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Michael

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  • Slavery by Another Name

  • The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
  • By: Douglas A. Blackmon
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 972
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 820
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813

In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history - an Age of Neoslavery that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Powerful book!

  • By Kristi R. on 04-08-14

Informative

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

Reviewed: 08-04-18

This fills a lot of gaps between America's heyday of slavery, and the transition to a supposed state of integration. It demonstrates that slavery was alive and well long after emancipation. I can see why black Americans might feel resentment to the political, legal and penal system. Many of them have inherited the poverty that was enforced on their ancestors so that white businesses could thrive. Lots to think about.

The narrator was excellent, except for the understandable mispronunciation of du Bois. But something like shouldn't have slipped through production.

  • The Trouble with Physics

  • The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
  • By: Lee Smolin
  • Narrated by: Walter Dixon
  • Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 429
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 269

In this illuminating book, the renowned theoretical physicist Lee Smolin argues that fundamental physics - the search for the laws of nature - is losing its way. Ambitious ideas about extra dimensions, exotic particles, multiple universes, and strings have captured the publics imagination -- and the imagination of experts.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Strings snipped

  • By J B Tipton on 06-06-10

Physics is in trouble

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

Reviewed: 07-06-18



Apart from some overly detailed sections about particular physics theories, this was an informative insider's view into the structure and processes of the physics community. I totally understand what Smolin is saying about the flaws in the system. It sounds like physics has streamlined and back itself into a corner out of which its own system is preventing it from breaking free. It sounds kind of cultish, tbh. I thought Smolin made a good effort at suggesting practical ways to fix the problem, but idk that they'll work, since the 'system' is not owned and operated by one entity - it's a culture that by design culls those who question and could help it. Welcome to the Church of String Theory. 

I narrator was ok, but lacked something, perhaps understanding of the subject matter.

  • The Myth of the Spoiled Child

  • Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting
  • By: Alfie Kohn
  • Narrated by: Alfie Kohn
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81

Somehow, deeply conservative assumptions about how children behave and how parents raise them have become the conventional wisdom in our society. It's widely assumed that parents are both permissive and overprotective, unable to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. We're told that young people receive trophies, praise, and A's too easily, and suffer from inflated self-esteem and insufficient self-discipline. However, complaints about pushover parents and entitled kids are actually decades old and driven, it turns out, by ideology more than evidence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good info, too wordy

  • By Philip Mayer on 06-27-16

Dispelling myths

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

Reviewed: 07-01-18

Another excellent Alfie Kohn book that deconstructs social presuppositions and stereotypes. Alfie digs deeper than our shallow values normally go and gets to more important foundations of what we want to see in children. A 'well-behaved' child sounds nice, but what does that mean? And what do studies reveal about non-autonomous, non-visionary, non-opinionated children who simply "do what they're told"? He didn't mention Nazi Germany; the connection was obvious.

I appreciated his chapter on how to raise a rebel, like, intentionally raise them to rebel. I was that kind of child myself, but I got the impression from society that something wasn't quite right with me, and I'd never amount to much because I probably wouldn't pass the (debunked) 'marshmallow test'.

Narration by Kohn was, as always, a perfect blend of Rick Moranis and Wallace Shawn. It works.

  • The Iliad of Homer

  • By: Elizabeth Vandiver, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Vandiver
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 686
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 618
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 614

For thousands of years, Homer's ancient epic poem the Iliad has enchanted readers from around the world. When you join Professor Vandiver for this lecture series on the Iliad, you'll come to understand what has enthralled and gripped so many people.Her compelling 12-lecture look at this literary masterpiece -whether it's the work of many authors or the "vision" of a single blind poet - makes it vividly clear why, after almost 3,000 years, the Iliad remains not only among the greatest adventure stories ever told but also one of the most compelling meditations on the human condition ever written.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!

  • By Audible Fan on 11-29-15

Not bad

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

Reviewed: 06-22-18

Not a bad overview. She loves her stuff, like looooooooves the Iliad. It was informative. One thing that bothered me, and I fear it permeates the thinking of people who dedicate their lives to esoteric topics, is that she sees soooooooooooooo much meaning in certain parts of the story. It bothers me because I think she could argue for the profundity of the most mundane detail. She mentions that some scholars think the ending is abrupt and unfinished, but she finds a way to think of it as perfect. In cognitive biases terms, it's called 'fitting'. Buuuut, maybe she's right.

  • The Order of Time

  • By: Carlo Rovelli
  • Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,289
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,164

In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most listeners, this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it appears. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where, at the most fundamental level, time disappears.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brain Workout With A Great Narrator

  • By Raymond on 05-15-18

Classy Rovelli

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

Reviewed: 06-10-18

I love Rovelli's writing style. It's classy and poetic. At times though it's too opaque for the subject matter - science. Just when you're wanting a helpful explanation, he waxes eloquent, and it feels like twirling with abandon around an ancient artifact when you actually want to stop and analyse it. His discussion of entropy vs energy was really helpful and will stay with me, as will his explanation of the mirage of the universal 'now'. His is an important contribution to the idea of time, a field dominated IMO by 'magical' thinking physicists and mathematicians who are still constructing models of reality on the backs of particle physics turtles.

Cumberbatch's reading perfectly matched the tone and maturity of the subject matter.

  • Nonviolent Communication

  • Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values
  • By: Marshall Rosenberg PhD
  • Narrated by: Marshall Rosenberg PhD
  • Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,095
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,070

On Nonviolent Communication, this renowned peacemaker presents his complete system for speaking our deepest truths, addressing our unrecognized needs and emotions, and honoring those same concerns in others. With this adaptation of the best-selling book of the same title, Marshall Rosenberg teaches in his own words.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is an amazing life changing book!!!

  • By Olesya on 08-03-16

NVC

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

Reviewed: 06-05-18

I’m very intrigued by Rosenberg’s philosophy of communication. I see a lot of potential, and I want to learn more. Unfortunately, I thought the book lacked sufficient practical tools for facilitating his method. I need steps. But I’ll probably look into this more as I can see great application for the workplace, raising kids, and general social interactions.

Rosenberg’s voice is a bit strange, sorry. It's kind of distracting, but overall gets the job done.

  • 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 1,142
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,025
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,016

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One Truely Great Course

  • By Heizenberg on 09-14-13

Good, but a bit ideological

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

Reviewed: 06-03-18

I learned some new things from this course. Shermer's explanation of parapsychological phenomena and NDEs was enlightening. He claims that skepticism is a method, not an ideology, but you can tell that certain things are a given for him - he's basically a materialist atheist and 'skeptical' of anything else. This means that he may fall prey to the error of investigating 'spiritual' phenomena only so far as to find a materialist explanation, and cease inquiry. Nevertheless, there's a lot of good stuff here that the general public would do well to learn (eg, cognitive biases).

  • Unconditional Parenting

  • Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
  • By: Alfie Kohn
  • Narrated by: Alfie Kohn
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156

One basic need all children have, educator Alfie Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful and largely unknown research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best parenting book I've read!

  • By Heather on 08-18-16

Goes nicely with Punished by Rewards

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

There's a lot in here that's great, and some that's meh. This book piggy backs very well off his 'Punished by Rewards', a book I'll probably go back to and review because it was so paradigm shifting.
Both of Kohn's books pair well with 'No Drama Discipline' and 'Whole Brain Child'. What I didn't like about this was that he was beating up a bit on a straw man, something that shouldn't be necessary because I think his philosophy is strong enough to stand on its own. I found a number of his caricatures misrepresentative of people who act contrary to his parenting philosophy - it's not that we're bad parents; most of the time we don't know what we're doing!

Anyway, the 'great' stuff in here made it an important book for me. I'm definitely starting to think a lot more about what I'm trying to teach my kids in each situation, rather than just get them to conform behaviorally without 'buying in' themselves. I'm also a lot more wary now of waving rewards in front of them for doing things that I want them to *want* to do, rather than see it as a hurdle blocking the extrinsic reward. Kohn gave some practical tips, but again, as in PbR, unconditional parenting doesn't have shortcuts, since it's about holistic transformation and not just behavioural conformity. And, I always knew it was pointless, but "say you're sorry!" just has to go.

  • The Librarian of Auschwitz

  • By: Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Thwaites - translator, Dita Kraus - prologue
  • Narrated by: Marisa Calin
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so, Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Francheska Escalera on 07-12-18

Fiction or non-fiction?

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

This book suffered from the confusion of stories that aren't sure if they're supposed to be fiction or non-fiction. It wasn't historical enough or plausible enough to be non-fiction (it recounted many thoughts and feelings impossible for the author to know), but wasn't a good enough story to be historical fiction. At times the writing was poetic though.

The narrator was a poor choice. Her Germanic accents were distracting, and she didn't keep the characters' voices distinct enough.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Punished by Rewards

  • The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
  • By: Alfie Kohn
  • Narrated by: Alfie Kohn
  • Length: 13 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66

Drawing on a wealth of psychological research, Alfie Kohn points the way to a more successful strategy based on working with people instead of doing things to them. "Do rewards motivate people?" asks Kohn. "Yes. They motivate people to get rewards." Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished by Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Punished by Rewards

  • By Michael on 05-19-18

Punished by Rewards

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

Reviewed: 05-19-18

Every now and then a paradigm shifting book comes along my way. It's that time again. I went into this book a bit sceptical, amused by the cover and its premise, and wondering how the author was going to convince me that 'praise' could be detrimental, and other ridiculous ideas that sound like they come from hippy liberals who are still traumatised by never winning a ribbon on school sports day. It's not what you think though. Kohn methodically and scientifically deconstructs behaviourism's punishments and rewards, and shows how they are counter-productive to the goals of those using them, and ultimately demotivating and detrimental to those 'upon' whom they are used. It’s not at all about making all people ‘the same’, or promoting mediocrity – it’s about focusing people on the long term, and on what really matters, and what actually works.

How could rewards be 'bad'? I've always felt the tension, but never known another way. "Kids, clean your room and you'll get a lollipop." It teaches them that cleaning their room is something they wouldn't want to do without a reward, it makes it an obstacle between them and the reward, and it makes them focus on the reward, not the important issue – why you want them to want to have a clean room. Remove "clean room" and insert it with any other task - maths homework, greeting elders, behaving in class, meeting a quota, reading a book, etc., - and switch the reward - A's, praise, raise, stickers, screen time, etc., - and it's the same formula. As he kept saying, "Do this and you'll get that" makes them focus on the 'that', not the 'this'.

The natural response here is, "Well, what's the alternative?" Unfortunately (but logically), the solution isn't a quick fix. It's much more involved and holistic. You don't just replace incentive systems with non-incentive systems, or something like that. You need a paradigm shift from focusing on extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation, which means more discussion, more understanding, more customisation and collaboration, less manipulation, threats and ultimatums. Kohn does give a lot of practical ideas, and many of them don’t require that the whole world change before you implement them – he suggests ways that you can do it ‘less bad’, rather than 100% perfectly, ie., how you can minimise the negative effects of extrinsic incentives while still working within the system. I appreciated that.

On the downside, I thought that Kohn occasionally ignored a few alternatives while trying to universalise an issue, or only took one possible negative interpretation of an action where the reality might be more complex, but these moments were few and I was able to see past them to his research and points and make my own conclusions. It was also difficult (from the audio version) to check his sources and see if he was being selective in the research he used to back his points, but I have enough life experiences of behaviourism to know exactly what he was talking about most of the time. I don’t really need a scientific study to tell me that incentivising my kids for their ‘good’ behaviour teaches them nothing about why they should be ‘good’, other than to get a ‘carrot’. You can’t ‘pay’ them to have a ‘good heart’.

This is a book that’s going to stay with me for a while, and will require some more learning and reflection and adjustment.

As for narration, Kohn was the best choice for narrating this, even though he sounds a bit like Wallace Shawn ("inconceivable!"). He knew exactly how to deliver his message, with the right warmth, harshness, deliberation and humour.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful