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Michael J Canning

SILVER SPRING, MD, United States
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 231
  • helpful votes
  • 41
  • ratings
  • Bad Blood

  • Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
  • By: John Carreyrou
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 18,882
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17,156
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 17,124

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose start-up “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fund-raising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’ worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extreme retaliation against former employees

  • By 🔧Eugene on 05-29-18

Excellent listen & definitive account

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

Reviewed: 06-30-18

The definitive account of a massive fraud perpetrated by Theranos and it’s leadership team — as well as the extraordinary lengths to which the company and its bare-knuckled attorneys went to try to prevent the fraud from being discovered - recounted by the journalist who pulled on the strings that unraveled the whole disgusting enterprise. I finished it in 4-5 days and would recommend to anyone who is interested in Silicon Valley, venture capital, the perils of private securities offerings, and the limits of the “fake it till you make it” mantra that is pervasive (but not confined to) Silicon Valley and the startup culture.

Elizabeth Holmes is clearly a sociopath - the book never quite figures her out, but that much is clear - but my impression from the book (and my own anecdotal experiences) is that Holmes is not as unique as we might like to believe. We will see in time. But it is hard to read this book and not come away with the impression that a big part of the reason the Theranos story ends with Holmes under federal indictment for fraud is that she made the mistake of perpetrating that fraud in the highly regulated industry of human laboratory testing, Had she sought to “disrupt” a more mundane industry - anything that wasn’t literally “life and death” - I suspect there is good chance she would have gotten away with it. For his part, the illustrious David Boise also comes across looking at best like a tarnished super-lawyer at worst like a terrible human being who went to (suspiciously) great lengths to abet Holmes and her fraud. Kudos to Carreyrou for telling this story and to the WSJ for publishing it. Well worth the credit.

35 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb

  • 25th Anniversary Edition
  • By: Richard Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 37 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,899
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,761
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,752

Here for the first time, in rich human, political, and scientific detail, is the complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan. Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly - or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than 25 years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow... Grade A+ ... Exceptional.

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-15-16

Great book, but NOT 37-hours great.

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

Reviewed: 08-22-16

Where does The Making of the Atomic Bomb rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is an detailed and sometimes excllent book. However, at 37-hours, it must be evaluated against an especially high bar -- in the audio format the difference between a 15 hour history and a 35+ hour history is a chasm - and by that measure I think the book somewhat comes up short. The book does not warrant comparison to Shirer's Rise and Fall. The writer covers a panoply of characters, but unlike Shirer, he did not personally know the men and women whose story he tells, must less scrupulously observe them as comgemporariess over decades.

I make a point to raise Shirer in this review because it was the explicit comparison to Rise and Fall in the publishers summary that spurred me to get the book. This comparison is off base.

I enjoyed this book. However, it is too long and not quite engrossing enough to listen to in an audiobook format.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Making of the Atomic Bomb?

Yes

Have you listened to any of Holter Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was very solid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Once upon a Time in Russia

  • The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History
  • By: Ben Mezrich
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 408
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 409

The best-selling author of Bringing Down the House (63 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and the basis for the hit movie 21) and The Accidental Billionaires (the basis for the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network) delivers an epic drama of wealth, rivalry, and betrayal among megawealthy Russian oligarchs - and its international repercussions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Oligarchs, Operatives, Explosives & Intrigue!

  • By Michael J Canning on 07-26-16

Oligarchs, Operatives, Explosives & Intrigue!

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

Reviewed: 07-26-16

Excellent book. I had some reservations as I have read a fair bit in this area (for an American) and felt I would already be familiar with the narrative. I need not have been concerned. The book is a great addition to the limited literature dealing with this period in Russia and much more than just a rehashing of previously reported facts.

Mezrich takes the reader back into Russia at is was during Yeltsin and early Putin years by telling the story through the experiences of the oligarchs that dominated the country's politics during this time -- their origins, personalities, rivalries, agendas, and public vs. private selves. The story he tells is a rich and three dimensional one, and generally the author nails it, grabbing the reader from the opening chapter (which begins in the clouds of smoke following a failed assignation attempt in Moscow) and never really letting up. The scope is historical rather then contemporary, but the ark of this narrative told by Mezrich is unfolding even in 2016, so the information is the book remains relevant today. The book is full of interesting information, but by its conclusion the reader is left with a lot to think about and at least as many questions than answers. Exactly as it should be in my view.

The time flew by and I would have welcomed additional chapters.

Well worth the credit!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The History of Ancient Rome

  • By: Garrett G. Fagan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Garrett G. Fagan
  • Length: 22 hrs and 40 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,072
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,879
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,860

Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Accessible

  • By Sean on 10-05-13

Like listening to the Cliffs Notes version

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

Reviewed: 04-12-15

I was disappointed with this course. I found it a superficial and unsatisfying listen. There were a few really excellent and perceptive lectures, but that was more the exception than the rule. I don't think the shortcomings are Fagan's, but more due to the format, which consists of lectures that average about 20 min each, and don't allow for much analysis. Even Fagan seems frustrated by this - constantly reminding listener of and apologizing for the many things that he will not have time to mention on the course.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Red Notice

  • A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice
  • By: Bill Browder
  • Narrated by: Adam Grupper
  • Length: 14 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7,836
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,193
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,195

Red Notice is a searing expose of the wholesale whitewash by Russian authorities of Magnitsky's imprisonment and murder, slicing deep into the shadowy heart of the Kremlin to uncover its sordid truths.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gutsy, chilling and important.

  • By Michael J Canning on 02-28-15

Gutsy, chilling and important.

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

Reviewed: 02-28-15

Browder paints a portrait of modern Russia through his own very personal story.

The first half of his book is interesting but drags ever so slightly. It recounts Browder's rise, at Solomon Brother and then as a fund manager focusing on the country in the aftermath of the fall of the USSR. It describes his dealing with the Oligarchs of that era, and ascension to become as the country's largest foreign portfolio investor by the late 1990s/early 2000s.

In its second half, the book pivots from international business biography to political and criminal intrigue. Here, in riveting terms, Browder recounts how in the late 2000s a cabal of shadowy apparatchiks from the Russian FSB and interior ministry, acting with the backing up the State, stole hundreds of millions by falsifying tax refunds fraudulently procured on behalf of one of his companies. It explains the methods employed and names to people responsible, and describes how he was blamed, intimidated, exiled him from the country, and ultimately shows how and why one of his attorneys, Sergei Magnitsky, was murdered. By the end of the book, it is 2015 and Browder is living in Britain in very real fear for his life.

Taken at face value, Browder's story affirms the very worst fears about what the Russian state has become two decades after the collapse of communism. Taken at face value, in my opinion, Mr. Browder has every reason to be fearful for his life.

The best thing about the book is that Mr. Browder does not flinch in telling his story. He does not pull any punches. By directly addressing the Putin regime - by naming names, connecting the dots, detailing the tactics employed by the Russian state to obfuscate the truth and discredit its opponents, and showing the astonishing and cynical depth of the regime's contempt for the rule of law and international norms - Mr. Browder places himself alongside the likes of a very small group of gutsy writers (Anna Politkovskaya comes to mind) who have sought to pull back the curtain on the ugly truth of the New Russia.

The main reason I give the book 4-stars instead of 5-stars is that it is (through no fault of the author's) highly specific and personal, focused almost entirely around Mr. Browder and his experiences in Russia. It does not offer many new, concrete insights beyond those that Browder experienced personally. The result is many of the most intriguing and seemingly consequential mysteries from the New Russia - the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings; the 2003 jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky; the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the assasination of journalist Anna Politivsaya - are dealt with superficially if at all.

Nonetheless, Mr. Browder's story is by itself sufficiently remarkable to render this book a valuable contribution to the (conspicuously small) body of literature offering real insight into the modern Russian kleptocracy. Kudos to him for having the courage to tell his story, and the story of Sergei Magnitsky. Well worth the credit.

62 of 66 people found this review helpful

  • Mossad

  • The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service
  • By: Michael Bar-Zohar, Nissim Mishal
  • Narrated by: Benjamin Isaac
  • Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 814
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 711
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 709

In Mossad, authors MichaelBar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal take us behind the closed curtain with riveting, eye-opening, boots-on-the-ground accounts of the most dangerous, most crucial missions in the agency's 60-year history.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like a spy novel

  • By Jean on 02-13-17

Israeli Intelligence through Iraeli Eyes

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

Reviewed: 12-30-14

The best thing about the book are the stories. They are all interesting and several are excellent. The way the book is organized prevents the authors from developing characters, however, and the book sometimes fails to place stories in their correct political / security context. However, the book's high-tempo, and the excellent access the authors appear to have to the participants, more than compensates for these limitations. My biggest knock is that the book is self-congratulatory, and at times the author's own political agenda seems to the surface. The authors offer little depth, and few strategic insights, though they provide enough detail, action, and clandestine nuggets to almost overcome that problem.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Spy Among Friends

  • Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 11 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,405
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,275
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,270

Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War - while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby's best friend and fellow officer in MI6.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reads like a spy novel

  • By Kate M. on 08-15-14

Perfect blend of history, analysis, action.

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

Reviewed: 12-09-14

The first book I've not wanted to turn off at any point in a very long time. If you enjoyed listening to Robert Littell's "The Company" I think this book will appeal to you.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Greatest Comeback

  • How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority
  • By: Patrick J. Buchanan
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and reunite a shattered and fractured Republican Party to capture the White House?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great history of Nixon in the wildernest

  • By Michael J Canning on 11-24-14

Great history of Nixon in the wildernest

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

Reviewed: 11-24-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Greatest Comeback to be better than the print version?

The narration was excellent. The only person who could do it better is Buchanon himself. I think the print version would be cool to see the pictures of these men during that era, but otherwise I don't think anything is lost in the audio.

What other book might you compare The Greatest Comeback to and why?

1. The tempo of the book is much like that of "Jack, We Hardley Knew Ye" - by Kenny oddonell and Dave Powers. However, while Buchanon seems to admire Nixon as a politician, he does not worship Nixon personally in the way the Kennedy men did JFK.2. The subject matter overlaps closely with "Nixon Land," and other of Ron Perlsteins books. But these books are quite complimentary.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Riding shotgun across the Repunlican Right during the heart of 1960s with a Tricky Dick and a young Pat Buchanan.

Any additional comments?

Worth the credit

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Invisible Bridge

  • The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
  • By: Rick Perlstein
  • Narrated by: David de Vries
  • Length: 39 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 392

In January of 1973 Richard Nixon announced the end of the Vietnam War and prepared for a triumphant second term - until televised Watergate hearings revealed his White House as little better than a mafia den. The next president declared upon Nixon’s resignation “our long national nightmare is over” - but then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government rendered moot the sacrifice of some 58,000 American lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Tad Davis on 10-03-14

Compelling and superbly researched history

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

Reviewed: 10-14-14

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

The Invisible Bridge is an awesome accomplishment. It is the latest installment of what is shaping up to be a modern masterpiece from Rick Perlstein. The book covers the prior between 1972-1976. It's greatest strength is the way that it recounts an enthrawling political narrative by placing it squarely within the context of the larger social and historical forces buffeting the nation in the mid 1970s.

In its way, Invisible Bridge ranks with Robert Caro's epic LBJ epic series and Morris's TR trilogy as the best American history I've listened to on audible.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Invisible Bridge?

The chapters dealing with watergate and Nixon's final year were excellent and could be a book unto themselves. But if the contest between Reagan and Ford is really at the heart of this book, these were some of its highlights:

1. The mini biography of Reagan is outstanding.
2. The author's treatment of the U.S. bicentennial
3: Ford to City: Drop Dead
4. The authors investigation of the early 1970s battles over school textbooks.
5. The authors treatment of the 1976 GOP convention

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book often made me chuckle. I was listening to it I was walking around with a grin. This author has a good sense of humor and a knack for deploying anecdotes, to reveal basic truths about the characters, and to tie the book's broader themes together.

Any additional comments?

The book is not politically biased. It has no contemporary political agenda.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Big Money

  • 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp - on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics
  • By: Kenneth P. Vogel
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11

A series of developments capped by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision have effectively crowned a bunch of billionaires and their operatives the new kings of politics. Big Money is a rollicking tour of a new political world dramatically reordered by ever-larger flows of cash. Ken Vogel has breezed into secret gatherings of big-spending Republicans and Democrats alike, from California poolsides to DC hotel bars, to brilliantly expose the way the mega-money men (and rather fewer women) are dominating the new political landscape.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Money & Politics. Not much more.

  • By Michael J Canning on 08-14-14

Money & Politics. Not much more.

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

Reviewed: 08-14-14

Would you listen to Big Money again? Why?

This is not the kind of book that I would read a second time. It is an entertaining narrative, but its real value is that it provides a wealth of timely information about a subject that is changing and evolving rapidly. If you are considering purchasing the book, the time to do it is now. If you wait until after the 2014 elections, much of the information will be moot.

The book sets out to explain the way money flowed into US federal elections in 2010 and 2012, and in this succeeds wonderfully. It is a thorough overview and history of campaign finance during this period and is packed with information that helps the reader understand what is and has been happening with money in politics over the past few years. At the same time, the book's focus on campaign finance during a 4-year period is also the its main weakness. The author has an excellent grasp of the ways money flows into politics today, and benefits from access to donors and consultants who are active in this space, but his expertise seems to end there. The book does not provide anything more than cursory, superficial descriptions of the campaigns and political candidates who benefit from the money, or the Tea Party movement, or the issues on which recent campaigns have turned. Further, while the authors hints at ways the influx of big-donor money may translate into influence on policy, this and the other key question about the significance of the conduct documented by the book are never really tackled. Ultimately, I don't believe this is the author's failing, but merely indicative of the fact that the topic about which he is writing is so still new that its significance, if any, is simply not yet clear.

Great read for political practitioners and junkies and anyone who really wants to understand how money is flowing into our politics and where it is combing from. For others, including more well rounded readers, I think the book could be a bit much.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful