Walnut Creek, CA, United States | Member Since 2015
This book should not be in the science section and the book description is somewhat deceptive. It very slightly tips a hat in the vague direction of science then careens off into wild world of (poor) metaphysics.
My favorite bit was the author seems to seriously consider that water and air are transparent to light because we humans are made largely of water and air and these must appear (for metaphysical reasons) as transparent. This is a little true about water, we are made up a lot of water and if water was opaque to visible light construction of a biological watery eye might be difficult. But AIR? Air is mostly molecular nitrogen and oxygen. Neither of these are major components of humans. What is the next component of humans after water? Proteins, including DNA. Most proteins, including DNA, are not transparent (they are kind of milky). Of course in this kind of metaphysics facts don’t matter. If a statement feels truthy to the author that is clear evidence of universal truth.
The best reason to read this book is as an excellent example of how convincing metaphysical jargon can seem if you just listen and feel and completely stop thinking. I actually like good metaphysics (to a point) but this is not good metaphysics.
At one (brief) point the author reviews possible shortcomings of his work. He points out that some might claim his work is overly metaphorical and poetic (yep). He replies that at some level all ideas started out as metaphors (also true). Yet in science we ask for more, for metaphors that are testable by ourselves and others, we suggest and perform such tests, and then we adjust our metaphors based upon the results of these tests. This yields progress. No such tests are suggested here. This book seems to suggest phenomenology and deep thought on truthiness is an alternative to science. It is indeed a fun alternative, but it is not very useful.
Regardless of all of this, at a deep level, I agree with some of the core ideas presented in The Speed of Light. That there is a maximum speed is indeed an essential hint at the true nature of reality.
O’Hara thought he was better than Hemingway…he wasn’t. Yet this novel has its points, examining the power of society and belief. I did not find this one of the best novels of the twentieth century, but it is more than respectable. The power of the story is the all too obvious inability of humans to be themselves. Hemingway liked this novel, which makes sense. Hemingway and O’Hara examined the same issue (society vs. individuality) from utterly different perspectives and both valued truth. Both perspectives are interesting making this, for me, a good read, if not a must read. I did not find this a downer as the point is to avoid reaching your end without ever being your true self.
The narration is good, but not great, occasionally losing intensity necessary to the story.
You will learn nothing from this, except Tesla stock will go up and up, and Elon Musk was a child prodigy and now a successful genius and a great boss. I listened to this only because I just finished The Great Race and The Powerhouse (both about the future of EV cars). Certainly not worth a Credit! Was it worth the $2.75? Hum…Nope. The narration is clear but way too peppy and too partial.
Tesla has a $25B market cap but is yet to show a profit. Maybe Tesla will be the next Google but this book will not help anyone decide.
This is a story of a 12 year old boy’s life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. The writing is first person and author narrated, but did not strike me as intensely personal, or brutally honest, or deeply introspective. It effectively tells the story of how a normal kid becomes a killer, and then returns to some level of normalcy. If you are not familiar with the issue of child soldiers, this book is an excellent introduction.
I expect quite a lot from a memoir. In this case I heard the author’s intense story, but I also felt the author held back the very worst and the potentially most powerful. It is completely understandable for a young man (now 26) to be unready to express the fullness of the story, but a memoir should await that readiness.
The narration is good, but a bit dry and in a very few places difficult to understand.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the issues surrounding child soldiers, but as a memoir, or as literature, I found it weak.
There is an appendix dryly recapping the history of Sierra Leone which seemed a pretty odd way to end a memoir.
This is a very detailed story of the scientists, car companies, government programs, and venture capitalists, involved in the development of the battery of the future. This tries to do quite a lot and may be too detailed for many readers. I understand those that feel it was boring. It covers the stories of battery development, the process of vying for a big government projects, the greed and maneuvering of venture capital funded startup companies, and how EV’s might affect the environment and the oil industry. Although this was not an easy listen, I learned a lot and enjoyed the various storylines. Overall I was very satisfied with this book. The one thing was unsatisfying is the story ends abruptly with the battery of the future still in flux. The narration was very good, dealing with the technical detail very well.
This is a highly touted, award-winning collection of nine short stories and is on several “best” lists.
I found most of these stories superficial, and the writing quite ordinary.
I love short stories, but these stories seemed to focus on the shallowest aspects of both Indian and US culture. I liked the last two stories the best, but these were only above average. The rest of the stories did not make me laugh or cry or give me shivers or move me or shock me or surprise me or make me consider deeply. Yet the stories were not bad, and the writing was not bad. I did not find myself liking, or respecting, any of the characters. Yes, real life can be shallow and tedious but I don’t need to read that part in short stories.
These stories seemed like they could be short scenes in novels, if supported by the structure and story and characters of a novel. On their own, they seemed a bit pointless.
The audio production was down right annoying. The chapters do not align with the stories and there are discordant musical interludes between and within stories. The tone of the narrator was peppy and light, as if this was a children’s book, and I found the narration clashed sharply with the material. I certainly will not listen to this book again.
Native Son, written in 1940, was ahead of its time, and represented an important voice in an age on the brink of change.
The first two books of this novel were quite excellent, a personal story that felt honest and impactful, with well-drawn characters and an exciting plot. The book then proceeds into the third book with a long question and answer dialog, and long monologs, reminiscent of Dostoevsky, but seemed too heavy handed to me. The first two books of this novel, through character and story, made the points better than the exposition of the third book.
Native Son has been criticized as being “protest fiction”, limiting its artistic value. This is true, but only true of the final book of the novel. The first two books are artistically executed and powerful. Somehow I think the novel would have been more powerful if this ended without third book.
The narration was terrific, clear and subtly powerful. The narration adds greatly to the experience.
Although I am glad I listened to this, the last book was tedious, reducing the overall experience. Yet, this was an historically important novel and may be worth reading for that reason alone.
This is not really about the end of faith, but the author’s post 9-11 justification for the preemptive destruction of those he fears.
I agree with much, if not most, (actually almost everything) of what is presented in The End of Faith, nevertheless I was uncomfortable with a few of the author’s blind spots, allowing him to seriously justify preemptive violence against his “enemies”.
This is not rationalism, not an author searching for truth, but instead a long rationalization for violence born of fear. The author’s fear is palpable on nearly every page. This may not be noticeable to many just now, as fear saturates much of west post 9-11. This book seems to be a visceral (and understandably human) reaction to 9-11. While it does address the obvious historical atrocities perpetrated by western religions, much of the book explains why we should fear Islam and might need to kill them for their dangerous beliefs.
The author seems to show no interest in understanding the nature of his enemy, merely repeatedly justifying his fear of them. Harris indicates he does not know how we might win the war on terrorism. The answer is simple to anyone who has studied military history, you win when your advisory loses the will to fight. Loses the will to fight. This seems to be the bases of his fear. That his enemy will never lose the will to fight.
The author fails address some key questions:
If religion is such a hindrance to human happiness, why is it ubiquitous in successful societies? I am not at all religious, but, without fully understanding the purpose of religion I hesitate to declare the end of faith.
The author spends much of the book pointing out the violence intrinsic to Islam, yet he clearly knows western religious underpinnings are every bit as violent. This raises another question; why have western religions recently become less overtly violent? The author seems to claim western societies are “ahead of” (more civilized than, more advanced than, better than) Islamic societies. But the author does not seem to seriously consider why this is the case.
This is not a bad book, but the best parts have been done better elsewhere, and the fear based parts are sad.
The narration is not at all bad, but the emphasis seemed a bit exaggerated for the material.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit, Genius hits a target no one else can see. This novel hits the target of genius. When I rate stars, 3=good, 4=very good, 5=great. This is one of those rare books that I can’t rate highly enough.
Within the first few minutes I was hooked and finished this book in a day. Wao has great writing and great narration. There are a lot of award winning novels that leave me totally flat. Most highly touted books in the Magical Realism genre don’t impress me at all. This is superb magical realism! I love the writer’s narration style and the beautiful non-temporal character development. I am an ubergeek and enjoyed the many geek references. I am not Dominican and enjoyed the Dominican slang and references.
This book has adult themes and language including F, S, and lots of N. If this might disturb you, you may want to get over it, or skip this wonderful book.
This is a much overlooked classic with excellent prose and deeply interesting characters. There is little external story, instead the internal stories of the characters, all misfits, all dreamers, all lovers, are juxtaposed and explored. The narration is perfect with superb pacing, expressing each characters’ internal dialogs distinctly and with emotion.
I loved this book, and particularly liked this audible addition. I finished it in one day, and will happy listen to this again.
Some of the reviews describe this as book as depressing. The book demonstrates the essential importance of not allowing your dreams to slip away, thus I found it uplifting, in its own way.
This book is not for everyone as there is virtually no action or story.
This book has a really pleasant humble tone of simple, non-confrontational, rationalism. He simply treats religion as silly stories that should no longer be believed. He points out humans as having amazingly poorly equipped senses compared with animals. Some religious folks might find Wilson’s unassuming dismissal of religion more annoying than Dawkin’s bellicose tirades.
Largely the purpose of this book seems to be to make a pointed attack on the theory of “inclusive fitness” and, less so, suggest arguments in favor of “multi-level selection” theory. About half the book and an appendix focuses on this debate, while the other half is somewhat wide ranging ideas very loosely tied to the title. Notice this is not your fathers “Meaning of Human Existence”! This is not “meaning” like that endowed by a creator, but instead straightforward meaning like; the meaning of a spider’s web is to catch food. For Wilson our meaning is associated with our culture and our humanities and arts.
I enjoyed the “inclusive fitness” debate, and was mildly interested in the other stories. I really appreciated the unpretentious rationalism. I quite agree with the criticisms of “inclusive fitness” which has always seemed to me a bit more fantasy than science, but I did not find the book quite lived up to the lofty title.
I had just finished “The Human Age” recently, and it was interesting to see the difference in interpretation of that concept between Wilson and Ackerman. Ackerman feels humans need to take full responsibility for the planet now, simply because we must. Wilson seems quite unsettled by this idea, and quite unready for that responsibility.
The narration was very clear and enjoyable.
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