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Christopher Fountain

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 46
  • helpful votes
  • 49
  • ratings
  • Algorithms to Live By

  • The Computer Science of Human Decisions
  • By: Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths
  • Narrated by: Brian Christian
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,887
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,461
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,384

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • How do you prioritize when everything is top priority? I have an answer now.

  • By MaeC on 01-31-18

A Good Topic, Decently Explored

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

Reviewed: 11-18-17

My main realization about this book is that it is roughly 50% computer science background/introduction, 25% anecdotes, and 25% suggestions for how to improve our own decisions with lessons from computer science.

The publisher was correct for not titling the book, "How to Use Computer Science to Improve Human Decisions," but I was a bit disappointed by how little I could take away from the book to apply in my life. This is more of an intro to CS book, with some suggestions for the general public mixed in.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Rise and Fall of American Growth

  • The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War
  • By: Robert J. Gordon
  • Narrated by: Michael Butler Murray
  • Length: 30 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322

In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, home appliances, motor vehicles, air travel, air conditioning, and television transformed households and workplaces. With medical advances, life expectancy between 1870 and 1970 grew from 45 to 72 years. The Rise and Fall of American Growth provides an in-depth account of this momentous era.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The book is a great review of how we got to where we are today

  • By isaiah on 09-13-16

Dry, but informative

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

Reviewed: 11-15-17

To be honest, this book is tough to get through. Even though it covers a subject I have a lot of interest in, I must have started and finished at least ten other books between the time I started this one, and the day I finally finished it.

He gets 4 stars for his excellent job compiling data, but his conclusions are iffy, and he stepped outside of his expertise with some speculation a few times (e.g. diet comments stuck out to me). Conservative economist Deirdre McCloskey said in and interview that, "Bob Gordon lost his mind," in reference to this book. That doesn't mean he is wrong, but you can guess where his conclusions lean.

  • What Happened

  • By: Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Narrated by: Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,142
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,102

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Happened?

  • By Celina Resendez on 10-21-17

Surprisingly insightful

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

Reviewed: 11-14-17

I will admit to having a general dislike of Hillary Clinton before begining this book, but her pragmatism and extensive knowledge significantly improved my view of her. She is also a revelation as a narrator.

I feel like this is a good book for her fans, and a necessary book for her detractors. She ignores certain issues many people have with her, but addresses many more. I was expecting a bland rehashing of what we have heard 100+ times, but she is much more effective in this format than even in speeches or debates.

Is this an unbiased, definitive analysis? No, but it is a well-written, well-narrated perspective from one of the principle participants in the 2016 election.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Grant

  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 48 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,813
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,325
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,295

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow reveals in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Book (BUT WHERE IS THE PDF FILES)????

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-25-17

Magnificent Chernow

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

Reviewed: 10-15-17

I have now listened to the last three biographies by Ron Chernow, and he has cemented his place as my favorite biographer, in both style and substance. Grant was, admittedly, a bit lower on my list of biographies to get to...until I found out Chernow had one coming out. I raced through it in 5 days of listening at 2-2.5x and urge all lovers of comprehensive biographies to consider this book. Partially due to the subjects, expect it to more closely relate to Washington: A Life, than to Hamilton.

The narrator does a very good job, my only complaint being that I don't like accents performed during quotes of non-fiction books. He was very clear through 2.5x

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces

  • By: Joseph Campbell
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey, John Lee, Susan Denaker
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,800
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,629
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,615

Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell's revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In this book, Campbell outlines the Hero's Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world's mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very good if hungry for more Campbell

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-03-16

The Classic

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

Reviewed: 10-10-17

I was surprised by how much Campbell referenced psychoanalysis, but I suppose it was all the rage back then. 4 stars for the solid comparative religion and loads of examples.

I don't understand why they went with three narrators. It seemed unnecessary and was a bit confusing.

  • Mises

  • The Last Knight of Liberalism
  • By: Jörg Guido Hülsmann
  • Narrated by: Paul Strikwerda
  • Length: 31 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

Here is a magisterial book for today and the ages, one that inspires awe for both the subject and the author who accomplished the seemingly impossible: a sweeping intellectual biography, constructed from original sources, of the 20th century's most astonishing dissident intellectual. It has the apparatus of a great scholarly work but the drama of a classic novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Biography of Mises

  • By No to Statism on 01-03-19

Glad this exists

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

Reviewed: 10-01-17

I was amazed to find a 31-hour biography of someone so relatively obscure. While the book does not really explore Mises' flaws, and the author is obviously a fan, that is to be expected in a book sponsored by the Mises Institute. Hülsmann is not on a level with the great biographers, but it is still very well done.

The narration is clear through about 1.8x, my only complaint being I am not a fan of accents in quotes during non-fiction books.

  • Elantris

  • Tenth Anniversary Special Edition
  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Jack Garrett
  • Length: 28 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,844
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,344
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,352

In 2005, Brandon Sanderson debuted with Elantris, an epic fantasy unlike any other then on the market. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Tor is reissuing Elantris in a special edition, a fresh chance to introduce it to the myriad listeners who have since become Sanderson fans.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • For the superfan or new listener

  • By Christopher on 01-28-16

The Potential Is There

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

Reviewed: 09-18-17

One can tell pretty clearly that Sanderson had potential from his very first published book. The prose is a bit clunky, but the characters are solid, though mostly one-dimensional. His world-building and vision are excellent.

Jack Garrett is great, as always, but I recommend listening anywhere from 1.25-2.25x

  • A Treatise of Human Nature

  • By: David Hume, Israel Bouseman
  • Narrated by: Philippe Duquenoy
  • Length: 23 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

A Treatise of Human Nature is the first work ever published by David Hume, a man who revolutionized our understanding of philosophy. Hume was an advocate of the skeptical school of philosophy and a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment. He looks at the nature of human experience and cognition, showing that philosophy and reason can only be reflections of our nature.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Strong Second Half

  • By Christopher Fountain on 09-13-17

Strong Second Half

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

Reviewed: 09-13-17

I like how Bouseman gives a short biography and summary to start.

The first half of the book was of little interest to me, but the second half made up for it. The final 6 hours or so (political philosophy and morals) is very strong.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Washington

  • A Life
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 41 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,286
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,302
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,277

In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. This crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book!

  • By Jack Merritt on 12-24-10

Everything I Could Ask for of a Biography

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

Reviewed: 08-31-17

Between Alexander Hamilton and this, I am completely sold on Chernow's biographical style. His negative views of Adams and Jefferson do make me want to read more about them, just to get more information from which to draw my own conclusions. October 10th (Grant) cannot come fast enough!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Leviathan

  • or The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiastical and Civil
  • By: Thomas Hobbes
  • Narrated by: James Adams
  • Length: 23 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 145

The leviathan is the vast unity of the State. But how are unity, peace, and security to be attained? Hobbes’ answer is sovereignty, but the resurgence of interest today in Leviathan is due less to its answers than its methods: Hobbes sees politics as a science capable of the same axiomatic approach as geometry.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • For PoliSci Graduate Students as a Readalong

  • By deborah on 01-14-12

An important start

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

Reviewed: 07-18-17

It is easy to appreciate the influence Hobbes had on later authors, but be warned that hours of this book are devoted to Bible analysis. For those of you more interested in the political aspects, chapters 11-32 (of the audiobook) are where you will get the most out of your time. The rest you can fly through at 3x.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful