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TM

TJM

ratings
46
REVIEWS
36
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Matt Taibbi
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (319)
    Story
    (324)

    Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles. Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world’s wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends - growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration - come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty.

    Michael says: "Capitalism and Democracy Collide"
    "But still it seems no-one will act"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    First off, if I could give 6 stars for Ray Porter's performance I would. He is by far my favorite narrator - his reading of "Ghost in the Wires" was also excellent.

    So, is this book a lefty attack on Wall Street and the Well-To-Do and a bleeding heart account of how the Poor are mistreated in this country? You bet yer hind-quarters it is!

    But it is NOT just a rehash of political rhetoric and talking points. I found it to be a very valuable juxtaposing of two irreconcilable realities.

    The lack of criminal prosecutions for white-collar crimes versus the over prosecution of harmless and sometimes unheard of crimes (holding up pedestrian traffic anyone?).

    A purely political book would not call out the Clinton and Obama administrations for poor policy decisions and hyper-politically-sensistive decision making.

    A purely political book would not examine arguments from the opposing perspective - perhaps not to the same degree, but counterpoints are raised and generally fairly addressed.

    But even if you were to surgically remove the anecdotes that favor the author's positions. Even if you were to toss out the grey areas that are open to debate.

    Even then you cannot read/listen to this book and not have to acknowledge that the divide exists, that it is growing, and that to fair minded people it is just plain wrong.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bryce G. Hoffman
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    Overall
    (125)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (110)

    At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dys­functional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.

    Michael says: "The best business book I ever read"
    "A New Medium of Advertising?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Reading this book was my first introduction to Alan Mullaly and what went on with Ford before and after the financial crisis.

    Certainly it is an interesting story, well told and Alan Mullaly comes across as a business genius and a leader I wish I could have had during my time in corporate America.

    My reservations are that the book also reads like a long and rosy telling of "The Ford Story", in the same sense that Ford tries to tell "The Ford Story" in its advertising. It is a one-sided, effusive and unabashedly fawning account of Mullaly and Ford in general.

    The author begins the book with an explanation of how he went to the Ford Executive Leadership, including Mullaly explaining that the a book should be written about "Ford's comeback" and how it would be a "positive story". An investigative journalist should not assure his subjects that the book he is writing will be positive, it removes any opportunity for balance - and in balance is found truth.

    I certainly appreciate the fact that Ford saved itself rather than accept the Detroit bailout and I can see that Mullaly is an exceptional leader, but I want to read truth, not just advertising. And I felt uneasy during much of this book that I was being asked to trust Ford's own perception of itself.

    Questionable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Them: Adventures with Extremists

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jon Ronson
    • Narrated By Jon Ronson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (426)

    Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and more.

    aaron says: "Dated but VERY Good... and FUNNY!"
    "Silly, but Serious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I've been a huge fan of Louis Theroux for many years, and to me Jon Ronson's book strikes the same tone as one of Louis' shows.

    By building a rapport with people who have very extreme beliefs and opinions, they are humanized. One can even empathize to a degree. This is a much more productive policy than simply demonizing or disregarding them.

    In most extremists there is a grain of something real that should be considered and built in to our own thinking. However, that is not to overlook the fact that many of these people are essentially delusional and even dangerous.

    That is the most important aspect of Jon's book and Louis' shows - whilst opening our minds to empathize and relate, they also illuminate where the reasonable become unreasonable and the understandable become outrageous. And best of all this demarkation is often hilarious and self-evident when exposed by a reasonable person repeating the ludicrous words back to the ludicrous people who just spoke them.

    It is genius and a service to the world in my opinion.

    I am sure that Jon's book would have lost much of the humor and nuance had it been read by another narrator, so well done Jon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1856)
    Performance
    (1531)
    Story
    (1545)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "Classic Michael Lewis"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy Michael Lewis books. They are a lot of fun to listen to, but I think he has a tendency to exaggerate and use some artistic license in his accounts.

    This is my third book of his and now that I'm familiar with his schtick I listened more for amusement than factual accounts.

    The book takes us to each of the collapsed/collapsing economies around the world and astounds us with the incredible greed, stupidity and chutzpa of those involved.

    Pinch of salt, but the essence is right and if you're like me you'll be well entertained

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Naoki Higashida
    • Narrated By Tom Picasso
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (690)
    Performance
    (616)
    Story
    (618)

    Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, The Reason I Jumpis a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

    Janice says: "Cracking the code"
    "Valuable to Families of ASD Children"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A very illuminating insight in to the experience of a child on the Autism Spectrum.

    Very helpful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time: Great Discoveries

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michio Kaku
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (442)
    Story
    (445)

    A dazzling tour of the universe as Einstein saw it. How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku, leading theoretical physicist (a cofounder of string theory) and best-selling science storyteller, shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos

    david says: "Relatively Wonderful"
    "Good Balance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Einstein's Cosmos the most enjoyable?

    Ray Porter is my favorite Audible narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a good balance of Einstein's biography and conceptual explanations of some of the big ideas in Physics from Newton up to and including the present.

    I liked that Kaku attempted to demonstrated the value of Einstein's often overlooked and failed attempts at a unified theory.

    Enjoyed this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Nick Bilton
    • Narrated By Daniel May
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (442)
    Story
    (441)

    Twitter seems like a perfect start-up success story. In barely six years, a small group of young, ambitious programmers in Silicon Valley built an $11.5 billion business out of the ashes of a failed podcasting company. Today Twitter boasts more than 200 million active users and has affected business, politics, media, and other fields in innumerable ways.

    Ann Magor says: "A Shakespearean Drama"
    "Shallow on Technology, Deep on Back-Stabbery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoy books about IT entrepreneurship and this was an enjoyable read.

    I was hoping for more insight on the technical accomplishments of the early team, but it seems the author does not have a technical background. For example the term Operation System was used instead of Operating System (nerdy ouch!). But putting that aside there were almost no details on the technologies used, their innovations or how their outage problems were solved.

    There was a lot more detail on the conniving and malevolent shenanigans of the co-founders as they attempted to wrest control of Twitter from each others' hands.

    It seems to me that Twitter was successful despite the fairly inadequate leadership and the apparent lack of vision from any of the co-founders. The kernel of the idea by Jack Dorsey was as far as their "genius" extended. It seemed like the user-base of Twitter knew better than the folks who created it on how best it should be used.

    Well worth a listen, especially if you have an interest in boardroom power games.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jeff Ryan
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (336)
    Performance
    (307)
    Story
    (306)

    Nintendo has continually set the standard for video game innovation in America, starting in 1981 with a plucky hero who jumped over barrels to save a girl from an ape.

    Steve says: "Great read! Very informative."
    "Not Exciting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Ray Porter is my favorite narrator and his reading can make an average book feel great. I think this might be why this book gets such good reviews. Either that, or die-hard Nintendo fans love hearing lists of the gazillions of variations on all the Mario games.

    What I got from this book was that Nintendo found a formula that worked and were careful to not change things too much and milk that baby for all they could get out of it.

    Don't get me wrong - I like Nintendo. I like that their devices and games are usually high quality, family friendly and I especially liked the Wii with its introduction of less sedentary gaming.

    But after the first hour the book, it became less of a personal story and entrepreneurial success story and more like a high level chronology of a corporation's product rollouts.

    Still, Ray Porter can make the ingredients list on a packet of peach rings sound enthralling :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Halperin, John Heilemann
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (504)
    Performance
    (451)
    Story
    (456)

    Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier.

    Tony says: "Game Change 2.0"
    "Devoured!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Firstly, pitch perfect narration by Robert Fass.

    As for the book itself, perhaps not as exciting as "Game Change", but only because the 2012 election was in itself less exciting. Rather than an explosive new candidate in a no-incumbent election (2008), this book is about the re-election of a struggling president vs. the election of a previously failed presidential candidate we were all pretty familiar with.

    That said, the writing is thoroughly engaging and I devoured it!

    It probably helps that I followed both elections fairly closely. Getting the inside perspective on moments that from the outside seemed unbelievable, had me rolling around in hysterics - think Clint Eastwood and the chair - hilarious!

    One gripe was the cheesy overuse of the title (and tagline) Double Down, but just being picky.

    Very enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (899)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (518)

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb but later confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s.

    Christine says: "One of the best books I have read"
    "Exhaustive but Dry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This book was written from the perspective of laying out all possible evidence from Oppenheimer's earliest days to his final ones to answer the questions regarding his associations with Communism. Obviously this issue would eventually become what he was famous for and it needed to be addressed, but every aspect of his life, even the production of the A-bomb was seen through this lens - who he met with, what he is recorded to have said to this person, what the FBI were investigating etc.

    I was hoping the book would include a narrative of his life, perhaps an exciting one. A narrative that perhaps would include the inside story of the manhattan project or other scientific discoveries.

    But it was a rather dry, but seemingly thoroughly researched book that addressed only readers who wanted to know that answer to the questions of his political motivations and associations. Again, whilst an important part of a biography of the man, it should only have been part, rather than the hole focus.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2870)
    Performance
    (2611)
    Story
    (2628)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Enjoyable - Different from the Show"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    First off, the book is quite a bit different from the Netflix show. It is much less sexual and less comedic (although there are funny bits).

    It was well written and engaging and it was a worthwhile inside look at life in a Federal women's prison.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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