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Thomas

The Hills, TX, USA | Member Since 2004

20
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 103 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (739)
    Performance
    (318)
    Story
    (328)

    Have we been taught to discount the veracity and deeper meaning of our emotional resonance with the world around us? In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis looks at the curriculum of the English "prep school" and begins to wonder if this subliminal teaching has indeed produced a generation who discount such a nature.

    Joseph says: "Two great (but quite different) gems from CSL"
    "Good short listen"
    Overall

    Hard to go wrong with C.S. Lewis, and this is no exception. His writing is clean, and simple, but beautifully descriptive. The story unfolds quickly, but even though the puzzle of the "what is going on here" is solved within only a few chapters, the subsequent development is even more intriguing. It's on read/hearing the works of an author like this (as opposed to a modern churner-out-of-chatter) that one experiences just how powerful words can be.

    Only two criticisms drop the rating by one star; both minor. First; the narrator is extremely good, but his rendition of the bright ones was sometimes a bit too sombre for my liking. Having read the book years ago, I pictured those people as being of the type who wouldn't even know the meaning of the word "sombre". Second; well, the Scots character was just too "hoots mon, och aye" for me. But that's because I'm a Scot. If you didn't mind Scottie in "Star Trek", you won't mind this guy either.

    Either way, it doesn't matter. The words, and the story overwhelm these minor quibbles. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Den of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James B. Stewart
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart's Den of Thieves tells the full story of the insider-trading scandal of the late 1980s that nearly brought down Wall Street. Stewart reveals how some of the biggest names on Wall Street (Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine) crafted a scheme to grab billions before a band of downtrodden detectives brought them to justice.

    A User says: "Riveting story that will leave you incredulous"
    "Very enjoyable, but complex listen"
    Overall

    I've never been completely convinced that insider trading should be illegal - not from a moral standpoint. But I couldn't help feeling some sympathy for the original crafters of the securities laws when I heard, in "Den of Thieves" about the immense control that Milken had over certain parts of the markets.

    DoT is a complex books of names; hard to keep track of while driving, but tolerant of minor lapses on the part of the listener. If you can listen to it while not driving, keep a notebook handy for a while. Most fascinating perhaps is the wide range of people behind those names - from demi-gods like Milken, down to bit part players whose names now escape me.

    Heller's reading is solid and well-matched to the story.

    A good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angels and Demons

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (6324)
    Performance
    (1902)
    Story
    (1929)

    World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization, the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra.

    Phillip says: "I couldn't put it down...5 STARS"
    "Holy antimatter Batman!"
    Overall

    Silly plot, mediocre characterization, and annoying writing style. How on earth does anyone find this book listenable?

    The plot development consists almost entirely of one character restating as an incredulous question what another character has just said. (You mean the plot development consists almost entirely of one character restating what another character has just said!!!!!?) All it needs is the odd "Holy Cow Langdon!", and we'd be laughing. (Except, I already am.)

    The characters are barely believable, and the science is worse. (Surely you can't be saying the characters are barely believable, and the science is worse!!!!???)

    And if it weren't for those things, I'd overlook the annoying errors. But I can't. "Enormity" doesn't mean "enormous"; and "disinterested" doesn't mean "uninterested". (Enormity!? Disinterested!? What do mean!!!!!?)

    Finally, no physicist in their right mind is going to refer to themself as a "discrete particle physicist". Even if they are discrete. Do a quick google on the phrase and see what I mean.

    Verdict - where's the trash can.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Magic of Thinking Big

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By David J. Schwartz
    • Narrated By David J. Schwartz
    Overall
    (1354)
    Performance
    (574)
    Story
    (571)

    Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and - most important of all - find greater happiness and peace of mind.

    Brittany says: "Life-changing literature."
    "Yet another author-narrated book."
    Overall

    Less of a direct review and more an indirect one as a data point for Audible and Simon & Schuster.

    I was about to buy this book but then noticed that it was being read by its author. Without exception, my experience so far has been that such books are disappointing in their audible form. Even something as beuatifully descriptive as "Cold Mountain" was utterly destroyed.

    Unless I specifically know otherwise, I have now begun to assume that any book narrated by the author is a "no buy". Writing and reading are two different skills, and while individuals who have both to a sufficiently developed level certainly exist, they are rare.

    2 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: The Demise of Dysfunctional Selling and the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Mahan Khalsa
    • Narrated By Mahan Khalsa
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The notion of selling carries a lot of baggage. As it has developed, sales has often become a fear-based relationship. Customers are afraid that they will be "sold" a bill of goods, or that a salesperson will talk them into something that doesn't help them succeed.

    I Leaver says: "Get real."
    "Not useless, but badly hindered by the narration"
    Overall

    Note to self: think twice about buying a book narrated by the author.

    I don't understand why the publisher does this. Many song writers can't sing; many directors can't act; why on earth do we think that an author can read to the standard required for a commercial product like this. I've had several audible books made almost useless by this problem. This book opens with and is punctuated by a professional reader, but the author himself is poor. His fake shouting is actually embarassing.

    The content itself is mixed to mediocre. Some genuine snippets of thought-provoking ideas, and some blinding flashes of the obvious. Unfortunately the latter dominate the former. Also, the arguments are often incoherent or poorly-formed. For example, he rambles on about how "solutions" have no value, but his underlying argument is that solutions *are* valuable but sometimes what we think is a solution isn't, in the mind of the current client.

    He also - in a frank discussion about how some client employee was fired in the aftermath of a meeting with the author - admits to not following his own advice. The honesty is admirable, and the scenario entirely understandable. But it raises the red flag of suspicion that although this book is clearly attacking a common problem, its advice is actually difficult or impossible to follow in practice. It's a bit like buying a diet book from a fat person. If they tell you all you have to do is follow their advice, but "by the way, I've never managed to do it myself", you'll think twice about buying the book.

    And that would be my strong recommendation here - think twice, then don't buy this book. I wonder how many of it's good reviews were influenced by the reviewer having also received the material in another form - actual book, or course.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Charles Frazier
    • Narrated By Charles Frazier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (597)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (223)

    One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is a masterpiece that is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished America in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor.

    M. Dunn says: "Cold Mountain (Unabridged)"
    "Fine book, awfully presented"
    Overall

    I bought Cold Mountain partly because my daughter recommended it, but
    partly because I was intrigued at the wide difference in Audible reviews. Glowing praise on the one hand was countered by damning criticism on the other, particularly concerning the narration.

    My conclusion: the critics are right. This is an awful audio book, really *awful*. Coming through the ninth-grade reading style are beautiful descriptions of the south, the war, and warm country life. But I could rarely stay focussed before the narrator's grim monotone hauled me back to reality.

    True enough, as one reviewer suggested, the author's southern accent helps carry his story. But the effect is *completely* destroyed by the fact that his reading is as unskilled as his writing is skilled. Surely a professional reader/actor from the south could have been found instead.

    Most songwriters do not sing; most playwrights do not direct or act. Why did anyone think that this man was the right person to read? Such a shame.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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