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SmartBean

Member Since 2012

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 94 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015
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  • Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Greta Christina
    • Narrated By Greta Christina
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Coming out as an atheist is a powerful, liberating act. It makes life better for you, for other atheists, and for the world. But telling people you're an atheist can be risky. What are the best ways to do it? And how can we help each other take this step? In this compassionate, friendly, down-to-earth how-to guide, popular author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless and blogger Greta Christina, offers concrete strategies and guiding philosophies for coming out as an atheist.

    NateHevens says: "Absolutely Perfect"
    "Repetive, over-long, with few insights"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Should be shorter, less repetitive, more incisive. Need some real insights from the author instead of just a collection of anecdotes.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Greta Christina again?

    Probably.


    What aspect of Greta Christina’s performance would you have changed?

    More serious and less folksy presentation. Eliminate tiresome tone of self-absorbed amusement. Don't use rising inflection for declarative sentences.


    Was Coming Out Atheist worth the listening time?

    No, I couldn't finish it.


    Any additional comments?

    A big disappointment compared to her last book.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Seth Freeman
    Overall
    (474)
    Performance
    (410)
    Story
    (402)

    The course is organized around a mnemonic device, developed by Professor Freeman, that can serve in any negotiation situation. Called "I FORESAW IT," this indispensable framework guides you in assembling the strongest possible case, showing you how to evaluate such factors as creative options, independent criteria, and your best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

    Quaker says: "A master course on negotiation"
    "Interesting and useful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an interesting, useful, well-thought-out course. I've already started applying some of the lessons at work in day-to-day dealings with my colleagues. The second-to-last lesson is a bit loopy, but I can overlook that.

    The narration is a bit rough, with frequent pauses and stumbles. However, it doesn't detract from one's ability to understand and learn the material.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2935)
    Performance
    (1891)
    Story
    (1889)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book gets off to an interesting start, but the author seems to run out of anything factual and interesting to say. The central "fact", that 4% of the US population is sociopathic, is never adequately explained or supported. Instead, we get a series of anecdotes, which are interesting in about the same way the Jerry Springer show is. (We are even told in the introduction that the stories are not literally true, but rather amalgamations of actual stories.)

    Once she runs out of these dubious anecdotes, the author resorts to moralizing and sentimentality to fill up the book. The sentimentality is made all the more annoying by the tone of voice used by the narrator. In another attempt to seem deep, apparently, the author likes to drop the names of famous "moral exemplars," but apparently didn't bother to do much research on some of them (e.g., it doesn't appear that she read Hitchen's book on Mother Theresa, or that she knows any details about Gandhi's writing before he hit on nonviolence as a political strategy).

    Overall, a shallow discussion that could have been condensed to about 1/3 the actual length.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World - and Why Their Differences Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stephen Prothero
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (146)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (65)

    At the dawn of the 21st century, dizzying scientific and technological advancements, interconnected globalized economies, and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: our world remains furiously religious. For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world. In God Is Not One, Prothero provides listeners with much-needed content about each of the eight great world religions.

    Nassir says: "Useful, but doesn't live up to its introduction"
    "Little enlightenment to be found here"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is generally an interesting book, reviewing as it does aspects of the beliefs for eight major religions. However, it has significant flaws. It fails to tell us why the specific differences among these religions matters. Why are faith-based conflicts so pervasive and hard to resolve? No answer. What can we do to reduce the conflicts? Again, no answer.

    Anyone who has read other books on religion will quickly realize that Prothero is presenting an incomplete picture. With the exception of a few remarks on Islamist violence, we learn nothing about the negative side of faith, in spite of the fact that this is apparent to anyone who reads a newspaper. Neither are we given a good historical review of the often violent conflicts among the faithful and shown how those conflicts originate in their different beliefs and practises.

    The only group that comes in for criticism are the New Atheists, whom Prothero singles out for snide and dismissive treatment. I conclude that Prothero is in favor of faith in general and wants to reassure his readers that they should be comfortable with whatever faith-based beliefs they happen to hold. How will this kind of thinking will help humanity rise above faith-based conflict? How will this book will help us deal with the impact of these contending religions on the world? Prothero has no answer, except, it seems, that we should all keep believing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ben Sherwood
    • Narrated By Ben Sherwood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (81)

    We are a nation battered every day by stories about horrific calamities, tragic events, frightening statistics. Inevitably our thoughts turn personal and we wonder if we have what it takes to get through the worst thrown our way. While there are plenty of books about coping with adversity, it isn't until now, with The Survivors Club, that we discover the human factors that determine survival.

    Andy says: "a how to guide to survival when bad things happen"
    "Awful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Survivors Club better?

    An emphasis on the science behind survival, instead of gushing, incredulous stories about people who got very lucky.


    What was most disappointing about Ben Sherwood’s story?

    Doesn't live up to the title: there's very little science. The author frequently seems to want us to think that people survive because of miracles, prayers, or things scientists and experts say is "impossible."


    What didn’t you like about Ben Sherwood’s performance?

    The gushing, incredulous tone.


    What character would you cut from The Survivors Club?

    The author.


    Any additional comments?

    A deeply disappointing book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Manual for Creating Atheists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Peter Boghossian
    • Narrated By Peter Boghossian
    Overall
    (285)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (258)

    For thousands of years, the faithful have honed proselytizing strategies and talked people into believing the truth of one holy book or another. Indeed, the faithful often view converting others as an obligation of their faith - and are trained from an early age to spread their unique brand of religion. The result is a world broken in large part by unquestioned faith. As an urgently needed counter to this tried-and-true tradition of religious evangelism, this audiobook offers the first-ever guide not for talking people into faith - but for talking them out of it.

    Paul says: "The first atheist missionary"
    "Shorter than it seems, but worthwhile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up A Manual for Creating Atheists in three words, what would they be?

    Useful, different, insightful


    Any additional comments?

    This is a useful book that presents a compelling, new approach to talking people out of faith. The author reads the book and does an excellent job of conveying his excitement and the topic. My main criticism is that the main part of the book is too short. Nearly half the recorded material is a reading of the end notes, which are disconnected from the main text and thus hard to appreciate. I would have like to see more sample dialogs as well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Infidel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Narrated By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1226)
    Performance
    (564)
    Story
    (568)

    This New York Times best-seller is the astonishing life story of award-winning humanitarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A deeply respected advocate for free speech and women's rights, Hirsi Ali also lives under armed protection because of her outspoken criticism of the Islamic faith in which she was raised.

    Teddy says: "A Story that Needed to be Told"
    "Fascinating story, hard to put down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some of the stories about women abused by their fundamentalist (mostly male) relatives were disturbing. The author had a dramatic and difficult life, full of episodes that would traumatize most of us.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fascinating story that takes us from the author's early childhood in Somalia to her emigration to the US. Along the way, she witnesses and is the victim of many dramatic events, including civil war, child abuse, forced marriage, and other things not experienced by those of us born in the developed world. She learns to take control of her life and becomes a leading fighter for the rights of women from the Islamic world. Very inspiring.

    Since English is not the author's native language, she is a little difficult to understand at first, but I found my ear adapted fairly quickly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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