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Bashar

mishref, Kuwait
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 61
  • helpful votes
  • 51
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  • The Pillars of the Earth

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 40 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,227
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,687
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,723

The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn't Take My Buds Out

  • By Judith on 11-08-07

Great masterpiece from a guy with deep passion for cathedral architecture

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

It’s hard not to admire cathedral architecture. Ken Follett however obviously have lust for it, and wanted to write about it. He obviously did years of research on the subject and era, and the result is masterpiece story following several families on the span of decades.

The story makes you appreciate the architecture even more, and gives a lot of insight as well, and takes you through journey in time telling how the architecture developed over the years and how it was built.

But not only that. Ken developed a story that makes you as interested in the protagonists as you are with the cathedral itself, making it sound as if the cathedral is there to serve the story, when it might actually be the other way around.

I only disliked few bits of the story.

Great narration as well. The voice did have echo at few minor points, but nothing major.

  • The Templars

  • The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors
  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Dan Jones
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,121
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,009
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,000

In 1307, as they struggled to secure their last strongholds in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Templars fell afoul of the vindictive and impulsive king of France. On Friday, October 13, hundreds of brothers were arrested en masse, imprisoned, tortured, and disbanded amid accusations of lurid sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Vatican in secret proceedings. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unexpected

  • By Protogere on 10-30-17

Epic journey into the history of the Templars

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

Reviewed: 01-17-18

Dan Jones does an excellent job covering the history of the Templars from the very early humble beginnings, rise to power, till the very end, with an epilogue about the time that follows.

His narration is really excellent as well. Rare to find excellent author and narrator at the same time. I enjoyed every minute of this book.

If you got interested in the Templars story from Assassins Creed game like me, there will be very little about the assassins, as this is not a fantasy but history. I am still glad I took the time to go through it. And being from Muslim country, we've been taught the history at young age from Muslim side. So it was interesting to see a more neutral perspective, focusing on the templars side, who are also on a holy crusade.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Finish

  • Give Yourself the Gift of Done
  • By: Jon Acuff
  • Narrated by: Jon Acuff
  • Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,206
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,987
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,949

Acuff knows the reason why many writers' novels go unfinished - it's the same reason why gyms are filled in the first week of January and empty by the end of the month and why people stop learning a new language once they get past the easy parts. It's not just that people lose momentum or get distracted. People give up on projects when they fail to live up to their own high expectations and decide that if they can't do something perfectly, they won't do it at all. If you're going to finish, you have to kill perfectionism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do yourself a favor and read this book

  • By Anonymous User on 10-10-17

I couldn't finish it!

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

Reviewed: 10-27-17

I couldn’t finish it! I’ve listened to half of Finish, but couldn’t see the point of finishing it through. While I honestly tried and couldn’t find but positive reviews for the book, to me, it fell in the common trap of most self improvement books.

A book picks a subject of matter, and then in few hundred pages try to makeup on the point that everything under the sun falls under his topic of focus. Very often blind sided by other important factors. Sort of like when you’re holding a hammer, and want to nail everything down regardless.

For Finish, it was Perfectionism. The book kept repeatedly saying “perfectionism says...”, and then made the claim. First problem is, the author assumes the biggest problem is perfectionism, which means most people are “Perfectionists”. However most people, including myself, aren’t perfectionists. Most people are satisfied with average results. Some even mediocre ones. Yet they still struggle to finish. For different reasons.

Not enough motivation
Inability to focus
Enjoy partying and having fun more
Learning new skill is hard, so brain resists it to favor comfort.
Fear of failure: Different than seeking perfectionism, many are happy to be good, but never want to feel failure. It's socially unacceptable in many societies still. It also involves risk factor.

And many other reasons. And while the book might touch on some of these points, it does so by assuming it’s related to perfectionism most of the time. It does it so often, and under different contexts, that I ended up questioning my understanding of the word perfectionism, I had to lookup the dictionary again for its meaning. For the record:

"Perfectionism: Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection."

For instance, it would say something like (paraphrasing as I can’t recall exactly)

"perfectionism tells us achieving goals is about putting hard excessive work, and that work itself is supposed to be tiring not pleasant"

I don't know about you, but I've never heard Perfectionism make such claim. Where exactly does it say so? If you’ve seen Chef’s Table, you'd see how obsessed and perfectionists the best chefs in the world are, and yet you see how much they are enjoying their work. Steve Jobs was a perfectionist. And he openly spoke about how the real motive he wakes up everyday to go to work is because he loves this work and creating things that matter. Walt Disney was another perfectionist, who worked for years on the first full length animation, Snow White, and would not agree to any compromises. He'd try the Disney rides, come down and report the ride took few seconds less than it should. He was obsessed with creating the perfect experience. He loved it, and kept doing it his entire life. And it's what drove him to work all the time.

Another time the author says every time you watch a Netflix movie, it’s because you’re escaping from the task, because you fear you might fail and not be perfect at it. Also not true. I might watch movies because I like them. I want to stay up to date with Game of Thrones as it keeps me thrilled and exited. I watch Narcos because it's a great adaptation about one of the most famous criminals in the world. I play video games to ease the stress I have throughout the day. And without such enjoyments, I may not have the power to wake up next morning.

At the end of one the chapters, the author makes three suggestions that he claims flies in face of perfectionism:

Drop some activities to make space for others:
Cut goal in half.
And do something you like.

1- Dropping some activities to make time for more important ones. How many times have we read that before? And it really doesn't need saying. I also fail to see how this is related to perfectionism. Me liking to play football, video games, watch tv, practice music, and read books, meanwhile starting my project is not perfectionism. It's different interests. This is about focus, and prioritizing. Got nothing to do with perfectionism.

2- Again. This is not about perfectionism necessarily. Could be an oversight. Could be bad management, and inability to predict. Or could be because it will give me competitive edge over my competitor. So it's business driven, and I'm doing it knowing the compromises on quality. Perfectionism does not mean doing larger task in shorter amount of time. Maybe I'm doing a small task, such as writing a review for a book (what are the odds?), but I'm too obsessed with it, that I keep refining it. This is something I can't cut in half. Doesn't make sense to split a book review into 2 parts! And taking more time will not make me any less perfectionist. It means I'm feeding my perfectionism needs, by giving more time to a task that is likely to be of marginal value.

3- Do something you like. That has been said so many times before. And again, it does not contradict being a perfectionist. Sometimes when I code, I get obsessed with making beautiful, error free, efficient code. And this happens when I'm in the zone. Compeltely consumed by work, I lose track of time, and forget I haven't eaten all day until late at night. And you know what? These are the happiest coding moments for me! As I feel I'm producing something beautiful. And I can feel myself growing as a programmer.

So all in all, listening to such self improvement book might be motivational, and it's obviously appealing to many people. But I fail to see anything new being suggested here. Only old know thoughts put through different, often incorrect, perspective.

** TL;DR the book made me doubt my understanding of the word “perfectionism”, I had to Google its definition to make sure.**

What do you think? Like to hear your thoughts.

51 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • An Unwelcome Quest

  • Magic 2.0, Book 3
  • By: Scott Meyer
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,969
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,763
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,744

Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they've been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds can only dream of having. But even in their wildest fantasies, they never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic and all-around evil behavior.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An Unwelcome Storyline…

  • By B-Ry on 07-15-16

Best in the trilogy

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

Reviewed: 10-01-17

While I liked the concept of Off To Be The Wizard, it wasn’t to me that exciting story. Second book was less interesting.

This book has good level of action and funny jokes. Lots of references for us gamers to enjoy.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • By: Alan Dean Foster
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,015
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,246
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,227

More than 30 years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike - beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times best-selling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Adds a bit to the Movie

  • By Brad on 12-22-15

Best audiobook performance I've heard

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

Reviewed: 05-01-16

This is the first time I've listened to a book so full of aiding music and sound effects. On top of that, the narrator was really the best I've listened to. Able to play many different roles. Female voices weren't very female like, but still good enough.

As for the story, there isn't much beyond what you've seen in the movie. So if you're buying this to gain extra insight, there is very little to gain here.

If you love to listen to the story nonetheless, then you won't be disappointed

  • Zero to One

  • Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
  • By: Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
  • Narrated by: Blake Masters
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,716
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,679

The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won't create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Seems Insightful Until You Think A Little Deeper

  • By Mark Brandon on 10-31-14

Starts good, but resumes average

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

Reviewed: 02-16-16

The book starts with a good general concept about how to think vertically, and try to innovate, rather than copy the most successful businesses. But it quickly becomes average, with lots of stories we've heard before, and sometimes speculations and open ended questions. Not much to take away.

What I disliked the most was how it generalized the bad habit of competition in the market as bad, using many of the existing bad examples. What it ignored is the fact that many improvements happen due to competition, and without it, the largest company might lose motive to innovate and improve.

Take Google Chrome. When it came, people asked "Do we need another browser?" Soon everyone realized what speeds and reliability could be gained by using it.

Hotmail had what, 10 MB inbox size, and 1 MB attachment size maybe. All emails required full page reload to do anything. And spam was always taking over. Then came Gmail with 1 GB inbox and increasing, super fast web app pushing boundaries of AJAX, and the best spam fighting system out there. Other email providers had to follow pursuit. Everyone realized emails were lacking.

It might be good for many people. But based on the big hype the book received, I expected a lot more.

  • Sensation, Perception, and the Aging Process

  • By: Francis B. Colavita, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Francis B. Colavita
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

In this series of 24 fascinating lectures, an acclaimed teacher and psychologist gives you a bio-psychological perspective on both the way we humans navigate and react to the world around us and an understanding of the ways in which that process is ever-changing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Excellent Selection...

  • By Douglas on 09-17-13

Great course, but watch the video if you can

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

Reviewed: 01-10-16

The course is really rich in content and information. The professor covers all primary senses, how we use them to perceive the world, and how our aging changes them.

You will learn a lot about the various disorders in the sensory systems, and hear things you might find so bizarre.

There are also tips about how to slow and detect the symptoms. It teaches you a lot about how to try and understand the way others perceive the world.

The main drawback is, there is a lot of scientific details and word about parts in the body, like the human ear, that could really use some illustration. Especially for non-native English, you may not know all the words. The first half of the course especially needed that. Second half was easier to follow.

Still a great deal on Audible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal

  • By: Seth Freeman, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Seth Freeman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,545
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,234
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,215

The course is organized around a mnemonic device, developed by Professor Freeman, that can serve in any negotiation situation. Called "I FORESAW IT," this indispensable framework guides you in assembling the strongest possible case, showing you how to evaluate such factors as creative options, independent criteria, and your best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What One Should Have Learned as a Child but Didn't

  • By Mike T Walterman on 05-08-15

Rich and can make big difference

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

Reviewed: 02-09-15

I found the book very engaging and full of rich insight into how to get into negotiation and come out pleasing both sides.

That said, there was a bit of repetition in some parts. Same story repeated in different lectures.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Catch Me If You Can

  • By: Frank W. Abagnale, Stan Redding
  • Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,011
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,613
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,629

Frank W. Abagnale was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot's uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was 21. His story is now a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • uhm where is the ending?

  • By Steve on 03-29-17

Only half a story, though a great half

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-29-10

Both the story and narrator are fascinating, watching the movie is nothing like listening to this book. And it really isn't. Despite stating that a movie is being made based on this book, this book stops at a point where you'd think there is part 2. Seems Mr. Frank didn't wanna go any deeper into the story... he thought this was a smart point to stop? But this is WAY ahead of the true ending.

I have to say I'm quite disappointed at how it ended, thus the 4 star