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Stephen

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  • The Wisdom of Crowds

  • Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few
  • By: James Surowiecki
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,087
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 373
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 382

In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very worthwhile listen!

  • By G Barth on 06-12-04

Fascinating Findings About Crowds, Smart and Dumb

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

Reviewed: 11-21-14

The decisions, choices, and estimates made by crowds--i.e. by aggregating or averaging their selections--can be better, more accurate, or more reliable than the selections of their smartest members. For example, averaging the selections of a crowd can result in a selection that none of its constituent members actually made, and can nevertheless be the best selection. One big takeaway from this book, however, is that crowds work best when they contain true diversity of thought. A crowd may look diverse, in color, gender, or whatever; but if the thinking of their members follow the same grooves, it reduces the wisdom of the crowd.

  • Assembling California

  • By: John McPhee
  • Narrated by: Nelson Runger
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105

Thirty years ago, the theory that continents are comprised of drifting plates—plate tectonics—evoked more scorn than serious research. Today, this revolutionary theory continues to dazzle and challenge geologists and laymen alike. Assembling California explores an area uniquely demonstrative of the plate tectonic theory: California, which according to “tectonicists,” is breaking apart at its seams.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great Idea, Great Prose, Difficult Listen

  • By Colin on 06-22-13

California as a lens to the surface of Earth

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

Reviewed: 06-28-12

McPhee's focus is the formation of California, but the scope of Assembling California is nothing less than the formation of all the continents, islands and oceans as understood by modern geology.

Just as quantum mechanics and relativity transformed Physics, just as the concept of brain plasticity transformed Neuroscience, just so the theory of plate tectonics transformed Geology. John McPhee explains the transformation of the science, and the transformation of the Earth's surface in fine prose. He quotes dialogs with geologists--mainly Eldridge Moores--gives analogies, and uses anecdotes drawn from personal experience to convey the concepts.

Assembling California works fine on the printed page, but has a few too many technical terms to work entirely well as an audio book.

Nevertheless, this is a well-written and well-read book that conveys the outline of modern tectonic geology to the layman.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The 9/11 Commission Report

  • Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
  • By: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
  • Narrated by: Ken Borgers, Sal Giangrasso, Charlton Griffin, and others
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 523
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 216
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 209

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9-11 Commission, was created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002. This independent, bipartisan commission had the task of producing a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the attack, including preparedness and immediate response, and providing recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Outstanding Historical Document

  • By Louie on 08-02-04

Great journal of the horrible attack

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-15-06

Surprisingly, this doesn't read like a government report at all. It's a good piece of journalism, a story of meticulously-planned terror well-told. It enlightens about the ways Al Qaeda, and our own government, operate. Many conclusions can be drawn from it, but a few are tragically unavoidable: when it came to Al Qaeda our government--under both party administrations--and its agencies were, at best, half asleep at the wheel for the 9 years leading up to the disaster. This applies to all levels of government, from national to local, responsible for our defense and safety.

I'm now listening to the part that describes the events inside the Twin Towers and in NYC's emergency services'responses to them, from the plane crashes to the collapse of the buildings. Despite real heroism by hundreds of individuals: fire fighters, police and civilians, the emergency preparedness was poor and the interagency coordination there was horrible. These definitely resulted in hundreds of deaths in NYC that could have been prevented, just as the whole attack could have been prevented by better policy, deployment, and coordination between agencies at the national level.

I'm a late-comer to this book, but find it compelling even now, after almost five years have elapsed since the attack. If you haven't read it or heard it I highly recommend you do.

Also, you might visit Google Video's collection of 9/11 videos.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful