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Greg Smith

Midlothian, VA, United States
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 12
  • ratings

Slow to start, good ending.

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

Reviewed: 07-27-17

First off, the woman narrating the book was at times shrill. And it's not quite her fault, because she was reading the rantings of a madwoman. But it was really hard to listen to these rants that went on for minutes.

Secondly, there is a lot of set up getting to the point where we have a main character to follow. Easily the first 25% of the story lacks a protagonist. In fact, the first chapter is bogged down with backstory of the mad scientist behind the birth of the spider civilization.

Then, easily the first 50% of the story is technical descriptions of the emergence of spiders and how they copulate, organize, and build societies, including ant colonies. It felt more like a textbook on entomology rather than a science fiction novel.

But if you can slog through the first 50% of the book, the remainder is fairly interesting. The writer does a good job of carrying us through 2500 years of interstellar flight and evolution. It's hard to write a book that spans a few years, let alone millennia.

I have a hard time recommending this book. I can't say don't read it. But if you are willing to sit through 6+ hours of set up, then you'll be rewarded with a good ending.

Only My Second Stephen King Book - Riveting

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

Reviewed: 07-27-17

I had read "Under The Dome" and was really turned off to King. But this book is amazing. What incredible prose. Great style. Wonderful voice. My only complaint is that it is more like a prologue for the entire series. The ending is a bit of a let down. But it was captivating up to that ending. Highly recommended.

Low on Entrepreneurship - High on Christian Values

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

I was disappointed in this book. I had read the One Minute Manager decades ago and it was life-changing. This book is told as parable about a young man who wants to be a speaker. He meets a woman, they marry, start a speakers bureau together, and she becomes a full-time mom. Then his business takes off on the path to going public and his marriage is in trouble. He gives up the dream of a public business to save his marriage.

This doesn't sound like the steps towards being an entrepreneur. It's a blueprint for starting a speaking company. Unlike true entrepreneurs, the protagonist doesn't produce anything of value. Just words in the air. There's no advice on getting funding, selling equity, innovation, or exit strategies.

This is a feel-good motivational speech in the form of an audio book. It proposes that work-life balance is the path to success. It pushes Christian values - but not all of us are Christians. The entrepreneurs I know and have studied have a relentless single-minded drive. Many have given up relationships in favor of their dreams. This book doesn't explain how to do this. In fact, it advises against it.

I can't recommend this book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not the One

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

Reviewed: 06-18-17

I was told this was a science fiction novel. But the author has little understanding of the science behind the premise behind the book. This is a romance following 4-5 main characters. It's similar to "Love, Actually" in that way. It is long, boring, and unbelievable. It's as if someone said "What would happen if dating sites picked the perfect match." And then tried to find the problems with that eventuality. I slogged through this book hoping it would all make sense. But in the end it's a dressed-up Harlequin romance. Not recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Hunger Games audiobook cover art

Good story, kept me wanting more

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

Reviewed: 12-03-11

This is a classic story told well. My only complaint is that Collins sets us up with the rules of the universe only to change them near the end. Also, there is a taint of "deus ex machina" when the mentor sends gifts at appropriate times. I find this causes the book to tilt more towards fantasy than scifi.

Good writing advice, but kind of Q&A style

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

Reviewed: 12-03-11

Evanovich shares her experience as a writer through a mechanism of answering write-in questions. There's not a lot of substance here. Most of this advice has been given by others. If you're an aspiring writer or Evanovich fan, you won't be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Funny and instructive

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

Reviewed: 12-03-11

I'm a big fan of Tina Fey - ever since I saw her on a local Richmond magazine cover announcing "local girls does well" as she headed off to Saturday Night Live. I think of her as the love child that would be produced if "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" had a baby. I read this book because I wanted to know what it was like to be a funny lady in the Big Apple.

And I was not disappointed. "Bossypants" covers the life of Fey from birth to present day with wit, charm, and some four-letter words thrown in there. If you're squeamish about foul language, you might want to get the abridged version.

As a father of newly-adult daughters, I found Fey's comments about leadership as a woman very informative. I want my girls to read the book to benefit from Fey's experience. I have some background in comedy and I've seen the way women are treated in that space - it's like something out of the 1950's. I think these experiences hardened Fey for leadership roles that came later.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone interested in comedy or leadership. It will be a funny and instructive read.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Stops to make you think, but not a great novel

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

Reviewed: 12-03-11

One Second After has one purpose - to make you think about the threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse (a bomb that will disable all electricity and electronic devices). And it succeeds brilliantly. The depiction of the year after such a bomb drops is detailed and laid out in a way that seems both real and haunting.

The problem with this book is that it is not great storytelling. The lead character is interesting enough, but surrounding characters don't seem to get the depth that is necessary. The love interest, for example, is never really fleshed out and their ultimate joining seems haphazardly plotted out.

In fact, most of what happens in this novel is fully expected. If you've ever read "On the Beach" or "Alas, Babylon" you know what to expect. People die who you expect will die. While this book is clearly written by and endorsed by those who lean to the right (preface by Newt Gingrich), there is little partisanship noticeable. It's a fairly straight line telling.

I gave low ratings for the performance. The narrator (Joe Barrett) did a good job with the men's voices. Almost all of them were southerners, and Joe was able to make them all unique enough to differentiate. However, his female voices (especially those of young girls) were cartoonish and stereotypical. I found that a distraction.

Regardless, I do recommend this book. It enlightens one to the potential terrors that await us if we do not prepare for the coming storm. As the general who wrote the afterward said, it isn't a matter of if we'll be attacked, but when.

Wild Ride

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

Reviewed: 12-03-11

Dear Mr. Isaacson,

I have just enjoyed "Steve Jobs." I am 49 years old and a computer
scientist. After 7 years of running writers groups, I am finally
publishing my own novel and the novels of many of my writers. I also
produced a documentary for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary in
2001.

I grew up in the era of the Apple ][. I idolized the two Steves and
their work influenced me. I built my own computer from chips - just as
Woz had and I programmed my own "monitor" program. I understand what
those guys did at a fundamental and personal level.

What I appreciated most about your biography was the way you told
Jobs' story through the point of view of friends, relatives, and
coworkers. It was a very honest depiction. It was also told in a
simple way that is accessible to everyone - similar to an Apple
product. Having written a book and told a biography through video, I
feel I understand the amount of work and care that it took to create
the volume.

These days, I'm building a writing club that takes a writer from
concept to full publication and beyond. Steve Jobs' idea of
controlling his products from beginning to end makes perfect sense to
me and is instructive. I may never have his combination of rapport,
charisma, and focus. But in your book I have found elements of his
leadership style that I can integrate into my own.

Thank you for an excellent biography. (I actually listened to it on
my iPad from the Audible.com download while working.) Steve made an
excellent choice when he recruited you for the work.

Sincerely,
Greg Smith

iWoz wozn't what I wanted to read.

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

Reviewed: 11-05-11

I'm one of those computer whiz kids from the seventies. I loved the bits where Woz get down and dirty about the details of his computer inventions. However, I really wanted to know what it was like to work with Steve Jobs and others at Apple in the early days. We got only slivers of glimpses of what it was like to invent an industry.

Also, the language of the text and the narration make Woz sound childish and naive. Several concepts in the book were repeated over again in later chapters. There was a lot of time spent on Woz's childhood (which was enjoyable) with allusions to a good relationship with his father - then later indications that his father was an alcoholic. But no depth.

Stories are about relationships. There was scant little of that here.