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Sutapa Chattopadhyay

NJ
  • 31
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 32
  • ratings
  • Neverwhere

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,690
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,765
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,752

Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Vivid, imaginative.

  • By Joseph on 10-29-09

Lovely imaginative storyline, great narration

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19

The storyline is beautiful, and I got carried away reading the audiobook so much so that there were times while playing it in my car, I did not want to reach home.

People would also identify closely with Richard Mayhew, the protagonist, or at least one protagonist of London aboveground, his psyche and his thoughts. Without giving much away, the ending made complete sense.

There is also the aspect of this novel being more 19th century than 21st. Charles Dickens come to mind. And did I say that the narration by the author was wonderful? It was. I also learned a lot about the history of London in a delightful way. Overall, the conclusion seems to be, we live in a safe and sterile and comfortable world, at the expense of adventure and excitement in our lives!

  • Crime and Punishment (Recorded Books Edition)

  • By: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett - translator
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 25 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,267
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,388
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,382

Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is universally regarded as one of literature's finest achievements, as the great Russian novelist explores the inner workings of a troubled intellectual. Raskolnikov, a nihilistic young man in the midst of a spiritual crisis, makes the fateful decision to murder a cruel pawnbroker, justifying his actions by relying on science and reason, and creating his own morality system. Dehumanized yet sympathetic, exhausted yet hopeful, Raskolnikov represents the best and worst elements of modern intellectualism. The aftermath of his crime and Petrovich's murder investigation result in an utterly compelling, truly unforgettable cat-and-mouse game. This stunning dramatization of Dostoevsky's magnum opus brings the slums of St. Petersburg and the demons of Raskolnikov's tortured mind vividly to life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Masterful narration of a masterpiece

  • By John on 07-30-08

Beautiful narration of a masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 04-05-19

Crime And Punishment is a masterpiece of the human condition and the narrator was wonderful, interpreting the nuances of this masterpiece beautifully

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century

  • By: Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator)
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 24 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,705
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,312
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,297

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Audio format still useful to get the gist of it

  • By Kazuhiko on 06-14-14

An extremely important book for our times

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

Reviewed: 03-20-19

An important book that goes through about a century and a half of historical economic data to illustrate the level of inequality in France, Britain, US and other countries (but less of other countries).

As a non-economist, the audio format was very useful to me to get through (even though it was 25 hours approximately). As Piketty said somewhere economists need to look at historical data and come to their own conclusions and in his case, this was very well done. Examples for 19th century literature - Austen, Balzac were fascinating.

  • Winners Take All

  • The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • By: Anand Giridharadas
  • Narrated by: Anand Giridharadas
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 968
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 862
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 850

Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can - except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward "thought leaders" who redefine "change" in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Profound.

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-10-18

A thought provoking book

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

Reviewed: 02-13-19

Giridharas takes us through the elite charade of corporate and billionaire philanthropy taking place in the US for a generation, the last 40 years. The fact that only the business world can solve our intractable and structural problems is taken down very effectively. The very same people who contributed to societal breakdown and the downfall of globalism solving world problems while at the same time not tackling their own complicity in creating these problems is shown in the book in many case studies. Tisch, Sackler, Aspen Institute, Darren Walker (President of Ford Foundation) as well as some young aspiring do-gooders on the threshold of a career and are all examined in great detail. Clinton Global Initiative and President Clinton himself who contributed to the mayhem caused by global trade treaties signed by him that weren't well thought out are examined in this book.
I would recommend everyone read this book to see how things really are in the world of philanthropy and in the state of our union in the US.

  • The Square and the Tower

  • Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook
  • By: Niall Ferguson
  • Narrated by: Elliot Hill
  • Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 619
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 545
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 542

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers, and field marshals. It's about states, armies, and corporations. It's about orders from on high. Even history "from below" is often about trade unions and workers' parties. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Power? Does it come from hierarchies or networks?

  • By Ted on 04-25-18

Good research on networks - ignore the commentary

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

Reviewed: 02-07-19

I will never fully agree with Niall Ferguson on political philosophy and economics and therefore this book it seems to me is a good starting point on the history of networks - social and political and of other stripes - but the commentary is something I did not agree on.

An example would be the financial crisis. He began by enumerating the reasons for the crisis, some of them being financial regulations not being in place and enough empowerment of the Fed to do something immediately. He praises Bernanke who knew how to handle it from his past research on the Great Depression. But then a few paragraphs later to says the Dodd Frank Act - one of whose aim is to increase reserve capital that a bank must hold for times of crisis - is stifling because it is a hierarchical act imposed on networks (his thesis) and will not help in the future! One of the facts for the crisis is that almost all the top banks did not have enough reserve capital.

I found the book interesting and a starting point for one's own investigation on networks. But because Ferguson is a small 'c' conservative with whom I would never agree (small Govt is good and all that, Reaganism and Thatcherism redux), I found the book mediocre at best.

  • Who Owns the Future?

  • By: Jaron Lanier
  • Narrated by: Pete Simoneilli
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 241
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 238

Who Owns the Future? is a visionary reckoning with the effects network technologies have had on our economy. Lanier asserts that the rise of digital networks led our economy into recession and decimated the middle class. Now, as technology flattens more and more industries - from media to medicine to manufacturing - we are facing even greater challenges to employment and personal wealth. But there is an alternative to allowing technology to own our future....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Jaron Lanier is a visionary thought leader

  • By Sutapa Chattopadhyay on 12-17-18

Jaron Lanier is a visionary thought leader

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

Reviewed: 12-17-18

I read this book with great anticipation and I was not disappointed. Although to be fair, Jaron Lanier is a technologist and computer scientist and not an economist, policy maker or philosopher. He does have understanding of social sciences and some humanities though. Lanier's book is a warning about "siren servers" like Facebook, Amazon, Google and the like. And written in 2012 before the 2016 election, it has proven very prescient about the harm that a siren server like Facebook or Twitter can do. Beside taking away fields like journalism (which he said has already taken place in 2012), Facebook proved poison to the idea of democracy itself, selling data to Cambridge Analytica and thus sowing the seeds of discord and fake news to swing the election to a conman. He has many solutions to the problem of the siren servers and the "non humanistic" economy that we have now because we gave away our data for free. The solutions seem to me to be abstract and he says he can't really get specific with them because no one knows what the future will bring.. Even so, one must look at his solutions carefully to see if there are ideas that can be borrowed from him. He says the economy must be fairer and more "humanistic" and I can't agree more.

One shortcoming according to me is that the book keeps coming back to the same point: the siren servers and how to reduce their monopoly. But perhaps that was his intent all along. After all, he is a top level technologist of the same caliber as say Steve Jobs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Radical Markets

  • Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society
  • By: Eric A. Posner, E. Glen Weyl
  • Narrated by: James Conlan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125

Many blame today's economic inequality, stagnation, and political instability on the free market. The solution is to rein in the market, right? Radical Markets turns this thinking - and pretty much all conventional thinking about markets, both for and against - on its head. The book reveals bold new ways to organize markets for the good of everyone.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible Reader ruins this book

  • By Brian on 10-30-18

Important book in my view, thoughtfully written

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

Reviewed: 11-28-18

This book 'Radical Markets' lives up to it's name. It is full of ideas on how to reform monopolistic tendencies in capital markets, property rights, voting, democracy, allocation of other resources and public goods fairly to reduce inequality, bring about fairness in elections etc. It gives a beautiful history of ideas from Adam Smith, to the utilitarian philosophers Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill to modern day. Starting with Henry George's ideas on auctions, it builds new ideas about property rights, voting, capital markets etc. These ideas are based in economic theory, and seem to make sense. And the authors say these ideas would increase world GDP significantly in the future if tried out.

The last chapter states clearly that these are far-out ideas that must be experimented with in small ways. If they are wrong, they can be discarded without any harm. The authors humbly state that economists cannot predict human behavior which can circumvent any system for their own gain. Yet they say these ideas take advantage of this human tendency to create a more just and fair society where allocation of public goods such as land is fair.

The narrator wasn't very good, he was very mechanical in his delivery and often emphasized the wrong words, which makes for difficult listening. Still the book was very interesting to be.

  • Warlight

  • A Novel
  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: Steve West
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,072
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,071

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself - shadowed and luminous at once - we follow the story of 14-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • BRILLIANT

  • By Linda on 06-03-18

Did not like it as much as President Obama did

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

Reviewed: 11-27-18

President Obama recommended this novel and being a fan, I picked it up. I did not like it as much. To me, a thriller and a mystery moves much faster than the pace in the book. It was long and a bit dreary given the subject matter.

0 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 5,782
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,069

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

Classic Harrari - loved the book

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

I've read the previous books by Harrari - Sapiens and Homo Deus. Although this says '21 lessons for the 21st century' this book is more about trends in the 21st century from Harrari's unique point of view than "lessons" which implies some knowledge or conclusion he wants us to draw. He discusses politics, social media, economics, anthropology, philosophy, religion, belief systems and many other topics with his own spin on it - a unique spin which seems very convincing. Lastly he discusses what an individual can do in the face of losing "individuality" meaning what is our "mind" whether that is separate from our brain. This is a threat that is very real given the technology companies are out to manipulate us in a very "Brave New World" way. In the last chapter he discusses Vipassana which is a Buddhist meditation technique which he says helps him understand the mind better than any book could.

I enjoyed reading this book very much and would recommend it to anyone who wants to get a different opinion from the traditional one - whether liberal or conservative.

  • Long Walk to Freedom

  • The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
  • By: Nelson Mandela
  • Narrated by: Michael Boatman
  • Length: 27 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,940
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,930

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly honest autobiography.

  • By History on 11-17-11

Inspirational bio with close-up view

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

This is a very inspirational book. Nelson Mandela is an inspiration to every generation from his own generation to future generations to come. His biography written in collaboration with someone else (whose name I forgot) is beautifully written from his point of view. He does not dwell particularly on his private life...but mostly on his epic struggle from his 30s to the age when he was released from jail on Feb 11, 1990. The book spends proportionate amount of pages to the time he spent in jail. His release and subsequent (but tumultuous) partnership with FW Declerk is documented in accurate detail...

This is a must-read for everyone trying to get out from under a despot - or protest would be despots, racists and other extremists of every stripe. He clearly elaborates on what made ANC different from his point of view.