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  • 5
  • helpful votes
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  • Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

  • By: Michele Gelfand
  • Narrated by: Katherine Fenton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference - how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting lens to look through

  • By Stevo on 09-14-18

Defies easy categorization

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

Reviewed: 04-04-19

This book is well worth the read. The underlying concept is very interesting and it gave me several new insights. That being said I suspect the author is a better scientist than she is an author. Parts of the book were too long. At times it made me recall Richard Feynman‘s remark about categorization. Giving things names and putting them into categories by itself doesn’t necessarily tell you anything useful. There was a little bit too much categorization and enumeration for me. If you are a detail person though you might like that.

The narration had problems. The narrator mispronounced a number of words that should be known to someone reading an academically oriented work. The phrasing was sometimes off too. Mark Twain said that Wagner‘s music was better than it sounded. I sort of think that about this book.

  • Every Man a King

  • A Short, Colorful History of American Populists
  • By: Chris Stirewalt
  • Narrated by: Chris Stirewalt
  • Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 72

American populism has always been home to a fascinating assortment of charismatic leaders, characters, kooks, cranks, and sometimes charlatans who have led the charge of ordinary folks who have gotten wise to the ways of the swamp. Every Man a King tells the stories of America's populist leaders, from Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt to Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Donald Trump. It is a rollicking history of an American attitude that has shaped not only our current moment, but also the long struggle over who gets to define the truths we hold to be self evident. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Education delivered in a most entertaining way.

  • By Snaps And Snippets on 09-17-18

A view from the left.

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

Reviewed: 02-27-19

I’m a lifelong liberal but I enjoyed this book. Harry Truman had some remark about there being nothing new under the sun except the history you don’t know. That certainly applies here.

  • Surfaces and Essences

  • Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking
  • By: Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 33 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 150
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 132
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 130

Analogy is the core of all thinking. This is the simple but unorthodox premise that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Hofstadter and French psychologist Emmanuel Sander defend in their new work. Hofstadter has been grappling with the mysteries of human thought for over 30 years. Now, with his trademark wit and special talent for making complex ideas vivid, he has partnered with Sander to put forth a highly novel perspective on cognition.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of verbiage, few insights. Don't bother.

  • By Tim on 08-04-16

Extremely tedious

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

Reviewed: 02-25-19

I confess that I just couldn’t finish this book. They may have eventually gotten to a point if they had one but they bored me to tears before they did. The phrase not being able to see the forest for the trees came to mind. There are certain personality types that love excruciating detail and they don’t all become accountants, some seem to want to go into linguistics. They think it’s not scientific unless they set out all the excruciating data before making any conclusions and don’t understand that some of us want to know if their point is even worth getting to before investing the time. If they had a curious green ideas point they should’ve told me they were heading to it so that I would have the extreme patience needed to get there.

  • Night of Camp David

  • By: Fletcher Knebel
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 82

Senator Jim MacVeagh is proud to serve his country - and his president, Mark Hollenbach, who has a near-spotless reputation as the vibrant, charismatic leader of MacVeagh’s party and the nation. When Hollenbach begins taking MacVeagh into his confidence, the young senator knows his star is on the rise. But then Hollenbach starts summoning MacVeagh in the middle of the night to Camp David. There, the president sits in the dark and rants about his enemies, unfurling insane theories about all the people he says are conspiring against him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Out of date but timely

  • By mary on 11-26-18

Interesting time capsule

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

Reviewed: 02-21-19

I was a teenager in ‘65 but it’s interesting to see how much we forget and how much things have changed since then. There are also interesting parallels with current day politics.

  • The Dictator's Handbook

  • Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics
  • By: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,529
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,170
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,152

For 18 years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest" - or even their subjects - unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Think you understand politics, think again!

  • By Michael on 07-01-14

Better than the title suggests

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

Reviewed: 01-30-19

The book isn’t just about dictators. It’s about power and situational factors that encourage or discourage it’s abuse. It’s not a page turner but it has lessons everybody should understand.

  • Rendezvous with Oblivion

  • Reports from a Sinking Society
  • By: Thomas Frank
  • Narrated by: Thomas Frank
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 122

What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? When, after 40 years of economic triumph, America’s winners persuade themselves that they owe nothing to the rest of the country? Rendezvous with Oblivion is a collection of interlocking essays examining how inequality has manifested itself in our cities, in our jobs, in the way we travel - and of course in our politics, where in 2016, millions of anxious ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Major Depressive if it Wasn't so Witty.

  • By Christopher on 07-04-18

Hopefully not a Cassandra

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

The Cassandra appellation is something of a cliche but then cliches become cliches for a reason. Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.” The problem may be that there is too much of everything else to exhaust and too many seem to want to keep trying the same thing over and over again.

  • The Square and the Tower

  • Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook
  • By: Niall Ferguson
  • Narrated by: Elliot Hill
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 545

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers, and field marshals. It's about states, armies, and corporations. It's about orders from on high. Even history "from below" is often about trade unions and workers' parties. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Power? Does it come from hierarchies or networks?

  • By Ted on 04-25-18

Too much detail not enough analysis

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

Reviewed: 10-29-18

This book is often excruciatingly professorial. I get that you’re not a serious academic if you don’t bore people but that’s not the audience here. I would like to know a lot more about networks and how they work. What I got was mostly obscure historical detail with occasional quite interesting analysis.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Winners Take All

  • The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • By: Anand Giridharadas
  • Narrated by: Anand Giridharadas
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 979
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 872
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 860

Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can - except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward "thought leaders" who redefine "change" in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Profound.

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-10-18

This may be the central issue of our time.

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

Reviewed: 10-07-18

The book is not a “page turner“ but it’s a perspective we should all understand. If you don’t hang out with the superrich you’re probably not going to understand this perspective. The tragedy seems to be that most of the super rich and the people who do hang out with them don’t understand the issue Order want to.

  • The Cat's Table

  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: Michael Ondaatje
  • Length: 7 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 390
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 332
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 327

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the “cat’s table” - as far from the Captain’s Table as can be - with a ragtag group of “insignificant” adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Much More Interesting Than I expected

  • By Chris Reich on 09-03-12

A matter of individual taste?

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

this book more than some may depend on personal taste. It was well done from a technical standpoint I tend to like plot more than character development but if you’re into character development this may be just for you.

  • The Last Place You Look

  • By: Kristen Lepionka
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 81

Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The beautiful blonde teenager disappeared 15 years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend, Brad Stockton - black and from the wrong side of the tracks - was convicted of the murders and is now on death row. Though he's maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Alcoholic PI

  • By Karwyn on 05-17-18

Pronunciation a problem

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18


if you’re going to narrate a book with the local terms in it Make the effort to to pronounce how the locals pronounce the words because the locals will spot it. For example this Sciota river.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful