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J. Shaw

  • 5
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 13
  • ratings
  • Bad Blood

  • Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
  • By: John Carreyrou
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9,151
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,297
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8,278

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes' worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extreme retaliation against former employees

  • By Greeny on 05-29-18

The Dark Side of Silicon Valley

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

Reviewed: 08-20-18

Bad Blood is a chilling account of how those who give lip service to every conceived liberal value can in reality be paranoid, secretive, and tyrannical. Take a middle-aged guy in a suit, the stereotypical corporate villain, and turn him into a young, attractive woman like Elizabeth Holmes, who talks the talk and walks the walk, and suddenly the business world is bowing down in abeyance. Tyrants use secret police and soldiers to suppress their country's citizens. Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes used surveillance cameras, e-mail tracking, nondisclosure agreements, and lawyers to intimidate and crush financially anyone who questioned the company's methods and veracity.
This book is gripping. I read it in two days. My only criticism is that Carreyrou throws out too many names, making it hard to keep track of who is whom, especially when it is audio only. A good audio book for a companion paper book nearby. Nevertheless, this is a minor complaint.
Ultimately the book is uplifting. It demonstrates how important a strong and free press are to ferreting out the truth in the face of strong efforts at intimidation. Only a newspaper with the resources and experience such as the Wall Street Journal could have stood down attorney David Boies and his cadre of attorneys who were very willing to take Theranos' money and ask questions later. Reading about Boies' role here has made me lose all respect for him.
In the end, one realizes that the Silicon Valley crew who come to work in T-shirts and sandals, are in the end, no different from the corporate types who ran traditional companies decades ago. Lying for the ultimate ends of the corporation is accepted and even encouraged.


  • Munich

  • A Novel
  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 835
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 774
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 772

Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office - and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Now, when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Hartmann travels on Hitler's train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping

  • By Jean on 01-29-18

Superbly crafted

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

Reviewed: 03-21-18

What did you love best about Munich?


Harris has meticulously researched historical facts and woven the two fictional protagonists into the lives of real people. He is an excellent writer.

What did you like best about this story?


Suspenseful and real. Also, the book shows how Chamberlain had little choice but to give in to Hitler's demand for the Sudetenland. Chamberlain has been vilified ever since the 1938 deal he made with Hitler, but the book, though its characters, makes a compelling argument why going to war with Germany in 1938 was not possible for Britain.

  • The Wizard of Lies

  • Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust
  • By: Diana B. Henriques
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 307
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history? These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion. Many have speculated about what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story - until now. Diana B. Henriques of the New York Times has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best of 3 madoff books

  • By Angela willis on 03-18-13

This Book makes you think about investing

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

Reviewed: 03-20-18

Well written and well paced book that reads like a novel. Henriques does a good job boiling making complex financial transactions understandable. We have all heard about Madoff for years, but this book brings home the financial devastation he caused for so many people. The most frightening thing was the feeder funds whose investors didn’t know that their money was being invested by others for a billion dollar Ponzi scheme. This book will make you want to buy T bills with your money.

  • 4 3 2 1

  • A Novel
  • By: Paul Auster
  • Narrated by: Paul Auster
  • Length: 37 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 455
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 458

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Too much detail.

  • By Jax on 03-03-17

This is my life--by and about Paul Auster

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

Reviewed: 04-15-17

Full disclosure. I did not finish the book. I could not finish the book. A clever premise: same people different lives caused by different events. After that, a real yawn. The time period over which the stories take place--growing up in the 1950s in New Jersey and the upper west side of NY--is obviously autobiographical and generally pretty boring. Aunt so and so and uncle so and so and cousin so and so. One is a college professor, another an appliance store owner, and the protagonist is a kid called Archie who goes to camp, makes out with girls, listens to music, reads books--you get the picture; this is my life as a Jewish kid growing up in urban and suburban NY. To make matters worse, Auster has enough of an ego that he thinks he can read his own book to you and probably thinks he reads it well. It kind of like having your uncle Ben read you bedtime stories. I kept on waiting for something to happen and nothing really ever did. One thing I found really annoying is that Auster regularly showed off his knowledge of music and literature by having his characters tick off all the the great composers or poets. We get it Paul, you are very clever. Lots of hype about this book, but cannot understand why.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • George, Nicholas and Wilhelm

  • Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
  • By: Miranda Carter
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 21 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 276

In the years before the First World War, the great European powers were ruled by three first cousins: King George V of Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Together, they presided over the last years of dynastic Europe and the outbreak of the most destructive war the world had ever seen, a war that set 20th-century Europe on course to be the most violent continent in the history of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • interesting and entertaining work of history

  • By D. Littman on 01-16-11

A superb study of the failure of royalty

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

Reviewed: 04-23-16

Miranda Carter has written a well researched tale of the relationships among three related royal families. Sometimes it's hard to keep all of the names straight on an audio book alone, and having the print version is helpful to reference back to something. It also has fascinating photographs. The book shows well how the Royal families were simply unable to govern a changing world, a world from which they were completely divorced. The tragedy is that millions of young men and civilians had to die in a needless war promoted mainly by Wilhelm who into his middle age had this little boy fantasy of himself as a soldier and leader, replete with medaled uniforms. Nicholas was not far behind. These were selfish people around whom the world revolved. Their capacity for empathy for the common man was nonexistent. Thank God England had made the king somewhat irrelevant by the 20th century. A great read.