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  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,730
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,605
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,550

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun, provocative, but too sweeping and speculative

  • By juancharango on 12-07-17

Many interesting things but beware

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

Reviewed: 03-15-18

This book contains many interesting facts and scientific theories and the early section on the evolution of man is quite interesting. What struck me most about the book is that in the early part where the author is most qualified he is very careful to note what is theory and alternate theory but later in the book when is offering his opinion on a number of things (such as how research monies are allocated) he presents his opinions as fact. The first third of the book is well worth the read (or listen) but the last two thirds is simply the author's opinion on a host of things presented as fact. Opposing view points are NOT included or even mentioned. The arrogance of this tends to come thru in spades. Got 80% of the way thru the book and just could not take it anymore. In 15+ years of audible over 360 books this is only the third I have not finished. Read the first third and save your time for something better.

56 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure

  • Why Pure Capitalism Is the World Economy’s Only Hope
  • By: John Allison
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207

Did Wall Street cause the mess we are in? Should Washington place stronger regulations on the financial industry? Can we lower unemployment rates by controlling the free market? Answer: no. Not only is free-market capitalism good for the economy, it is our only hope for recovery. As the nation’s longest-serving CEO of one of the top 25 financial institutions, John Allison has had a unique inside view of the events leading up to the financial crisis.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Authoritative, Curmudgeonly and Randian

  • By CarolB on 07-31-16

What happened that did not make the public relm

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

Reviewed: 09-05-17

I waited a while before reviewing this book. Time often improves perspective. I would say that this is an essential read fro anyone wishing to understand the financial crisis on more than a rudimentary level.

The view of the financial crisis from someone who survived it (very well thank you) John's insight into what caused it and what exacerbated it are probably more first hand than anything else you will read. It makes it very clear that there was plenty of blame to go around both for the regulators (who helped cause the problem) and the banks themselves (whose actions were often unethical). This is a front line report you will learn a lot you probably have not read elsewhere.

Finally the last part of the book contains probably the best discussion of "Business Ethics" that I have read. As someone who had taught the subject at the college level, and as as such has reviewed the standard course material available, John's discussion of ethics is outstanding and should be required reading for any business major. If I were still teaching I would use it as the definitive text on the subject.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Nordic Theory of Everything

  • In Search of a Better Life
  • By: Anu Partanen
  • Narrated by: Abby Craden
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 318
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 289
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 286

Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life - from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare - was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficulty of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A non-radical perspective on two societies

  • By kwdayboise (Kim Day) on 06-20-17

Good Deep Questions, Trite Shallow Answers

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

Reviewed: 08-28-17

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. It is very good at making you think about what is/should be the purpose of government in the 21st century. Having never been to Finland I must take what the author says as fact. It appears that in Finland the government is relatively efficient and delivers high quality services at reasonable prices. As such the people are content with the relatively high taxes because they get so much for them. If government can remove the deep stresses of modern life why not go that way? Is it just a matter of will that the United States is so different?

Unfortunately looking at two countries at a given point in time does not touch the deeper issues as to what can be done and if it can be maintained over a long period of time. For example; the author argues that the relative effectiveness of the education system in Finland is because it is "supply side" whereas the US is "demand side". The problem with this is that the only reason that the US is becoming "demand side" is the utter failure of the supply side model in the US over the last 60-80 years or so. Places like New York City used to have really good public schools. This raises all the important questions like; does the supply side system degrade over time? Is there another reason for this systems failure in the US (perhaps the increasing national mandates overpower local approaches) As the book notes it can not be just a matter of funding as the US spends more. But the book does not discuss this.

Discussing the state of the US Health Care system and giving only one sentence to malpractice insurance and its implications almost seems like journalistic malpractice. Every time the author gets close to a really deep discussion she bounces off with either standard liberal rhetoric of quotes some politician. Her statement that Social Security and Medicare are two places where the US does a reasonably good job totally ignores the fiscal nightmare these programs have created.

There is no question that education (both primary and secondary), health care, day care, and taxes are systems in the US that are all in various levels of broken. We, as Americans, need to thoroughly study them and then fix them. Our Future depends on it. In fact I believe that the Author actually hits the crux of the matter when she states that Fins trust their government and Americans typically do not. She even goes so far as to state that American's have reason for this mistrust as we do not get much from our government relative to the money it takes. (When it comes to good government we are "at the back of the class")

So ultimately why does government work well in Finland and not so well in the US? Is it size? (after all Finland is smaller than about half the states) Perhaps more services should be handled solely at the state level as government tends to be more responsive as it gets closer to the people. Perhaps it is the democracies simply do not age well and that the US being early to the game has aged into massive bureaucracy as opposed to good government. We all recognize the need for effective government; as we have seen in US education system, pouring more money into a broken system does not tend to fix it, neither apparently, does heaping endless mandates on at the federal level.

I want our government to do for our citizens what Finland's does for theirs, I just do not see how it can in its current state of repair. The deep answers lie in how we can fix our government so it can provide us the services we deserve at a price that does not break us all. Unfortunately this book does not go there. I really wanted it to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told - So Far

  • Why Are We Here?
  • By: Lawrence M. Krauss
  • Narrated by: Lawrence Krauss
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,402
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,280
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,273

Internationally renowned, award-winning theoretical physicist, New York Times bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing, and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality - a grand poetic vision of nature - and how we find our place within it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful read/listen.

  • By Albert Sjoberg (PA) on 04-04-17

Not an introduction

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

Reviewed: 08-08-17

This is probably not a good introduction to particle physics, at least not in audio form. I actually doubt that any introduction in audio form would make a good introduction, the figures need to be in front of you when you first wade into this deep of a subject. That said if you have the basics down the book makes a good read.

The author does a good job in interspersing personal information about some of the historical figures that gives some brevity, and allows the readers mind some brief rests, from what is a very deep subject. Without the personal sidelines the book would be very difficult to listen to.

My one criticism is that the author presents his own materialistic beliefs as facts. He simply states that the specific value of one constant or another is what it is as a coincidence of nature and that fact that if the constant were even a minuscule bit different the universe never would have developed life has no greater significance. The author surly knows that the question as to whether the universe was designed to sustain life or if the possibility for and the existence of life is simply as series of extremely improbable coincidences is not a question that “science” (at least in its current form) can answer. It is a matter of faith no matter which side you are on. Sliding your religious views in as facts without any real discussion of the underlying argument is disingenuous.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Darwin's Doubt

  • The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
  • By: Stephen C. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Derek Shetterly
  • Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the "Cambrian explosion", many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin's Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very detailed and scientific

  • By GK on 06-15-18

What does science really say about evolution

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

Reviewed: 06-07-17

It never ceases to amaze me how people with supposedly scientific minds believe blindly in random mutation evolution. Like any scientific theory it has things it explains and things it does not explain. Like any scientific theory it must constantly be reevaluated in light of new evidence. It seems like our world has changed Darwin's evolution from a scientific theory into a religion of its own. Meyer offers a thought provoking look at the evidence. This is a great book for Christians to equip their children with as they enter Middle school "science" classes. It is a good book for anyone with an open mind on the subject. As Mark Twain is quoted as saying: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

  • A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity
  • By: Nabeel Qureshi
  • Narrated by: Nabeel Qureshi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,463
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,014
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,008

Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi's inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • fantastic

  • By Brandon on 09-09-14

Just one of the best books I have read.

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

Reviewed: 06-28-16

I am well past my 200th audible book and this has got to be one or two on the list. It is an amazing insight into the Muslim culture (both it great strengths and weaknesses). But most of all it is a very interesting story about a very interesting person. There is a perception in out society today that you have to be low on the intelligence scale to believe in any god and especially a Christian one. Following Nabeel's journey should dispel that myth for any reader. I usually only listen in the car but this book was so good that I had to cheat a little. I just could not wait to get back to it.

  • The Rise & Fall of Freedom in America

  • By: Ray Hall
  • Narrated by: Philip D. Moore
  • Length: 17 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2

This audiobook will show you how to get the government off your back and out of your life! Do you realize the government considers you their property? When you're the property of others, that's defined as slavery! Do you realize the government presumes it's sovereign over you, and can tell you what you can and can't do?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not easy, not well written, but may be worth it

  • By Sierra Bravo on 05-24-16

Not easy, not well written, but may be worth it

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

Reviewed: 05-24-16

I can not believe this book had a professional editor. It should be one third the length it is. It repeats, and repeats, if I hear "Freedom isn't Free" one more time I think I will scream.

Much of the biblical references are unnecessary for the topic at hand and if you are not a Mormon unfamiliar. All in all one of the worst books I have listened to and I have been an Audible member from the early days. So why three stars when it should have one?

Because there are two or three questions raised in the book that are worth very deep thought. I am not sure I believe the author's answers to these questions, they take conspiracy theory to a whole new level, but the questions are worth the time.

I do not have the background to know if anything the author says is true, especially the part about signing away all of your constitutional rights in order to get a marriage license, or driver's license, or to vote. But if there is even a hint of truth to any of the author's accusations it is deeply disturbing. Still if you wonder how the individual went from the top of the political hierarchy to the bottom he offers one possibility. Any student of American history knows that in the beginning the Federal government had little to no authority to trump state law now it seems like it has total authority to do so, how did this happen?

Not sure about the answers but the Questions have merit.

  • The Righteous Mind

  • Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
  • By: Jonathan Haidt
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Haidt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,393
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,772
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,710

In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Why Good People Are Divided - Good for whom?

  • By K. Cunningham on 09-21-12

Last great chance to stop all of the Hate

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

Reviewed: 02-13-16

This should be required reading before people are allowed to voice opinions in the political process. (Kidding since that would restrict free speech) Still such a requirement wold hopefully tone down the hate that has become standard fair in political circles. It was refreshing to be reminded that the other side is not evil, just different in their approach to what is morally right. Interesting to learn how our brains work in this department and how we can strive to be more thoughtful before our subconscious completely takes over. Fascinating reading into how we both innately feel and learn what is right and wrong.

A very worthwhile read if you are one of the very few who actually want to understand why people who think differently from you think as they do. Lest you think I an too hopeful I have decided on the headlines of the book reviews in two different publications. The NY Times will headline "Research shows liberals care more about others than conservatives". The National Review will headline "Research shows liberals have an unbalanced moral foundation".

Finally this book explains why an economic conservative, libertarian, recent Christ follower such as myself is so conflicted on what is moral.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lords of the Sky

  • Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16
  • By: Dan Hampton
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 17 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 382
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 352

The New York Times best-selling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation - a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today's technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great history, but ending goes off-topic

  • By Znapel on 07-31-14

History from a little bit different angle

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

Reviewed: 04-07-15

This a a great piece of history for those interested in aviation. Best if you have a basic background, i.e. know what flaps are. There is a fair amount of the surrounding history though the author sticks pretty much to the subject matter and gives background just for context. I found this book totally enjoyable but I am a history and aviation enthusiast (read plane nut) so it was a natural fit. It helps if you know some of the history but do not think it is totally necessary. The narration is great especially when he goes into "radio com" mode. Best if you are really into the subject matter as the book would be a bit detailed for someone looking for a causal read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 154,159
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 142,258
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 142,106

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

McGiver goes to Mars

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

Reviewed: 03-29-15

Where does The Martian rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is certainly in the top 10%. I generally break my reads into things I want to read for fun and things I should read and think about. This was a book for fun but there are a few points at the and that fall into the need to think about catagory.

What other book might you compare The Martian to and why?

Most of the science fiction I read is Asimov and this is not on that level. The Martian is much lighter reading. That said this book was just pain fun and laugh out loud funny in places.

What about R. C. Bray’s performance did you like?

GREAT PERFORMANCE!! Felt like I was listening to the character as he was writing in his journal.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end is moving and thought provoking most of the rest of the best parts are just plain funny.

Any additional comments?

Best line in the book is about duct tape. A classic.