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MAdison

  • 9
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  • 97
  • helpful votes
  • 88
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Great topic, but quite unoriganized

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

Reviewed: 04-04-19

Speaker is clearly knowledgeable about the topic with good sense of humor. I found two key issues with this course:

- While languages were developed across historical/cultural events, the course makes only cursory (and out of sequence) reference to historical development associated with such language evolution. Also, coverage of topic is very unorganized and unbalanced

- Teacher tries to pronounce a number of words/sounds/sentences in so many languages. I know one of those languages and his pronunciation was way off to a point that it was not understandable. It is unrealistic to expect that one person that can utter words/sounds in so many languages. It would be much more useful if he used actual sound clips by native speakers (for existing languages) or someone with better skills for extinct ones (I recall he only used a couple of samples by others)

13 of 19 people found this review helpful

Ambitious course and needs more work

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

Reviewed: 02-15-19

I have great interest in history of science/innovation and avid reader. Covering such a broad range of topics in 17.5 hr is a huge challenge, which left the instructor no choice but being selective.
I have technical expertise in a very narrow field, which is covered in a few lectures in the last 1/3 of the course. I found his technical description of some of science/technology (around those topics) quite inaccurate, which could be misleading for those not familiar with those technologies.
Also, noticed that a few data and factoid were incorrect.
Combination of inaccuracies and wrong data adversely impacted my trust for the rest of materials. I will not quote anything from this course, unless it is verified by independent/trusted sources.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

Great Review of many topics, perhaps too many

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

Reviewed: 04-13-18

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

Professor does a wonderful job covering recent developments in Physics, Math, Chem, Bio in the first half of the book. He also, very successfully, connects the common themes and concepts across these disciplines very well.

The second half of the book attempts to do the same thing with various topics in humanity and social sci, e.g culture, political sci, Psych. Treatment of these topics is very rudimentary and in-effective. He also fails to demonstrate a common theme that connects these areas and associated developments.

Perhaps for the next edition of the course, he may consider splitting the book/course in two volumes.

Overall, a good course worth listening to.

Light reading with two major issues

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

Reviewed: 03-31-18

What would have made Sapiens better?

Evidence-based statements with new research

What was most disappointing about Yuval Noah Harari’s story?

This is a topic of great interest to me and I have been reading various sources (history, biology, technology and science) to gain a better understanding how we got here. Addressing all these topics in a single book is quite challenging and practically impossible.
Despite all the short comings of this coming of this book, painfully I finished it, hoping that I will learn something new.

At the end, I can summarize two major issues with this book:

1. This book does not offer any new data, research or insight on the topic. It contains a hodge podge of events, names and partial stories.

2. Book is highly based on unique and personal views of the author, which are super-imposed on historical and societal events. Thus, he selectively picked events (or pieces of the events) that fit his own ideas and believes. Interestingly, he mentions/criticizes that one can use different pieces of events to supports conflicting views (when covering role of Britain in India, and whether that was productive or destructive). It seems that author started with his own scenario with a priori established framework and then incorporated historical/scientific pieces to confirm it.

There is nothing wrong for author to do so, as long as it clearly stated that "this is my personal views and not necessarily evidence-based human history"

The other challenge with the book is clear lack of author's understanding/ experience with science and technology. In parts of the book, he seems to have cut & pasted statements from other sources without being able to assess its value (e.g. see his comments about current value of nanotechnology and its potential future impact)

Experienced readers familiar with science and history can easily tease out selective personal position of the author from facts/reality. However, for those learning about this topic for the first time from this book, it creates a vastly inaccurate and perhaps false perspective.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Audio reading was OK, but not clear why it was in British accent!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, I realized that I need to do more work/reading for obtaining quality information on this topic

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Disappointment

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

Reviewed: 03-11-18

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I have listened to many of Prof Greenberg's audiobooks, some more than once. Outstanding courses, educational and entertaining. In my view, three elements are primary reason for such great materials that he put together:
- Prof Greenberg is very knowledgeable with hands on experience in a range of music and eras
- Excellent story teller, intertwining social & historical elements with music development
- Inclusion of key and relevant performances/pieces that made his points very clear to follow and fully appreciate details

Inclusion of these performances, created wonderful courses that I was enjoying during my long commutes (driving, train and flight).

During the first lecture of this course, the author indiciated that due to cost of licensing, he has decided not include actual pieces (while he is describing verbally every performance in such a detail). Instead, there is a constant mention of "a URL is included in the materials"
In order to fully benefit from this course, one needs to listen to audiobook, while sitting in front of computer, with constant back and forth, something like:
Play-Pause-go to PDF for URL-UTube-Pause-Play-PDF-...

Without the actual examples included in the audiobook, this is purely a reading of materials by the author and fails to deliver

Imagine listening to his outstanding course titled "How To Listen To And Understand Opera", without great samples included.

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Include actual pieces/performances (not necessarily the entire piece, just enough that makes the content useful, very similar to previous courses)

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, great professor and excellent topic

67 of 68 people found this review helpful

Another masterpiece from Prof Greenberg

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

Reviewed: 04-05-17

I have listened to other books by the author. He clearly is very knowledgeable about music, deeply appreciates it and knows how to tell story.
In this book, he shows the same level of knowledge and mastery of historical events and relates them to key composers and genres.
This book contains 24 chapters of selective events. He could easily do another 20, 30 or more chapters by looking into other events and music work.
I wish there was more of recent musical work.

PS. Although the title is about histroy and music, it is about selective European work and event (a bit carried into American era), heavily tilted toward his own family roots. This is not a criticism, more of a heads up for those looking for a broader view of history and music.

Shallow, disjoint, disappointing

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

Reviewed: 03-24-17

This book is a trivial compilation of a bunch of loosely coonected topics, with no depth. Clearly the author does not have technical background in the topic, thus unable to be selective or focused. Full of name/date droppings.

It feels as if someone did a Google search and patched the results into a book, with some writing skills.
Quite disappointing and painful to listen to the entire book.
There are a number of non-technical writers that have written outstanding books around science and technology, but this is not even close.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

A Masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 03-10-17

Would you consider the audio edition of How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition to be better than the print version?

Author/teacher is extremely knowledgeable and knows how to tell story.
Excellent selection of pieces throughout the book.
Last segments seemed to be a bit superficial and loose .

What does Professor Robert Greenberg bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Knowledge and skill to convey message very clearly and effectively

This is not a history book

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

Reviewed: 03-10-17

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

This is a compilation of personal and general views of the author about social trends, with occasional historical references. When there is such historical references, often times, it is vague and truncated to a point that makes you wonder.
I strongly believe history is not about a tabulated list of names, dates, place and events. But history book should give sufficient info to reader to make their own assessment or identify the trends. It is also OK for the author to provide his/her own general views, but there has to be a substance to educate and convince the reader.
This book also ignores or barely mentions some of the most critical events during that era (and spent so much time to describe petty theft in Moscow in very detail).

If you are looking for book to learn about history of Russia for that era, this is not the right one.
Perhaps a more appropriate title for this book would be:
"My personal and general views of selective social events in Russia: From Peter to Gorbachev"

What didn’t you like about Professor Mark Steinberg’s performance?

He tends to mumble through Russian names. Since these names are not common in this side of pond, it is important to provide a clear pronunciation of the names.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev?

Summarize the entire book to 2 hours or less

0 of 1 people found this review helpful