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PHIL

San Diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

410
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 175 reviews
  • 181 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
132

  • Nolo's Crash Course in Estate Planning Basics: Practical Straightforward Recommendations on Estate Planning Options

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Liza Hanks, Richard Stim
    • Narrated By Liza Hanks, Richard Stim
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Nolo's Crash Course in Estate Planning Basics gives you the essential information you need to get started with your estate plan, whether it's preparing a will, creating a living trust, or establishing a medical directive and power of attorney. This two-hour program outlines proactive steps that are crucial and should be taken immediately, and explains which estate planning decisions can be delayed.

    PHIL says: "More useful than what I heard in law school"
    "More useful than what I heard in law school"
    Overall
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    I was using this as a refresher and update to my general knowledge, for my personal use. This touches on all questions I had. The pointers sometimes extend even to costs of various alternatives. There are suggestions of when lawyer assistance is more imperative, or less. It is nice to have the somewhat greater distance than is found in some seminars where the presenter is imperceptably moving into a sales pitch.

    The presenters seem not to be professional narrators. They talk fast, and I found a slow setting better for listening. Also, there are occasional plugs for their website. However, these were not obtrusive, and stood beside lots of good solid information.

    The standard disclaimer is, there is no substitute on any legal matter for consulting with a trusted lawyer. But this is a great introduction for anyone.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Calm Before the Storm: Why Volatility Signals Stability and Vice Versa

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Gregory F. Treverton
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Instead of trying to predict "Black Swan" events such as coups or crises, forecasters should look at how political systems handle disorder. The best indicator of a country's future trajectory is not a lengthy past stability, but recent moderate volatility.

    PHIL says: "Fine Taleb, but repeats some themes in other books"
    "Fine Taleb, but repeats some themes in other books"
    Overall
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    If you are widely read in Taleb's work, there are few surprises here. I pretty avidly snap up whatever he writes, but I had seen such things as his praise of city-states elsewhere. There seems a slight advance in his mapping of fragilities on a wider scale, compared with his prior works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Genesis of Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Alan M. Dershowitz
    • Narrated By Alan M. Dershowitz
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    What if an angel hadn't stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac? What does Genesis seem to be telling us about taking revenge? Or what is it saying about capital punishment? Drawing on biblical commentary from throughout the ages, Alan Dershowitz shines a brilliant legal light on the stories that comprise the foundation of our society.

    Ian C Robertson says: "I Liked It Anyway ..."
    "An ambitious book that lives up to its ambitions"
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    The title is a great description of the topics in this book. I underwent a quantum leap in my understanding of Torah/Old Testament, its legal ramifications, and foundations of Jewish thought. I have not followed the life or work of author Alan Dershowitz very closely, and I understand in various ways he is controversial. However, his exegesis here of this ancient document in legalistic terms (and of course crediting other thinkers where appropriate, and there is a long line of them), and relating it to our present justice system, is fantastic. I am making a bit of a comparative study of the Abrahamic religions, and have been helped in this also by some works by Karen Armstrong (also available here) on Christianity and Islam. I think it very important that we try to comprehend these faiths (and the history and thinking of their practitioners) on deep levels. The maintenance of lives of millions as free as possible from violence may come to depend on it. I am utterly satisfied with this book as having (brilliantly) furthered these aims.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Against the Herd: 6 Contrarian Investment Strategies You Should Follow

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Cortes
    • Narrated By Ross Douglas
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The public needs to think independently and not be duped, particularly because those who are selling their messages or promoting their ideas have a plethora of powerful media through which to do so. Against the Herd presents six contrarian views of major events that will shape the future. Steve Cortes of CNBC pulls no punches in explaining these trends. Many will find his views counterintuitive and even controversial. Some will find his forecasts alarming. But open-minded readers who are willing to heed his well-informed advice will find it illuminating, beneficial, and profitable.

    PHIL says: "Written in 2011, but prescient on many levels"
    "Written in 2011, but prescient on many levels"
    Overall
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    This is a listenable book with many thought-provoking passages. The world the author foresaw in 2011 has of course not perfectly materialized, but I was startled how often he was right. If the author had turned out perfectly right, I would have to chalk it up to a substantial measure of luck (since nobody knows the future, and nobody who knew the future would be a TV commentator or schlepping books; he would be the richest person on the planet).
    The one-star audible reviewer obviously missed the point, as indicated by his short-swing (and wrong for now) view of gold's ascendency (which was already wrong when that review was written). My approach to investing is much like this author's, with a macro focus and pretty long term view. I see this book as more "teaching how to fish" (i.e., think) than simply handing me a serving of fish (a one-time set of"hot tips.") This book satisfies my approach of developing a sound underlying method of portfolio allocation, KNOWING that some of my assumptions (and anyone's, outside of pure luck) will not be proven true. And yes, some of the conclusions I don't agree with -- I would hope. Yes, some asset classes have swung wide of where the author expected, counseling a rethinking of some of the recommendations. But that is easy to do.
    A problem with any dated product is getting the right frame of mind to benefit from it. For example, many ground-breaking films don't seem so great on a re-watching, often precisely because they have been so widely imitated and refined upon. So, a need is there to rewind and think of the work in terms of the time it was created. I found this exercise easy here, and was pleased to check the author's prognostications against the (limited) record since then. Indeed, many contrarian ideas voiced by this author are more mainstream now than they were in 2011. (That would seem to be the point of contrarian thinking: seeing things others do not, which later materialize in a wider recognition as true. That is how the investor makes a profit, and isn't that why we are here? Under these sorts of tests, the book comes out strong.
    As for the pop-culture and other cultural references, I found them entertaining. Usually I am quite annoyed by such a thing, being for a more academic approach, but these were clever and amusing.
    So, as the world continues to surprise us, I continue to seek out opportunities to listen to the thinking of all kinds of observers, and with this one, I'm well satisfied.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger and Death

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Michael Blastland, David Spiegelhalter
    • Narrated By Angelo Di Loreto
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    An entertaining guide to the statistics of personal risk, The Norm Chronicles will enlighten anyone who has ever worried about the dangers we encounter in our daily lives.

    PHIL says: "Who KNEW death and statistics could be such FUN?"
    "Who KNEW death and statistics could be such FUN?"
    Overall
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    This is a clever piece of work. Many acquaintances, and I, have been wrangling about one risk of everyday life versus another, forever, i.e., the stuff of our daily choices, our claims of wisdom or folly. There is a neat little tutorial in simple statistics imbedded in this too, and ways of debunking splashy news stories, but as you follow the quirky little stories here, you might not have noticed it. I have read other books about debunking claims, but this one went down like fizzy candy. In a good way. And, don't get me wrong, there is plenty of adult info, on which many an adult is snared in miscalculation. And I vastly appreciate the way the mundane non-emergencies of life are noticed and modeled here, and not merely the garish, slapstick side so (misleadingly) splashed around the news.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Antonin Scalia
    • Narrated By Wyntner Woody
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    Brilliant. Colorful. Visionary. Tenacious. Witty. Since his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has been described as all of these things, and for good reason.

    Jean says: "Interesting insight into Justice Scalia"
    "Like him or not, this is a good sample"
    Overall
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    The author is laudatory of Justice Scalia but not stiflingly so. It is a good sampling of Scalia's work, plenty in his own words. He is not one to be ignored, as at times he seems to exert an almost tidal pull on decisions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • China's Imperial President: Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip

    • UNABRIDGED (32 mins)
    • By Elizabeth C. Economy
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Xi Jinping’s reforms are designed to produce a corruption-free, politically cohesive, and economically powerful one-party state with global reach: a Singapore on steroids. But there is no guarantee the reforms will be as transformative as the Chinese leader hopes.

    PHIL says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
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    A person following the media much on this might already know this. But this is a good broad overview of challenges and prospects Xi Jinping (and China) are facing, and the policies Xi has announced to face these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Well Run Boards Make Decisions (Harvard Business Review)

    • UNABRIDGED (31 mins)
    • By Michael Useem
    • Narrated By Todd Mundt
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In the aftermath of the Enron and WorldCom debacles, corporate boards have been shaken up and made over. Most of the changes are structural and don't go to the heart of a board's work: making the choices that shape a firm's future. Which decisions boards own and how those calls are made are largely hidden from the public. As a result, boards are often unable to learn from their counterparts at other companies. In this article, Michael Useem pulls back the curtain and provides an inside look.

    PHIL says: "Too short, fast to extract real lessons"
    "Too short, fast to extract real lessons"
    Overall
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    There are too many little vignettes here without the kind of detail one would need to extract good case studies of how good decisions were made, or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forex Strategies Revealed

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Ade Asefeso MCIPS MBA
    • Narrated By Gary L. Willprecht
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    If you are just starting out in the stock trading business or if you are already in it, you may have heard the term Forex trading quite a few times, but you might not have a clue what it actually means.

    Thomas Muller says: "Not impressed"
    "I am disappointed"
    Overall
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    I have liked other publications here by this author, particularly introductions to doing business in various countries (and I liked the USA one the best, though I live here). I would not call them exhaustive, but they are short and affordable, and a nice start. I suspect this was an early work. The English usages are sometimes strange, but that is not the real problem. There is a lot of repetitive, redundant, "you can do it," "but you should know it is risky!" kind of stuff, which goes on and on without actually dissecting specific risks to my satisfaction. Again and again we hear there is massive money in this market but most people lose their money in it, so be careful. "Get good information and advice" type back-slapping does not tell me who or what the right kinds of sources are. I get the implication that most people venturing here are raw meat for the far fewer successful traders, but I do not personally feel confident I could be the latter, based on this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil Wins: A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dallas G. Denery II
    • Narrated By Eric Martin
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The Devil Wins uncovers the complicated history of lying from the early days of the Catholic Church to the Enlightenment, revealing the diversity of attitudes about lying by considering the question from the perspectives of five representative voices - the Devil, God, theologians, courtiers, and women.

    PHIL says: "Thinkers wrestle with scripture, logic, truth"
    "Thinkers wrestle with scripture, logic, truth"
    Overall
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    Story

    I like this a lot. As a legal scholar, I find it stimulating to listen in, as great thinkers over several lifetimes with great care unpacked logical conflicts and gray areas in Christian scripture. At points one can sense them writhing and agonizing over what they found. It must have been daunting for such total believers to face these confusing instances of withheld truths and misleading statements by holy figures within the Word of God itself. These thinkers were employing the best tools of their times, with great passion. Out of this process, a more modern view of truth and observable nature as a reference point was painfully born, as we witness step by step. We hear from such luminaries as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Descartes, on and on. The patient listener is well rewarded. The narrator I think had an ideal voice and tone for the material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Star-Spangled Men: America's Ten Worst Presidents

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Nathan Miller
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    Picking America's best presidents is easy. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt usually lead the list. But choosing the nation's worst presidents requires more thought. In Star-Spangled Men, respected presidential biographer Nathan Miller puts on display those leaders who were abject failures as chief executive. With pointed humor and a deft hand, he presents a rogues' gallery of the men who dropped the presidential ball, and sometimes their pants as well.

    PHIL says: "Fun, easy to listen to"
    "Fun, easy to listen to"
    Overall
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    This is a bipartisan roast of various presidents. Historical facts are mixed with amusing anecdotes to keep it flowing. Sometimes one could sense a positive glee in the author, painting a caricature of one or another fellow -- Nixon, Harding, etc. And who can blame him? This is a nice break for me from deeply straight-faced, intensively scholarly works. A couple of my favorites are the 2 "overrated" presidents at the end -- Jefferson and JFK. Of course the listener may find one or more things to disagree with -- I always hope for some of those! I want my existing notions shaken and tested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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