Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.
Since 'The Martian' was a breakout, I assumed 'Artemis' would give me the sci-fi fix I needed. As a new release, the novel was sure paraded around a lot. It was marketed like a guaranteed future Hollywood blockbuster. And Rosario Dawson out in front of this at the audio book level...? Has to be a winner, right?
But the book simply isn't very good. In line with current trends, 'Artemis' falls into the Multiculturalism Trap, where characters have diverse races (with matching names), but in a kind of random way that felt more devised, rather than authentic. Rosario Dawson absolutely rocks the lead character, Jazz Bashara, but then attempts some cringe-worthy foreign accent (and each character has a different accent). Tough to fault her, though. Overall, she delivers.
Why the book fails - In 'The Martian,' deep scientific concepts were integral to the drama and hearing them articulated became fascinating in an exotic survival setting. Here, though, it doesn't work at all. Imagine if, while watching an Indiana Jones flick, you had to hit pause every couple seconds to hear a forensic ballistics expert explain how every single action maneuver is scientifically possible. Yeah, count me out.
Plot-wise, the story truly bogged down. I labored to the end.
Andy Weir is a talented author, so I'm sure he'll be back. And we'll still be here waiting to see what he comes up with next.
A New York Times best-selling author of both fiction and nonfiction, Anne Lamott was also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. As much a guide to writing as an exploration of the emotional challenges of being a writer, Bird by Bird offers a candid and often humorous look at how to tackle these varied obstacles.
….read the book. There’s the ‘Elements of Style,’ there’s Stephen King’s ‘On Writing,’ and here, I add ‘Bird by Bird’ to the list. This book helped me to fall in love with writing again, and out of love with the mind-bending pursuit of just getting published. Perhaps more accurately, I reassessed my priorities…writing comes first, getting published, second. More than that, Anne reminded me of all writing can be, the power of a voice, a deeply embedded desire to articulate something just right, to say it in a way that others recognize as just right.
And the narrator is phenomenal. You’ll find it hard to believe that the narrator didn’t write the book. Susan Bennett reads the book with such spontaneity and such sincerity that you’ll sometimes forget that she’s reading at all. Often, you’ll feel like you’re listening to a voice in a dream, one that says all the right things, that mixes stealthily with your own stream-of-conscious thoughts, a voice that’s distant, but undeniably on your side. In short, listening to the book is an experience.
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
The author, Dr. Richard Thaler, won a Nobel Prize recently for his work, which is outlined in this book. He labeled his School of Thought as ‘Libertarian Paternalism’ in that his models for economic behavior protect choice, hence ‘libertarian,’ and that there’s a ‘father-knows-best’ attitude in protecting people from their own irrational selves, hence ‘paternalism.’ The big new idea here is that markets are irrational. Throughout most of the 20th Century, economists marveled at the successes of the free market and assigned these successes to individuals making rational choices in the marketplace, or ‘acting in their own best interest.’ This ‘self-interest’ was a loathed, but rational mechanism that, when spread over millions of private decisions, by millions of people, each acting prudently, an invisible hand crystallized to steer society in the best direction. Oddly, Dr. Thaler doesn’t dispute the superior overall results of a free market system, but he attempts to discredit it nonetheless.
I believe Dr. Thaler discovered what we already know: human beings make poor long-term decisions in favor of instant gratification. In nearly all the book’s examples, human choices appeared flawed when the consequences of those choices were delayed in the future. The time component confused our decision-making. If a child chooses cake over an avocado &amp; turkey sandwich, that decision is deemed ‘irrational.’ When faced with labyrinthine health care plans, where the services, quality and actual medical costs all occur in the future, people seemed to make ‘irrational’ choices. The overarching principle for ‘Nudge Theory’ is that if academics design better menus, then people can make better choices for long-term decisions.
But I must say, Dr. Thaler hasn’t debunked the basic rationality of the free market. To this day, regular people make highly rational decisions in the marketplace when long term effects aren’t the only concern. If I want to buy a house, and there are two competing homes, one costs $200,000 and the other costs $220,000. If there is nothing to justify the extra $20,000 in the second home, then I’ll buy the first home. This Principle of Substitution lets me compare options and prices and allows me to act prudently and in my best interest. These basic value decisions occur constantly and drive the market. Whether I can afford the house or whether I bought it right before the housing market collapsed is where you’ll find Dr. Thaler shaking his head in academic frustration.
One thing about Dr. Thaler that must be commended at all costs, is that he is a problem solver. Many books exalt themselves in their criticism of the world as it is, but here, the esteemed economist focuses his time and energy in providing measurable solutions. When I read, I want to hear solutions. Tell me how to make the world better. Whether or not Dr. Thaler is on the right track can and should be debated. But the fact that he’s out there, boldly presenting his ideas to the world is what counts. I like the idea of nudging for some investment security and I like the idea of nudging where safety is concerned. Beyond that, nudging serves the nudgee’s preconceived notions of ‘the good’ for the individual and for society.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
For those who have ever thought about publishing, or who want to take their career into a new direction, this book is for you. You will walk through what publishing is and what it means in this day and age. You will see firsthand what the various types of publishing are and how to pick the one that is right for you.
For a book that's only one hour and 33 minutes long, there's almost no substance. I was 36 minutes in and the book was still selling me on the reason to buy the book. It's a case study in trying to create paragraphs that simply rehash the title of the book.
I'll paraphrase the whole book: If you get published, people will pay more attention to you. If I can do it, you can to, says the author.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri Lévy has been a singular figure on the world stage - one of the great moral voices of our time. Now Europe's foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him - but that he has never fully reckoned with. The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we're used to.
I was unfamiliar with Bernard-Henri Levy until now. Stylistically, I have read few, if any, books that beam with both intellectual weight and aesthetic language throughout. It is clear that Bernand-Henri loves France and has seemingly come to appreciate his Jewish heritage only more recently. Perhaps this book is the result of his unexpected fascination with Judaism and a need to reconcile the modern problems with religion (any religion) and a belief in God to the flourishing to secular ideals. It's beautiful.
The substance of the book delves into a stunning and brilliant analysis of Anti-Semitism. He notes the very specific forms and expressions of Anti-Semitism throughout history from an almost anthropological perspective. Perhaps one of the most profound discussions in the book is his speculation...and warning...of a new kind of Anti-Semitic construct forming today. He observes that charged language must become socially-acceptable, accusations of Jewish wrongdoing must become popular, and open violence must be intellectually defensible, even as we tepidly condemn it. This new strain of hostility will be perfectly suited to the spirit of the age and therefore, difficult to see, harder to stop...just as it was each time in the past.
You will also find a meaningful and in-depth analysis of the situation in Libya. His personal experiences and conclusions are laid out for us in detail. He urges compassion and action for Muslims who are suffering around the world. He sees their struggle as our struggle.
Finally, Barnard-Henri grapples with the conclusion (and namesake) of the book. He tries to create an intellectual framework that bridges a secular world view to an ancient tradition of monotheism. He believes he found the secret. However, it is unclear to me whether the author has truly discovered the one genius of Judaism, or merely the genius of Bernard-Henri Levy as he attempts to build this bridge. Even if you disagree with him, the book is faultless in its sincerity.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Returned to Earth, Ellen Ripley learns that a colony has been established on LV-426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo found the original Alien. But contact with the colonists has been lost, so she must accompany a unit of colonial marines to discover their fate. And to destroy any Aliens found on the planet known as Acheron. This is a groundbreaking sequel by science fiction legend Alan Dean Foster, with the wonderful characters and rapid-fire action that make Aliens one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
The first novelization, 'Alien' was excellent, but this version falls short. Here's why:
1) No swear words! 'Aliens' is just one of those movies that you can't dumb down. The effective use of illicit language is in itself a character in the story. Great, anticipated moments fall flat with lines like: "Get away from her, you!"
2) The author adds unnecessary length to scenes. He adds nothing new to the existing story.
3) The narrator is not up to the task of delivering 'Aliens.'
That's it. Re-imagining the movie over nine hours was the best part.
So when Frost asks, "What the hell are we supposed to use, man, harsh language?" This audio book says 'no.'
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
In this bold history and manifesto, a former White House director of economic policy under President George H. W. Bush exposes the economic, political, and cultural cracks that wealthy nations face and makes the case for transforming those same vulnerabilities into sources of strength - and the foundation of a national renewal.
This book hovers around excellent, but falls a bit flat. I believe this will be one of the great topics of the early 21st Century as we watch the most prosperous nations of the Western world struggle to maintain a high standard of living. Some of these great nations will reconstitute and find a way forward, but some will founder.
This book makes the case that prosperous nations are at great risk of collapse under certain conditions. The authors further explains why he believes those conditions have arisen in both Europe and the United States. Unchecked immigration, cultural diffusion and catastrophic debt are common themes in other books as well as this one. However Mr. Buchholz does touch on the newer phenomena of in the 21st Century. He discusses the Anti-Nationalist trend where holidays, heroes, and national myths are denounced in favor of political conformity. The book uses many very current examples.
The main downside to the book is a rather robust section in the middle. The author delves deep into a seemingly unrelated history of Alexander the Great and then Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. While somewhat interesting, the author does not strongly tie these lengthy biographies into the theme of his book very well. If readers want to hear about great exploits of men who defined a nation, then there are better books out there. I wanted this book to stay focused on the dangers of prosperity.
Still...the book is an interesting read and scratches the surface on what is likely to be a major topic for the next 25 years or more...
The story wars are all around us. They are the struggle to be heard in a world of media noise and clamor. Today, most brand messages and mass appeals for causes are drowned out before they even reach us. But a few consistently break through the din, using the only tool that has ever moved minds and changed behavior - great stories. With insights from mythology, advertising history, evolutionary biology, and psychology, viral storyteller and advertising expert Jonah Sachs takes listeners into a fascinating world of seemingly insurmountable challenges and enormous opportunity.
I strongly recommend about 50% of this book, it's ingenious....but be prepared to slap your forehead at the other 50%.
I almost thought I bought a 'bust' book. Early on I realized that the author was some YouTube sensation a long time ago. He was famous because he made a spoof of the Matrix that went viral...and now he wrote a book. I cringed. I bought his book. Well, in the end...the book indeed broadened my perspective. The author is a smart guy and his insights are clearly articulated. He looks at the world through the lens of a story. Most of us focus on beliefs as the all-powerful force behind a human being, but this author presents a convincing case that our beliefs are a byproduct to a story we've been told. Religion tells a story. Do you believe it? A political party tells a story. Do you vote for them? A corporate product tells a story. Do you buy it? This, I thought, was why I bought the book. The author has an incredible perspective on the god-like power of story.
But, then the author spins out and crashes with ideological sentiment. He tries to tie his interesting perspective to his own biased political ideology. He speaks of the Arab Spring as proof of rosy progress....but he wrote the book just months before ISIS was formed. So there's at least an hour of narration with cringe-worthy optimism about the anarchy in the Middle East . He goes on to romanticize you and me as some heroic 'citizen.' Apparently, our political conformity and our participation with an activist government is humanity's highest calling. But what if I disagree? What if I dissent? Typical of modern thinking....insight into our technological age gets forced into an ideology. If anything, rapid and widespread human interaction in the digital age should make our thinking more kaleidoscopic, not ideologically pure.
I can sum up the book for you: do not underestimate the simplicity of a story. A story will shape your beliefs, and ultimately your behavior.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
In 24 eye-opening lectures, Jane Friedman, publishing industry expert and educator, provides you with sought-after secrets of the publishing process that will help you navigate this difficult progression, bypass pitfalls that many novice authors get hung up on, and improve your chances of being considered for publication. She acts as your personal guide though the entire process: from finalizing your manuscript to writing the perfect pitch to reviewing contracts and marketing your book.
This course is long overdue. Everyone knows that there are really two industries for writers, the one that exists in the rosy imagination of an aspiring author, and the one that exists in the real world. They rarely meet. If you're reading this, then you must have some interest at one day writing a book. Well, if so, then you're just like me. Professor Jane Friedman tells you pretty much everything you need to know with practical and sympathetic advice. She knows what we EXPECT the industry to be and she knows how difficult it is for writers to adjust to the reality of a massive global industry populated by countless other professionals. So, here it is...eleven-and-a-half hours of 21st Century reality, passed on to you by an industry insider. You'll hear her explain how all the gears of the great and mysterious publishing machine work. She covers fiction authors and non-fiction authors...and she covers traditional publishing and self-publishing avenues. She's up front that publishing is an industry in transition and today's author has many more options with many new risks. If you are serious about writing a book and if you plan on making reality an ally, then this course is for you. And thanks to Audible.com for making courses like this one available! Enjoy!
10 of 14 people found this review helpful
First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know "the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one."
I've read many books from the right and the from the left end of the political spectrum. Many authors who take aim at American capitalism fall short with an entrenched bias that weakens their critiques and inevitable solutions. No so with Mr. Alinksky. This is one of the first books that I have read that bore a chilling grasp of reality and an unapologetic commitment to attack thy neighbor. This man is not actually a documented socialist or communist...he's a pure strain of Anti-American capitalism that stands alone in its 'action' ideology. I found myself fearing his thinking as much as I did appreciating the cold logic he brought to bear on these pages. He doesn't seem to really want a peaceful society, but envisions a society that is constantly at war with itself from within. Make no mistake, the ideas of this book are dangerous because they are realistically cunning. He outlines his dismissal of ethics in social warfare and makes the age-old case for the ends justifying the means, step 1 for any evil enterprise. The most horrifying conclusion is who Saul Alinsky identifies as Public Enemy #1 in America. The Middle Class. Me, you, and 87% of Americans. Saul's call to arms is aimed solely at the Middle Class...to undermine that belief system...to ridicule that way of life...to mock and agitate the people of the Middle Class...and ultimately to convert a segment of the Middle Class into an ally against the rest of the Middle Class. Saul evens opens the book with a salute to the 'very first radical' whom he admired...Lucifer. Jeesh.
71 of 80 people found this review helpful