Michael Lewis weaves a tail of over the top greed; incessant corruption and clueless bewilderment that will make you laugh – the master of witty and funny. This book is written from “my” point of view, the way a regular person would see the crisis assuming that regular person was both brilliant and gutsy. He talks to dozens of people, both winners and losers and lets you see into their world. It is somewhat like looking into an exotic fish tank. Incredibly entertaining. I have avoided almost anything to do with the global meltdown. Rehashing a painful experience seemed like a form of masochism. But I decided to take a chance after listening to Lewis on Jon Stewart. It was a great decision.
The story takes you from country to country, starting with Iceland and ending in the United States. It offers insight that I would have never considered. In each case Lewis lets you see how the country reacted, how they dealt with the situation. Most important, it lets you see that each country dealt with the crisis in a different way.
Do not worry about political commentary or think this book is a social statement. It is not. The stories speak for themselves and the outcomes are self-evident. Lewis delivers entertainment on a topic that has only brought the world misery. You won’t be disappointed.
At first I was thinking that purchasing this book was a poor value since I had already seen the movie. However, after reading it (and because Tom Cruise is not really Jack Reacher), of course this book was different than the movie, and better.
If you like the Reacher series, you'll not be disappointed.
What will I do with my Reacher addiction after I have read all of them? *sigh*
I don't write reviews often, but this time I feel compelled. I gave the book 2 stars because I don't like being negative (and I'm worried the author might be a cutter).
I feel like I got ripped off. I purchased this book based on the reviews that I read, but wow were they misleading.
I believed (wrongly) that this story was from a dog's perspective. Here is why:
* The cover of the book is a dog.
* The book has a statement on it that says, "my life as a dog."
* Reviews say the book is from a dog's perspective.
* The narration from front cover to back cover purports to be from the point of view of a dog.
Anyone who thinks this book is a reflection of a dogs mind falls into 1 of 3 categories:
* Has never owned dogs
* Is 6 years old
* Needs to be committed to a mental hospital STAT
The book doesn't work. FAIL!!!!!
Dogs don't think about the physics of racing, or who the best racing people are (by name no less) or the best race cars and engines and tires, or the pit crew statistics (for gawd's sake), or some minutia about American history or about counter skidding around corners or weather forecasts or about hospitals or a thousand other things that NO dog has ever thought about, but this introspective "dog" that isn't a dog discusses in detail.
Reading this book was agonizing, torturous and numbing because with each new sentence I had to reflect about why a DOG would not THINK like the narration contends. Dogs think about eating, going for walks, chasing cats, peeing on trees and riding in cars, not fantasizing about racing cars. I love dogs for the exact reason that I hated this book: Because they don't think like people.
The author gives no insight into why this dog is the personification of a college professor (no, not the other way around). Did the dog get a brain transplant? No. Was it freaky Friday and now the neighbor is barking? No, Did a nuclear waste truck drop radioactive material on him and now he wears a mask and wields a turtle shell? No. Because any of those things might have worked. NOTHING in the story presents a plausible explanation of why this dog might be so brilliant except that he "watches TV all day". That is the lamest, most pathetic explanation and yet, that seems to be the reason. If anything, TV should have made the dog dumber.
Worse, every once in a while the author would come up with a "potential" dog thought. Like the dog might smell something that people couldn't smell. A glimmer of hope would appear on the horizon and then KABAM! the dog is talking neuroscience or pretrial jury selection again.
If you can reconcile the silliness of this book then the story itself is tender. It didn't work at all for me but hey, maybe you're 6 years old.
Now, let's give some credit here. Just because the story didn't work for me (in any way), doesn't mean that the actual writing was bad. The author is talented. The text was well put together, the vocabulary was excellent, the language was crisp and the thoughts, while idiotic, were concise. I could have enjoyed this book if it were not for the ridiculous point of view. In fact if I were a lunatic sitting in a padded cell, it might have been just fine.
If you buy the book, it's on your dime because you have been warned.
If you enjoy books like Game of Thrones, you will like this book more. Why do I compare the two storytellers? The settings are similar, but the writing is more positive and I actually like these characters, even the tainted ones. The story telling is over the top spectacular, and the turns and twists don't allow you to really know what's going to happen until after it does happen. The only thing you know is that everything turns out good in the end. The tension is how that happens. How will they get out of the next crazy situation. This will become a movie at some point. It just has to.
Start on the first book, The Crown Tower and then you can work your way through them all. Believe me when I say that if you start, you will finish all the books. You will have to, you won't have a choice.
Michael Sullivan is a great writer. When I say great, it's because he does everything right. Excellent descriptions, logical outcomes and great characters. The story becomes vivid and compelling.
Finally, the actual reading is beyond what you would expect. The voices and characterization are extraordinary.
This is an excellent series and if you are considering reading this author, you will not be disappointed.
I really enjoyed this book. Furthermore, I wish to report that I'm a liberal. Gates isn't a liberal. But I still enjoyed the book and think highly of Gates.
This book was fascinating for me. I always hear people talk about listening to both sides, but let's face it, 99% of the time someone who makes that statement is lying through their teeth. But listening to Bob Gates did let me listen to both sides. I think this is an important book for both conservatives and liberals because it institutes a narrative of respect and tolerance.
Gates is a hero, by almost any standard. He worked to protect our troops from the most dangerous enemies to affront our nation, a group of sociopaths so evil and greedy that they spent most of their waking days plotting and scheming to eliminate the tools and weapons that our soldiers needed to stay alive. Of course I'm talking about Congress. And for taking on that fight Gates is to be commended.
This book is worth reading on many levels: It is interesting, showing the inner workings and failings of our political system. It is a great lesson and a great read. If you're even slightly interested in politics (and you should be), it's a must.
I saw this book advertised on Audible and on a whim, I purchased it. It turns out to be a great choice, better than I expected.
First, this is excellent writing -- it's just very polished. The words have texture and paint great pictures. The plot is complex enough to be interesting and yet each element is important and logical. This is the way I like to listen/read books.
While the book purports as fantasy, and I guess it is, it's not run away fantasy. In fact, with a little tweaking it could fall into the camp of historical fiction. In a way, I would say that if Ken Follett wrote fantasy, it would be this type of writing.
The characters are bigger than life and somewhat predictable. However, I want to point out that "predictable" here is not a negative. A better description might be consistent. The book is not predictable, but when things happen, you know what the characters will do. The tension is in what happens next. The book, on the other hand, is NOT predictable, but is logical. So when you're done listening, you have clarity about complex events and exactly what just happened. For me, this shows a developed author and a polished story teller. What more could you ask for in a novel?
Here's my summary of whether the book would be a good pick:
1. If you enjoy light fantasy, e.g. Game of Thrones without the zombies and not as dark, and also not as grinding, that's a plus.
2. If you like Ken Follett style of writing, that's a plus.
3. If you enjoy light reads, entertaining but not over the top, that's a point.
4. If you enjoy or sometimes enjoy melodramas, where the story changes around the character, but the characters are flamboyant, colorful and consistent, give that a point
5. If you like plot lines that are non-linear, that's a plus.
6. If you enjoy stories where the protagonist (in this case two protagonists), are at odds with one another to create tension, (think of medieval Trading Places or medieval Beverly Hills Cop), then that would be a bonus.
And of course if you hate stuff like the above, then don't get the book. But if you can score 4 of the 6 above, I think you will be very happy.
As a side note, I also read the second book and it was even better than the first. Dido on everything above.
I hope this is helpful. It's a fun read that will leave you smiling. One warning, there are apparently only two books so far in this series. If you purchase the book after reading all this review, I suspect you will be frustrated at not having more. Oh well, I'm thinking about trying to get the out of print books previously written -- not something I ordinarily do.
In short, Mooney uses science to uncover how open and closed brains work. This is not opinion; this is science using the scientific method. In his journey, he indeed changes his thesis to accommodate the observations and results. He doesn’t just make the stuff up.
Ironically, some of these reviews for this book are the very result of what Mooney discusses. I laughed out loud at a few, they make Mooney’s point exactly… but alas, I’ll let you hear the book. Once you do, come back and read the reviews again. Most importantly, look at the specific arguments that these reviewers make. The wording and phrasing demonstrate specifically what Mooney’s research uncovers, a sort of wired blindness to reality. The book discusses why this is the case.
The most interesting aspect was the bio-feedback notion, i.e. that people become entrenched in a certain way of thinking and that the very act of this behavior strengthens the brain’s wiring. This can be shown using brain scans and empirically demonstrated using survey results.
In the end, Mooney even argues that open (liberal) people have weaknesses that closed (conservative) people don’t have, and that the open brained people need to consider and use some of the valuable aspects of the closed brain. This brings to light the idea there is value in both kinds of thinking.
If you’re somewhat of a liberal, this is a great book. Get it, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll love this book.
If you’re somewhat conservative, you might also want to give it a try. If you do, force yourself to consider the information and the facts. The very act of thinking about the material will actually change the way your brain works (seriously, they have used brain scans to prove it).
And finally, if you’re VERY conservative, forget about it. This book will drive you completely nuts. You won’t understand it. In fact, you actually can’t absorb the information. Asking you to listen would be like handing a printed book to a blind person. I’m not trying to be insulting; I just don’t want you wasting the credit.
Witty dry humor with cultural undertones gives this novel a flavor that honestly, I have not seen. This book is funny, action packed and yet not predictable.
The reason I mention HHG is because it has those cultural “Easter Eggs” tossed in for people who are just a little too sophisticated for their own good. At the same time, it offers a base humor that will entertain the unenlightened masses.
So I guess what I’m saying is that this book has something delightfully entertaining for everyone, a Rubrics Cube of literary style.
If you are a sci-fi fan who likes like humor, this is simply a book that you must get, you won’t be disappointed. And if you happen to be a little dimwitted, don’t worry, you’ll still like the book.
One more point. For the technology based community, the writer is obviously a bit of a geek. This may sound bad, but it isn’t. Nothing and I mean nothing is more annoying than lame technology, that is, tech that is described by non-technical authors. THIS author obviously knows computers, and can talk about them in a way that will not leave the non-technical crowd bored. I’m a software developer, I know the difference.
Get this book.
You will love it!
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