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  • Make It Stick

  • The Science of Successful Learning
  • By: Peter C. Brown
  • Narrated by: Qarie Marshall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,411
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,954
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,913

To most of us, learning something 'the hard way' implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head and will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW HOW TO LEARN

  • By ANDRÉ on 11-22-14

Required reading for learners of all ages

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

Reviewed: 10-11-17

“Make it Stick” should be required reading for all students. In fact, I’m considering making it just that for the introductory psychology students I teach. The authors do an excellent job of conveying the best current research on learning, showing systematically how the research can inform best practices for students. Common study strategies such a re-reading and cramming (“massed practice”) are shown to be ineffective, and the authors do an excellent job of marshaling the data to show just how ineffective these practice are. Instead, the authors suggest retrieval practice, interleaving, spaced practice, and other techniques proven to boost retention and comprehension.

The authors explain (using the very techniques they advocate) how each technique has been shown by the research to boost learning among students. They back the data up with specific anecdotes that illustrate the concept in question. The authors do an excellent job of combing data and stories, establishing a firm scientific grounding with the number, and then bringing those numbers to life with engaging tales of real life learners. The examples of a surgeon employing reflecting to improve his technique or of pilots using simulation and retrieval practice to prepare for in-flight emergencies really help make the techniques stick.

Anyone interested in learning – whether you’re still getting grades or not – should really read this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • White Trash

  • The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
  • By: Nancy Isenberg
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,842
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,555
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,528

In White Trash, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early 19th century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ's Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 400 Year Head Start Squandered

  • By Virgil on 10-11-16

Fails to live up to it's title

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

Reviewed: 10-03-17

White Trash claims it will tell “The 400-year untold history of class in America”. Instead, the book relays the 400-year history the ways in which poor-whites have been derogated in America, but largely omits the origin of the white lower class. The history begins with the arrival of criminals, beggars, and other “waste people” (as they were called at the time) from England. We are quickly given the litany of slurs and admonitions hurled against this lower class, but nowhere are we told how they came to be. They simply “are”, and this theme persists throughout the book. In era after era, “white trash” simply exist. “White trash” are presented as a poor, malnourished, uneducated group viewed by the rest of society as lazy, aggressive, incestuous, and ignorant, and Dr. Isenberg really never provides any alternative explanation for their state. There is little time spent on discussing social conditions that might have led to the existence of the “waste people” in the first place, nor of how external factors might have perpetuated their poor state. Dr. Isenberg focusing more on describing the insults hurled against the white poor by the more fortunate, and occasionally on questioning the egalitarian bonafides of the founders (certainly a worthy endeavor, but not particularly useful to advancing the aim of the book), but spends little time explaining where white trash came from and why they still exist.

Dr. Isenberg spends ample time discussing eugenics, but seems unable or unwilling to distinguish the theory of eugenics in particular from the broader concepts of evolution and heredity. She write as though she rejects the very notion of heredity, railing at one point against those who claim intelligence is heritable. Data show fairly unambiguously, however, that traits such an intelligence and self-control are heritable, at least in part. Rather than a nuanced discussion of the interplay between genes and environment, Dr. Isenberg sets up a false dichotomy between nature and nurture, falsely equates nature with eugenics, and then spends the better part of the book attacking her strawmen.

What makes this particularly frustrating is that she spends almost no time suggesting alternative explanations for the state of poor whites. If genetics are not to blame, than what is? To be clear, I believe there a numerous environmental factors in the history of United States which could be cited as reasons for persistent white poverty, but Dr. Isenberg largely ignores them, choosing instead to rail against eugenics. When the 20th century arrive, Dr. Isenberg adds the boogey-man of capitalism to the list of targets, but does little to explain how the free market system contributed to the plight of the white poor in America.
If you’re looking to better understand where the lower class in America came from, look elsewhere.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Whistling Vivaldi

  • How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do
  • By: Claude M. Steele
  • Narrated by: DeMario Clarke
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 286

Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful!

  • By Miranda Legg on 06-11-16

An excellent primer on an important body of resear

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

Reviewed: 03-28-17

If you could sum up Whistling Vivaldi in three words, what would they be?

Illuminates racial relations

What other book might you compare Whistling Vivaldi to and why?

Whistling Vivaldi is similar to other excellent psychology books written for the lay audience, such as Dan Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness or Roy Baumeister's Willpower, in that it conveys a complex and important program of research in way that is engaging and accessible to a lay audience.

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

The reader does an excellent job, but in general I don't find that a reader can transform the experience of nonfiction in the same way as fiction.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Everyone's behavior is affected by stereotypes, both by those we ourselves hold about others and by the fear that others will see us through the lense of their own stereotypes.

Any additional comments?

Claude Steele's research on stereotype threat is groundbreaking, and I truly believe it's something everyone should be aware of. This book does an excellent job of explaining this body of work in a way that provides the reader with actionable information about their behavior.

  • The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas

  • By: Lawrence Cahoone, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Lawrence Cahoone
  • Length: 18 hrs and 24 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 484
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 428
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423

Without even realizing it, we all use the fruits of political philosophy. From liberty to democracy to community, the terms and concepts originated by political philosophers are ingrained in our global consciousness. Yet many of us have an incomplete picture of how these ideas developed and, quite possibly, a skewed perception of their intentions and implications. This highly relevant course sheds light on the labyrinth of Western political and social theory, as well as its influence on modern history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An Excellent Survey of Western Political Thought

  • By Dana Garrett on 06-02-15

A course like this should be required in school

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

Reviewed: 07-12-16

I was drawn I. to this course from the very first lecture. Professor Cahoone is an excellent lecturer. There are moments where he misspeaks and then corrects himself, but I felt this added a sense of realism and humanity to the lectures. He does an excellent job of distilling complex ideas I to easily digestible nuggets. I think anyone with an interest in politics would benefit greatly from. this course.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Nullification

  • How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century
  • By: Thomas E. Woods Jr.
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89

Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say no. As New York Times best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, "nullification" allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Explains Why, but not How To

  • By Dale Hurtt on 08-28-10

Good coverage of an important topic

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

Reviewed: 04-21-15

What did you love best about Nullification?

Dr. Woods does an excellent job of presenting historical context to support his arguments. The book provides extensive coverage of and reference to source material, including letters from the founding fathers, pamphlets, newspapers, and the ratifying conventions. Dr. Woods clearly knows his history and makes ample use of this knowledge when making the case for state nullification.

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

I didn't, but I could have. In an era of ever increasing federal power, it was refreshing to read a book that reminded me that such centralization of power was neither what the founders of this country intended nor an inevitable deformation of said intent. Whenever I spent time with this book, I emerged feeling empowered to stand up for my rights, and those of others.

Any additional comments?

I think this book should be required reading for anyone interested in issues of constitutional law or civil liberties. Many of the issue we face as a nation today, including the warentless wiretapping of the Bush administration, the use of torture against detainees, the indefinite detention of said detainees, the soaring federal deficit, the drone program, the NSA's illegal spying, the ever expanding military budget, and ever increasing government regulation of personal and financial life, stem from the ability of the federal government to unilaterally determine the constitutionality of its own actions. State nullification provides a possible means of checking this ever growing centralization of power, and those concerned with such issues owe it to themselves to at least read the book and decide for themselves whether nullification is a viable tool for curtailing the growth of federal power.

  • Atlas Shrugged

  • By: Ayn Rand
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 62 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,564
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,025
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,092

In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A long listen but worth the effort and patience

  • By Emily on 05-04-13

Should have ended after part 2

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

Reviewed: 04-21-15

What did you like best about Atlas Shrugged? What did you like least?

The first two-thirds of the book are quite good. Rand creates a very romantic, black-hat vs. white-hat world, so her characters shine the most when they are set in stark opposition to her villains. The world itself is most intriguing as it slowly slides toward chaos. What I liked most about the book, overall, was that it provides a somewhat unique perspective on dystopia. Most dystopias (e.g 1984, Brave New World) drop the reader into the midst of a dystopic future. Atlas Shrugged begins the reader in a functional world, and charts the declines of that world into disarray.

Where the book begins to fall apart is in the final part, part 3. A major mystery having been resolved, the story loses a significant amount of its momentum. It is no longer clear what, exactly, the reader is waiting for. This directionless course ultimately culminates in a rather unfulfilling end, which left me wishing the book had ended fully 1/3 earlier than it did.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ayn Rand? Why or why not?

Probably not. It's not that I disliked the book, I simply wouldn't be ready to commit to another novel of biblical proportions from Rand. I feel I received a sufficient education in Randian philosophy from Atlas Shrugged as to negate the need for a reading of The Fountainhead.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was Hank Reardon's trial. This displays Rand at her best - writing an impassioned, self-righteous, romantic monologue praising the ethics of work and creation while denouncing the ills of compulsion and envy. A word of warning the potential listener - if spending hours listening to passionate defenses of capitalism and denunciations of government sounds like hell on Earth, you would be advised to steer clear of Atlas Shrugged.

Was Atlas Shrugged worth the listening time?

Partially. This is a long book, but I still managed to devour the first two thirds in record time. That said, I found the final third of a the book to be a chore. I lost interest in most of the characters I had previously been invested in, and I had not sense of urgency regarding any aspect of the larger narrative. Ultimately, the book delivers some 20 hours of captivating reading followed by 10 hours which, frankly, should have been cut from the book at the editing phase.

Any additional comments?

If you are curious about libertarianism or free market philosophy, please don't make Atlas Shrugged your first exposure to the concept. Rand is rather extreme in many ways, and her philosophy of Objectivism is not synonymous with either free market capitalism or libertarianism. You might instead read the works of Murray Rothbard (For a New Liberty) or David Boaz (Libertarianism: A Primer) for accessible and comprehensive reviews of these worldviews.

If, on the other hand, you are already versed in free markets and libertarianism, you might consider reading the book as either A) a champagne bath (several speeches will have you pumping your fist and shouting "Yeah! Nobody understands me!") or B) to gain a better understanding of Rand's peculiar brand of capitalism and ethics.

  • The Conscience of a Liberal

  • By: Paul Krugman
  • Narrated by: Jason Culp
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 444
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192

America emerged from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal with strong democratic values and broadly shared prosperity. But for the past 30 years, American politics has been dominated by a conservative movement determined to undermine the New Deal's achievements. Now, the tide may be turning, and in The Conscience of a Liberal Paul Krugman, the world's most widely read economist and one of its most influential political commentators, charts the way to reform.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must for anyone interested in U.S. politics.

  • By Patricia on 10-06-13

A poor and shallow defense of liberal philosophy

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

Reviewed: 04-21-15

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you are already convinced of the liberal position, I suppose this book would serve as a good champagne bath. If, however, you'd like a more substantive presentation of the position, I recommend The Law of Peoples by John Rawls.

Has The Conscience of a Liberal turned you off from other books in this genre?

This book has turned me off to other books by Dr. Krugman. I hoped a scholar of his renown would be able to deliver a deep defense of the positions he holds. Instead, I found a purely emotive presentation of his worldview. I was very disappointed, and will look elsewhere in the future when consuming material on liberal political ideology.

Any additional comments?

I went in to this book as a Libertarian hoping to gain perspective on the underlying logic of the liberal worldview. Instead, Dr. Krugman delivers a shallow diatribe against the wealthy and in favor of redistribution of wealth without ever addressing the philosophical underpinnings of the position. Beginning from the apparently axiomatic point that the wealthy owe a debt to the poor, Dr. Krugman spends his book outlining the various ways in which societal problems could be addressed if only we would tax the wealthy or regulate Wall Street. Absent is any defense of why it is justified to do these things. I really wanted to like this book; sadly, I did not.

Lest you think I merely hated the book because I disagreed with the premise, I would suggest that the work of John Rawls provides a much more satisfying read. I still do not agree with his premises, but I greatly enjoyed his precise logic and feel that I better understand the liberal position after reading his work.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful