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Matthew D. Styers

Oklahoma | Member Since 2012

  • 2 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 112 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • Remote: Office Not Required

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The "work-from-home" phenomenon is thoroughly explored in this illuminating new audiobook from best-selling 37signals founders Fried and Hansson, who point to the surging trend of employees working from home (and anywhere else) and explain the challenges and unexpected benefits. Most important, they show why - with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo - more businesses will want to promote this new model of getting things done.

    Kristoffer says: "Pros of working from home"
    "Fantastic, Futuristic, Frustrating"
    What made the experience of listening to Remote the most enjoyable?

    Fried and Hansson's borderline-indignant disregard for corporate and professional norms is well-documented both in their previous book and on the 37Singals blog. In a culture chained by institutionalization and (mostly) very slow to adapt to change, their willingness to question every single aspect of professional life and take risks are both inspiring and frustrating to those of us still chained to our desks, dreading commutes and struggling to fight the devastating consequences of interminable meetings.

    The wide range of examples and possibilities they present – both from their own experience and from other organizations of every all sizes – aggregate to more of a framework or platform than set of instructions. Essentially, they argue that there is room for some level of remote work in almost every knowledge-based industry and that testing and implementing it has potential to make a very real impact both on productivity and the company's bottom line.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Remote?

    More memorable than any single moment in the book is the general perspective Fried and Hansson provide on management. Their belief in the creativity and drive of their own employees, leveraged by their willingness to trust them and bolstered by their relentless investment in their well-being, is at first jarring and then awe-inspiring.

    What does Rebecca Lowman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Typically, non-fiction books read by narrators other than the author lose a bit of author's quality of tone, but Lowman expertly managed to preserve it.

    There's a moment very near the end of the book, in which she is rattling of an absurd URL string, that her voice takes a very distinct "we're both aware this is ridiculous, right?" tone that, for whatever reason, had me doubled over with laughter. Literally. Like, I had to stop the treadmill.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Daniel Goleman
    • Narrated By Daniel Goleman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.

    Daniel says: "Don't let the authors narrate their own books!"
    "Didn't Make It Very Far..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    To be fair, I didn't make it all that far into into Focus. Goleman opens the book with a lengthy diatribe on "today's youth" and how all the ding-dang social media and the new-fangled contraptions are ruining their brains – essentially the sort of "back in my day" argument you can get for free at your local barber shop or assisted living center.

    After skipping forward to subsequent chapters, it became clear that Goleman is intent on shaming those who have embraced technology and its faster pace of information flow than providing any sort of real insight or instruction into managing and leveraging it.

    I'm not terribly interested in reminiscing about an obsolete lifestyle or being told that accepting the advantages of progress is going to rot my brain or make me somehow emotionally retarded. A discussion of how to better focus by embracing available tools rather than running away from them would have been much more welcomed.

    What was most disappointing about Daniel Goleman’s story?

    Goleman's general sentiment toward what he broadly generalized as "distractions" was disheartening to say the least. I found the strength of his argument in this regard reductive, weak, and somewhat pejorative.

    What about Daniel Goleman’s performance did you like?

    There was nothing glaringly bad about his narration.

    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Focus?

    Most of it? Or perhaps everything that made him sound like a man bitterly holding onto the final vestiges of a "golden era" that never truly existed by belittling younger generations.

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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