If you want to practice your buzzword bingo skills, this is the book for you.
Not nearly as engaging as Malcolm Gladwell or as intelligent as Daniel Kahneman, Stibel instead relies on specious arguments and pedantic prose.
Do yourself a favor and read one of the aforementioned authors, or perhaps Nicholas Carr or Sherry Turkle, instead.
First off, let me say that I agree with other reviewers who find the narrator's precise diction a bit ... annoying. And whoever though that referencing figures in a separate PDF file for an audio book should be fired - or perhaps blinded so they'd understand just how stupid the idea is.
That said, this is an amazingly compelling and important book. Mr Kahneman explains in understandable terms the reasons for a tremendous amount of human behavior. He's like Malcolm Gladwell's much smarter brother. As I listened, I frequently found myself nodding my head or thinking of specific instances of the behavior being described like The Illusion of Pundits or The Endowment Effect. The writing is clear and understandable even for people like me with little formal training in economics.
It may take you a little while to settle into the narrative, but stick with it. You'll be glad you did.
The author alternates between discussing the history & current understanding of neuroscience, and the impact our online existence is having on our brains. He cites growing evidence of people's attenuated attention spans. So it's ironic that his writing style is so pedantic. Still, it is a thought-provoking work.
As for the production, they could have chosen a better narrator. Mr. Garcia's voice and style are better suited for dramatic works than exposition. I laughed each time he'd use a different voice when reading quotes from academic sources. Seriously?
The producers of this book seemed bent on ruining what is otherwise a very capable reading by inserting random music clips. One would assume this was for dramatic effect, but the volume is far too loud -- often drowning out the reader -- and the music rarely seems related to the story. I've listened to many audio books, and I've never before come across such an amateurish production.
As for the story, I agree with the reviewer who called it pure melodrama. The characters are mostly one-dimensional. We're told who to like and dislike with no possibility of confusion. Also, because the main character is a food critic, the author uses some ridiculous food similies that left me shaking my head.
I chose this book because it's on my son's summer reading list for high school English. I can only assume his teacher chose it as an example of heavy-handed narrative.
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