LISTENER

S. Olsen

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 24
  • helpful votes
  • 386
  • ratings
  • Owning the Earth

  • The Transforming History of Land Ownership
  • By: Andro Linklater
  • Narrated by: J. Paul Guimont
  • Length: 17 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

The history and evolution of land ownership is a fascinating chronicle in the history of civilization, offering unexpected insights about how various forms of democracy and capitalism developed, as well as a revealing analysis of a future where the Earth must sustain nine billion lives. Seen through the eyes of remarkable individuals - Chinese emperors; German peasants; the 17th century English surveyor William Petty, who first saw the connection between private property and free-market capitalism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting

  • By S. Olsen on 06-30-15

Interesting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-30-15

What did you love best about Owning the Earth?

I love books that make you look at the world from a different angle. This book showed the powerful impact of property ownership through cultures, countries and time and weaved together the driving force of ownership impact on governments (or changes in government) and history.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Owning the Earth?

I actually enjoyed the conclusion that brought the ideas of the book together. It changed the way I look at the world, by breaking out these ideas that are so fixed in my mind to show the progress and change in them over time.

Any additional comments?

The book is well written and easy to follow and as you jump through countries and time to bring forward a comprehensive understanding of property ownership. That sounds a little boring but I never found it boring, the analysis and story were so well done that it kept me intellectually curious to the end. I as I said before it really helped me to see and understand the world a little different.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century

  • By: Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator)
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 24 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,578
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,206
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,193

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Audio format still useful to get the gist of it

  • By Kazuhiko on 06-14-14

Great Research and questionable conclusions

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe it is good to hear from all different sides of an argument. The book included some very interesting research to help shed light on the challenge of inequality. The first half that covered more of the research I very much enjoyed. The second half where he drew conclusions from his work and made a number of value judgements frustrated me. But the research alone is worth it and the reader was excellent.

Would you be willing to try another book from Thomas Piketty and Arthur Goldhammer (translator) ? Why or why not?

Maybe, not right away.

Was Capital in the Twenty-First Century worth the listening time?

This is questionable. The book is very long and although it continued to present new ideas as it progressed, I became fatigued and was waiting for it to end while still wanting to get to the finish line.

Any additional comments?

I want to explain what frustrated me because much of the book was really good. Toward the end he started to draw inferences and include many value judgements that went into his recommendations with as much force as the research. He also started to present facts and give a few reasons or possible explanations for the results and then would simply say but the best solution is x without any reasons why he chose one explanation over another except that it fit his case. I felt the research was interesting but he seemed to force it into a single solution to make a stronger case for very high individual tax rates and a global tax on wealth. Describing that we have inequality and showing the growing problem was a lot easier than giving single solutions. Especially when those solutions left out a lot of analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of the recommendations. Yet that was the push towards the end to explain the recommendation without really proving the his solution was best. Still, whether you agree or not with him, he presents a a thought out, researched opinion that I think adds to the general discussion.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature

  • Why Violence Has Declined
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 36 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,871
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,838

We’ve all had the experience of reading about a bloody war or shocking crime and asking, “What is the world coming to?” But we seldom ask, “How bad was the world in the past?” In this startling new book, the best-selling cognitive scientist Steven Pinker shows that the world of the past was much worse. In fact, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'd kill for another book this good

  • By Eric Nicolas Morgan on 11-11-11

Pinker's best book!!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-12

If you could sum up The Better Angels of Our Nature in three words, what would they be?

Change your perceptions.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Pinker wove a powerful history together that shatters the perception that violence is increasing. He also carefully explores what factors lead to violence giving an optimistic view of what has and still can be accomplished to achieve peace. Although you have to commit to a book like this it will be rewarded. There are few new ideas out there and most books tend to add a little new research and reuse and repackage what we have already heard. This book is a bold, fresh, well written and read masterpiece that will not only present a new way of looking at the world, but will make it your new way of looking at the world.

Atlas Shrugged audiobook cover art
  • Atlas Shrugged

  • By: Ayn Rand
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
  • Length: 55 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 997
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 840
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 851

In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, not thrilled with production

  • By Jennifer on 06-14-11

Better than I expected

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-12

Would you be willing to try another book from Ayn Rand? Why or why not?

Not right away.

Any additional comments?

I had avoided this book because of all the politics behind it. After watching the movie I decided to go back and fill in the details. The book was surprisingly well written with a good story even if the diatribes are a little repetitive and long at times. I usually only read unabridged but think I would make an exception in this case. With all of that the book made an impression on me that is hard to shake and I have to recommend it to any that are interested. I think it might surprise you as well.

  • Quiet

  • The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
  • By: Susan Cain
  • Narrated by: Kathe Mazur
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,064
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,329
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,264

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clamorous Praise for "Quiet"

  • By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

Very insightful

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-12

Any additional comments?

This book connected with me and I am guessing with many on this site. All those that would be just as happy staying home and reading a good book as attending a great party. In a world that favors the extrovert it was refreshing to outline the strengths of the introvert. Good research, well written, nicely read and recommended to all those that might feel inclined to apologize for being introverted or for having a spouse, child or coworker that falls in that category.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • SuperFreakonomics

  • By: Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
  • Narrated by: Stephen J. Dubner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,782
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,913
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,930

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as: How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa? What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common? Can eating kangaroo save the planet? Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth Your Time

  • By Rich on 01-04-10

Just as interesting as the first.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-02-09

I thought this book was very interesting and well read. The authors know how to take on interesting everyday topics and change the way you look at them. I especially appreciated the positive view of the future. It seemed that the book showed through many examples of how we were able to find solutions to some of the complex problems in the past and even took on practical solutions to one of the biggest mounting problems of our day--Global Warming. Great read, I am sure you will get something out of it.

  • The Adventure of English

  • The Biography of a Language
  • By: Melvyn Bragg
  • Narrated by: Robert Powell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,730
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,465
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,472

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Many Of Course monments

  • By Leigh A on 10-21-05

Great material

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-14-09

I am not a linguist and the lists of words did not interest me, but hearing the history through the angle of the language was very interesting. The infusion of foreign words in the language shows how great an influence the force or movement was on the minds of the english people. A good introduction and an enjoyable listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • 13 Things That Don't Make Sense

  • The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time
  • By: Michael Brooks
  • Narrated by: James Adams
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,442
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,457
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,459

Science starts to get interesting when things don't make sense. Science's best-kept secret is that there are experimental results and reliable data that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. If history is any precedent, we should look to today's inexplicable results to forecast the future of science. Michael Brooks heads to the scientific frontier to meet 13 modern-day anomalies and discover tomorrow's breakthroughs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 10 interesting chapters-read epiloge first

  • By Stephen on 06-10-09

Only ok

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-18-08

There were some great ideas presented with some interesting clues into where the next great break throughs in science might come. The reader was competent.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Outliers

  • The Story of Success
  • By: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,791
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,104
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,088

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers" - the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Captivating (if not an outlier)

  • By KHarrang on 11-21-08

Malcom's best book yet.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-18-08

This was a great listen. Both the audio and context was excellent. It was one of those books you will be discussing with your friends.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Banker to the Poor

  • Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty
  • By: Muhammad Yunus
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 542
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

In 1983, Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. Believing that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a few, Yunus aimed to support that spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which the poor might lift themselves out of poverty forever. Grameen Bank now provides over $2.5 billion in micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Will change the way you think about the economics.

  • By R. Hilton on 01-18-08

Worth the read.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-18-08

Great material. Was a personal call to action. The reader isn't my favorite. He seems upset or condescending which is the opposite of the context he was reading. Good audio quality just not my favorite tone.