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MeatFist

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  • Surfaces and Essences

  • Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking
  • By: Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 33 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 132
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 130

Analogy is the core of all thinking. This is the simple but unorthodox premise that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Hofstadter and French psychologist Emmanuel Sander defend in their new work. Hofstadter has been grappling with the mysteries of human thought for over 30 years. Now, with his trademark wit and special talent for making complex ideas vivid, he has partnered with Sander to put forth a highly novel perspective on cognition.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of verbiage, few insights. Don't bother.

  • By Tim on 08-04-16

Interesting, but could be a quarter the length.

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

Reviewed: 01-12-16

What did you love best about Surfaces and Essences?

Absolutely love Hofstadter as I've encountered him both here and in GEB. This is a set of ideas that I've had in an informal way for a long time, and he lays them out in his typical methodical, logical style with many surprising conclusions I hadn't reached. The moments of insight are... spread out... but they unfold spectacularly.

What other book might you compare Surfaces and Essences to and why?

The only thing I can think of that is this casually philosophical is GEB, but that's a trivial example. The concepts resonate with some of Foucault's work on language, particularly The Order of Things, and some recent academic linguistics, but the book differs drastically in style.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Taking forEVER to read the ENDLESS lists of examples. I GET IT GOOD GOD

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many, many.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • This Is Your Brain on Music

  • The Science of a Human Obsession
  • By: Daniel J. Levitin
  • Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 829
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 477
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 478

In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music - its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it - and the human brain. Levitin draws on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Neuroscience for the right brain

  • By Paul Mullen on 09-12-07

Attempts to please two audiences, fails at both.

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

Reviewed: 01-12-16

Would you try another book from Daniel J. Levitin and/or Edward Herrman?

Sure, Levitin's broad-mindedness could work in another context.

Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

Yes. The book simplifies both acoustics/music theory and neuroscience to the point where there isn't much useful information about either. If you're even a modestly seasoned traveler in either subject, skip this one. The tone is best described as 'cool dad neuroscientist,' particularly when speaking reverently about dated commercial rock music.

What does Edward Herrman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Books don't usually have a deep baritone.

Was This Is Your Brain on Music worth the listening time?

It wasn't a waste of time, just a neutral use of time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Sync

  • How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life
  • By: Steven Strogatz
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 429
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 324
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 328

At once elegant and riveting, Sync tells the story of the dawn of a new science. Steven Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from the electrons in a superconductor to the pacemaker cells in our hearts. He shows that although these phenomena might seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection, forged by the unifying power of mathematics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging, but maybe better suited for non-audio

  • By Ryan on 05-26-12

Shockingly Good

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

Reviewed: 05-14-15

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

This book contains ideas with a beauty that is difficult to express. There is a constant tension in the air - a feeling that you are on the brink of some fundamental pattern in the universe, but you can't put your finger on what that is. I would recommend this book to anyone without qualification.

What other book might you compare Sync to and why?

I haven't found one yet aside from the more formal "Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos"

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I couldn't stop listening to it. In fact I was driving and had to pull over because it was so engrossing.

Any additional comments?

Do not be afraid or unsure for any reason - the book is pitched such that you could listen to it without even knowing addition.