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Shiran

San Francisco, CA, United States

ratings
993
REVIEWS
3
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HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (87)

    Greg Mortenson has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children's crusader, and he's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also not what he appears to be. As acclaimed author Jon Krakauer discovered, Mortenson has not only fabricated substantial parts of his bestselling books, but has also misused millions of dollars donated by unsuspecting admirers like Krakauer himself. This is the tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.

    D. Martin says: "Had to be written, doesn't have to be read"
    "How Greg Mortenson F**ked w/ the Wrong Journalist!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Three Cups of Deceit again? Why?

    Would I? Already did. It's a small masterpiece. An unrelenting methodical, clear-eyed exposé of the flaws, lies, and criminal activities of the fraudster that personally robbed Krakauer of over $75,000 and has taken tens of millions from the rest of us.

    This is not Krakauer's finest work (as a narrative piece it's probably his weakest) but it doesn't aim to compete with Krakauer's prior work. Krakauer simply aims to deconstruct, not explain, the fraud that is Greg Mortenson and in that mission the book is an unequivocal success. The read is at times unpleasant, as the truth is sometimes, but someone had to write this book. That it was a writer of Krakauer's caliber, who is personally familiar with Mortenson's charity, Mortenson, and a few other key characters in this sad saga, is just an unexpected bonus.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Krakauer, as the "character" who not only disassociated from the charity and its founder, but also took the time to publicly dismantle them. I'm thankful he took the time to write this mini-book; certain he had more exciting projects lined up.


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

    Nice accents on the various characters. Not sure how precise the foreign accents were but it certainly added "color" to the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Confirmed my suspicion that even charities that start off innocently often metamorphosize into vehicles for the perpetuation of their leaders' personal interests.


    Any additional comments?

    A must read for anyone who has read Three Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools. A highly recommended read for the anyone who has ever donated or thought about donating to a public charity (i.e., everyone else).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • McCain's Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By David Foster Wallace
    • Narrated By Henry Leyva
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Is John McCain "for real?" That's the question David Foster Wallace set out to explore when he first climbed aboard Senator McCain's campaign caravan in February 2000. It was a moment when McCain was increasingly perceived as a harbinger of change, the anticandidate whose goal was "to inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater than their own self-interest".

    Shiran says: "David Foster Wallace's Best Nonfiction Work"
    "David Foster Wallace's Best Nonfiction Work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I've listened multiple times and recommended to many. This is DFW's most compelling, least self-indulgent non-fiction. Consistently witty, funny and full of timeless insights. A masterpiece of the genre.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The book is part anthropology of a presidential campaign trail, part John McCain character study, and one last (most important) part philosophical observations about the crossover between politics and marketing and what that means for the voter/consumer. The most compelling part, however, is a straightforward description of the horror of John McCain's shoot-down, capture, and torture in the hands the Vietnamese and his decision not to leave the Hanoi Hilton ahead of other prisoners as demanded by protocol. DFW's interjections and reminders as he tells the story for the listener to stop and visualize what he/she would do in such a situation is as simple as it is stunningly effective. The passage remains one of my favorite nonfiction passages of all time as it is not only emotional and stirring, but also achieves its goal of having the listener empathize with the situation and forever cognizant that whatever one thinks about John McCain's politics, it cannot be denied that he is (or at least was), a man of astonishing physical strength and moral certitude, whose commitment, in the face of isolation, torture and potential death, to principles that were inconsistent with his own self-interest, mark him as one of the rare political figures, about which we KNOW that his political pursuits were more than just the gratification of personal ambition.


    What about Henry Leyva’s performance did you like?

    A nuanced performance. Gets the DFW tone (i.e., the bemused outsider) spot on.


    If you could give McCain's Promise a new subtitle, what would it be?

    David Foster Wallace's Best Nonfiction Work


    Any additional comments?

    This book is about the culture and characters of a certain time and place. It has a lot of insights about McCain but is not a McCain book. That said, regardless of political ideology, it will likely make you regret that the 2000 McCain didn't win the republican nomination (i.e., beat Bush) and aware that, in many ways, the 2008 version of the man was merely the withered faint shadow of the once energetic, practical, intellectually flexible candidate.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By David Eagleman
    • Narrated By David Eagleman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (784)
    Performance
    (556)
    Story
    (542)

    In this sparkling and provocative new book, the renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries. Taking in brain damage, plane spotting, dating, drugs, beauty, infidelity, synesthesia, criminal law, artificial intelligence, and visual illusions, Incognito is a thrilling subsurface exploration of the mind and all its contradictions.

    Laura says: "Changed the way I think about how I think..."
    "Great Science AND Great Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Incognito?


    Any additional comments?

    Some science writing has great writing (e.g. Gladwell). Some science writing has great science (e.g., Khaneman). This book has both AND personable narration by the author. Highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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