LISTENER

Robert F. Jones

  • 50
  • reviews
  • 202
  • helpful votes
  • 63
  • ratings
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

  • A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  • By: Mark Manson
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94,027
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82,497
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82,014

For decades we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F*ck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is - a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A book for 20-somethings, but not me

  • By Bonny on 09-22-16

Personal

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

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

second read 2018.10

Entertaining. Pretty basic stuff. Don't mind what other people think. He's completely honest with his wife - tells her if he doesn't like what she is wearing. It's not what happens to you, but what you do with it. Not caring sometimes lets things happen, but he doesn't reveal when it is important to care and when to stop.
Contemplation of death is important for living a good life.
Most of what we do with our lives is immortality projects, and that's what gets people into trouble.

  • On the Nature of Things

  • By: Lucretius
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169

This famous work by Lucretius is a masterpiece of didactic poetry, and it still stands today as the finest exposition of Epicurean philosophy ever written. The poem was produced in the middle of first century B.C., a period that was to witness a flowering of Latin literature unequaled for beauty and intellectual power in subsequent ages. The Latin title, De Rerum Natura, translates literally to On the Nature of Things and is meant to impress the reader with the breadth and depth of Epicurean philosophy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Masterpiece

  • By Lawrence on 11-23-08

2018.10 Personal

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

So I'm a Philistine.
I was really looking forward to this book, considered a classic and a work of genius.
Lucretius is given credit for the promulgation of the concept (by the Greeks) that the universe is composed of atoms - indivisible particles are inherent in the nature of reality. But the atoms that he describes are in no way akin to the concepts that we know today. He describes the nature of the macroscopic world based on the same characteristics of the atomic world (smooth materials are composed of smooth atoms).
This book is one person's conjecture about the structure and nature of reality. It is based on his assumptions, not scientific facts as we know them. And this is perhaps the lesson of the book. I think that my understanding of things is based on observable and reproducible experiments. I don't think that things are a certain way just because someone says so.
I thought I'd at least get some insight into human nature, but this was lacking as well. I guess it is a good window into how people thought at his time.
The narrator's voice and style made me think of Peterman on Seinfeld.
I had to force myself to finish it

  • Team of Rivals

  • The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 41 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,040
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,347
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,371

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative

  • By JJ on 09-10-12

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Read it for the first time when it originally came out about 20 years ago. Listened this time. Remarkable in its detail. Get a sense for Lincoln as a person. He seemed to live the 'with malice toward none' credo. Amazing how he could make dear friends out of enemies, likely because of his personal qualities and honesty. A big takeaway - he would sit and listen, just listen to people with different opinions, and then draw his own conclusions. I don't get the sense that there was debate, but that he really tried to consider their perspective. This ability to really give persons with an opposing point of view his attention seems to be one of the hallmarks of his greatness, and perhaps it is why even people who disagreed with him seemed to love him. Also amazing that people in his own time, even rivals considered him to be a man for the ages.
Also of note - he obviously felt deeply. He was moved to despair with the suffering that the war caused, but realized that he must buoy himself and his country with a sense of humor.

  • The Moral Landscape

  • How Science Can Determine Human Values
  • By: Sam Harris
  • Narrated by: Sam Harris
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,950
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,355
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,314

In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read it

  • By Paul on 11-23-10

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Excellent. Makes the compelling argument that there is a definable standard for good and evil, right and wrong. Clear and concise. Moral Absolutism. Spirituality without God. Just because we cannot answer a question does not mean that there is no answer.

Second listen - 2018.10.01

  • Defending Jacob

  • A Novel
  • By: William Landay
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9,082
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,019
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,014

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Terrific!

  • By cristina on 03-12-12

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Worth the read...surprising. The secrets we all have. What happens to us when we are confronted with impossibly challenging situations. How much do we believe and have faith in our children. How much do we protect them?

  • The Song of Achilles

  • A Novel
  • By: Madeline Miller
  • Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,791
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,776

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wasn't Expecting to Like It- BOY! was I wrong!!

  • By susan on 06-11-14

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

Not nearly as good as Circe.

  • The Tuscan Child

  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble, Katy Sobey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,794
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,510
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,493

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal. Nearly 30 years later, Hugo's estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father's funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Knocked this one out of the park

  • By Anne on 02-22-18

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

Story of WWII romance, English and Italian - description of Tuscany and state of culture at that time. OK - they shared a secret, and of course it turned out to be a painting that would end up saving the town. Offspring go back and looks for clues of ttheir roots.

  • How to Change Your Mind

  • By: Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by: Michael Pollan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,575
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,045
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,001

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction, and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A delightful trip

  • By Paul E. Williams on 05-19-18

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

I loved this book. Definitely worth a read. When I reread, I might bump it up to five stars.

An exploration into the nature of consciousness. Using Psychedelics to brake the chains of our status quo. Based on his personal experiences and interviews. He writes with honesty and wit. Explores our separation and connection with the universe.

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,900
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,139

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely not my favorite scalzi

  • By pat on 03-25-17

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

What happens when a interplanetary civilization loses the ability to travel faster than light. Entertaining. Science and politics.

  • The Swerve

  • How the World Became Modern
  • By: Stephen Greenblatt
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,983
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,976

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis

  • By Ethan M. on 05-01-12

Personal

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Two stars - meh
three stars - good
four stars - worth a second read
five stars - life-changing - my top 50 of all time

first listen - 2018.08.15
Great performance. Eye-opening description of the history and discovery of Lucretius's 'On the Nature of things'. Atomism, and a statement of the Epicurean philosophy in what was supposed to be a beautiful poem.
The pursuit of pleasure does not mean the pursuit of excess - it is much more pleasurable for me to eat a healthy meal of appropriate quantity than to overindulge. The insight here is what is truly pleasurable. Same with all somatic desires.
The author assigns 'On the nature of things' a pivotal role in the initiation of the Renaissance. It seems to have been a major influencing force of many great thinkers since then(Jefferson). This rings true. From the description, 'On the Nature Of Things' discusses everything from politics to sex from a pragmatic perspective. This is my preferred approach as well, minimizing the role of religious dogma.
Much of the book describes the re-discovery of the book(codex) in a German monastery by an Italian humanist. I was completely unaware of the lengths that individuals like this went to resurface antiquity. It is also surprising how controversial these works were - pagan writings in a christian era. The authorities frequently suppressed these works, but it seems that the free thinkers and radicals in those eras somehow were able to read these texts and were supremely influenced by them. Montague and more modern philosophers as well.
Great and surprising book. Will read again.