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  • How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
  • By: Jared Diamond
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 27 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 689
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 623
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 615

In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion, and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization. Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So Many Ways to Die Like a Viking

  • By Vicky on 02-06-18

Would recommend

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

Reviewed: 01-17-17

Any additional comments?

Really solid book overall and I would definitely recommend. Some sections seemed to drag a bit for me, probably a bit long overall. Thought the historical examples were excellent but found the editorializing a bit tedious. In most cases, the point was obvious and didn't need near the narrative dedicated to making sure you picked up on the obvious. Still liked quite a bit.

  • The Sixth Extinction

  • An Unnatural History
  • By: Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Narrated by: Anne Twomey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,382
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,033
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,009

A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lifts you out of the ordinary

  • By Regina on 04-28-14

Would recommend to a friend

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

Reviewed: 01-17-17

What three words best describe Anne Twomey’s performance?

Narrator didn't really add or detract from the story which I consider a success. It was fine.

Any additional comments?

I really liked the book - found it interesting and well researched. There's definitely a bias in play but I felt like the author did a good job of being up-front about her perspective and goals. Really enjoyed the structure of the book, stayed interested and rarely felt overly "academic". Would recommend.

  • Understanding Japan

  • A Cultural History
  • By: Mark J. Ravina, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Mark J. Ravina
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,669
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,496
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,486

In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian's historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting and informative

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-04-16

Really enjoyed this series!

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

Reviewed: 01-17-17

Any additional comments?

Professor did a great job of staying focused on cultural history while bringing in relevant details to provide context and progression. The structure and flow of the lectures were excellent, very easy to follow and understand. His love for Japan was obvious but I didn't feel it was biased or non-factual at any point. Would strongly recommend!

  • Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius

  • By: Robert André LaFleur
  • Narrated by: Robert André LaFleur
  • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137

With these 24 accessible lectures, enjoy an adventurous exploration of one of the world's most important philosophical texts. Filled with rich historical context, detailed close readings of key passages, expert interpretations of larger cultural trends, and stories of Confucius and his most notable students (and critics), these lectures are required learning for anyone who wants a solid understanding of Eastern philosophy - and the ways a single book can cross cultures and go on to inspire an entire world.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Weak content

  • By dean on 03-23-17

Not very good....

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

Reviewed: 01-17-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. Surprisingly little coverage of the actual Analects of Confucius. Not sure what the real goal of the lecture series was, very meandering.

Would you recommend Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius to your friends? Why or why not?

No.

What didn’t you like about Professor Robert André LaFleur’s performance?

Delivery was meandering and self-indulgent. Too many tangents which did little to help me understand the source material. Professor was more interested in telling his favorite stories than providing analysis of the text itself.

Was Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius worth the listening time?

No. Would not listen to again.

Any additional comments?

Should not be titled "Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius" when relatively little of the lecture series is dedicated to study of the book itself. Archaeology stories related to different historical texts, uninteresting anecdotes from years as a teacher, travelogue, etc. Would be better if it was called "My playful musings and favorite stories after years of teaching and researching Chinese history". At least then I would have skipped it.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful