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Kristofer Jarl

Sweden
  • 17
  • reviews
  • 36
  • helpful votes
  • 55
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She Rides Shotgun audiobook cover art

Not really my cup of tea

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

Reviewed: 07-02-19

While this coming of age-story is not bad, it's a bit linear for my taste. There are no twists or surprises anywhere.
I'm also not too impressed with the reading. The female characters all have the same expression and inflection, even though it doesn't suit their character.

The End of Average audiobook cover art
  • The End of Average
  • How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness
  • By: Todd Rose
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders

Good intentions, terrible execution

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

Reviewed: 05-06-19

Todd Rose has a chip on his shoulder. It shows clearly in this book. Even if he gradually eases off on the pedal during this book, (it becomes a tad more nuanced towards the end) it is clear that he has found an enemy in 'average' (or, what he thinks 'average' is), and what he refers to as 'averagerians'.

The problem is that he tries to take all the situations he dislikes in a variety of fields (health care, military, education, industry) and tries to find a way to pin the problems on the 'average' mindset. After a promising first chapter, it becomes unsustainable very quickly.

Let me give an example; Todd Rose says that the recruitment policy in corporate business is flawed, because employers are looking to find talent that is performing better than average on tests.
But 'average' has nothing to do with this behaviour! Employers are looking to find the best talent, period. The 'average' part can be completely omitted, but Rose shoves it in anyway, making it apparent that he does what he can to pin everything on this concept.

He is much better off when he momentarily talks about the flaws in one-dimentional assessment systems, or the jaggedness principle, but alas, he turns it into a lynch rally against 'averageness'.

I have spent quite some time debunking Taylorism and the likes, much like Rose is attempting to do in this book. But even I can see Rose is trying to steer the fire in the wrong direction.

Rose proposes that we go for a system that is more based on individuality than on scores from standardised tests. All is well with that, but very few suggestions on 'how' to do such a thing. A few hand-wavy examples is all he offers.

Like my review title says, Rose may have good intentions, but this book is a shot in the dark. I would say skip it, and go look elsewhere.

Ready Player One audiobook cover art

Wil Wheaton for president!

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

This is a good listen. Perhaps a bit teenge-y for a middle ager like me, and with a few plot holes here and there. But overall I highly recommend it.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I intend to now that I finished the book.

And, it needs to be pointed out that Wil Wheaton is doing one of the best narrations I have ever heard. It is obvious that he stems from a theater background.

Educated audiobook cover art

An incredibly gripping story

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

Tara's story is a wonderful and horrible one. I've been eyeing this book for months, and when I finally started listening, I couldn't let it go until it was finished. I basically binged it.

The language and the performance is great. Julia Whelan does a great job with the narration.

But it's the story that grips you! I didn't want the journey to end, and yet I couldn't wait to hear how it would finish. I highly recommend this book.

Hunger Moon audiobook cover art

All nuances are lost in this one

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

Reviewed: 07-27-18

I don't return many books, but this one will go back. I've enjoyed the series until now, even if I agree with many that the quality has deteriorated.

It's good to see that the meaningless feud between the agents have subsided, but that's about the only thing that has improved.
The characters are ridiculously stereotypical. All men (with the exception of the agents) are sociopathic lunatics, and openly hostile to everything that has to do with women.

All women, on the other hand, are either helpless and naïve, or freedom fighters who kill rapists like it was another day at the factory. The end always justify the means.

It's like Sokoloff has forgotten what real people are like, that we are not genuinely good or evil, but conflicting and complex.
In the book, sociopathic men team up and go on raping or killing sprees without any hesitation, whereas in the real world, the people who commit these crimes are mostly acting alone, and never show their true nature to anyone, because they are in deep conflict. Sokoloff never considers the inner conflict. Instead she creates a kind of imaginary enemy, a strawman, that is much more convenient for her story, since it distances us from them. They, the rapists, are not human, and therefore we feel no shame when they're killed.

A lot of people seem upset with the political theme of the book. I don't really mind that, even if it doesn't add to the story in any particular way. I'm more concerned with the lack of understanding of human nature in this book. It may not have been the best in the previous in this series, but at this point it is gone altogether.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Outsider audiobook cover art

Had higher expectations from Mr King

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

Reviewed: 06-08-18

It's an entertaining book, but far from the high level of quality that we've come to expect from Stephen King. I'm a big fan of his, so I had great hopes for this one, and now I'm trying to be objective about it.
I'd say it is a good listen, but I don't think I will re-read it.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

The Parallel Entrepreneur audiobook cover art
  • The Parallel Entrepreneur
  • How to Start and Run B2B Businesses While Keeping Your Day Job
  • By: Ryan Buckley
  • Narrated by: Robert Jennings

Interesting content, lousy audio production

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

Reviewed: 05-25-18

I like how Ryan Buckley takes a somewhat different approach to entrepreneurship than what many in the current startup communities normally do. He's one of the few who acknowledges that you may not really need a partner, and that it's ok to have more than one business running in parallel.

For non-US listeners, it my be worthwhile to point out that the portions of the book that addresses US-specific issues, like taxes, employment, and company legal issues, can be a bit tedious.

Other than that, and the fact that the book sometimes feel a bit unstructured, the content is really good, a fresh breeze in the startup echo-chamber.

Now, for the unfortunate parts. The audio quality and the audio production. Good lord, this is the worst I've ever heard! By far! How can you even create content with such bad (and inconsistent) audio? Recording on an iPhone in your car would yield better quality than this. I'm honestly baffled.

And didn't anyone make a pass-through of the recording before submitting it? A ton of mistakes and do-overs are still in the final product. Again, unbelievable in this day of high-quality tools and equipment.

I'm not sure if I should return this book or not. And if I do, it's solely based on the abysmal audio production. Too bad, with a book that's otherwise interesting.

Artemis audiobook cover art

Andy Weir is a sci-fi master

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

Reviewed: 11-19-17

It's not an easy thing to follow up a book like the Martian, but Andy Weir does a great job with Artemis. Sure, the Martian is still a better book in my opinion, but while Artemis is still a sci-fi book, it's also a different kind of story. It has elements of caper, detective story and high paced action.
Jazz is a great heroine, and I don't think I'd be disappointed to see a follow up with her as the protagonist. My only "concern" is that I get the feeling that Andy wrote a story about his dream girl, and made her almost flawless except for her sense of pride.
Rosario Dawson's performance is surprisingly good. In fact, it's one of the best I've heard. I was reluctant before, but I'm glad I was proven wrong.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in in sci-fi.

House of Spies audiobook cover art

Bland and disappointing

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

Reviewed: 07-25-17

It's not a bad book, but it doesn't provide much of anything. Character development, exciting story, beautiful language, plot twists, suspense... they're all lacking.

The characters (of which there are too many, I'd say) go some place, do something, meet someone, go some other place, do something, meet someone. Not once was there a surprise or twist.

There's a word that describes this story well: Linear.

Don't expect a spy novel in the style of John le Carré. Instead, expect a somewhat bland and predictable action story.

This is the first book I've read by the author, so I cannot tell if this is his usual style or not.

The Chemist audiobook cover art

A tad slow at times, but a good story

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

I don't care who wrote it, I'm just looking for a good book. And this one is worth a listen.