LISTENER

J. Snider

Maryland, USA
  • 28
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 178
  • ratings
  • Plato at the Googleplex

  • Why Philosophy Won't Go Away
  • By: Rebecca Goldstein
  • Narrated by: Dennis Holland
  • Length: 16 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 113

Is philosophy obsolete? Are the ancient questions still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, not to mention crowd-sourcing and cable news? The acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Was looking forward to it, can't bear it

  • By ARG on 04-08-14

A little too clever for my tastes

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

I only got through about a third of this book. I thought it was very clever but also perhaps too clever for its own good. That's because I thought its pace of developing its narrative and providing fresh insights was too slow.

  • Ovid

  • By: Katharina Volk
  • Narrated by: Liza Ross
  • Length: 6 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

This audiobook provides a unique and accessible introduction to the complete works of Ovid. Using a thematic approach, Volk lays out what we know about Ovid's life, presents the author's works within their poetic genres, and discusses central Ovidian themes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good, relatively short introduction to Ovid

  • By J. Snider on 08-24-18

Good, relatively short introduction to Ovid

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

I knew almost nothing about Ovid and this gave me the basic information that I was looking for concerning when he lived, what he wrote, and why someone might want to invest the time to read and understand his work.

  • Dante's Divine Comedy

  • By: The Great Courses, Ronald B. Herzman, William R. Cook
  • Narrated by: Ronald B. Herzman, William R. Cook
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 476
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 473

Professors Cook and Herzman provide you with an illuminating introduction to one of the greatest works ever written. One of the most profound and satisfying of all poems, The Divine Comedy (or Commedia) of Dante Alighieri is a book for life. In a brilliantly constructed narrative of his imaginary guided pilgrimage through the three realms of the Christian afterlife, Dante accomplished a literary task of astonishing complexity. In these twenty-four lectures, as you follow Dante on his journey, you'll learn how medieval literature offers insights into fundamental questions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Commedia for Modern Readers

  • By Patti on 08-25-13

Effective at motivating listeners to read the text

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

This team of professors was greater than the sum of their parts. They brought a pleasing, accessible style to the teaching of this difficult text and helped motivate me to undertake the tough slog of understanding the text. I preferred this set of lectures over the Modern Scholar lectures because of its greater focus on the big picture; e.g., it spent less time reading specific passages and more time explaining what Dante was up to and why we should care. Still, I would have preferred if the lecturers had spent more time explaining the medieval cosmology that set the stage for Dante's work, which is the primary reason I gave this four versus five stars.

  • The Beginning of Infinity

  • Explanations That Transform the World
  • By: David Deutsch
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 20 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 704
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 689

A bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Perspective Shifter

  • By kevmoo on 01-19-14

Dry but worthwhile

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

Reviewed: 07-22-18

Learning to think about science and other forms of knowledge with the rigor of a philosopher is an unnatural and very difficult endeavor. Few do so but many pretend to do so or, most commonly, don't know the difference.

I took a course in epistemology in college and was amazed to discover here an example of how the field has evolved.

Overall, I'd call this a breathtakingly wide overview of its subject in the light of modern scientific discoveries. But I felt at times it was too broad and that I wished the author kept the book's length to more manageable proportions by focusing on only the most important lines of argument.

  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

  • By: Robert Garland, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Garland
  • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,116
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,659
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,624

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tantalizing time trip

  • By Mark on 08-21-13

Great subject; Good Execution

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

Any additional comments?

This book had a great subject and for the most part delivered on its promise with a pleasing, personal style suitable for a lecture. Where it came up somewhat short is in getting into the minds of the people it was describing. Describing how they lived their lives provides a very important clue as to what they were thinking. And the author states clearly upfront that average people prior to the modern era left very few written records so doing this type of research is very difficult. Instead, he draws primarily on the type of source material that museums typically provide. I understand that getting into people's minds would therefore have required some type of imaginative leap that this author generally felt uncomfortable providing. But it still marks a significant weakness in the presentation. The brief discussion of religion and the last lecture summary covers some of the otherwise missing ground. If you're looking for an intellectual history of common people, this lecture series doesn't excel. But I don't know of any other work of similar ambition that excels on that front. This lecture series is probably as good as it gets.

  • A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind by Jean Jacques Rousseau

  • The Complete Work Plus an Overview, Chapter by Chapter Summary and Author Biography!
  • By: Jean Jacques Rousseau, Israel Bouseman
  • Narrated by: Derek Botten
  • Length: 3 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

Rousseau was one of the key figures of the Enlightenment, a period in history when all aspects of politics and human rights underwent dramatic reinterpretation. His discourse on inequality is one of his earliest works, an examination of the state of nature of mankind and the way in which current society fell short of both its ideals and its potential. Rousseau was the most influential French writer of his age. His works gave rise to the ideals espoused during the French Revolution, and in no small part contributed to the American Revolution as well.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Illustrates evolving standards of scholarship

  • By J. Snider on 01-20-18

Illustrates evolving standards of scholarship

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

What about Derek Botten’s performance did you like?

The performance was generally excellent except for the pronunciation of the names of some famous thinkers.

Any additional comments?

Rousseau is a good story teller and was certainly a very influential one. But it is interesting how his methodology of developing an argument would be laughable if a contemporary scholar attempted it. Of course, thinkers are supposed to be judged by the standards of their time....

  • Win Bigly

  • Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
  • By: Scott Adams
  • Narrated by: Scott Adams
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,564
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,433
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,420

Trump triggered massive cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias on both the left and the right. We're hardwired to respond to emotion, not reason. We might listen to 10 percent of a speech - a hand gesture here, a phrase there - and if the right buttons are pushed, we decide we agree with the speaker and invent reasons to justify that decision after the fact. The point isn't whether Trump was right or wrong, good or bad. Win Bigly goes beyond politics to look at persuasion tools that can work in any setting.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I was not so persuaded

  • By Ryan R. Wixom on 02-13-18

Well-written but too long and self-promotional

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

1. More brevity
2. Less self-promotion
3. More awareness of the self-contradictions in the author's argument (e.g., Trump cannot be both X and not-X at the same time without explaining the apparent contradiction).

Would you ever listen to anything by Scott Adams again?

Yes. He is a good writer, even if he is a self-indulgent thinker.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Time and Again

  • By: Jack Finney
  • Narrated by: Paul Hecht
  • Length: 17 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,381
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,216
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,213

Transported from the mid-twentieth century to New York City in the year 1882, Si Morley walks the fashionable "Ladies' Mile" of Broadway, is enchanted by the jingling sleigh bells in Central Park, and solves a 20th-century mystery by discovering its 19th-century roots. Falling in love with a beautiful young woman, he ultimately finds himself forced to choose between his lives in the present and the past. A story that will remain in the listener's memory, Time and Again is a remarkable blending of the troubled present and a nostalgic past....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best time travel novel; my very favorite audiobook

  • By Mark on 04-08-12

Great fun, especially if you live in New York City

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

Reviewed: 12-04-17

Any additional comments?

Great fun, especially if you live in New York City and can appreciate the changes to the City from the 1880s to the near present.

  • The Jungle Book

  • By: Rudyard Kipling
  • Narrated by: Peter Batchelor
  • Length: 5 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 225
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 206
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 207

The complete collection of Kipling's classic tales. Includes "Mowgli's Brothers", "Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack", "Kaa's Hunting", "Road-Song of the Bandar-Log", "Tiger! Tiger!", "Mowgli's Song", "The White Seal", "Lukannon", "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", "Darzee's Chant", "Toomai of the Elephants", "Shiv and the Grasshopper", "Her Majesty's Servants", and "Parade Song of the Camp Animals".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really good please consider buying

  • By Valeria Menke on 05-06-16

a classic familiar in many ways

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

Reviewed: 08-14-17

a classic that has lost much of its freshness and appeal. But because part of this tale has entered pop culture either directly or indirectly, there is an haha sense of discovery when reading this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Macat Analysis of John Locke's Two Treatises of Government

  • By: Jeremy Kleidosty, Ian Jackson
  • Narrated by: Macat.com
  • Length: 1 hr and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

First available in 1689, John Locke's Two Treatises of Government is considered one of the most important works ever written on the foundations of government. Published anonymously, it argues against the popular idea at the time that monarchs have a God-given right to rule. Instead Locke proposes that sovereignty - supreme authority - ultimately resides with the people.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Competent

  • By J. Snider on 08-06-17

Competent

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

Reviewed: 08-06-17

Any additional comments?

This was a reasonable brief review of Locke and his place in Western political philosophy.