LISTENER

Joshua Kim

  • 154
  • reviews
  • 963
  • helpful votes
  • 411
  • ratings
  • Engines of Change

  • A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars
  • By: Paul Ingrassia
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 211
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207

America was made manifest by its cars. From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66 and Jack Kerouac, America's history is a vehicular history-an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by the acclaimed author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My Best listen in a while

  • By Geoff in NY on 05-11-12

Cars, Computers, and "Engines of Change"

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

Reviewed: 06-17-12

When I was in 9th grade (in 1984) I subscribed to 4 car magazines: Motor Trend, Car & Driver, Road & Track, and & Automobile. Today, my fondest dream is to own zero cars and to rent an occasional Zip Car (preferably a Prius, Volt, or Leaf) whenever the need for driving should arise.

Reading "Engines of Change" was a good reminder for me about how important automobiles once loomed in my worldview. At some point my passion for cars was replaced by a passion for computers and technology. At 14 I thought I wanted to be an automotive journalist, and 42 I'm very happy to work at the intersection of education and technology (and to be driving a minivan - slowly).

I'm betting that my story, one of a shift from a love of automobiles to a love of computers, is not unique. How many teenagers who once spent time changing spark plugs and reading car magazines morphed into building PCs and hanging out on computing message boards? I have this theory that today's computer geeks were yesterday's car enthusiasts - and that is why today's Apple new product announcements are so much more exciting than the new model car launches.

Ingrassia takes us back to a time when new cars really mattered. He profiles 15 cars that have had a large impact on American culture. These stories are all engaging and well-told, and in learning about the Model T or the Corvette or the Mustang or the Honda Accord we also learn a great deal about the times in which they were introduced. This is not a book about the "15 best cars of all time", rather Ingrassia is interesting in describing the cars that had the biggest cultural impact.

Ford's Model T literally changed how American society was organized, as an affordable mass produced automobile was a prerequisite to a rural to urban migration and a mobile society. The Honda Accord was the first Japanese car to be built in a U.S. factory (in Ohio), and ushered in a long-term transition away from UAW dominance and the decline of The Big 3. The Chrysler minivan (a Lee Iacocca encore after bringing to life the Mustang) killed the traditional station wagon, empowered a new generation of soccer parents, and eventually led to Mercedes Benz's disastrous and short-lived purchase of Chrysler.

Ingrassia is a terrific writer, and is also the author of the excellent Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road to Bankruptcy and Bailout-and Beyond. I hope that Ingrassia's next project is about the only cars that really excite me now, cars that run on electricity (although his chapter on the Prius in Engines of Change is excellent).

I think that there is a huge market of computer geeks (and educational technologists!) just waiting to buy our first batter powered car, as soon as the technology improves and the costs come down to a point where electric cars are nearly competitive with gas powered vehicles.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Shakespeare

  • The World as Stage
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,303
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 821
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 814

William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Too Little, Too Short

  • By Charles L. Burkins on 11-30-07

Concise and Wonderful

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

The world, or at least my world, needs more high quality concise books. Bryson's new Shakespeare, from the Eminent Lives Series, is one of the genres better examples.

The Modern Library Chronicles is another imprint with some excellent texts. To quote from their page:

"Modern Library Chronicles feature the world's great historians on the world's great subjects. Lively, accessible, and brief (most under 150 pages), these authoritative short histories are designed to appeal to general readers as well as to students in the classroom".

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • A Splendid Exchange

  • How Trade Shaped the World
  • By: William J. Bernstein
  • Narrated by: Mel Foster
  • Length: 17 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 265
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 138
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 144

In A Splendid Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extraordinary story of global commerce from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding it today. He transports listeners from ancient sailing ships that brought the silk trade from China to Rome in the second century to the rise and fall of the Portuguese monopoly in spices in the 16th.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting and Germane to Today's World

  • By Mark on 07-18-08

Splendid

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

Wonderful, sweeping economic history of the world by one of my favorite writers (Bernstein also wrote "The Birth of Plenty"). These "big" history and "big" thought books are a great antidote to the short time frames and disposable knowledge of our blogging and information overload world. Helps to have a long-term framework to understand our own material lives. Excellent counterpart to Friedman's The World is Flat.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Kluge

  • The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind
  • By: Gary Marcus
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 57

Are we "noble in reason"? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but a "kluge", a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind - think duct tape, not supercomputer - that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Elegant

  • By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

Elegant

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

Fascinating extension of the evolutionary psychology framework. Argues that our brains have evolved in often "klugy" ways, meaning that evolution favors what works (and what comes first) and not what is optimal. I learned a good deal about things like memory, emotions, and perception...and now I know why I can be so dumb sometimes. Well written....a fun read.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Buying In

  • The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are
  • By: Rob Walker
  • Narrated by: Robert Fass
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

Marketing executives and consumer advocates alike predict a future of brand-proof consumers, armed with technology and a sophisticated understanding of marketing techniques, who can effectively tune out ad campaigns. But as Rob Walker demonstrates, this widely accepted misconception has eclipsed the real changes in the way modern consumers relate to their brands of choice. Combine this with marketers' new ability to blur the line between advertising, entertainment, and public space, and you have dramatically altered the relationship between consumer and consumed.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Its ok, good info, but I had to force my way

  • By Thomas on 07-19-10

Buy Buying In

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

Fun book from the NYTime's Magazine Consumed column...delves into the world of "murketing" - the new method of connecting with consumers who are immune to traditional mass marketing. Some interesting connections on how we could "market" educational technology.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Snoop

  • What Your Stuff Says About You
  • By: Sam Gosling
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 8 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 283
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 99

For the last 10 years, psychologist Sam Gosling has been studying how people project (and protect) their inner selves. By exploring our private worlds (desks, bedrooms, even our clothes and our cars), he shows not only how we showcase our personalities in unexpected - and unplanned - ways, but also how we create personality in the first place, communicate it to others, and interpret the world around us.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Buy the hard copy

  • By QuahogNews on 01-04-09

Start Snooping Around

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

You will never go into someone's house or office in the same way again. A psychologist who pioneered the field of personality research based on peoples stuff.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Drunkard's Walk

  • How Randomness Rules Our Lives
  • By: Leonard Mlodinow
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,901
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,650
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,617

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interested in statistics? This is the book.

  • By Robert on 02-21-14

Very Very Smart

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

The author, a physicist at Cal Tech, is among those rare academics who both write beautifully, and can manage to make complex explanations understandable. This book definitely changed how I understand some fundamental aspects of my life and the lives of those around me, as getting a handle on randomness and probability (which again, our brains don't seem to be built easily to accomplish), helps illuminate some of the fundamental errors in judgment that I seem to make all too often.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Nudge

  • Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
  • By: Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 264
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 111

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes can make us poor and unhealthy. We often make bad decisions about education, personal finance, health care, family, and the environment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Book I Keep Coming Back To

  • By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

A Book I Keep Coming Back To

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein covers many of the same studies and experiments, and then puts a public policy slant on the conclusions. I'm finding in these sorts of books that the same academic studies and examples pop-up time after time, which is good as it takes me about 5 times to get them straight. Where Sway helped me understand why I'm susceptible to make bad decisions, Nudge helped me understand how I can use the principles of "choice architecture" to influence events and decisions. Both worthwhile reads for folks like us who have a vision of education we are trying to implement, both in terms of why people do things the way they do, and some "libertarian paternalistic" ways to shape decisions and actions.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Sway

  • The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
  • By: Rom Brafman, Ori Brafman
  • Narrated by: John Apicella
  • Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 603
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 364
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 362

A Harvard Business School student pays over $200 for a $20 bill. Washington, D.C., commuters ignore a free subway concert by a violin prodigy. A veteran airline pilot attempts to take off without control-tower clearance and collides with another plane on the runway. Why do we do the wildly irrational things we sometimes do?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing book

  • By Martin Proulx on 12-10-08

Swayed

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman, Rom Brafman is a sweet, short popularizer of the current social psych and behavioral econ research.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Gut Feelings

  • The Intelligence of the Unconscious
  • By: Gerd Gigerenzer
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 218
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 75

Gerd Gigerenzer is one of the researchers of behavioral intuition responsible for the science behind Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink. Gladwell showed us how snap decisions often yield better results than careful analysis. Now, Gigerenzer explains why our intuition is such a powerful decision-making tool.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My Gut Says You Should Read This Book

  • By Joshua Kim on 06-10-12

My Gut Says You Should Read This Book

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

Reviewed: 06-10-12

The original academic and body of research that Gladwell based his best-selling "Blink" on. Gigerenzer experiments on "fast and frugal" decision making have many implications for situations we face all the time in our lives - I just have not quite worked out if I'm so easily swayed and nudged (see below), and my mental probabilistic machinery is so poor (again see below) when I should trust my gut feelings and when I should do the opposite.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful