils the group that brought the world WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks, and BalkanLeaks.

    Thomas says: "Well-researched, a great story"
    "Incredible insight into the world of secrets..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to This Machine Kills Secrets the most enjoyable?

    This book will get anyone interested in the modern world of secrets and information that can drastically influence where power is kept: the masses or the elite masters. The book covers important events in the secrets arena, from the Pentagon Papers to OpenLeaks.

    Powerful topic, well-researched and written, and (uniquely) not much stigma of personal bias. Mr. Greenberg makes sure to lay out the facts first before reacting to them (as evidenced by the descriptions of the feud between Assange and Domscheit-Berg).

    If you have not been introduced to the topic then you will see the world with new perspectives afterwards. Both easy-to-absorb and insightful.

    Highly-recommended; gripping and informative, non-fiction at its very best!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens, Thomas Mallon (foreword)
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    "A religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers. Her mission has always been of this kind. The irony is that she has never been able to induce anybody to believe her. It is past time that she was duly honored and taken at her word." Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens's meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.

    Kevin says: "Well, it's Hitchens, you can expect sharp wit"
    "Well, it's Hitchens, you can expect sharp wit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Missionary Position in three words, what would they be?

    THE
    MISSIONARY
    POSITION


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    If you can't get Christopher Hitchens to narrate his own books (like he did with his memoir "Hitch-22"), then the next best option is Simon Prebble. The style just matches perfectly, and this coming from someone who is not used to listening to British ascents.


    If you could give The Missionary Position a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Didn't Hitchens consider naming this book "Sacred Cow"?


    Any additional comments?

    Eloquent and biting; great polemic to accompany Hitchen's more-overall critiques of mass religion ("The Portable Atheist", "god is not Great"). Do consider watching the online videos of Hitchens debating (or destroying?) religious supporters.

    Also, this format of critiquing a public figure is similar to his other short polemics: "The Trial of Henry Kissinger" and "No One Left to Lie To" (on those neocon Clintons). While I find his Iraq positions more debatable, these 3 polemics offer little room for debate but plenty of room for enjoyment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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