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TM

TJM

ratings
70
REVIEWS
60
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
97

  • In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Steven Levy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3282)
    Performance
    (2403)
    Story
    (2412)

    Few companies in history have ever been as successful and as admired as Google, the company that has transformed the Internet and become an indispensable part of our lives. How has Google done it? Veteran technology reporter Steven Levy was granted unprecedented access to the company, and in this revelatory book he takes listeners inside Google headquarters - the Googleplex - to explain how Google works.

    Jeff says: "Great for the stories."
    "A Reporter Reporting, not a Writer Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The narrator does the best he can with the material, but it is dry stuff and slow-going.


    Any additional comments?

    Having enjoyed "I'm Feeling Lucky", and assuming it was a single persons perspective on the amazing start-up story, I thought I would try another book about Google. However, this book had no narrative arc. It was just a series of reported events with dry quotes from Google employees. I did my best to stay engaged, but about half way through the second part I found other books to listen to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Fighting Chance

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Warren
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Warren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (748)
    Performance
    (691)
    Story
    (692)

    As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

    Amy says: "Great Book. Great Narration."
    "A Bit Too Folksy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Elizabeth Warren was an outsider and a voice of the people during the financial crisis, who seemed to be able to resist the poltical forces that tried to sideline and extinguish her.

    She fought for and was heavily involved in the creation of the Consumer Protection Agency, which in my opinion only a fool or a banker would think there was not a role for.

    She then ran successfully for the office of US Senator for Massachusetts.

    The book chronicles her life journey including these events. It drips with folksy wholesom-isms, pet dog references and anecdotes of supposed self-doubt. But I sense burning political aspirations. Nothing wrong with that, but some of this book is too sugary sweet to feel real, but hey I'm a cynic.

    Her story is an impressive one in that she came from a low-to-middle income background in Nowhere-Specialsville and defied gender bias to become a Harvard professor and is now a US Senator.

    Elizabeth Warren is a strong and thoroughly likeable woman (unless you can't see through your own political disagreements with her), and her early clumsy lack of political finess made me like her even more, since this suggested she had yet to be brought in to the fold of the Washington "movers".

    But there is a fine line between being "of Washigton" and therefore sufficiently knowledgeable and politically skillful to affect change, and being "not of Washington" and so sufficiently free of the accumulated power and its comforts to want to affect change.

    This book is clearly a political tool. An attempt to write her own narrative before political foes do. I hope she is still walking that fine line. I hope she hasn't fully gone over to the dark side!

    Good political auto-biography if you take it with a pinch of salt. Nicely narrated by the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire

    • ABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By David Slavin
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush's America in the post-9/11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, searching for phantom fighter jets in Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

    Michael says: "A mixed blessing"
    "The Search for Objective Truth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I'm relatively new to Taibbi, but I like what I hear.

    I started with his book "The Great Divide" which I found valuable, convincing and much more than a typical politically-partisan attack book.

    This book "The Great Derangement" helps me see why. Taibbi has equal contempt and disdain for BS of any political stripe. And in this I have found a new brother. Whilst he may have political leanings, as do I, as do we all, he does not allow them to blind him from the bad behaviors of any political group or politician. Thank goodness there is a journalistic voice out there that is not in the tank for one "side" or the other.

    There were some moments in the book where I cringed. Such as when I felt he was being mean to the religious right ladies who had been nothing but kind to him.

    I also felt that there was a false equivalence by comparing the systemically constructed and demographically large religious right / end times group, with a self-grown, disorganized and demographically small "Truth" movement. Although I do take his larger point that the two ends of the political spectrum are culturally trained to hate each other, to the benefit of the political class overall.

    But there are some moments of pure genius. Such as the section where he encapsulates why it is so hard for citizens in America to get a handle on objective truth due to the level of misinformation and outright lying that goes on in politics, journalism and even the commercial messages we are bombarded with.

    I feel that struggle, and he captured it perfectly.

    Thank you Matt Taibbi for looking in all directions and calling them like you see 'em.

    Excellent narration by David Slavin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (373)

    From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame. 'It's about the terror, isn't it?' 'The terror of what?' I said. 'The terror of being found out.' For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work.

    Megan says: "You'll never look at public shaming the same way"
    "Timely!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I had noticed and been pondering this social media trend of massively disproportionate shaming attacks on social media, when I saw Jon Ronson's latest book, so I had to get it.

    I'm not a huge Ronson fan, but I see value in his "this is funny, but there are real issues here" approach. The way he recounts conversations with "I said", "he said" can get a little annoying at times, but I could overlook it.

    As for the content, I would have liked for him to really focus on the social media side of shaming. Only one third to a half of the book covers this type of shaming, the remainder covers "old media" stories such as a prostitution ring in New Hampshire (newspapers), Formula One Chief Max Mosley kinky sex (newspapers) and so on.

    To me the cultural event is how Social Media amplifies shaming to a ludicrously disproportionate degree, as compared to what would otherwise would be mild rebuke. It also removes the capacity for nuanced discussion. The South African racist joke for example was to me, a clumsy attempt at someone mocking the racist, elitist thoughts of others, not the feelings of the joker herself.

    Just as email developed emoticons to clarify intent in written communication, it seems we need to develop some "emoticons" around "being sarcastic here" or "not a fully formed thought yet, but".

    An aspect of this social media dynamic that causes problems, is that tweeting, or commenting on facebook is a little like getting on television. It feels a tiny bit like being famous. So any opportunity folks see of responding to something, they have the impulse to do it. With twitter its worse, because your comments can be anonymously famous - everyone sees your tweet (famous), but no-one knows necessarily who you really are (no consequences).

    Ronson does cover historical aspects of shaming as a punishment and does dig in to why some targets of shame have been able to not be so affected whilst others have been utterly devastated. There are interesting thoughts here, but as I have said, the cultural phenomenon is how this is playig out on Social Media and I wish he had dug deeper here.

    As for his performance - at first I found his voice annoying, but now I actually enjoy listening to him.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mark Leibovich
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (565)
    Performance
    (485)
    Story
    (477)

    The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash. What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.

    John S. says: "They're out of touch ... and how!"
    "A Delicious Indulgence for Political Junkies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to this book twice now (with six months in between).

    If I could characterise the tone of the book, I would say it is of a sarcastic wallflower mocking the kids at the high school prom. Sarcastic, sometimes unfair and often close to the bone, but also incredibly fun.

    I'm not sure which came first, the HBO series Veep, or this book, but they are in a similar vein and illuminate the desperate jostling for position that seems to be modern politics.

    Many serious points are made regarding politicians' deceptive personal branding, shameless "monetizing" of government service via the revolving door to lobbying, and mind-blowing lack of convictions by campaiging against an industry in government and then almost immediately joining that industry as a lobbyist.

    Many of these people are self obsessed, self promoting, and shamelessly low in moral fiber and Mark Leibovich gives you plenty of examples whilst being gut-bustingly funny.

    The overall narrative arc could probably have been better, but who gives!

    One additional note - Joe Barret's performance made the book even funnier. His subtly sarcastic tone matched the authors work perfectly and made me tear up with laughter regularly. I'm sure I will give this book another listen in another six months, just to hear him read it all over again. Thank you Mr. Barret!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Joe De Sena, Jeff O'Connell
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (199)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (172)

    Twenty-six point two miles isn’t enough anymore. Obstacle course racing, which combines the endurance challenges of a marathon with the mind-bending rigors of overcoming obstacles along the way, is taking the world by storm. At the center of this phenomenon is Joe De Sena, the driving force behind the enormously popular Spartan Race. De Sena offers a simple philosophy: commit to a goal, put in the work, and get it done.

    Barbara says: "A different type of mindset"
    "Low on Narrative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is little more than a protracted advertisement for the author's obstacle race business.

    I was hoping for more of an inspiring story of his journey and accomplishments, with his Spartan Race business being the subtle culmination of the tale.

    However it is shamelessly self aggrandizing and thinly veiled self promotion. Constantly mythologizing the people of ancient Sparta and then favorably comparing himself to them. No nuance here.

    The narrator's voice is well suited for the material I suppose - stereotypically hyper masculine and gung-ho with military overtones.

    I think the concept of mixing in obstacles with races and forcing participants to go far beyond their normal daily challenges is great and inspiring. But let us not get too carried away....

    Joe de Sena, you are not a Greek God!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Prince

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Niccolo Machiavelli
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (238)

    From his perspective in Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli's aim in this classic work was to resolve conflict with the ruling prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli based his insights on the way people really are rather than an ideal of how they should be. This is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince, a king, or a president.

    Cody Brown says: "You have to know what you get with The Prince"
    "Replace Prince with the word Politician..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Impressive observations on human nature, and political dynamics. Most of which are still relevant today if you substitute the word Politician for Prince and take conquest to be a metaphor for political or economic conquest.

    I listened to the book for its historical significance rather than the content itself. I was expecting a more diabolical book given Machiavelli's reputation, but after making allowances for the period in which it was written it seemed like good advice for aspiring leaders of the time.

    The narration is good, reflects a certain classicism, but at times was a little storybookish and wooden for me.

    Overall a valuable read/listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Worm: The First Digital World War

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Mark Bowden
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (495)
    Performance
    (433)
    Story
    (435)

    Worm: The First Digital World War tells the story of the Conficker worm, a potentially devastating piece of malware that has baffled experts and infected more than twelve million computers worldwide. When Conficker was unleashed in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it grew at an astonishingly rapid rate, infecting millions of computers around the world within weeks.

    Julie says: "Clear, Concise Story of the Conficker Worm"
    "Good Introduction To Malware Concepts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Well written and at times gripping account of a team of good-guy techies trying to defend the internet from a fast spreading virus whose dangers are unknown.

    I am listening to a series of books on computer viruses/malware and I read in a review that this book was a good primer on the subject. I agree. Informative and enjoyable listen.

    Solid, classy narration by Christopher Lane.

    Next up for me, Countdown to Zero Day, then Kingpin. Yay for techie books!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By James Mahaffey
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (312)
    Performance
    (291)
    Story
    (290)

    From the moment radiation was discovered in the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative scientific exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Fascinating Stories, Easily Digested Numbers"
    "Almost Black Humor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Extremely well written, thoroughly informative and often utterly hilarious.

    I understand that sounds weird to say, given that it is a book of nuclear disasters (and I do feel uneasy saying it), but the way in which these stories are told, and the fact that that most of these disasters seems to be down to a human being having a Laurel and Hardy moment with one of humanity's most dangerous scientific discovery turns out to be quite effective at tickling my funny bone.

    I came away thinking that if we could just learn to harness this genie in a bottle it would solve all our energy needs. But I know I wouldn't want to live near something that is a human blunder away from "prompt critical".

    Thoroughly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Steve Martin
    • Narrated By Steve Martin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3087)
    Performance
    (1648)
    Story
    (1638)

    In the mid-70s, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. Born Standing Up is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away".

    Andrew says: "Fantastic"
    "Short and Serious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    The Jerk is one of my favorite films and I've enjoyed many of his other films, but Steve Martin strikes me as a man who is somewhat embarrassed by his best work and wants to be taken much more seriously.

    In the book we learn that his father seemed uncomfortable with his son's less than cerebral visual comedy and perhaps thats why Mr. Martin seems to overcompensate in interviews and in this short autobiography. Whilst there is much of interest for those looking for an inside view of the world of stand-up comedy, there is also much dry and serious analysis of how philosophy, art and cultural forces informed the many average jokes he proceeds to recite (out of character).

    To me Steve Martin was funny mostly for the characters he created and his physical performance. Not for his word-play, stories, or zingers.

    Not once did I guffaw, nor even chortle. This is not a funny book. Extracting jokes from their context and discussing them, sap all of the magic and joy from them.

    I did smile once in a while reflecting on the comedy-acting masterpieces captured in The Jerk and on SNL. But it seems Mr. Martin is determined to demonstrate his intellectual chops rather than entertain his readers.

    I still love him for giving me some of the funniest moments of movie/television magic I have known.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kokoda (by Peter FitzSimons)

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Peter FitzSimons
    • Narrated By Lewis FitzGerald
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (238)
    Story
    (243)

    For Australians, Kokoda is the iconic battle of World War II, yet few people know just what happened and just what our troops achieved. Now, best-selling author Peter FitzSimons tells the Kokoda story in a gripping, moving story for all Australians.

    Mark T Ryan says: "A Tribute to Fighting Australians"
    "Is There No Way Out?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Kokoda rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This audiobook is now in my top 5!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm pretty well versed with World War 2 from the European perspective and somewhat familiar with the US parts of the war in the Pacific, but this was my first exposure to the Australian perspective.

    One of the great things about this book is how well written it is. The author zooms in to heart-wrenching accounts of individual experiences and the costs of war, zooms out to the international politics of the allied forces, and then back in again to the tactical decision making of the officers. All done effortlessly and captivatingly.


    What about Lewis FitzGerald’s performance did you like?

    Narrator has a clear, solid voice and deliver the material effortlessly. I am very pleased the narrator is Australian. This is such a quintessentially Australian story with quintessentially Australian characters. Nothing else would do.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were a great many. A few examples....

    The pastor who decided to bury a killed soldier in mid combat as the bullets flew, and that both sides stopped and waited until he had completed his task.

    The brothers singing together in camp, with one trying to shake off the sick feeling that his brother would soon be dead.

    The soldier who after being shot badly in the belly, asks himself "Is this real, am I really going to die? Is there no way out?".


    Any additional comments?

    You'd be a fool to pass this one up!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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