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Sam A. Havens

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  • 11
  • reviews
  • 262
  • helpful votes
  • 32
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  • Children of Time

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Mel Hudson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,928
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,646
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,614

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 07-30-17

For fans of A Fire Upon the Deep

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

Reviewed: 02-04-19

AFUTD was a memorable experience, empathizing with such an alien intelligence. This book accomplishes that same feat. Great post-post apocalyptic sci-fi.

  • The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

  • A Contrivance of Horror
  • By: Thomas Ligotti
  • Narrated by: Eric Martin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 49

His fiction is known to be some of the most terrifying in the genre of supernatural horror, but Thomas Ligotti's first nonfiction book may be even scarier. Drawing on philosophy, literature, neuroscience, and other fields of study, Ligotti takes the penetrating lens of his imagination and turns it on his audience, causing them to grapple with the brutal reality that they are living a meaningless nightmare, and anyone who feels otherwise is simply acting out an optimistic fallacy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not for the faint of heart.

  • By Zan on 12-24-18

A viewpoint more than an explanation

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

Reviewed: 01-22-19

I "enjoyed" this book, though not in the way I usually enjoy things. I thought using pessimism as a lens for interpreting Buddhism and literature was great. I don't think it gave a clear answer to "what is pessimism and why might one subscribe to that belief", but maybe it did and I was unable to face it. It's a huge bummer, though, and I don't recommend reading it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,537
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,008
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,978

Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good stuff, but mostly repeats

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-13-18

Life changing

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

Reviewed: 09-17-18

If you haven’t read both of his other books, the authors tone might come off as condescending. However, if you have, you know that this is one of the smartest people alive giving commentary on the most important issues of our time.

  • The Three-Body Problem

  • By: Cixin Liu
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,351
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,466
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,474

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They create a computer using a 30 million man Army

  • By Josh P on 12-07-14

Even better than people say

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

This is one of those sci-fi books that completely sucks you in and rocks your world. Ender's Game, Childhood's End, Anathem, A Fire Upon the Deep, and River of Gods was my list... And now are The Three Body Problem to that list.

The voice actor does a great job. I think I would have struggled with the Chinese names (I usually don't pronounce names when I see them written, I just see the writing as an identifier that doesn't have a sound. Also I am bad with names), but not for the narrator's performance.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Antifragile

  • Things That Gain from Disorder
  • By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Narrated by: Joe Ochman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,245
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,625
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,611

In The Black Swan Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the "antifragile" is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish. Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • How to focus on impact instead of risk

  • By E. Smakman on 05-03-13

He's a Jerk, but He Earned It

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

Reviewed: 01-11-18

Some reviews of this book are negative, focusing on the lack of focus of the book, or the author's anger or lack of focus. And yeah, sometimes he comes across as a jerk. But he's right. And the jerk that's being a jerk because he's trying to point out something true that society is blind to... Is my kind of jerk.

I'm really excited to read his mathematical papers, and anything else by him that I haven't read yet. I've already bought his books for three friends.

Also this narrator did a fantastic job of finding the emotions of the book without overdoing it.

  • 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 18,291
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,043

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Take the Negative Reviews w/ a Grain of Salt

  • By Gabriel on 08-29-18

Life changing

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

Reviewed: 09-09-17

I guess this is what it feels like to have a religious awakening, which is ironic given the contents of the book. The way this book describes humans from such a distant vantage point really forces you to acknowledge the objective reality that we are all just animals, doing strange things, believing even stranger things, for our brief lives.

One example of how this book has changed me: I've taken antidepressants for a long tube, but always felt guilty: like if I just understood myself and my world better, I wouldn't need that crutch. I don't feel that way anymore. Read the book and you'll understand why.

It's a tired analogy, but it's like The Matrix. I'm suddenly aware of these major aspects of my reality that I was just ignoring before... Or, more than ignoring, they just weren't something I could see.

Read this. The narrator is great. The content is great. The writing is great.

225 of 256 people found this review helpful

  • Seveneves

  • A Novel
  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Mary Robinette Kowal, Will Damron
  • Length: 31 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17,307
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,078
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16,072

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • So Much Potential

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 06-08-17

Entertaining, but not Stephenson's best

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

Reviewed: 05-31-15

There are many nationalities represented in this story, and the first narrator misses a few of the accents. The structure is also kind of strange. But, it's still very entertaining and thought provoking.

Moral Letters to Lucilius, Vol. 1 audiobook cover art
  • Moral Letters to Lucilius, Vol. 1

  • By: Seneca
  • Narrated by: John A. Robinson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164

This audiobook contains the first 65 letters of Seneca's series of Stoic philosophic explorations, covering subjects as far reaching as fame, death, travel, and asthma. Heavily referenced and quoted by many, the full text is read for you, unabridged.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Philosophy for the Real Life

  • By Benedict on 03-04-13

An old and meaningful morality

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

Reviewed: 05-19-15

The reader gives these words the weight they deserve. I will be listening to this book again.

Audible, please record volumes two and three!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Guide to the Good Life

  • The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
  • By: William B. Irvine
  • Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,440
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,070

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Sam A. Havens on 04-27-15

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 04-27-15

This is a great book, and the narrator fits perfectly. I would recommend this title to any thoughtful friend or family member. I started this book at a real low point, and found this profoundly helpful. Also, unlike most books that offer life advice, the author is clearly a smart, logical individual who thinks carefully about what he says and explains what it is like to put his advice into practice.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 208,445
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 194,610
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194,205

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

tedious at parts but enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 04-24-15

It was a fun ride through nostalgia land. A few mispronounced words. There is a tedious bit 2/3 of the way through, but the ending is fun.