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T. Lowry

Troyus

Pa USA | Member Since 2005

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 538 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
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  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Christopher Cazenove
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    In this monumental new book, award-winning author Mark Kurlansky has written his most ambitious work to date: a singular and ultimately definitive look at a pivotal moment in history.

    Eugene says: "Don't let this reader near a foreign word"
    "Slanted but intensely interesting and well written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the best books I've listened to in years. Being born in Chicago in the late 1960's I grew up hearing a lot about the Chicago Democratic convention as well as the Prague Spring and, of course, the various civil rights marches and actions. This book did a tremendous and entertaining job of providing the historical background to those events to a depth I had never before heard.

    Right at the start of the book the author notes that while he is trying to be as objective as he can it is impossible to write a book without some bias. This shows through quickly as he clearly is a bit starry eyed over the student movements of the time. That said, his bias doesn't get in the way of the facts. For instance, he tells how the various factions in the student movements had different agendas (and sometimes no real agenda).

    While normally I would strongly dislike such bias in a book about historical events, in this case it added to the book as it helped show the feelings of the participants in a way a dispassionate voice couldn't hope to.

    Overall this is an excellent book for anyone looking to get a better understanding of the events of that era and what led to them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Simon Sinek
    • Narrated By Simon Sinek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (390)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (353)

    Why do only a few people get to say "I love my job?" It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong. Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

    Mark says: "Absolutely great"
    "Excellent message but poor solution"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The basic message of this book, that leadership is about taking care of people, is inspirational. The author goes to great lengths to talk about, and give excellent examples of, how companies with a people first approach can be very successful. The world could do well to listen.

    Unfortunately, while the first half of the book pushes leadership and individual responsibility to make the world a better place the last half strongly pushes government regulation as a big part of the solution. He goes so far as to lament the government no longer forcing TV stations to devote a portion of their broadcasts to "public service". Worse, he pines for renewal of the Fairness Doctrine from the 1950's wherein public officials would decide if your programing was "balanced" enough.

    Several of the issues the author hit on, particularly around regulation, were subjects I have followed for years and the author cherry picks the evidence that fit's his argument while ignoring both the opposing arguments and supporting evidence.

    Were the Fairness Doctrine in place for books I believe the author would be forced to rewrite substantial portions of this book. I dare say that would give him a new and useful perspective on the very large downside of these regulations he supports.

    Differences aside, overall the book was very inspirational and has caused me to look afresh at my management style. Companies can benefit from an employee friendly culture. Convincing companies that this is in their best interest is the surest course to propagating this idea. Having government try to enforce it is unlikely to have lasting success.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jacques Steinberg
    • Narrated By Jacques Steinberg
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    In the fall of 1999, New York Times education reporter Jacques Steinberg was given an unprecedented opportunity to observe the admissions process at prestigious Wesleyan University. Over the course of nearly a year, Steinberg accompanied admissions officer Ralph Figueroa on a tour to assess and recruit the most promising students in the country. The Gatekeepers follows a diverse group of prospective students as they compete for places in the nation's most elite colleges.

    Carol says: "should be required reading for high school juniors"
    "Excellent insight but too much filler"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The parts of this book which detail the admissions process and decisions are truly excellent and invaluable to anyone seeking to understand how elite schools make their decisions. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in this topic.

    This book was adapted from a series of articles. It shows. Substantial time is taken on detailing people and their backgrounds to get a better sense of where the different characters are coming from. This was somewhat interesting when the subject was an admissions officer, still bearable when it was one of the various applicants but the author didn't stop there. Are in-depth details the admissions officers parent's stories really of any value? Not so much, but still worse was the many minutes on his grandfather. I skipped over quite a bit at this point but, given the trend, I expect that in the hour+ I skipped we learned quite a bit of the back story of the UPS delivery man and the barista at the local coffee shop.

    However, once it got to the actual decision making process the book was informative and riveting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Debbie Stier
    • Narrated By Debbie Stier
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    It all began as an attempt by Debbie Stier to help her high-school age son, Ethan, who would shortly be studying for the SAT. Aware that Ethan was a typical teenager (i.e., completely uninterested in any test) and that a mind-boggling menu of test-prep options existed, she decided - on his behalf - to sample as many as she could to create the perfect SAT test-prep recipe.

    T. Lowry says: "Takes awhile to grow on you but then is great"
    "Takes awhile to grow on you but then is great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall this book is an excellent guide to SAT prep while being amusing.

    The narrator is an obsessed overly involved mother of the kind I generally dislike. I found this off-putting at first but since she knows this about herself and isn't above poking fun at herself about it I really grew to enjoy it over time.

    The walk-through of various aspects of the SAT and test prep is among the most comprehensive I have read (or listened to) and being in the testing industry I've seen hundreds of such books.

    Two thumbs up to this informative and funny book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Robert Garland
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (985)
    Performance
    (887)
    Story
    (878)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
    "Fantastic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to over 500 Audible titles and this is certainly in the top 10. The author clearly has great knowledge and passion for his work.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    I thought the part on Sparta was especially good, such as how kids were put in positions where they had to steal to survive,. But there were many, many memorable parts.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Garland – was your favorite?

    He didn't actually have "characters" as it was a lecture, not a reading.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The peasants aren't revolting after all.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mote in God's Eye

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3854)
    Performance
    (2300)
    Story
    (2330)

    The Mote In God's Eye is their acknowledged masterpiece, an epic novel of mankind's first encounter with alien life that transcends the genre. No lesser an authority than Robert A. Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read".

    J. Rhoderick says: "A great read!"
    "Not "hard" sci-fi as suggested"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Parts of this book were great, especially the parts where the aliens are trying to understand what makes humans tick. Other parts were very boring.
    My main complaint is that so much of what the aliens do is absolutely not feasible. Not just a stretch, but laughably unbelievable. It read more like a fantasy novel in space ships.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle ? Why or why not?

    I've read many of their books. Loved most, liked all of them. If this was the only book of theirs I had read I doubt I would have read a second!


    What about L J Ganser’s performance did you like?

    You could really tell the characters apart with his voices. It helped that there were so few characters, but he did a great job.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Quantum Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Hannu Rajaniemi
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (158)

    Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist, and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy—from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of Mars. Now he’s confined inside the Dilemma Prison, where every day he has to get up and kill himself before his other self can kill him.

    David says: "Idea-heavy, requires an attentive listen"
    "Thought Provoking but not perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Quantum Thief again? Why?

    I probably would not listen to it again. There are so many new concepts, groups and ideas in it that where I to read it again it would be to try to understand what they all are and how they fit together.


    What other book might you compare The Quantum Thief to and why?

    Probably surprisingly, I'd compare it to Elric of Melibone. This is NOT a "hard "Sci-Fi book. It is fantasy in a future setting. Like Elric, it is deus ex machina in the extreme. Just when it looks grim our protagonist is saved from nowhere. In this book it's by q-dots, quantum foam or whatever instead of in Elric where it's his black blade or some new spell.

    Like Elric, it has a lot of good points but you feel as though the author put the characters in situations without a lot of thought of how to get them out again and then has to resort to outside items that go beyond the ability of belief suspension.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Many of his characters were wonderful. I like the ship the best.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The future beyond your imagination.


    Any additional comments?

    Really well written overall and the kind of book that lingers with you. Some have portrayed it as a "detective" story, but it really isn't. In a detective story you have some hope of figuring out the solution based on the clues. Here lack of context about the society and the technology mean the solution will be something you've never even heard of before so you couldn't possible figure it out.

    That said, part of the joy of the book is that the author does seem to have a coherent idea of his universe and by following the characters you unravel it piece by piece.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Paul Greenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (143)

    Our relationship with the ocean is undergoing a profound transformation. Just three decades ago nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex and confusing marketplace.

    Dan says: "Great listen"
    "Marred by Politics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you think humans are a virus destroying the planet then this book is for you. If you think trade between willing and informed partners is exploitation then this book is for you. If you think genetically modified plants and animals are automatically bad for the environment then this book will thrill you.If you don't think these things you'll have trouble getting through the first few chapters.


    What could Paul Greenberg have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have explained WHY he thinks various things are bad. Why is an Eskimo trading a fish for chicken and beef bad? If the Eskimo thought the fish was worth more than what he got in return he could simply have kept the fish. The fact that he could have sold it for 10 or 100 times as much 1,000 miles away is immaterial.Why are genetically modified fish bad? To be fair, the author seems to think they'd be ok as long as they can be completely separated from regular fish. But why would it be so terrible if they did get out or even interbreed? The author said they might displace regular salmon but he also stated how hard it was to stock salmon in rivers because different subspecies adapted to one river had trouble adapting to another. I doubt people could easily design a fish that can live where fish designed by nature can not.These are only a few of many questions. Why is a system in which salmon droppings fed seaweed and urchins etc implied to be inherently good where as the same thing done by machines is inherently bad? What's the reasoning behind the idea that farmed salmon are causing more wild salmon to be hunted?The author may have good, detailed and in-depth reasons for believing these things but in the book they are just asserted with little or no backing.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The writing was very good and much of it was interesting. If not for the relentless drumming on the underlying premise that humans and capitalism are evil it would have been a very good book.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How We Decide

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jonah Lehrer
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (1720)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (497)

    Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need to figure out how we decide, drawing on cutting-edge research by Daniel Kahneman, Colin Camerer, and others, as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders" - from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players. Lehrer shows how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence.

    Sarah says: "Summarizes information from several superior books"
    "Good but marred by exaggeration"
    Overall

    An interesting and entertaining look at how we make decisions. I would have given this book four or five stars, but it's riddled with such exaggerations in its examples that I have to question whether the conclusions are also exaggerated.

    For instance, in an example about the shooting down of a Silkworm missile inbound on the battleship Missouri during the Gulf War the author stresses that the Missouri "would have sunk" had the missile not been shot down. Now, the shooting down of an inbound missile is a BIG deal and worth writing about in a book but the reality is that there are multiple lines of defense against such missiles and even if the missiles were to hit battleships are built to take a LOT of punishment and it's extraordinarily unlikely that it would have sunk the ship. In fact, TWO missiles were inbound on the Missouri. One was shot down as noted, the other one missed, probably due to other countermeasures. The author ignores the existence of the other missile.

    The truth of the missile shoot down, especially in the areas of decision making the author was illustrating, are quite interesting and worthy examples in their own right. The author had no need to make the situation more dramatic than it really was but he did anyway.

    Other examples have similar exaggerations. In the end I couldn't help feeling that if the author used so much "creative license" with the examples he probably used as much with the conclusions. As such I feel I can't take any of the conclusions at face value.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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