Should be shorter, less repetitive, more incisive. Need some real insights from the author instead of just a collection of anecdotes.
More serious and less folksy presentation. Eliminate tiresome tone of self-absorbed amusement. Don't use rising inflection for declarative sentences.
No, I couldn't finish it.
A big disappointment compared to her last book.
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.
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.
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.
An emphasis on the science behind survival, instead of gushing, incredulous stories about people who got very lucky.
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."
The gushing, incredulous tone.
A deeply disappointing book.
Useful, different, insightful
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.
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.
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.
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