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  • 164
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  • 8
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  • Future Babble

  • Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway
  • By: Dan Gardner
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

In Future Babble, award-winning journalist Dan Gardner presents landmark research debunking the whole expert prediction industry and explores our obsession with the future. The truth is that experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sobering and Informative

  • By Christopher on 08-24-11

Sobering and Informative

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-24-11

I'm a bit surprised at the other 2 reviews listed here and I fear they may have missed the point. In particular, judging a book based on what it "implies by omission" is inexplicably poor logic. Defending unfulfilled predictions based on the idea that they may one day come true is similarly difficult to digest.

Dan Gardner points out in this book that expert predictions are wrong far, far more often than we'd like to think (equivalent to a monkey throwing darts) and yet people put far too much trust in those predictions time and time again. He does not recommend any particular course of action to remedy this (other than reasonable caution), but so what? He points out this error and points out that it continues to be made despite scads of evidence showing why we should consciously try to avoid making it. He shows why we make this mistake. He explains the science behind the book, which is solid.

He does not imply (even by omission) that we should not plan for the future. He merely points out that using expert predictions has proven to be an ineffective tool for decision making. For example, we SHOULD develop and improve renewable, environmentally friendly energy sources because it makes perfect sense to do so, not because some "expert" predicts huge oil shortages.

We all love to have answers and we all love to believe we have insider knowledge of what the future holds. This is a serious weakness that can be and is exploited by people time and time again. You are far better off with no answer at all than you are with a wrong answer. At least understanding that we don't know what the future holds is a reasonable position to take, and we can move forward ready for anything.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Cider House Rules

  • By: John Irving
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 24 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,808
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,394
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,388

From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Patti on 07-02-07

As good as it gets

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-05

The story "The Cider House Rules" has the potential to go down in history as an all time classic. If my great grandchildren are reading this book along with the works of Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck, I wouldn't be surprised.
John Irving is admittedly one of my favorite writers. His ability to tell epic stories about rich, interesting characters is unrivaled in our time. I will never forget the time I spent with Homer, Melony, Dr. Larch, Fuzzy, Candy, and all the others.
Though other authors can write wonderfully engrossing books with thick plots and unexpected twists, nobody can match John Irving for introducing you to real people and making you a part of their lives.
I've read 5 of J.I.'s works, all of which moved me and made me a fuller person. "The Cider House Rules" was undoubtedly the best.
Grover Gardner does a woderful job with his distinctive voice. He walks a brilliant line between lending credibility to his characters, but not stealing the show. His understated way of narrating/acting was perfect for this book.
For the rest of my life, I'll be on the lookout for the next "The Cider House Rules." Since a work of art like this comes along so rarely, don't you miss it.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Charlotte Simmons

  • By: Tom Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dylan Baker
  • Length: 31 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 875
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 327
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 339

Dupont University: the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition....Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a sheltered freshman from North Carolina, who has come here on full scholarship. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the upper-crust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Decadence through the eyes of a ?good girl?

  • By Eric on 11-18-04

Good performance, Forgettable book

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-27-05

I'm glad I listened to this one because had I read it, I probably would have quit halfway through. Dylan Baker does a commendable job given the material he had to work with. Perhaps the subject matter was somewhat revelatory to Tom Wolfe as he researched it, but it is old news to many of us who lived it not too long ago. This book is forgettable, but I plan to seek out more of Dylan Baker's performances. In that sense, I'm glad I learned of a new reader whose work I respect.

  • How to Win Friends & Influence People

  • By: Dale Carnegie
  • Narrated by: Andrew MacMillan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,590
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,687
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,388

You can go after the job you want...and get it! You can take the job you have...and improve it! You can take any situation you're in...and make it work for you!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is well worth listening too! Main points are.

  • By Ralph on 10-21-11

Simply wonderful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-25-04

Sometimes the classics just can't be beat. I took the Dale Carnegie course, and this book was required reading. It completely changed the way I deal with people, and the overall effect is astonishing. After reading the book, you'll be astonished as to how common-sensical the teachings are, but boy do they work.
I've had at least ten occasions over the past year where I had to deal with very difficult people who were bent on starting a fight or argument. When we were finished, in each case the other person heartily apologized for their behavior and thanked me for keeping a cool head about things. Most importantly though, is that I approached each of these encounters with the utmost confidence that I could handle this person, and this situation. I didn't feel even the slightest bit nervous or afraid. To encounter these types of situations feeling calm and confident is a rare gift that I now have. There is no way to put a price tag on that.
I plan to listen to, and read this book many times over my life. The lessons are invaluable. Don't wait another day before learning the secrets contained in this book.

116 of 127 people found this review helpful

Atlas Shrugged , Volume 1 audiobook cover art
  • Atlas Shrugged , Volume 1

  • By: Ayn Rand
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
  • Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,028
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228

Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus, which launched an ideology and a movement. With the publication of this work in 1957, Rand gained an instant following and became a phenomenon. Atlas Shrugged emerged as a premier moral apologia for capitalism, a defense that had an electrifying effect on millions of readers (and now listeners) who have never heard capitalism defended in other than technical terms.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent listen, despite its length.

  • By Brett on 01-28-03


5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-28-04

I admit up front that I am a free market capitalist. I have had the unmitigated gall to start up my own business & ask people to work for a living instead of offering my earnings up for free. It is therefore understandable that those like me are vilified as greedy and heartless by the so called "progressives."

Ayn Rand doesn't waste time with misplaced sympathies, but rather honors those who actually produce, and therefore fulfill society's needs. So what if someone gets rich by employing thousands? Why the jealousy directed at Bill Gates & the like? They created something that helped tens of millions and employed countless thousands. Is that your definition of evil? I don't care if their desire was pure profit or not, they produced something valuable and changed the world as a result. THAT should be honored, not vilified.

For those who argue that "if Bill Gates hadn't done it, someone else would have...", I have a simple response. You're right, but only if that other person could have become obscenely rich as a result. Ayn Rand's message is as pertinent today as when it was written. If you destroy those who create and produce, don't complain when the only ones left are looters and moochers.

Atlas Shrugged fictionalizes a very real evil inherent in socialism and central economic planning. I can't recommend this book enough.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful