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Busy Reader: Get To The Point

California, USA
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  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

  • By: Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 24 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,888
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,470
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,456

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good book, not crazy about the narrator

  • By Cathi on 07-20-13

Fair Writing, Unfortunate Voice

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

Reviewed: 01-31-13

Would you try another book from Walter Isaacson and/or Nelson Runger?

I would encourage listeners to try the abridged edition for two reasons: 1. Isaacson's writing does drag on, especially at the end, when he delivers a dry bones evaluation of Franklin's character. 2. Nelson Runger has a pleasing voice, but he made a critical mistake that is funny and annoying. He speaks all the quotes from Franklin - and there are hundreds of these - in the worst, sing-song, old man voice imaginable. Ironically, the text says it's a shame to categorize Franklin as a "genial codger," while this is exactly the way Runger portrays him. I don't know who made the decision on Franklin's voice. I'm not sure this convention of changing voices works, anyway. I'm in favor of the old, "Quote," "Unquote."

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

I learned some interesting things about Franklin. He was a typical egomaniac, brilliant at communication, always holding others to standards he avoided himself. For example, he expected his family to follow his instructions and support his politics, even though he chose to spend most of his life far away from them.

  • CrazyBusy

  • By: Edward Hallowell
  • Narrated by: Don Leslie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Without intending for it to happen or knowing how, when, or why it got started, many people now find that they live in a rush they never wanted. If you feel busier than you've ever been and wonder how this happened and how you can keep up the pace much longer, you are hardly alone.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Crazy Busy-Nothing New

  • By Pamela on 06-18-07

Too Much Talking, Not Enough Ideas

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-03-09

Good: The writing is more than competent. Don Leslie is the best reader now working; wonderful, rich, expressive voice.
Bad: The author simply does not have enough ideas on managing modern life to fill a book this long. He starts off well, then repeats his descriptions of how busy we are, over and over for hours. He even runs out of normal words for our modern, harried life, so makes up several of his own. We must listen as he defines and re-defines these made-up words, uses them in made-up sentences. I can't finish this book, and neither should you. I won't even recommend the abridged version, because that's just three hours of your life, listening to variations on, "We're too busy these days."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful