First of all, I like John Hodgman. He is the perfect character for the Apple ads, so I was enthusiastic about this book after hearing Leo Laporte sing its praises on one of his recent podcasts.
After listening to about half of the book, I just had to turn it off. While it starts out with some funny spots, it just goes downhill from there. Most of the content sounds like something that I might have come up with after a night of heavy drinking with some friends. It's almost stream of consciousness material and most of it is simply not that funny.
I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but this book just left me cold. A shame that I wasted a credit on it.
First of all, the author comes across as extremely likeable. The addition of chapter intros in the author's own voice only adds to the experience. Brandon seems like a great guy to have a beer with. What I really loved is that despite the amazing things that Brandon has done in his life, you never get the feeling that this is one of those "Why I'm so great" books. Sure, Brandon tells of his accomplishments and exploits, but it is in kind of an "aw shucks, 'taint nothing sort of way. I also like the detail that Brandon put into the accounts of BUD/S and his other experiences. He never gives away any specific details on operational methods that could compromise security, but he does go into a lot of detail in areas that are not strategically significant, but very interesting to the reader.
I also read "Inside Seal Team Six" by Don Mann. That book was sketchy on details, and really was a "Why I'm So Great" book. Plus, Mann left in all of the redactions made to his book to show us how he knows much more than he can tell us. In the audiobook, these redactions result in a beep. A good author would simply rewrite the book around redactions which Brandon clearly did.
This is an inspirational book first and foremost to anyone and secondly to anyone who is interested in the shooting sports. Brandon gives a lot of useful details that lets anyone who wants to follow up to learn more about the topic on their own. Besides being a great story, it is a fantastic starting point for people looking for an inspiration to improve some area of their lives.
If you only have time to read one book this year, this is the one. You will take a lot of good information and inspiration away with you.
This could be a good story. I'll never know. At the start of the book, the narrator says that whenever classified information had to be redacted, the listener would hear a beep. So here's my first problem - if you have to have info redacted, just re-write the parts with the redaction. This is not a formerly classified memo that was released under an FOIA request that needs to be presented in its original format with just the sensitive parts blacked out - it is a story and can be presented however the author chooses. If the DOD has a problem with details on one part, then simply edit it, don't leave it in and sound some stupid tone over it. The noise totally interrupts the flow of the story. Listening to this book made me feel like I was watching a Jerry Springer show.
There must have been at least a dozen parts that were bleeped out in the first 15 minutes which is as far as I got. Furthermore, some of the parts redacted are just silly. One example was when the author was being shown the equipment of a young Seal. They bleeped several parts out. Anyone with an Internet account and access to Jane's military site or for that matter Wikipedia can obtain a reasonably close idea of what the Seals are packing today, so redacting this information is just stupid. And, if you are required to redact it, just modify the list of items in his kit so that the classified ones are not mentioned at all.
The whole reason that I listen to audiobooks is to be immersed in the story. The incessant bleeping took me out of that immersion far too often to be tolerable. Maybe as the author gets further into his tale, the beeping will be less, but I'm not willing to listen that far. As one other reviewer mentioned, "Inside Delta Force" was probably also full of redaction, but the author had the good sense to write his story around them so the reader never knows. Don Mann should have done the same here.
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