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Lauren L

Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 27
  • reviews
  • 15
  • helpful votes
  • 30
  • ratings
  • I Contain Multitudes

  • The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
  • By: Ed Yong
  • Narrated by: Charlie Anson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It's an entire world, a colony full of life. In other words, you contain multitudes. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth. In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful, fascinating book.

  • By Matthew Andrews on 10-19-16

A science class you don't want to miss

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

Absolutely fascinating. Even though the science itself, as Yong explains, is still in its infancy, I'd go so far as to say it's a revelation: It has forever altered my fundamental understanding of life on this planet and, what's more, has certainly made me grasp why my gut health is kind of a biggie. That's not news, of course: functional health gurus have been peddling the gut microbiome and dysbiosis message for a while, but I was somewhere between skeptical and merely confused, until I Contain Multitudes with its wide-angle lens and telescope both trained on the subject of microbes and their hosts radically altered my perspective - quackery it ain't. Well written and well narrated, I highly recommend this book.

  • Inheritors of the Earth

  • How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction
  • By: Chris D Thomas
  • Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

It is accepted wisdom today that human beings have irrevocably damaged the natural world. We have altered our climate, acidified our oceans, and we are in the process of causing the sixth mass extinction. Yet what if this gloomy narrative obscures a more hopeful truth? In Inheritors of the Earth, renowned ecologist and environmentalist Chris D. Thomas overturns this loss-only view of the world's biodiversity, revealing how many animals and plants have benefited from the human-altered planet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dazzling heresy

  • By Lauren L on 09-21-18

Dazzling heresy

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

Reviewed: 09-21-18

Why is there not more hype about this book? It's audacious! By definition, most people who read it will have an interest in environmental issues and conservation and for us, it's message is highly controversial. I had put it on my reading list to force myself to read something that doesn't accord with my world view, but I still figured I'd be reading some Donald Chump-style crock of pseudo-science concocted at the corrupt nexus of money and power and peddled to the public in service of some fat cat's bottom-line which would mostly make my blood boil, and instead it's astonishing, mind-blowing stuff that will forever alter my view on the impact our species is having on this planet. It could be sub-titled "The devastating human impact and the grander view of life." Not only is its message powerful and the case convincingly made, the writing style is marvelously engaging and its wonderfully narrated. Read Mr Thomas' heresy and feel re-born.

  • Cure

  • A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body
  • By: Jo Marchant
  • Narrated by: Genevieve Swallow
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

The field of mind-body medicine is plagued by wild claims that mislead patients and instil false hope. But as scientists in a range of fields uncover solid evidence that our minds influence our bodies quite profoundly, there is now great promise, too. Jo Marchant attempts to use scientific research to find out if alternative medicines work; if our thoughts, beliefs and emotions influence our physical health; and if we can train our brains to heal our bodies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing and ultimately empowering

  • By Lauren L on 05-10-18

Intriguing and ultimately empowering

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

Beyond merely interesting, Cure is nothing short of mind-blowing in some respects, and even where the research conducted to date raises more questions than it yields answers on the inter-dependence of mind and body, it is ultimately empowering. Highly recommended.

  • The Four

  • The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google
  • By: Scott Galloway
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are in an unprecedented race towards a $1 trillion valuation, and whoever gets there first will exert untold influence over the global economy, public policy and consumer behaviour. How did these four become so successful? How high can they continue to rise? Does any other company stand a chance of competing? To these questions and more, acclaimed NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway brings bracing answers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • nice book, gives persoective on changing environ

  • By Chetan J. on 08-21-18

Brilliantly illuminating & wickedly funny

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

An outstanding work - entertaining and brilliantly illuminating in equal measure. You don't have to subscribe to every aspect of Mr Galloway's at times scathing analysis or his prescriptions to survive his four horsemen of the apocalypse to nonetheless gain an immense amount of insight from his prescient take. Galloway also has an extremely sharp wit - I actually can't remember a book this (unexpectedly and literally) LOL - always an effective way to package evisceration! Highly, highly recommended!

  • Dead Zone

  • Where the Wild Things Were
  • By: Philip Lymbery
  • Narrated by: Barnaby Edwards
  • Length: 12 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

A tour of some of the world's most iconic and endangered species - and what we can do to save them. Climate change and habitat destruction are not the only culprits behind so many animals facing extinction. The impact of consumer demand for cheap meat is equally devastating, and it is vital that we confront this problem if we are to stand a chance of reducing its effect on the world around us. Our planet's resources are reaching a breaking point.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A difficult but powerful book

  • By Lauren L on 05-10-18

A difficult but powerful book

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

Reviewed: 05-10-18

One of the most difficult books I've ever read; literally had to steel myself each day before resuming it's that distressing, despite Mr Lymbery's best efforts to leaven the load with his (nature) rambles, travelogue and good news stories interspersed throughout the relentlessly bleak picture he paints of the environmental catastrophe wrought by global meat production. He nonetheless mounts a powerful, cogent and damning case - should be compulsory reading for all of us dependent on this planet to sustain us.

  • Against the Grain

  • A Deep History of the Earliest States
  • By: James C. Scott
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains and governed by precursors of today's states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • History for the closet anarchist

  • By Lauren L on 04-15-18

History for the closet anarchist

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

Reviewed: 04-15-18

Quite frankly astonishing. A witty, subversive re-writing of history that will forever alter my view of the modern state. Brilliant.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Leveler

  • Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
  • By: Walter Scheidel
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Length: 17 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96

Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • As depressing as it is convincing

  • By Lauren L on 04-03-18

As depressing as it is convincing

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

Reviewed: 04-03-18

Mr Scheidel makes a controversial case - at least for those of us not well versed in this aspect of economics - and he makes it so convincingly that The Great Leveler is in fact a very dry read. Nonetheless the fundamental revelation (for that is what it is for me) about inequality and the forces conspiring to increase it, is powerful.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Antidote

  • Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
  • By: Oliver Burkeman
  • Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 171
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156

In this fascinating new book which he narrates himself, Oliver Burkeman argues that "positive thinking" and relentless optimism aren't the solution to the happiness dilemma, but part of the problem. And that there is, in fact, an alternative path to contentment and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid - uncertainty, insecurity, pessimism, and failure. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is a celebration of the power of negative thinking.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you liked Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-25-17

A counter revolutionary classic

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

Reviewed: 03-18-18

Really loved Oliver Burkeman’s contrarion journey to a happier life. Entertaining, wide-ranging and intriguing. Best anti self help book I’ve had the good fortune to stumble across.

  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • By: Douglas Adams
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 518
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 483

One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Fry is so, so good

  • By Matthew on 01-08-14

Weird not wise

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

Reviewed: 02-12-18

So don’t get the hype surrounding this book. Sure it is a zany romp, but I use those adjectives pejoratively - I mean how many adults are really into zany romps. I’m thinking of throwing in caper somewhere in this review. For me it was infantile, bizarre and nonsensical - no real plot, tension, suspense, character arc, and certainly no profound wisdom. There are flashes of brilliance, I must admit, and I did enjoy some of the droll humour of the ordinary juxtaposed with the bizarre, but overall pretty vacuous. Brilliantly brilliantly narrated by Stephen Fry however.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Wolf of the Plains

  • Conqueror, Book 1
  • By: Conn Iggulden
  • Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

The first book in the best-selling Conqueror series featuring Genghis Khan and his descendants. Temujin, the second son of the khan of the Wolves tribe, was only 11 when his father died in an ambush. His family were thrown out of the tribe and left alone, without food or shelter, to starve to death on the harsh Mongolian plains. It was a rough introduction to his life, to a sudden adult world, but Temujin survived, learning to combat natural and human threats.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent narration

  • By yashwant kumar m s on 08-10-18

Solid historical action

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

Reviewed: 02-11-18

Overall an entertaining read. Certainly a very interesting glimpse into the past and the birth of the Mongol empire. The story of the boy Temujin who is destined to someday be Ghengis Khan is a rollicking action packed adventure, but heavy on plot, light on character. The relationship between Temujin and his brothers is perhaps the richest part of the tale, especially in the wilderness years, but it’s violence and war and bloodshed that dominate the rest of the book at the expense of depth. I wonder though if it’s possibly partly due to the historical material ... savage pre-literate tribes in the wilderness provide fundamentally less interesting material than say ancient Rome, the Ming dynasty in China or the Tudors. Nonetheless, an enjoyable book - brilliantly narrated.