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C. Armstrong

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  • The Disneyland Story

  • The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream
  • By: Sam Gennawey
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 308
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289

The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream is the story of how Walt Disney's greatest creation was conceived, nurtured, and how it grew into a source of joy and inspiration for generations of visitors. Despite his successors' battles with the whims of history and their own doubts and egos, Walt's vision maintained momentum, thrived, and taught future generations how to do it Walt Disney's way.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • The narration is killing me.

  • By Chris on 03-24-15

Perfect for Makers, Designers, and Dreamers

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

Reviewed: 04-25-19

A heavy dose of design, engineering, business, real estate deals and acquisitions, as well as Walt’s thoughts / theories on storytelling, technology, futurism, customer service, innovation, capitalism & the pioneering spirit of America, and outlook on life in general.

Walt was a visionary, mad scientist, a kid at heart, unfettered optimist, and ultimately wanted to do good in the world — to make people smile. If man can believe it, he can achieve it!

p.s. This narrator is much better and interesting than the narrator behind the American Icon book. I had to stop a few hours into that one, since it was full of so much psycho-anyalsis by intellectuals and quite dull in comparison to this book. Please have him narrate that book, as it will make the unabridged 33hrs much more enjoyable!

Christopher Armstrong
Author, The Maker’s Field Guide

  • Understanding Japan

  • A Cultural History
  • By: Mark J. Ravina, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Mark J. Ravina
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,836
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,649
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,638

In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian's historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting and informative

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-04-16

85% History / 15% Culture

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

Reviewed: 04-18-19

I had high hopes for this one since I love Japan, but I couldn’t help coming away from it underwhelmed. This was presented from a historian’s perspective. I’ve listened to a lot of great audiobooks lately, and this one had a hard time keeping my interest. Perhaps because the polished narration / storytelling you’d find from a well written book was missing.

85% history / 15% culture — would love it if those numbers were reversed. Just my personal preference. Coverage on modern day Japan was limited only to the last 45 minutes.

  • The Lean Startup

  • How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  • By: Eric Ries
  • Narrated by: Eric Ries
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,328
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,720
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,650

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Informative, mature but not original or essential

  • By Jason Comely on 02-19-13

Essential Wisdom

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

Reviewed: 03-18-19

Finally — a book by someone who should actually write a book! Eric Ries decodes innovation & entrepreneurship of our time, and explains how management will be forced to change their outdated ways in such a rapidly changing world. Implement these practices or suffer death by disruption. Reviewers who claim there is 'nothing new' or 'nothing unique', is because there are so many fast followers who have copied this book!

Highly recommended for those working hard to create a better future.

Christopher Armstrong
Author, The Maker's Field Guide: The Definitive Guide to Making Anything Imaginable

  • Conscious Capitalism

  • Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
  • By: John Mackey, Raj Sisodia, Bill George
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 486
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418

Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today's best-known and most-successful companies, they illustrate how these two forces can - and do - work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reaches the core of how a business should be run.

  • By Elias Papadopoulos on 12-23-14

The Good Side of Business

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

Reviewed: 03-01-19

Many people think the Amazon buyout of Whole Foods for $14 billion was random. Read this book and it’s clear as daylight why Bezos & co. made the deal. John Mackey is a brilliant entrepreneur and businessman, and this is his manifesto on being ‘Consciously Capitalist.’

This book is so high-level that it approaches the realm of the philosophical. It should be required reading for anyone who considers Socialism to be a noble and just system, and business to be evil. John Mackey himself seems to be an evolution of Milton Friedman and John Adams, so if you like either you won’t be disappointed.

The one star reviews most likely come from low-level people in an organization who don’t truly understand how the separate parts fit together, or the ‘Crony Capitalist’ types Mackey speaks so harshly of (namely, Wall Street & the financial sector). Mackey's methodology is hard and requires a disciplined approach — just as eating junk food and playing video games all day may feel good in the short term, but will lead to all sorts of mess, depression and health issues in the long term.

There are so many one-liners in here that are worth the price of admission. My favorites being:
“A company built on fear and stress is like a house infested with termites. It may look fine from the outside — but, it is slowly being eaten away from the inside, until one day it just collapses.”

“Profits are essential for a company to better fulfill its purpose. Creating profits provides the capital our world needs to innovate and progress. NO PROFITS = NO PROGRESS.”

  • David and Goliath

  • Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
  • By: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,171
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,330
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,311

In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Art of (Unconventional) War

  • By Cynthia on 10-04-13

Mickey Mouse ‘Misfits’

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

Reviewed: 02-14-19

There’s one great story about the battle between David and Goliath at the beginning, which is probably only 15 minutes. Otherwise, this book tries too hard to be edgy and rebellious, from the perspective of an author that does not truly understand what it means to be either...

Gladwell’s case studies are much too academic for my tastes, and his thoughts on the subject of disruptive underdogs are of the kindergarten/Mickey Mouse variety (even his voiceover sounds like he’s reading to a kindergarten class). I tuned out around his thoughts on college education, since Gladwell’s perspective on being a misfit is something to the effect of “instead of getting one degree from Harvard or Stanford, why not get TWO degrees from lesser known institutions?” That, my friends, is his idea of being a rebel.

The subject of education, competition, and how bureaucratic and profit-driven the system has become is far more complicated than the concepts presented here. This book seemed catered towards medical / law school students attempting to brave the cutthroat world of their respective degree programs — which is fine if you’re part of that audience, but the title is misleading for the truly rebellious who want to win playing a different game.

I recommend anything from Peter Thiel, Blue Ocean Strategy, The Innovator’s Dilemma, or Drop Out and Get Schooled by Patrick Bet-David over this tripe. I don’t usually roast books so harshly, but I feel I wasted one good credit that could have otherwise gone to much better books in my wishlist.

(P.S. A quick online search shows MG has a net worth of 30+ million writing these “rah, rah!” inspirational books, and that his father was a math professor and mother a psychotherapist. MG himself has enjoyed a safe, tracked academic upbringing — so take that into consideration when he positions himself as an expert on ‘disruption’).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Skunk Works

  • A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed
  • By: Ben R. Rich, Leo Janos
  • Narrated by: Pete Larkin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,542
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,128
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,121

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America's high-stakes quest to dominate the skies. Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice work for a techie or aero interested

  • By Nar on 09-19-15

Perfect for Makers and Designers

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

Reviewed: 01-24-19

I agree with other reviewers, there are about a dozen CEO’s, test pilots, and engineers interviewed - however since they’re all in the same voice it’s hard to keep up. Would be better narrated in different voice, or different tone of voice at least.

The included PDF images are awesome. The book feels very much like Mad Men meets Mad Scientist. Pride, ego, and crucial business management lessons are all on display in full force. Especially interesting hearing the cat & mouse dynamic between the US and USSR during the Cold War. The Skunk Works was both unconventional and uncompromising in their approach to excellence. The quotes from Kelly Johnson, the chief engineer of the firm are worth the price for the book alone.

If you’re on the fence about picking this up, and are remotely interested in design, engineering, STEM, mechanics, business - just go for it!

Christopher Armstrong
Author of The Maker’s Field Guide : The Definitive Guide to Making Anything

  • Kettlebell - Simple & Sinister

  • By: Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Narrated by: Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Length: 2 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295

Learn how to use the extreme hand-held gym from the source - the man who started the kettlebell revolution. Simple & Sinister will prepare you for almost anything life could throw at you, from carrying a piano upstairs to holding your own in a street fight. Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, currently a Subject Matter Expert to elite US military and law enforcement special operations units.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding training protocol

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-13-17

Pavelisms

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

Hey, it's Pavel, so of course the performance is going to be 5 stars. This is the reason I bought the audiobook vs. the printed version, although someday I may buy the paperback as a companion. Female listeners may be turned off by how macho his writing is, but you have to understand he comes from an elite military background and trains elite level fighters / warriors — not much else more masculine than that. If you can't handle it, stick to your yoga and pilates.

Most important takeaway was the mindset towards training, strength and endurance vs. the actual moves and S&S program itself. Many of the movements can be found online in video form which is superior than print, but the mindset, rationale and tried and tested research behind why the Kettlebell is an "extreme handheld gym" or "loaded Yoga" is invaluable.

  • 12 Rules for Life

  • An Antidote to Chaos
  • By: Jordan B. Peterson, Norman Doidge MD - foreword
  • Narrated by: Jordan B. Peterson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42,474
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37,971

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Humorous, surprising, and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not Your Average 'Self Help' Book

  • By TheBookie on 06-04-18

Real, Raw and Emotional

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

Reviewed: 01-17-19

Loved hearing this narrated in Jordan’s actual voice. He got quite emotional in parts, which came through in his voice (actually it’s the first audiobook I’ve heard with such emotion). Thankfully they didn’t edit that out, since it made the experience of listening to him speak that much more real.

Jordan’s combined understanding of human nature from both a clinical psychology perspective, intermingled with deep deconstructions of philosophy, religion, economics, politics and history is impressive to say the least. His way of connecting the dots between all of these separate fields, and simplifying very complex subjects makes this an invaluable read.

  • How to Sell Your Way Through Life

  • Highly Proven to Help Make Millionaires! (Revised)
  • By: Napoleon Hill
  • Narrated by: A. C. Fellner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119

Written in the depths of the Great Depression, How to Sell Your Way Through Life explores a crucial component of Achievement: your ability to make the sale. Ringing eerily true in today's uncertain times, Hill's work takes a practical look at how, regardless of our occupation, we must all be salespeople at key points in our lives. Hill breaks down concrete instances of how the Master Salesman seizes advantages and opportunities, giving you tools you can use to effectively sell yourself and your ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Solid addition to Hill's legacy.

  • By Bogdan Ponomarov on 02-10-14

Everyone's a Salesperson

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

One of the best book I've personally found on the subject of selling. I especially recommend this to the creative / artistic types, who particularly feel selling is evil, unethical, insincere, or lacking nobility (of which, myself included fell into this group).

A couple of quotes on selling, which are not in the book, but speak to the importance of sales in every aspect of life:

"Selling and communicating to the people is the most important thing." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Whatever the career, sales ability distinguishes superstars from also-rans." - Peter Thiel

  • Chaos Monkeys - Revised Edition

  • Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley
  • By: Antonio Garcia Martinez
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 16 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92

One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez. After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. In Chaos Monkeys, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Must read/listen - Absolutely engrossing

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-25-19

The ‘Bad Santa’ of Silicon Valley

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

Reviewed: 12-10-18

I felt compelled to knock a star for the overall pessimistic views and spiteful portrayals expressed in the book (think Bad Santa movie). That being said, the extremely witty, intelligent, and entertaining writing style covering everything from stock trading, investing, the corporate battlefield of the business, and the current reality of online / social media advertising is impossible to deny.

Audible is perfect for a book like this with the many included footnotes, since they tend to interrupt the overall flow of reading a traditional book. There's also a great Q and A at the end with the author.