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  • The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs)
    • By David Deutsch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe.

    Gary says: "Covers nothing to everything"
    "Deutsch is a master of sophistry."
    Would you try another book from David Deutsch and/or Walter Dixon?

    Deutsch no. Dixon yes.

    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    Not that hard.

    Have you listened to any of Walter Dixon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    never before

    What character would you cut from The Beginning of Infinity?


    Any additional comments?

    David Albert wrote an excellent and friendly review of this book in The New York Times Sunday Book Review of 08/12/2011. Despite it’s positive tone, it reassured me that I made the correct decision to stop listening to it. Sadly, it took me about 12 hours to decide that. Deutsch is smart and eloquent, but he's a master sophist. He writes clearly and skillfully, but treats his conjectures as facts. A term I once heard for this is “lying the truth”. He convinces himself that things are actually the way he thinks they are, and then he writes as if that is the case, which in his created mindset, it is. He covers many topics. For those where you have some knowledge, the holes in his certainty are obvious. For those where you don’t have some knowledge, you’re in danger of accepting some ideas as truths that are no more than pure speculation on his part.

    23 of 35 people found this review helpful
  • Don Quixote

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Tobias Smollett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robert Whitfield

    Don Quixote, the world's first novel and by far the best-known book in Spanish literature, was originally intended by Cervantes as a satire on traditional popular ballads, yet he also parodied the romances of chivalry. By happy coincidence he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction.

    James says: "Excellent"
    Any additional comments?

    Given when this book was written, the parallels one can make to today's world make it a special piece of literature. It's well worth the time it takes, even if all you want to do is laugh.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Sean Carroll
    • Narrated By Erik Synnestvedt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Time moves forward, not backward---everyone knows you can't unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today's hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself---a period of modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed.

    Jonathan says: "Best summary of modern cosmology yet, but...."
    "Clear and to the point."
    Any additional comments?

    If you have any interest in

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "Everyone should read this book."
    What made the experience of listening to Cloud Atlas the most enjoyable?

    The structure of the story and it's insightful conclusions about personal freedom and choice.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Cloud Atlas?

    The concluding paragraphs.

    Any additional comments?

    One of my all time favorite books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How the Mind Works

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Mel Foster

    In this delightful, acclaimed bestseller, one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness?

    David says: "Excellent, but a difficult listen."
    "Why did he bother?"
    What disappointed you about How the Mind Works?

    More than 1/2 way through, and still didn't have any idea where the book was going.

    What was most disappointing about Steven Pinker’s story?

    No point was being made. Just a string of thoughts. Kind of like Kurt Vonnegot's

    Have you listened to any of Mel Foster’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. He did an excellent job.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe, if I could have held out longer, I'd have seen a point to it. But, life is way too short. On to the next book. (By the way, I only very rarely give up on a book.)

    12 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By H. W. Brands
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger

    Many consider Franklin the most fascinating American man who ever lived. A scientist, businessman, diplomat, author, inventor, philosopher and politician, he is America's original Renaissance man. His remarkable and varied accomplishments include the discovery of electricity and the modernization of the postal system. Brilliant and bawdy, a master statesman and a cultural icon, Franklin was so important and popular in his day that, according to the author, "... only Washington mattered as much."

    William says: "History tends to bore but I couldnt stop listening"
    "truly tedious"

    The language is clear and competent. But sadly, the book feels like the author was doing a distasteful homework assignment rather than presenting a topic in which he had some genuine interest. Chernow, Ellis, and McCullough bring their subjects to life. Brands made Franklin's life and times seem duller than a red brick.

    It was only by sheer force of will that I was able to listen to it all. Those of us who finished this book deserve some kind of prize, either for perseverence or stupidity. I'm not sure which. (LOL)

    7 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Historian

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kostova
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre, Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor", and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of: a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.

    Branden says: "Phenomenallly detailed..."
    "technically decent writer but no imagination"

    The author has good technical writing skills but precious little imagination. She's created a good set of characters with things to do that could be worth following. But then she prcoeeds to write a story which reads like a travelogue that includes some interesting anecdotes.

    The words are reasonably well chosen. The sentences all make sense. But in the end, the main sensation produced is tedium. There are no new ideas. (In fact, there aren't even that many old ideas.) Just words that grow into sentences that head nowhere of particular interest.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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