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  • 43
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  • 51
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  • Mind Fixers

  • Psychiatry's Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness
  • By: Anne Harrington
  • Narrated by: Joyce Bean
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50

In the 1980s, American psychiatry announced that it was time to toss aside Freudian ideas of mental disorder because the true path to understanding and treating mental illness lay in brain science, biochemistry, and drugs. This sudden call to revolution, however, was not driven by any scientific breakthroughs. Nor was it as unprecedented as it seemed. Why had previous efforts stalled? Was this latest call really any different? In Mind Fixers, Anne Harrington offers the first comprehensive history of the troubled search for the biological basis of mental illness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A summary relevant to each of us

  • By D. Tibbles on 04-28-19

We all have a family member with mental illness

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

Reviewed: 05-12-19

It's the most coherent explanation I've heard of how we got to modern psychiatric practice, explained as history. This is a fascinating book that will improve the understanding of everyone with a family member treated for mental illness--and that seems to be everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Windfall

  • How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power
  • By: Meghan L. O'Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Eliza Foss
  • Length: 13 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

As a new administration focuses on raising American energy production, O'Sullivan's Windfall describes how new energy realities have profoundly affected the world of international relations and security. New technologies led to oversupplied oil markets and an emerging natural gas glut. This did more than drive down prices. It changed the structure of markets and altered the way many countries wield power and influence.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great subject, tedious text, mediocre performance

  • By Ronald on 01-23-18

Great subject, tedious text, mediocre performance

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

Reviewed: 01-23-18

What did you like best about Windfall? What did you like least?

I studied oil and gas economics in two college electives in 1973. It's an amazingly fascinating subject that blends technology, political economy, and finance. I was looking forward to this book after seeing it reviewed in the NY Times, but found it merely adequate. The text is much longer than necessary. The repetitiveness of many concepts would be good for teaching a beginners' course but simply gets tedious. The reader (these credits are the first on an audiobook when I've heard one mentioned as "a member of SAG/AFTRA" ) has a schoolmarmish tone that seems detached from the content of the text.

Any additional comments?

Anytime I see a book about energy economics, I feel bound to read it. Windfall helped me think through how "the new energy abundance" might affect strategic calculations between world powers. But I honestly could not wait for it to end owing to the performance and the repetititveness. Also, I accept that the author worked for the GW Bush administration, but she never seems to confront the major issue of what it means for civilization when all the greenhouse gases are released from newly available oil and natural gas, including of course methane leaks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rust

  • The Longest War
  • By: Jonathan Waldman
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 177
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 150

In Rust journalist Jonathan Waldman travels from Key West, Florida, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to meet the colorful and often reclusive people concerned with corrosion. He sneaks into an abandoned steelworks with a brave artist and nearly gets kicked out of Can School. Across the Arctic he follows a massive high-tech robot, hunting for rust in the Alaska pipeline.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Almost too geeky for geeks

  • By Norman B. Bernstein on 03-26-15

50% irrelevent trivia

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

Reviewed: 06-19-17

What disappointed you about Rust?

The topic is inherently interesting, but it seems Waldman, the author, did not trust that his listeners would find it so. In my opinion, the audiobook is marked by hours of irrelevant trivia about the engineers and other characters who Waldman interviewed. I consider myself somewhat cheated by paying for a work about corrosion. It's fine for a journalist to kibitz with his subjects, but the content of their light conversation shouldn't appear in the final work.

What could Jonathan Waldman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

If Waldman had simply focused on the topic of corrosion, even if the content were technical, I would have been satisfied. Why do I care about the size of the fish tank maintained by an engineer working for the Alyeska pipeline? Even worse, why do I care about the musings of and cigarette breaks taken by Levar Burton while he's recording a video for the Dept of Defense's corrosion czar?

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

Lane's performance is fine.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Rust?

I would have cut most of the time-filling quirky, and never-endearing details. I don't need to know about the life of the guy who climbed the statue of liberty. The editing of this volume was negligent, in my opinion.

Any additional comments?

I blame the New York Times reviewer for my purchase of this aggravating audiobook. When I re-read the review, it became clear to me that he probably skipped over large portions of the text and whole chapters.

  • Earning the Rockies

  • How Geography Shapes America's Role in the World
  • By: Robert D. Kaplan
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 177
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 155

As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father's evocative stories about traveling across America as a young man, travels in which he learned to understand the country from a ground-level perspective. In Earning the Rockies, Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation and understanding of American geography that is often lost in the jet age.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnificent book that found a great narrator!

  • By BotakTree on 03-09-17

Thought-provoking extended essay.

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

Reviewed: 02-05-17

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I love even theoretical connections between geography and the course of history, and Kaplan loves to generate theories in this realm

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Undoing Project

  • A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
  • By: Michael Lewis
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,509
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,325
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,312

Forty years ago Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred systematically when forced to make judgments about uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made Michael Lewis' work possible.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Behind the scenes of amazing science

  • By Neuron on 10-16-17

Interesting, but at the same time annoying

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

Reviewed: 01-29-17

What did you like best about The Undoing Project? What did you like least?

I liked the insight into the real way that people tend to think, and I enjoyed the biographical notes about Kahnemann and Tversky. I did not enjoy M. Lewis' detailed explanations of psychology experiments. I also could have done without Lewis' prolonged introduction, talking about sports for what seemed like an hour before getting to the subjects of the book.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

This book had an interesting and unusual organization, and I did like the way it ended.

Do you think The Undoing Project needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

A lot has been written about Kahnemann and Tversky, included an audiobook version of Kahnemann's own book. And there are libraries about behavioral finance and avoiding cognitive and analytic errors. The main reason I even read this book owed to my admiration of Michael Lewis, and the rave reviews this book got. But a follow-up book does not seem needed.

  • An Extraordinary Time

  • The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy
  • By: Marc Levinson
  • Narrated by: James Foster
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

A sweeping reappraisal of the last sixty years of world history, An Extraordinary Time describes how the postwar economic boom dissipated, undermining faith in government, destabilizing the global financial system, and forcing us to come to terms with how tumultuous our economy really is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good review of crucial turning point in history

  • By Philo on 11-22-16

Macroeconomics unable durably to stimulate growth

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

Reviewed: 01-06-17

Would you listen to An Extraordinary Time again? Why?

I listened to every chapter at least twice and plan to listen to it again or purchase the book to read. It was well written but had a lot of facts and concepts not fully absorbed at once. But I found each run-through to be fascinating and enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

Levinson writes well but I had to listen attentively to enjoy the account of world economic events since my own birth in the early 1950s. There's a strong connection between productivity growth and economic growth. The end of WWII unleashed worldwide economic growth for two decades. That became the new baseline, and people decided it could and should be maintained. It started to unravel for a number of reasons at the time of the OPEC embargo in 1973. No political party nor form of government has been able to restore those levels of growth. Levinson explains why things have turned out the way they did, and why we should be skeptical of overly optimistic promises from political parties or ideologues. Yes, innovation is necessary to increase productivity and growth, but Levinson explains why there are unpredictably long delays between innovative technologies and their salutary effect on growth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Putin Country

  • A Journey into the Real Russia
  • By: Anne Garrels
  • Narrated by: Anne Garrels
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253

In Putin Country: A Journey into the Real Russia, Garrels crafts an intimate portrait of the nation's heartland. We meet ostentatious mafiosos, upwardly mobile professionals, impassioned activists, scheming taxi drivers with dark secrets, and beleaguered steel workers. We discover surprising subcultures, like the LGBT residents of Chelyablinsk who bravely endure an upsurge in homophobia fueled by Putin's rhetoric of Russian "moral superiority" yet still nurture a vibrant if clandestine community of their own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting dive into Russia today

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-25-16

Tedious writing on an interesting subject

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

Reviewed: 10-08-16

Any additional comments?

I remain very interested in what is happening in Russia and how its people are handling the changes since the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Putin. However, this book was a struggle for me to finish. The author correctly chose to focus on an out of the way city, but I found her reporting excessively detailed and minute. For me, there were just too many details about poorly educated people trying to live their lives. This book could have been half as long but better edited and made more of an impact.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Grid

  • The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future
  • By: Gretchen Bakke
  • Narrated by: Emily Caudwell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 726
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 638
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 640

The grid is an accident of history and of culture, in no way intrinsic to how we produce, deliver and consume electrical power. Yet this is the system the United States ended up with, a jerry-built structure now so rickety and near collapse that a strong wind or a hot day can bring it to a grinding halt. The grid is now under threat from a new source: renewable and variable energy, which puts stress on its logics as much as its components.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Needed more... and less

  • By J. Pegg on 11-22-16

A disappointment

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

Reviewed: 09-24-16

Any additional comments?

After I heard Gretchen Bakke interviewed on Fresh Air, I could not wait to read this book, so I downloaded it the day it was released. The book did not meet my expectations. It was about as non-technical as such a book could get. There were minimal explanations of important concepts such as cutting edge storage technologies, including battery storage. Most of the discussion revolved around soft topics repeated over and over again, such as that people want wireless devices and hope for wireless charging. The book did explain some of the basic problems with the grid, including that electricity cannot be stored and that its supply must always equal its demand. It did make clear that renewables such as solar and wind are a problem when the sun sets or the wind calms and their adapters suddenly need electricity from old forms of generation.
In general, the style of writing alternated between wordy, tedious repetition and trying to be silly or cute. Similar to so many books written these days, this one would have benefitted form some better editing.
During her interview, it came out that the author is an anthropologist, not an engineer. Perhaps she should have collaborated with an engineer or even a science writer. For me, I had hope for much more technical information about the present and future than Bakke provided.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • The Kid Stays in the Picture

  • By: Robert Evans
  • Narrated by: Robert Evans
  • Length: 6 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 426
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 420

Robert Evans' The Kid Stays in the Picture is universally recognized as the greatest, most outrageous, and most unforgettable show business memoir ever written. The basis of an award-winning documentary film, it remains the gold standard of Hollywood storytelling. An extraordinary raconteur, Evans spares no one, least of all himself. The Kid Stays in the Picture is sharp, witty, self-aggrandizing, and self-lacerating in equal measure.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not even close to unabridged

  • By Shaun Bossio on 09-08-16

Mediocre and dated

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

Reviewed: 03-07-16

Any additional comments?

The audiobook disappoints me. Robert Evans' reading adds authenticity, but at the cost of too much mumbling. Too many of the recollections seem tainted by the evident narcissism of the author. Evans seems to present superficially the highs and lows of his life, but the point of each episode is whether it was a triumph or a failure for him. I would have been much more interested in an analysis of the movie business during the three decades he was active in it.
There is also way too much gratuitous Jewish self-loathing.
After reading this book, I learned nothing about what--other than luck--might have led to Evans success or his eventual fall from grace. Also, I learned very little of substance about some of his big hits: Love Story, The Godfather, and Chinatown.
This is a good audiobook to avoid, There are just too many other good memoirs, and other compelling story about Hollywood.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Believer

  • My Forty Years in Politics
  • By: David Axelrod
  • Narrated by: David Axelrod
  • Length: 19 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 480
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 481

The man behind some of the greatest political changes of the last decade, David Axelrod has devoted a lifetime to questioning political certainties and daring to bring fresh thinking into the political landscape. Whether as a child hearing John F. Kennedy stump in New York or as a strategist guiding the first African American to the White House, Axelrod shows in Believer how his own life stands at the center of the tumultuous American century.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent !!!

  • By Mary Jo on 04-24-15

Inside story

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

Reviewed: 03-22-15

Any additional comments?

The audiobook of Believer is well-performed by author David Axelrod. The highlights for me came in the 2nd half, as he presented illustrations of how Barack Obama thinks and acts as President. My bias before taking up this book was that Obama had restored the presidency to an office worthy of respect, and that history will judge him to have been one of our top 10 presidents. Axelrod is not consistently fawning, and in the epilogue sums up how Obama's strengths and weaknesses result from the same character traits. Axelrod thinks and writes clearly. His performance is one of the least obtrusive examples in my extensive exposure to audiobooks. My one criticism of Axelrod is that he almost always seems to smell a skunk before the rest of the world, e.g., Carol Mosely Braun, Rod Blagojevich. Perhaps Ax really is that perceptive.In summary, a very well-balanced and valuable memoir.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful