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M3

Monterey, CA

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    Overall
    (2384)
    Performance
    (1858)
    Story
    (1841)

    The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's seminal studies in behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies have influenced numerous other authors, including Steven Pinker and Malcolm Gladwell. In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman at last offers his own, first book for the general public. It is a lucid and enlightening summary of his life's work. It will change the way you think about thinking. Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains....

    Mike says: "Difficult Listen, but Probably a Great Read"
    "Sounds like a research paper, but still good!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very structured, analytical discussion about how the human mind perceives and assesses the world for intelligent decision making. In a nutshell, we operate in two speeds, as indicated by the title of the book. The reading is sometimes dry, but the ideas are refreshing and insightful.

    The book's nonlinear organization makes it possible to start at any chapter.Each section is broken down into an explanation of the theory, supporting evidence, and some examples of application in the real world.

    On a personal level, reading through the various sections caused me to rethink how I approach certain problems, personalities, and life decisions. The concepts posed by Kahneman help explain why and how people make decisions, and clearly show the bigger implications with multiple examples of everyday life.

    Kahneman is no pundit or pop culture author in this area; he has spent his life as an academic and researcher, and has received a Nobel prize for his work.

    This is not a fast moving book, so it may drag out a long bike ride or run. That said, sometimes the principles discussed require a short pause to digest, especially if listening while engaged in an activity that requires concentration.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jonathan Haidt
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1873)
    Performance
    (1041)
    Story
    (1027)

    This is a book about 10 "Great Ideas". Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives.

    David says: "Exceptional synthesis of psychology and philosophy"
    "Rethink what motivates you, others"
    Overall
    Performance
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    A well written, objective scientific review of how our minds help us over ride our baser instincts...most of the time. This book sounds much like a philosophical doctoral thesis that tries to tie in the philosophies of the world, from Buddhism to Christianity.That aside, it does provide some key insights into human nature and helps one to overcome understand primal urges, and how to manage them. The chapters are logical in progression, and frequent historical examples (from philosophical texts and actual history) are frequently given to support assertions.

    I would add that this book endeavors to identify biological and psychological bases for everything from charity to spirituality. It is not for those who fear having their religious beliefs challenged.

    A quick listen by a talented presenter. I listened to this on long runs and was never bored.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Robert A. Heinlein
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2605)
    Performance
    (1178)
    Story
    (1193)

    Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling born and educated on Mars, who arrives on Earth with superhuman powers and a total ignorance of the mores of man. Smith is destined to become a freak, a media commodity, a scam artist, a searcher, and finally, a messiah.

    Harris says: "A Parable for the Ages"
    "Showing its Age, but Still a Good Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Grabbed this book because I read and enjoyed Starship Troopers so much. I figured an author that managed a successful marriage of real-world military experience, leadership lessons, and science fiction deserved more of my attention. I readily identified with Starship Troopers because much of it mirrors my experience (except fighting bugs - I never fought bugs).

    SIASL is a different animal. This book moved far away from the personal military narrative that was Starship Troopers and began to delve into personal relationships, religion, sexuality, and intergalactic law. This may be familiar territory for some, and granted, the entire story takes place on earth, but the story doesn't cover the same timeless ideas that Starship Troopers does. Summarily, SIASL is showing its age.

    It is worth saying that many of Heinlein's predictions about these areas have come true, and it is amusing to read them through the eyes of the story's main character. However, the main character's ties to Mars are essentially the only science fiction aspect, and the gist of the story reminds me of many "character out of place" stories pushed out by Hollywood, and the resulting confusion/ hilarity that ensues. This story is heavy on the confusion, and low on the hilarity.

    Bright points include the author's assessment of megachurches, which figure prominentely in the story, and the main character's assessment of the effectiveness of tying one's shoes together vs. tying them correctly: "One way holds the shoes on the feet. The other way is only good for lying down." The performance is also a high point - the reader personifies a wide variety of characters with a high degree of effectiveness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Geoffery Canada
    • Narrated By Bill Quinn
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (32)

    Long before the avalanche of praise for his work - from Oprah Winfrey, from President Bill Clinton, from President Barack Obama - long before he became known for his talk show appearances, Members Project spots, and documentaries like Waiting for "Superman", Geoffrey Canada was a small boy growing up scared on the mean streets of the South Bronx. His childhood world was one where "sidewalk boys" learned the codes of the block and were ranked through the rituals of fist, stick, and knife. Then the streets changed, and the stakes got even higher.

    M3 says: "A Personal History, Not a Researched Book"
    "A Personal History, Not a Researched Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After hearing a personal recommendation from Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame, I jumped to download this book. Knowing Levitt to be a levelheaded, logical, and pragmatic economist with a tremendous ability to assess cause and effect, I figured that this book would cover the basics of how and why violence blossomed in America. This came on the heels of my most recent reading of Pinker's "Better Angels of Our Nature", and exhausting but tremendously informative tome that covers the history, motivations, and science of violence in the human race.

    As a result, I found "Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun" to be...not what I expected, but still an interesting listen. As the title implies, the books outlines author Canada's personal experience growing up in rough neighborhoods, and his personal choices to fix that. Canada tells an amazing story about how rough life in the big city can be, and compares it to the new threats that youth faces in the forgotten ghettos today. He also describes how he dove head-first into these rough areas to tackle the problem, and how his methods brought a surprising degree of success.

    I was taken aback by the Canada's assertion that certain types of violence, applied strategically, can cause more serious violence to be mitigated, but his point is believable in light of his personal experience in this area.

    If you are looking for a scientific study about how violence happens and why, look elsewhere (I would recommend the aforementioned Pinker book). If you are looking for a fast read that combines personal experience with one man's successful efforts to quell violence in an area he calls home, your search is over.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Sharon Moalem, Jonathan Prince
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    How did a deadly genetic disease help our ancestors survive the bubonic plagues of Europe? Was diabetes evolution's response to the last Ice Age? Will a visit to the tanning salon help bring down your cholesterol? Why do we age? Why are some people immune to HIV? Can your genes be turned on or off? Survival of the Sickest reveals the answers to these and many other questions as it unravels the amazing connections between evolution, disease, and human health today.

    Maurice says: "An Eye Opener"
    "Outstanding, with Many "Oh REALLY?" Moments"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For starters, "Sharon" is a he, not a she. And Sharon presents a well researched, logically laid out argument for how evolution sometimes bites us in the butt. In a nutshell, the same genetic characteristics that allowed your forefathers to survive the plague of the dark ages are likely the root cause of some present-day genetic affliction (in this instance, hemochromotisis). It appears that sometimes nature may trade the ability to survive in the short term for the ability to survive in the long term. Moalem points out multiple examples of how genetic evolution can have second and third order effects...and they are not always for the better.

    This is a quick listen that doesn't bore. If I had one complaint, it would be the heavy-handed preaching about evolutionary theory at the beginning of the book, which will undoubtedly grate on the ears of creationists and make them refuse to listen to the REST of the book...which is phenomenal.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34134)
    Performance
    (25291)
    Story
    (25634)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Outstanding - Much Better Than the Film"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I can't argue much with the casting of characters in the recent movie, the movie pales in comparison to the book. Hearing thoughts and background provides a richer experience that helps to crystallize what the author meant to say, or more correctly, meant to express. The tapestry of this story comes alive with imagined situations that give depth to the protagonist, the people she interacts with, and the scenario she is forced into.

    Strongly recommend this - it is a quick "can't put it down" listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Amy Chua
    • Narrated By Amy Chua
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (376)
    Story
    (381)

    All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence.

    Diana - Audible says: "Surprisingly touching (and well-read)"
    "Love it and hate it at the same time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hated this book when I started it - Chua is presumptuous, self absorbed, and brutal with her children. She looks down on Western culture, brags unflinchingly about herself, and is opinionated beyond belief.

    But then there are the results of her actions.

    She herself is an accomplished academic. Her daughters, who are key to the story, are superior musicians. She's a published author, for cryin' out loud. But at what price? Driving her children to practice repetitively with blatant, negative criticism probably doesn't do much for their egos. But the results are uncontested, and the validity of Chua's key Methodology is clear:

    1. Make your children practice to be excellent.
    2. By being excellent they will gain recognition.

    This is wrapped up in the assumption that a child does NOT know what is best for his/her own development...a parent must choose that path for the child.

    The first step is always the hardest. As the father of 3 children, I completely agree that most parents (not just Western ones) lose the battle here. However, I'm not sure Chua's method of derisive criticism and aggressive bullying is the best way to win the battle...and she herself admits that it didn't work with her second daughter.

    It IS important to make children realize that although they may be hard-headed, WE as parents are more hard-headed than they are...and we have a LOT more experience in what works. The way to do that...is up to you.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ken Auletta
    • Narrated By Jim Bond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (100)

    In Googled, esteemed media writer and critic Ken Auletta uses the story of Google's rise to explore the inner workings of the company and the future of the media at large. Although Google has often been secretive, this book is based on the most extensive cooperation ever granted a journalist, including access to closed-door meetings and interviews with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, CEO Eric Schmidt, and some 150 present and former employees.

    Brian says: "Interesting, but Tedious"
    "In depth look at Google from Soup to Nuts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dry at times, but insightful as well, this book looks carefully at the Google founders from their startup efforts in college to the mammoth machine they control today. Emphasizing Google's unique mixture of genius and naivete, Auletta is simultaneously critical and in awe. His story provides a unique insight into Google's efforts to maintain its "small company" culture despite its overwhelming presence around the world.

    Much can be gleaned on the nature of Silicon Valley startups and the creative application of great ideas, and Google's lessons can be easily applied to anyone who wants to pursue their passion. That said, the author sometimes heads off on tangents that don't immediately seem relevent, which detracts from the impact of the book overall. Google's cast of characters is immense, but detailed biographies of even some bit players slowed the flow of the story.

    Generally well written, well researched, and applicable to many walks of life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ringworld

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Larry Niven
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (2801)
    Performance
    (1480)
    Story
    (1504)

    Welcome to Ringworld, an intermediate step between Dyson Spheres and planets. The gravitational force created by a rotation on its axis of 770 miles per second means no need for a roof. Walls 1,000 miles high at each rim will let in the sun and prevent much air from escaping. Larry Niven's novel, Ringworld, is the winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1972 Ditmars, an Australian award for Best International Science Fiction.

    Kennet says: "Genuinely Creative"
    "Basic Scifi with Scientific Underpinnings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Niven weaves a tale about a motley collection of explorers, brought together by a weak but manipulative (VERY manipulative) leader, who explore a Ring World from (predictably) the human team member's perspective. The title almost gives the story away, and much of the story seems like it came from a Star Trek novella (yes, the human has sex with an alien).

    Still, the interaction between the characters is good, and the descriptions of the physical aspects of the ringworld and its inhabitants make for a decent story reminiscent of Clark's Rama series. The influence on pop culture isn't missed either; the HALO series of video games leans heavily into Niven's uniquely constructed ring world, and the characters could be dropped neatly into any science fiction movie.

    Overall, a worthwhile read, but not if you are looking for something profound.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1305)
    Performance
    (704)
    Story
    (710)

    The study of sexual physiology has been a paying career or a diverting sideline for scientists as far-ranging as Leonardo da Vinci and James Watson. The research has taken place behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, MRI centers, pig farms, sex-toy R&D labs, and Alfred Kinsey's attic.

    Mary Roach, "The funniest science writer in the country", devoted the past two years to stepping behind those doors. In Bonk, Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to slowly make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

    Gurmukh says: "Absolutely Wonderful!"
    "Curiosity makes for a good read (listen)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mary Roach demonstrates a curiosity for all things unusual, and her investigations in "Bonk" are both candid and amusing. Although the book wanders a bit, Roach's self-deprecating style and great sense of humor keep the reading light, and her questions are consistent with those anyone might ask about how a scientist investigates "the act"...albeit with a red face.

    In Mythbuster's style, Roach's self-guided inquiries into how sex and research meet are only slightly scientific, but almost always thoroughly amusing. Be prepared for candid discussions that may not be well-received in car full of kids (or neighbors).

    Although one can't answer specific questions by using "Bonk" as a reference, the book does answer a great many questions that may have never been asked ....in the first place.

    Well written and easy to read (hear).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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