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Stephen Schoenberg

Belmont, CA
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 7
  • ratings
  • Conspiracy

  • Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
  • By: Ryan Holiday
  • Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

In 2016, one of the giants of modern journalism fell: Gawker Media, infamous for saying what other outlets wouldn't say, was sued for publishing Hulk Hogan's sex tape, lost the case and went bust. After countless other lawsuits it seemed that Gawker had finally run out of luck. But luck had nothing to do with it. Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and billionaire investor, had masterminded the whole thing.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting book, recommended despite voice acting

  • By gottimw on 08-14-18

Much to think about, but much unsaid

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

Reviewed: 03-26-18

The best thing about this book is that it will make you think about a lot of issues. The story at its core is quite fascinating, and I appreciated the historical connections made by the author. I think that Holiday's "Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em, tell 'em, and tell 'em what you told 'em" style detracted from the story: Michael Lewis would have made it more compelling. The book troubled me in the days after I read it, for the things it did not say. First, the book is a very sad commentary on the US "Justice" System, which seems to be more a complex auction than a tool of justice.
The more troubling aspect is that Holiday seems to have been captured by his subject Thiel. He clearly spent some time with Thiel and did not regain the distance to be objective. Holiday barely seems to note that Thiel wants to avenge his loss of privacy, while leading a company that seeks to violate everyone's privacy. Indeed, the real difference between Gawker and Thiel is that Gawker made their discoveries public, while Thiel sells your secrets to the rich and powerful. The recent scandals about Facebook show Thiel's DNA in that company's approach to user's data as well. Finally, Holiday seems too struck with Thiel's intellectual depth to point out that his fondness for Ayn Rand does not comport with that view.

  • The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12,194
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10,972
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10,971

[Contains explicit content] Hear the story of what happened when the tech industry gave the world what it wanted: free porn. Lives were mangled. Fortunes were made. All for your pleasure. Follow writer and narrator Jon Ronson as he uncovers our web of desire.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pros and Cons of free porn.

  • By ShaSha (Lover of Audiobooks!) on 08-11-17

The Law of Unintended Consequences - porn edition

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

I did not know what to expect from this book, but I am pleased that I took the time to listen. The story looks at a few of the unintended consequences of free porn on the internet. We went places I did not expect, or even knew existed. The stories are told with the curiosity and compassion that are needed in such a sensitive area of life. I am now a Jon Ronson fan.
My one complaint is that it seems the book was just a sequence of podcasts, so there are repeated endings and openings that distract from the content. A little editing would have been good.

  • Insight

  • The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World
  • By: Tasha Eurich
  • Narrated by: Tasha Eurich
  • Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Do you understand who you really are? Or how others really see you? We all know people with a stunning lack of self-awareness - but how often do we consider whether we might have the same problem? Research shows that self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st century - the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. Unfortunately we are remarkably poor judges of ourselves and how we come across, and it's rare to get candid, objective feedback from colleagues, employees, and even friends and family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Might be life changing - check back in a few years

  • By Stephen Schoenberg on 05-31-17

Might be life changing - check back in a few years

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

Reviewed: 05-31-17

Insight takes on a rather nebulous concept, self-awareness, explains it, and tells you how you might get there. The initial difficulty is that everyone thinks he is already self-aware. The book is deceptively dense, despite being clearly written, and deserves several listens. Also, I suspect that the book will have no effect if you don't do the exercises in the appendix. This book might make me more insightful, but it is too soon to tell.

  • The Great Deformation

  • The Corruption of Capitalism in America
  • By: David Stockman
  • Narrated by: William Hughes
  • Length: 36 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 241

David Stockman was the architect of the Reagan Revolution that was meant to restore sound money principles to the U.S. government. It failed, derailed by politics, special interests, welfare, and warfare. Stockman describes how the working of free markets and democracy has long been under threat in America and provides a surprising, nonpartisan catalog of the corrupters and defenders. His analysis shows how both liberal and neoconservative interference in markets has proved damaging and often dangerous.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loads of Information but problematic writing

  • By Michael on 04-12-13

Important but flawed

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

Reviewed: 05-12-13

This is a difficult book to read for 2 reasons.
First, Stockman builds a solid narrative of successive short-sighted political decisions that led to terrible repercussions for democracy and the US economy. Starting with Roosevelt on through Obama, each president made choices that deformed normal economic mechanisms. His criticisms are not really partisan, as he bashes Nixon and Bush as much as Democrats. The examples he uses are numerous, devastating, and often mind-numbing in detail. The conclusions and predictions are very pessimistic.
The second reason the book is difficult is because Stockman is a really bad writer. Seemingly everything "grows like Topsy." Thousands of things are said that are "needless to say." Things "literally explode" that are not pyrotechnic. The countless cliches and a rather tedious sentence structure make the reading unpleasant. That a businessman like Stockman is not a prose stylist is not much of a fault, but why didn't the publisher have the book edited by someone fluent in English?

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Why We Get Fat

  • And What to Do About It
  • By: Gary Taubes
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,710
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,639
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,578

Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what's making us fat - and how we can change - in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes' crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Eye opening, life changing book!

  • By Marsha on 02-03-11

Thought provoking look at the theory of fatness

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

Reviewed: 11-07-12

What did you love best about Why We Get Fat?

Gary Taubes does an excellent job poking holes in the conventional wisdom about dieting. It does seem the official medical theory of obesity fails to provide any advice except "have more willpower," and that advice is not very helpful. There are some questionable statements in the book's argument, such as the idea that humans have not genetically adapted to agriculture. The selection for lactose tolerance in cultures that have adopted milk products refutes this. Overall, the book is a solid refutation of what so many think is "common sense."

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The words "causal" and "casual" are different words, and not homophones. Same with "causality" and "casualty." This repeated error in the narration seriously detracts from the credibility of the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Spirit Level

  • Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
  • By: Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett
  • Narrated by: Clive Chafer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69

Renowned researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett offer groundbreaking analysis showing that greater economic equality-not greater wealth-is the mark of the most successful societies, and offer new ways to achieve it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An Important Book

  • By Stephen Schoenberg on 12-19-11

An Important Book

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

Reviewed: 12-19-11

What made the experience of listening to The Spirit Level the most enjoyable?

The Spirit Level is one of those rare examples of social science being science. There are centuries of theoretical discussions about how best to allocate wealth, but this book actually provides data. The authors do their best to keep it entertaining, but it is occasionally demanding on the reader. Downloading the pdf file is a must to understanding the book. I hope the Spirit Level is read by every policy maker in the world.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful