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Sydney, Australia
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  • Building a Better Vocabulary

  • By: Kevin Flanigan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Kevin Flanigan
  • Length: 18 hrs and 48 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,532
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,351
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,299

Building a Better Vocabulary offers an intriguing look at the nuts and bolts of English, teaches you the etymology and morphology - or the history and structure - of words, and delves into the cognitive science behind committing new words to long-term memory. By the end of the 36 enjoyable lectures, you will have a practical framework for continuing to build your vocabulary by discovering new words and fully mastering the nuances of familiar ones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply amazing. Also, bad reviews can be explained.

  • By Christie on 09-29-15

Engaging and Memorable, Highly Recommended

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

Reviewed: 03-06-15

I really enjoyed this course. I have listened to many Great Courses and this is so far one of my favourites. I have also been working on my vocabulary in the past year via other audio courses and workbooks, but this has been the most efficacious.

The course begins by teaching various memory techniques for retaining new word meanings. This includes keeping a vocabulary notebook, making personal connections, sound connections, etymological breakdown, and categorization. My main problem is recall, and these are not new techniques, but I have been motivated to employ them to much success.

Lectures are organized by words of a certain category, such as words relating to phobias, words for describing good and bad speakers, words for describing language, toponyms and eponyms, and "grab bags" of miscellaneous words. Professor Flanigan keeps things entertaining by telling the history behind words and memorable personal stories about his friends and family to exemplify key words, ending each lecture with a quiz. He speaks confidently and clearly and is an excellent teacher.

Immediately after finishing this course, I found myself recognizing key words left and right, words that I previously would have only had a vague contextual understanding of and would have thus brushed past. This has been a real confidence booster.

The only downside is, as with all The Great Course audiobooks sold by audible, there is no guidebook. This is a complaint I see by many reviewers of The Great Courses, but if you check out the prices on The Teaching Company's (the makers of TGC) the website in which the guidebook is included, you will see that purchasing them via audible without the guidebook is actually a very good deal. The lack of guidebook is probably the reason audible can charge such a low price without it being a negative for The Teaching Company's overall sales. However, it would have been nice for audible or the Great Courses to at least provide a list of the words, as I had to write them down while listening. Ultimately, being forced to write them down was probably a good thing, as taking notes really helped me to remember the words. Although it did get tricky to confirm the spelling, especially with the more obscure words, but I did manage to find them all with a little googling.

I would also recommend "How To Build a Better Vocabulary" by Maxwell Nurnberg and Morris Rosenblum. I have been working through this in parallel with this course and the words are similar both in selection and difficulty. It's very nice to have learnt a word from one place and have it reinforced elsewhere.

298 of 306 people found this review helpful

  • Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications

  • By: David Sadava, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: David Sadava
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 700
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 616
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 616

We use DNA routinely - to cure diseases, solve crimes, and reunite families. Yet we've known about it for only 60 years. And what we're continuing to learn about it every day has the potential to transform our health, our nutrition, our society, and our future. But what, exactly is DNA, the self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good book on genetics

  • By Chris on 12-15-13

Great introduction to genetics

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

Reviewed: 05-17-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend this to anybody who is curious about genetics. This is a great introduction to the short history and slightly technical side of genetics in layman's terms. David Sadava keeps the course engaging with a memorable story at the start of each lecture and briefly tells the story of all the important contributors (Mendel, Darwin, the guys who first thought of the double helix etc.). He explains the significance and relevance of each topic to today's society (forensics, agriculture, ethics, disease & medicine). This course has made me realise the vast practical applications of genetics. Being from a science background but never having gotten around to studying biology, the knowledge I've taken from this course will be invaluable. I can now read otherwise intimidating texts on the subject now that I am familiar with the basic terms and concepts.

What other book might you compare Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Applications to and why?

I think if you are serious about understanding the material, the DVD version, having diagrams, would make things much easier (although it is significantly pricier). As with all sciences some concepts cannot be explained easily without a diagram. I would recommend taking notes throughout the course and looking up key concepts online for relevant graphs (e.g. punnet squares), diagrams and illustrations (DNA double helix, molecular structures, cell diagrams etc.).

Which character – as performed by Professor David Sadava – was your favorite?

Mendel - the father of modern genetics. Another great contributor who wasn't appreciated during his lifetime!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Silly question.

Any additional comments?

Sadava is a good lecturer. He is very listenable and has friendly tone reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld at times.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Carry On, Jeeves

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 559
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 407

Listen to hilarious unabridged stories starring the ever-popular Jeeves and Wooster from the master of great British comedy: P. G. Wodehouse. Stories featured: "Jeeves Takes Charge", "Jeeves and The Unbidden Guest", "The Artistic Career of Corky", "The Aunt and the Sluggard", "Clustering Round Young Bingo", "Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg", and "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great introduction to Jeeves

  • By Eunique on 09-30-08

Absolutely hilarious, Don't ya know?

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

Reviewed: 08-21-12

Where does Carry On, Jeeves rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Definitely one of my favourites, I've listened to each story at least twice.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bertie AND Jeeves, can't have one without the other.

Any additional comments?

Jarvis is the best narrator I have heard thus far. I had trouble switching to Hugh Laurie and Steven Fry's interpretation after hearing Jarvis, but now I love them both. I love that Jarvis gives Bertie an older yet still immature and boyish character. He switches between characters so smoothly you can't believe it's him narrating on his own!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful