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Bror Erickson

Farmington New Mexico
  • 45
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  • 47
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  • Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1

  • Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs
  • By: Pimsleur
  • Narrated by: Pimsleur
  • Length: 17 hrs and 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 includes 15 hours of spoken language practice and one hour of culture notes in thirty 30-minute lessons. In the first 10 lessons, you'll cover the basics: saying hello, asking for or giving information or preferences, scheduling a meal or a meeting, asking for or giving basic directions, and much more. You'll be able to handle minimum courtesy requirements, understand much of what you hear, and be understood at a beginning level but with near-native pronunciation skills.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well thought out but beware of the shortcomings

  • By Bruce on 02-21-13

Easy Peasy Chinesy!

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

Reviewed: 07-07-17

I never thought I would have a use for learning Chinese. I live in a smallish town in New Mexico. When I go for my walks in the morning I always run into a Chinese man and we could never communicate. I don't know how he lives here but he doesn't speak any English to speak of. So I decided it would be fun to learn Chinese and maybe get to a point where I could help him learn English. Wow!
I started the course, I was afraid that I might not get the intonation right. But after a few days, I said hi to him in Chinese and started speaking. Our first conversations were rather short and broken. And I still find myself at a loss for what to say. But he has no trouble understanding what I do say. And it has made my morning walks so much more fun.
I have moved on now to level II. I love Pimsleur.
You will have to go elsewhere to learn the writing process and how to read Chinese. I haven't even begun any of that. People say you can't learn a language just listening. They are wrong. You can. there are plenty of people who don't read and write. It may be easier to learn with reading and writing helps, but Chinese poses a special problem in that area as there is nothing phonetic about their writing process, though there is a new writing system that uses the western alphabet, a sort of pidgin. It isn't very helpful to go that route as far as I can tell. However, you can learn to speak without learning to write, and it is worth doing that. It takes a bit of work. I give the levels more than one listen through before moving to the next level, and usually, review the previous level after working through the next level once. Then while I'm listening to a lesson I try to think of things I would like to say or ask from my friend in the park. I love the conversational emphasis of Pimsleur in general. I love that you have a conversation with the program in order to learn. But it sure does make it more memorable when I use what I have learned with an actual person in a real conversation. If you don't have a Chinese guy in the park to talk to, you can probably find someone to talk to online.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Soul of a Chef

  • The Journey Toward Perfection
  • By: Michael Ruhlman
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 648
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 593
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 586

In his second in-depth foray into the world of professional cooking, Michael Ruhlman journeys into the heart of the profession. Observing the rigorous Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, the most influential cooking school in the country, Ruhlman enters the lives and kitchens of rising star Michael Symon and the renowned Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. This fascinating audiobook will satisfy any listener's hunger for knowledge about cooking and food, the secrets of successful chefs, at what point cooking becomes an art form, and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly good!

  • By Peter Y. Chapman on 10-27-14

The American Work Ethic Meets Food And Wine

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

Reviewed: 03-09-17

According to Ecclesiastes, there are four things that God gives to man to make life enjoyable: bread, wine, the work of your hands and sex. In America, the protestant work ethic has emphasized the one to its own detriment. But here, where bread, that is food in all its forms, is the focus of the protestant work ethic, well then we begin to see life become enjoyable again.
The book starts with the CMC test at the Culinary Institute of America. It tracks six chefs taking this beast of a test and documents their triumphs and failures as well as the pros and cons of the test. The book then turns to look at other chefs running restaurants. Some of these chefs have taken the CMC others have not. It talks about their successes. It makes you want to eat. It makes you want to cook. It makes you want to travel and spend money on food.
Most especially, it makes you want to visit the French Laundry in Napa Valley California. Much of this book centers on Thomas Keller and the menu at the French Laundry. It becomes rather autobiographical concerning him and his pursuit of perfection in the kitchen that led to the success of this famed restaurant. This is definitely the American (protestant) work ethic meets food and wine in a rags-to-glory-story that is encouraging and inspiring.
I enjoyed the book. It was fun to learn the ins and outs of restaurant cooking, and what goes into becoming a chef. Most of the book concentrates on French and French-influenced cooking. This is something I knew a lot less about before reading this book and it makes me want to try a few things and learn more in this avenue.

  • Sensible Christianity

  • By: Dr. John Warwick Montgomery
  • Narrated by: Dr. John Warwick Montgomery
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Dr. Montgomery, in easy to understand terms, shows that Christianity is sensible and does have answers to the critical questions of life. Whether you listen to these audio files alone or in a group study course, you will find that your knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith will be enhanced and your ability to communicate this knowledge improved.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A good tool....

  • By Shannon on 04-28-17

Christianity, The Rational Faith

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

Reviewed: 02-24-17

These lectures are phenomenal.
John Warwick Montgomery is an apologist for the Christian faith and director of the Institute for “Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights” in Strasbourg France. His interest in apologetics started when he ran into other apologists in college who were instrumental in his own conversion. He has several degrees across numerous disciplines and he uses this knowledge in many creative ways to advance the gospel and make a sound argument for the rationality of the Christian faith.
In these lectures, Dr. Montgomery focuses primarily on the historical argument for the Christian faith based on the resurrection, with passing commentary on the classical arguments for the existence of God such as the Teleological argument. His focus on the resurrection is refreshingly unforgiving. Everything is focused on this one point or proceeds directly from it. He refuses to get caught up in arguments for creationism, or cultural issues. The veracity of the Christian faith rests on the resurrection, everything else is secondary at best. But if a person is brought to believe in the resurrection of Christ those secondary things will fall into place.
These lectures were recorded almost forty years ago, and they are still as beneficial today as they were then. However, some of the chapters have clearer audio than others. The first couple chapters have a bit of static. You can still hear the lecture, it just isn’t what is expected today with recordings made with modern recording equipment. It is probably even a little sub par for its day. I spoke with the publishers of the material and understand that the original recordings have been lost and they have not been able to clean the audio up any more than this. However, if you can get past the first few lectures, the audio quality increases greatly at about chapter 4.
I can’t recommend these lectures enough for those who are interested in evangelism. Many people confuse this term with the culture war, and lose the gospel, the forgiveness of sins in Christ crucified, your justification in His Resurrection. Dr. Montgomery’s lectures are a refreshing exception to that. His focus is the gospel itself, arguing that if you apply the principles of historical investigation and logic that everyone whether Christian, Hindu or atheist needs to use to navigate even their daily lives, one will arrive at the conclusion that the man who claimed to be God really did rise from the dead and that he did this for you.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Invention of Nature

  • Alexander von Humboldt's New World
  • By: Andrea Wulf
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,445
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,311
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,312

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infested Siberia. He came up with a radical vision of nature, that it was a complex and interconnected global force and did not exist for man's use alone. Ironically, his ideas have become so accepted and widespread that he has been nearly forgotten.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Poignant origin story

  • By Jeremy Fairbanks on 03-03-16

The Problem of Man

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

Reviewed: 07-21-16

The Invention of Nature; Alexander von Humboldt’s New World
We live in a world and a climate greatly influenced by a forgotten man. That Man is Alexander von Humboldt.
Perhaps you have gone hunting the Himalayan Snow Cock in the Humboldt Mountains of Nevada, or enjoyed the recently legalized produce of the Humboldt County growers in northern California and wondered who this Humboldt was. This book tells you. It is kind of amazing though that so much should be named after this man in North America as he didn’t spend much time here. He did stop momentarily on his way back to Europe. He became friends with the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
This book chronicles the life of Alexander von Humboldt from his tortured childhood on through to his great adventures in South America and Russia. It speaks of his many discoveries and his prolific writing which influenced others such as Darwin and Muir, even Thoreau, as well as his strained relationship with both the Kaiser of Prussia and Napoleon. It discusses his concept of balance in nature or Naturgemälde, and explores the publication of such works as Cosmos.
Where the book stays on task it was very interesting. However, Andrea Wulf thought she would give you 6 biographies for the price of one. Yes, he was friends with Bolivar. They had a relationship. Humboldt inspired Bolivar to revolt and break the colonial relationship of South America with Spain. Humboldt’s opinion of Bolivar changed over the course of Bolivar’s life. That’s nice to know. But I wasn’t bargaining for a history of Latin America. I spent three days listening to a biography of Bolivar that rarely mentioned Humboldt. Another day or two listening to a biography of Darwin. Another extensive biography of Muir. Then a biography of some man who was Ambassador to Turkey. I can’t remember the man’s name and I don’t want to. And then a biography of Alexander von Humboldt’s son. And honestly each of these biographies were books in themselves. I might have found them interesting if I wasn’t trying to listen to a biography of Humboldt. In this book it came off as filler fluff, distracting from the main topic. I suppose one could argue it was some sort of literary Naturgemälde in itself, showing how all of these concepts were interconnected.
Finally, the book chronicles the downfall of Humboldt’s popularity. He had an interesting and even poetic way of writing about nature. His writing even impressed Goethe, the Shakespeare of the German language! Ironically, Humboldt preferred to write in French. He made great observations and was an incredible explorer. People loved his writing. He exposed what we would deem environmental disasters today and showed what must be done to stop them in the future, or at least curtail them. But his observations lacked scientific experimentation in and of themselves. (They however did inspire scientific experimentation). As science progressed scientific study became much more specialized and there is hardly any room today for a book like Cosmos which would try to unify so many different scientific disciplines and findings into an overarching narrative. Finally, anti-German sentiment surrounding two world wars pitting the English Speaking world against Germany had the effect of sending Humboldt’s name off into oblivion. Which is why today you can hunt Himalayan Snow Cock in the Humboldt Mountains and have no idea who Humboldt was, or why those mountains are named for a man who never saw them.
I wrestle with the ideas of Humboldt. We all do. Every day, when we turn the key in our car and think that perhaps we are contributing to Climate Change with our commute to work, and ought to ride a bicycle instead. It’s a strange title to the book, “The Invention of Nature.” We perhaps wouldn’t think of nature the same way if it wasn’t for Humboldt. Or political discourse would not be as torn as it is today between the efforts of conservationists and preservationists. Maybe we would still see it as something to be exploited. However, I’m always a little uneasy about a supposed naturalist position that doesn’t have room for man in nature as a part of nature. From a creationist standpoint I can see validity in separating man from nature to a degree. If, though, man is nothing more than the product of evolution, the Darwinian Theory that Humboldt laid the framework for, it is harder to justify the position. A person might argue that man plowing the fields around Lake Valencia and growing indigo, something Humboldt objected to, is no more an environmental disaster than a Beaver building a damn. It changes the face of nature, but it is still nature at work.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist

  • By: Michael Shermer, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Michael Shermer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,196
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,073
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,063

Despite our best efforts, we're all vulnerable to believing things without using logic or having proper evidence—and it doesn't matter how educated or well read we are.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Certainly is '101'

  • By S.G. on 12-11-17

When Skepticism is Not Questioning the Status Quo

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

Reviewed: 04-29-16

There are numerous critical reviews of this lecture series. Frankly, I am inclined to agree with them.
The title is a bit ironic. It implies that you should want to think like a scientist. However, once listening to the lecture he spends time talking about how even scientists are fools and fall for this and that magic trick.
At the same time, his skepticism is a far cry from anything that I have ever been accustomed to knowing as skepticism. For instance, when it comes to topics like climate change or evolution he doesn’t question how these scientists (who he admits are fallible) have come to their conclusions. He just accepts them. He even says, “when it comes to climate change I used to be a skeptic but I no longer am because the majority of scientists agree with it.” Why not an investigation into the reasons behind the dissent among those that don’t? The majority has been wrong the majority of the time if you are to give any credence to history. My first thought in this lecture series was, “Since when did accepting the status quo because it is the status quo become skepticism.” When it comes to skepticism I think he could do well to perhaps read some of the critiques that Thomas Nagel of New York University puts forward in “The Last Word” or “Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament.”
When he discusses the scientific method and what it is he backtracks to say that not all science is done this way. Well, then what makes it science?
The book is good in those places where it tracks Shermer’s own exploits and investigations into the “paranormal” showing how the ruse behind card and palm reading works, the inconsistencies behind fortune telling and astrology. In the end, though, he falls victim to the same confirmation bias he warns against for others and shows himself remarkably unwilling to apply his same methods of criticism to evolution and scientific naturalism as he is willing to apply to creationism. A topic that occupies a good portion of the book.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Make Something Up

  • Stories You Can't Unread
  • By: Chuck Palahniuk
  • Narrated by: Chuck Palahniuk, Scott Sowers, Rich Orlow, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 383
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 351
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 348

For years Chuck Palahniuk has reserved his best storytelling for his readings, often choosing to read a new short story instead of whatever novel he is supposed to be promoting. Make Something Up compiles these previously unpublished tales for the very first time, plus the Byliner social media insta-classic "Phoenix" and Palahniuk's most notable pieces from Playboy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Plenty of shock, just not enough Palahniuk awe

  • By Darwin8u on 06-10-15

Brilliantly Disturbing

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

Reviewed: 04-02-16

Chuck has a way. These are stories that probe the demons and perversions of America's soul in a brilliantly disturbing way. I loved them for their character studies. The plots and twists were what I have come to expect from Palahniuk, but it is what a person loves him for. In short, these stories are like drinking distilled versions of his novels one shot at a time, full strength and unrefined. It’s fun watching a creative genius at work. It definitely makes me want to find time for a public reading of his in the future. It was even more fun listening to the stories with Chuck’s personal intonation of them. If you like Palahniuk then you will enjoy these short stories.

  • The Great Escape

  • By: Paul Brickhill
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,274
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,036
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,040

It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated devotion and vigilance of more than six hundred men for every hour, every day, and every night for more than a year. With only their bare hands and crude homemade tools, they sank shafts, built underground railroads, forged passports, drew maps, faked weapons, and tailored German clothes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating and exciting!!

  • By 6catz on 10-28-13

A Tribute to Great and Daring Men

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

Reviewed: 03-19-16

Just a great book and a testament to the resolve of allied forces in WWII. I’m glad audible offered this as a daily deal, otherwise, I would not have known about the book even though I had seen the movie a few times. The book is always better. This is no exception to the rule.
The book details several escape efforts of RAF and USAF personnel held in a German prisoner of war camp. But after several failed or partially successful attempts at escape, the officers come up with a grand plan to dig an even bigger tunnel that will allow a massive escape. They dig a tunnel through sandy soil shoring up the sides with boards taken from beds, devising a rail and cart system and even lighting. In the end, 73 men escape from the camp, and that is when the story gets even more interesting.
There are only half a dozen or so men that actually make it back to freedom. Many are captured and brought back to camp, but 47 are summarily executed by the Gestapo under orders from Hitler. While the story talks about the success of the men who made it out and back to friendly lands and the ways in which many of the men are also caught, the story really concentrates on efforts to bring justice to those who short the escapees in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Many of us have watched the movie, and couldn’t get enough of Hogan’s Heroes as kids. Perhaps we thought it was all Hollywood make believe. Certainly, the truth of German prisoner of war camps was much bleaker than anything depicted in the movie or Hogan’s Heroes. However, the daring and ingenuity of the prisoners that much greater than anything shown on the silver screen too. It was incredible to hear the descriptions of the characters and then listening to stories illustrating pluck and ingenuity. This book is a truly fitting tribute to the brave men who pulled this off and will be of interest to anyone who loves spy stories, military history or who has ever served their country in the armed forces.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Between You and Me

  • Confessions of Comma Queen
  • By: Mary Norris
  • Narrated by: Mary Norris
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 485
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 437
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 434

Between You & Me features Norris' laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage - comma faults, danglers, "who" vs. "whom", "that" vs. "which", compound words, gender-neutral language - and her clear explanations of how to handle them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun book for those who love language

  • By Kate M. on 08-21-15

A Different Look At Grammar

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

Reviewed: 03-11-16

I got the book because it was a daily deal on Audible, and I’m self-conscious about my grammar when I’m writing. I write a lot too! So I wasn’t really expecting an autobiography. On the other hand, I absolutely enjoyed the story and learned a little bit about writing and grammar along the way. It is a fabulous book that makes the grammatical knots and their dissolution interesting.
I found the book to be heartening. To hear about famous authors who write well and still need their work checked and corrected before it is published even as you hear about others who write flawlessly was encouraging. The inside look at the quirks that make “The New Yorker” tick was also fun. It was a different look at grammar.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Difficult Men

  • Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad
  • By: Brett Martin
  • Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 523
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 467

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the landscape of television began an unprecedented transformation. While the networks continued to chase the lowest common denominator, a wave of new shows, first on premium-cable channels like HBO and then basic-cable networks like FX and AMC, dramatically stretched television’s narrative inventiveness, emotional resonance, and artistic ambition. No longer necessarily concerned with creating always-likable characters, plots that wrapped up neatly every episode, or subjects that were deemed safe and appropriate, shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, and more tackled issues of life and death, love and sexuality....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Praise TV's third golden age!

  • By Kali on 10-20-13

The Creative Minds Behind Interesting T.V.

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

Reviewed: 03-11-16

This book is an in-depth look at the “third golden age” of television, its history and the creative impulses that have made T.V. interesting.
I’ll admit I haven’t seen a good many of the shows that Brett talks about. I’m too young for some of them. I also have spent good portions of my life without a T.V. I’m still torn as to whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.
In any case, television has always seemed to be a little flat for me. That changed a bit for me with a show not talked about here, “Sons of Anarchy.” In any case, it was that show that let me know T.V. has changed and I might have reason to sit down and watch, the characters were interesting and the plots were thick. And then came “Breaking Bad!” And it was to understand that show a bit better that I got this book. I was not disappointed.
Brett does a good job of going behind the scenes and talking about the lives of writers and actors and the things they had to overcome in their own lives to finally make T.V. worth watching. He talks about the culture of television making and why so much of it is just uninteresting. He talks about the creation of HBO and how they started to make television and why. Then he shows how producers were able to work on the success of shows like “The Sopranos” and “Dead Wood” to get funding for television shows on primetime.
Even though I hadn’t watched all the shows, it made me want to. Very informative, entertaining, and inspiring. If you are involved in television production, get this book. Do it for the sake of us watching!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Walkable City

  • How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
  • By: Jeff Speck
  • Narrated by: Jeff Speck
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 353
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345

Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king, and downtown is a place that’s easy to drive to but often not worth arriving at. Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Biased author?

  • By Melissa on 10-04-16

Bring Your City to Life

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

Reviewed: 03-11-16

This book is about so much more than walking. It is about bringing life back to your city, back to your downtown. It is about bringing a sense of community back to your community and thus improving the quality of life for all involved. The book also deals with what can be done to help increase the use of Bicycling and other forms of transportation making people less dependent on the car.
Jeff isn’t anti-car. But he is pro-walking. And he rightly sees that taking a critical look at traffic laws, and the construction of traffic routes can ultimately make life better for the automobilist as well as the walker and revive a downtown area, and even an entire city, burbs included.
It’s something so obvious it goes almost unnoticed. But if people don’t feel safe walking, they won’t walk. And when neighborhoods are designed with the car in mind, no one walks. So you can feasibly spend ten years and never meet another soul in your neighborhood. We just drive from home to work to a box store, to home. Not only is it bad for our health, it’s bad for business, it’s bad for community.
Anyone who is involved in city planning, anyone who is involved in community ought to read or listen to this book. If you are a compulsive walker like I am, take a listen on your next walk.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful