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  • 12
  • reviews
  • 37
  • helpful votes
  • 51
  • ratings
  • The Virtue of Selfishness

  • By: Ayn Rand
  • Narrated by: C.M. Hernert
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 892
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 569
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 573

Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Luck!

  • By John on 12-12-05

Difficult, but worth it...

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

Reviewed: 07-26-18

This is one of the most difficult and worthwhile books I've ever read (or listened to). There are a lot of mistaken notions about what Rand does or doesn't believe. Please set those aside, because many of them aren't true and others are only half-true. In order to really understand what she believes, you need to read her non-fiction. This is a good place to start because while this book is certainly complex and challenging, its topics and terminology isn't nearly as esoteric as, say, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology." This book really questions a lot of long-standing beliefs and notions about morality. The term "selfishness" is defined differently by Rand, so listen for that (otherwise, the book won't make sense or might seem sadistic). She also points out some of the unreasonable presumptions inherent in altruism — for example, that something can be labeled as "good" solely on the account of having been done for others. That is not a valid basis for morality. Think of the large numbers of mentally ill patients who were lobotomized in years past with the justification: "it's for their own good." Even Adolf Hitler had explained away his murder of Jews, Romani, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and various other groups with the explanation that it was for the good of others (in this case, Germany). But, was it the right thing to do? Of course not. To do FOR others is not necessarily to do GOOD for others. Conflating these two causes problems, as Rand outlines in the text. While the explanations here are sometimes impressively crisp and passionate, it does suffer from brevity. The works in this book were originally articles, so they don't provide the depth necessary to really understand everything mentioned. When an explanation seems too brief or there's an allusion to another work, that is why: these are articles, not an in-depth explanation of the intricacies of her philosophy. I found it useful to supplement this text with: "Philosophy: Who Needs It." If you really wish to understand her philosophy, stick to her non-fiction works. Without knowing her intentions, her fiction can be interpreted many different ways and so it won't really help you to understand this book or her philosophy any better. By reading her non-fiction, you'll get a direct explanation from Rand herself on what she believes. This is definitely the book I'd recommend to start with. You may need to pick up a hard copy, as well (I did and found it helpful). It is enjoyable to listen to, but sometimes the topic is too deep or complex to listen to, it must be seen and sat with for a while. It's worth the struggle, though. After reading this, I felt relieved that it was over because it was exhausting to excavate my mental landscape to such a degree. But, when I saw how it changed my life, how it rippled out and positively benefitted me, I couldn't have been happier that I took the time to read her work. I surely don't agree with everything she says (either here or in her other works). But, I respect her intelligence and strength and I find her work beneficial and thought-provoking. That, to me, is very worthwhile and as such, I'd highly recommend it to others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Finding Zero

  • A Mathemetician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers
  • By: Amir D. Aczel
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. Virtually everything in our lives is digital, numerical, or quantified. The story of how and where we got these numerals, which we so depend on, has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery. Finding Zero is an adventure-filled saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not what I expected but I loved it just the same.

  • By Darren on 08-24-15

Lost me with all the sex talk...

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

Reviewed: 06-19-16

Would you try another book from Amir D. Aczel and/or Stefan Rudnicki?

I'd be hesitant to. I'm not sure I would.

What was most disappointing about Amir D. Aczel’s story?

While it started out as an interesting personal narrative concerning math, it descended into talk about these statues and carvings which were in sexual positions, sexually aroused, naked, etc. It just became all about sex. I lost interest. I wanted to listen to a book about math, not depictions of sex and arousal.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki – was your favorite?

I didn't get far enough in to say. I dropped the book at about 20% through.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I liked the casual conversational style. It felt as if the narrator were sitting down and recounting his life to me personally. I just wish he were in front of me so I could say to him: okay, I got the point, there was lots of sex...can we move on now?

Any additional comments?

This is much more of a narrative than a math text. I was personally interested in something more mathematical. Perhaps others would be looking at this book for the same reason. If so, you may find it unsatisfactory for the same reason as I did.

  • After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

  • How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
  • By: Jack Kornfield
  • Narrated by: Jack Kornfield
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 259
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 234
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230

When does enlightenment come? At the end of the spiritual journey? Or the beginning? In After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, Jack Kornfield brings into focus the truth about satori, the awakened state of consciousness, and enlightenment practices today. The result is this extraordinary look at the hard work we all must do - the laundry - no matter how often we experience ecstatic states of consciousness through meditation and other disciplines.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous as always

  • By PrawdS on 10-27-16

Can't stand the narration...

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

Reviewed: 04-27-16

I think I'd like this book a lot if it were narrated by someone else. As is, it's really, really annoying to listen to. Forget ecstasy or the laundry, nirvana when listening to this, was either ear plugs or the stop button.

2 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Art of the Infinite

  • The Pleasures of Mathematics
  • By: Robert Kaplan, Ellen Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Ray Chase
  • Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

The Art of the Infinite takes infinity, in its countless guises, as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. Robert and Ellen Kaplan guide us through the “Republic of Numbers,” where we meet both its upstanding citizens and its more shadowy dwellers; and transport us across the plane of geometry into the unlikely realm where parallel lines meet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly pleased!

  • By JapMerican on 01-24-15

Sing-songy narration to a saccharin book...

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

Reviewed: 02-21-16

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

(1) Refrain from cheerleading. If someone already loves a topic, you don't need to do this; if someone doesn't, it can frighten/annoy them out of being open to it. (2) The song "one potato, two potato..." is sung to small children because any discerning adult would probably punch you in the face if you subjected them to it. This is an audiobook singing "one potato, two potato..." which is directed towards an adult audience. No pun intended...you do the math.

Would you ever listen to anything by Robert Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan again?

Not unless I somehow felt overcome with the desire to hate math. I don't see this happening because I love math and I find that this feeling of affection helps to offset its difficulty when dealing with it in life.

What didn’t you like about Ray Chase’s performance?

His reading started off sing-songy and was slightly undesirable. After time, this became irritating. Then, when he actually sung "one potato, two potato..." in probably the most annoying, rage-inciting way I can think of, that was the end of my being open to performances by this narrator. Note that I am normally a very patient person. It's just that this saccharin, sing-songy tone of his is particularly bothersome to me.

What character would you cut from The Art of the Infinite?

Does infinity count? -- This is not a character-driven book, not that I could tell from all of the five or ten minutes I could stand it. As a side-note, perhaps Audible would consider making these Mad-Lib-esque review boxes in a variety that suited non-character-driven books...you know, seeing as they sell them...

Any additional comments?

When the sing-songy narrator started singing "one potato, two potato..." in this saccharin tone and I caught myself contemplating jumping out the nearest window, I had to stop listening. Now, I love math, so this should say a lot. I would not recommend this audiobook to anyone with an ability to hear -- no matter how slight. If you wish to incite a deep hatred of math, subject them to this audiobook, rinse, repeat, then buy a new electronic device because they don't fare well in water.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Shunryu Suzuki
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Peter Coyote
    
    


    
    Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
    947 ratings
    Overall 4.4
  • Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

  • By: Shunryu Suzuki
  • Narrated by: Peter Coyote
  • Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 947
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 604

Shunryu Suzuki was a direct spiritual descendant of the renowned 13th-century Zen master Dogen, and his hugely influential Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind ranks with the great classics of Zen literature. Suzuki's clear, coherent translation of ancient beliefs and principles miraculously leaves all the subtleties of Zen intact, while adapting the language to modern sensibilities.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A pleasure

  • By Mehitobel on 03-02-08

Great book, terrible recording quality

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

Reviewed: 11-20-15

The recording sounds like the narrator was way too close to the microphone -- so it buzzes a bit and isn't crisp or very clear. While the tone, cadence, and pace is great, the recording quality is truly bad and hard to listen to. In regards to content, I've found this to be a unique mix of openness, great explanations of ideas and posture, and overall, a more philosophically disciplined, and simultaneously open, tone than other books I've read/listened to on Buddhism or Eastern thought in general. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's approachable, informative, and gives some great food for thought...this recording is just awful, unfortunately. Perhaps others may not be so bothered by the quality issue, but just in case, I'd strongly recommend previewing this one first.

Being and Nothingness
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Jean-Paul Sartre
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Pam Tierney
    
    


    
    Length: 39 hrs and 13 mins
    31 ratings
    Overall 3.5
  • Being and Nothingness

  • By: Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Narrated by: Pam Tierney
  • Length: 39 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 28

In Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre closely examines ontology (the study of the nature of being) and discusses empirical issues that he finds scientific fields struggle to explain. Above all, he delves into the idea of “freedom over choice”, which states that humans have complete and total responsibility over their actions. While taking care to address, build on, and refute the works of Descartes, Husserl, Hegel, and other earlier philosophers, Sartre covers “Being-for-itself”, “Being-for-others”, and ethics.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Cannot listen to the narration.

  • By Jlongtorso on 12-28-13

Not well-read by the narrator...

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

Reviewed: 07-18-15

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

I'd recommend the written book, not the audiobook.

If you’ve listened to books by Jean-Paul Sartre before, how does this one compare?

Sartre is hard to listen to in audiobook form because his books are dense and thought-provoking.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She reads quickly and she doesn't seem to really understand what she's reading because the intonation doesn't flow well. Certain narrators know and understand the material and convey it in the way they read it, but I can't say that about this narrator. I also heard her mispronounce the word "et cetera" -- which was very discouraging considering the content of this book is well above the level of that word.

Do you think Being and Nothingness needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I couldn't say, I had to drop this audiobook because it was so hard to understand when read so quickly and imprecisely by this narrator.

Any additional comments?

The narrator seems to read well in the samples, but the actual meat of this text is much more dense and complex. She reads very quickly, considering the thought-provoking nature of this work and doesn't give proper cadence to the sentences, making it even harder to grasp. I'd say this is a title which doesn't lend itself to being an audiobook to begin with, but this narrator reads so poorly that it makes it impossible to really take it in.

  • Learn German: By Reading Fantasy (German Edition)

  • By: Mozaika Educational, Dima Zales
  • Narrated by: Lidia Buonfino, Emily Durante
  • Length: 17 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

Do you want to master German? Do you like fantasy novels? Are you tired of reading boring textbooks in order to learn German? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, this is a book you should consider.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A creative approach to language acquisition

  • By Kim Luechtefeld on 05-02-15

Great narration, but the story didn't interest me.

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

Reviewed: 07-13-15

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I didn't like the story, it came off as being distastefully suggestive to me and I just couldn't get into it. Please note that I've read plenty of suggestive books without a problem, so it's more a matter of presentation than content.

Has Learn German: By Reading Fantasy (German Edition) turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'd definitely be willing to listen to another book for German comprehension, perhaps short stories read in German with English translation, but I wouldn't go for another fantasy title like this one. -- And definitely not another book by this author, in any language.

Which scene was your favorite?

I didn't have one. I couldn't get that far into the book.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Absolutely not.

Any additional comments?

The German level in this is quite high. I'm a beginner and I'd venture to guess that this is mid- to high-intermediate -- at the very least. The German narrator is absolutely fantastic -- wonderful, clear pronunciation and dramatic, beautiful pacing. I could listen to her for hours -- she is literally the best narrator I've ever heard (in any language). I didn't even mind that the German level was so far above my current comprehension level. It was really the fact that I found the content distasteful that lead to my returning the book without finishing it. Note that the narrator that does the English is also good, though she does tend to come off as a bit campy or silly when doing the voices for the other characters. I wasn't bothered by it really, but I thought I'd mention it.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • From Fear to Fearlessness

  • Teachings on the Four Great Catalysts of Awakening
  • By: Pema Chödrön
  • Narrated by: Pema Chödrön
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 201
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 171
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 161

Where will we look when we are afraid? How do we find strength? In what can we place our trust? According to Tibetan Buddhism, there are four noble aspirations, known as the Four Great Catalysts of Awakening, which we can call on to cultivate strength and openness in any situation. From Fear to Fearlessnessbrings us into the company of beloved teacher Pema Chödrön to discover and cultivate these four immeasurables: maitri (loving-kindness), compassion, joy, and equanimity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crucial topic

  • By Sonia on 07-10-15

I couldn't relate to this one...

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

Reviewed: 07-07-15

I've had a mixed experience with Pema Chödrön. Out of all the books and audiobooks I've read or listened to, I found she had this kind of naïvety that I felt kept her from really understanding certain issues. Her advice ends up feeling so unsuitable and uninformed that if I were speaking with her in person, I'd probably just give a blank stare, squeeze out an "okay, thanks," and walk away knowing not to ask her something so serious again. With titles like "The Places That Scare You" and "From Fear to Fearlessness," you'd think she'd understand extreme fear and trauma enough to speak about it with perspective, but that wisdom just doesn't feel like it's there. I know a good intent is, and a willingness to help, but she just isn't suited for the job because on a certain level, she just doesn't seem to understand. This shows in the relative lightness of the books -- where fear is more about not telling your spouse something embarrassing, rather than dealing with abuse or PTSD, serious depression or anxiety. Now I'm not saying this book couldn't help you -- it may. Just be cautious about assigning it the job of helping with something serious. These books she writes seem like suggestions more for normal life issues, not for when all hell breaks loose. In those cases, I'd say go elsewhere to someone either more experienced, with more personal understanding, or who isn't shy about really digging down at that awful stuff -- because that's where you need to go to fix it, trust me.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

Daring Greatly
    How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Brené Brown PhD
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Karen White
    
    


    
    Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
    6,087 ratings
    Overall 4.4
  • Daring Greatly

  • How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • By: Brené Brown PhD
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,087
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5,315
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,234

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on 12 years of research, her book argues that vulnerability is not weakness but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Important information - painful narration

  • By Marc on 10-01-12
  • Daring Greatly
  • How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • By: Brené Brown PhD
  • Narrated by: Karen White

Terrible narration...

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

Reviewed: 06-25-15

If you could sum up Daring Greatly in three words, what would they be?

Such terrible narration.

What other book might you compare Daring Greatly to and why?

"The Power of Vulnerability" included some of the same material as "Daring Greatly" -- though I can't say more than that as I couldn't stand listening to this book for long.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Karen White?

This narrator sounds like she's madly in love with every word coming out of her mouth. There's this intense, overly-dramatic, pitch-wavering tone to her voice that makes every word sound exactly as emphasized as the next. It's kind of like the more positive version of monotone, where instead of no words being emphasized, every single word is. Yet, that said, it's no better than monotone. The thing is, having pitch and emphasis go up and down, it gives us information when we're listening to someone. It tells us what's a question, what's enthusiastic, where there is fear or anger or dread, it's like the audio version of someone's facial expressions. Yet, here, it's always fixed in a level of sultriness that makes it harder to listen to and to be engaged with. While "The Power of Vulnerability" (also by Brown) was so enjoyable to listen to with Brown having spoken herself and portrayed the emphasis and intonation perfectly, I couldn't stand to listen to this book for much more than five minutes. Looking at White's other titles, it seems like she's read romantic/sexual novels and that makes perfect sense to me. The thing is, a self-help book doesn't benefit from being read like an over-dramatized seduction. I mean, if you could seduce the neuroses out of people, there'd probably be no need for self-help books...

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Daring Greatly?

I couldn't say, I couldn't even finish it. I did, however, send an e-mail to Brown (the author) and ask her to get a new narrator for this book since this one really doesn't do it justice.

Any additional comments?

It's really important to pick the right narrator for the job and this doesn't seem to necessarily be a priority here on Audible (as a note to both myself and other listeners). A nagging voice goes well when listening to the news or politics because it has a sense of irritation and urgency, a sultry voice fits with romance, a crisp English accent and strict enunciation helps when listening to complex topics with complex terminology, and appropriately dramatic narration helps when listening to pretty much any book. I'm really not sure how people who read books for a living can fail to understand the importance of proper intonation, but it's happened a lot on this site, so be careful when choosing books...try not to think to yourself "oh, it doesn't bother me *that* much..." because you'd be surprised how annoying bad narration gets after 8 hours...

  • The Power of Vulnerability

  • Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage
  • By: Brené Brown PhD
  • Narrated by: Brené Brown
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 25,625
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22,807
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 22,544

On The Power of Vulnerability, Dr. Brown offers an invitation and a promise - that when we dare to drop the armor that protects us from feeling vulnerable, we open ourselves to the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Here she dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and reveals that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The audio makes all the difference.

  • By Sadie on 09-14-13

So moving...

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

Reviewed: 06-24-15

This was the most worthwhile audiobook (or book of any kind) that I've ever experienced. I mean, I know there's such thing as runner's high, but book high? Wow...unexpected. Brené is lively, vulnerable, flawed, and so brave and human in her talks that it really helped me to feel more comfortable opening up. The many laughs I had and lessons I learned were so valuable, so deeply valuable. It's worth saying that it really works in terms of "me too" instead of "how to." So while it lacked the precise instruction some may feel they need, it didn't feel like anything was missing for me. We all have different lives and ways of doing things, so we can't all use the same "how to." But having someone, in such a heartfelt and humorous way, say "me too?" Well, for me, it made taking that walk into vulnerability just a bit easier...which made such a difference for me on my personal journey. This will not tell you that you can avoid vulnerability, it will not give you an easy way out. What it will do is show that we're all in this boat together, we're not alone, so when taking these hard steps into vulnerability, even if someone laughs or we make a fool of ourselves, it's okay. We don't have to be perfect, we don't have to try to be perfect, and why would we want to, when we have nothing to prove anyway? Many heartfelt thanks to the author for her funny, beautiful insight into life, I'm truly grateful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful