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BigWally

  • 17
  • reviews
  • 11
  • helpful votes
  • 59
  • ratings
  • 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 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

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

Fascinating Book!

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

Reviewed: 02-15-19

This is a wonderful book by an esteemed NYU psychology professor which discusses how our brains are constructed. His basic premise is that our brains evolved to be "just good enough" to accomplish a particular task. Kluge refers to an inelegant solution to a problem. Because of this we humans make many mistakes, etc. One of the most interesting books I have listened to in many years. I hope the author updates the book periodically as this book was published in 2008 or 11 years ago. Even so, the book's fundamental premise is true.

  • The Evolution of Desire

  • By: David M. Buss
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119

If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? To answer this question we must look into our evolutionary past, argues prominent psychologist David M. Buss. Based one of the largest studies of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from 37 cultures worldwide, The Evolution of Desire is the first work to present a unified theory of human mating behavior.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant and enligtening book

  • By D. on 03-04-18

Brilliant book!

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

Reviewed: 01-31-19

David M. Buss, PhD teaches evolutionary psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I have read one of his previous books, THE MURDERER NEXT DOOR which was absolutely fascinating. THE EVOLUTION OF DESIRE must rank as the current definitive book on mating, mate selection, mate strategies of men and women, rape, etc. Humans have evolved their mating strategies in the early hunter gatherer societies. Dr. Buss and his colleagues have performed numerous experiments in numerous cultures around the world. He has read widely in the literature and freely cites studies by other researchers. This could truly be subtitled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask" the title of a book published years ago by another author.

In his conclusion Dr. Buss is careful to point out that the traits men and women have inherited from our hunter gatherer ancestors do NOT mean we should act in that fashion, e.g. men pursuing multiple female sex partners to produce more offspring. Nor does the fact of these inherited traits give us an excuse to act in improper ways. We have the capacity to behave appropriately and morally.

The book is a real "tour de force." I cannot recommend it highly enough. The reader, Greg Trembly, is one of the best I have heard on any of the Audible books I have purchased.

  • The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787

  • By: Gordon S. Wood
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Length: 24 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

This classic work explains the evolution of American political thought from the Declaration of Independence to the ratification of the Constitution. In so doing, it greatly illuminates the origins of the present American political system. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • This Audible book is NOT for a popular audience!

  • By BigWally on 11-22-18

This Audible book is NOT for a popular audience!

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

Reviewed: 11-22-18

I have read or listened to many of Professor Gordon Wood's many books about early America. They have have, almost without exception, been very enjoyable, and I have learned a great deal from them. (One of my interests in retirement is reading history books written for a popular audience not for specialists, grad students, scholars, et.al.) Alas, THE CREATION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC 1776-1787, is definitely not written for a popular audience. It is really intended for history graduate students, legal scholars, history professors, et.al.

It really pains me to offer a negative evaluation of this book as I so admire Dr. Wood. I guess the fault was my own for not investigating the book more thoroughly before purchasing it.

I can strongly endorse his books written for folks like me who want to know the history but not all the minutiae, complicated ideas, etc. Books such as THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, REVOLUTIONARY CHARACTERS,THE RADICALISM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, and EMPIRE OF LIBERTY are just terrific reads, and I can endorse them unequivocally.

THE CREATION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC 1776-1787 is just far too complicated for me. Listener beware!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Original Meanings

  • Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
  • By: Jack N. Rakove
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 29

What did the US Constitution originally mean, and how can we recover the intentions of its framers? These questions, which resound throughout today’s most heated legal and political controversies, lie at the heart of Jack N. Rakove’s splendidly readable work of historical analysis. In Original Meanings, he traces the complex weave of ideology and interests from which the Constitution emerged and shows how Americans have attached different meanings to their founding document from the moment it was published.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Epistemological in its approach ...

  • By History on 10-24-11

Meant for historians & constitutional scholars!

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

Reviewed: 10-01-18

I bought this audiobook thinking it was meant for a popular audience. Alas, it is really intended for professional historians, constitutional scholars, law students studying constitutional law, etc. The reader was really outstanding. Clearly, the author is extremely knowledgeable about his subject, but the book went in to far more detail than I wanted or needed.

Gordon Wood, the distinguished early American scholar now retired from Brown University, has written a number of books for a general audience which are superb, fascinating, and a real pleasure to read. I was disappointed that this book was not addressed to persons having a real interest in the making and ratification of the constitution but who are not historians or law students. I suppose I will need to keep looking for such a book.

  • Heavens on Earth

  • The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia
  • By: Dr. Michael Shermer
  • Narrated by: Dr. Michael Shermer, David Smalley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155

In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans' belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists, and mind uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Overall great

  • By Paul on 04-17-18

Fascinating subject as told by a brilliant author!

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

Reviewed: 08-24-18

This is an absolutely fascinating book about the SCIENTIFIC search for the afterlife, immortality, and utopia. I have read most of Dr. Michael Schermer's books, but this is one of his best! He fully documents all his assertions with scientific studies or experiments. Dr. Schermer is a confirmed skeptic, and he publishes SKEPTIC magazine to which I subscribe. He has monthly lectures at Caltech by world famous philosophers, scientists, authors, etc. I liked the book so well I purchased a hard copy.

While I have the utmost respect for Dr. Schermer, I disagree with him about authors reading their own books which he favors. In my experience, authors (with a few exceptions) should NEVER read their own books. The classic mistake that an author reading his/her own book is that the volume of the speech fluctuates from loud to very soft. Often, the author "trails off" at the end of a sentence. I wish that Dr. Schermer would engage a professional reader, but in an author interview it appears he is always going to read his own books. His co-reader on this book has a very deep voice which many times is difficult to hear clearly.

  • Something Wonderful

  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution
  • By: Todd S. Purdum
  • Narrated by: Todd S. Purdum
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

They stand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rediscovery of an innovative team of artists

  • By Brian T. Cahill on 04-14-18

Fabulous book about Rodgers & Hammerstein!!!

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

Reviewed: 06-27-18

If you, like I, grew up in the 1950s loving the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein this book is for you! It is an excellent account of the lives of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II and their subsequent careers together which tragically ended in 1960 with the death of Oscar Hammerstein, II. I was so inspired by this lovely book that I have started watching all those, dare I say wonderful, Broadway musicals now on film. Among these musicals are OKLAHOMA!, CAROUSEL, THE KING & I, SOUTH PACIFIC, and of course THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I agree with the author that the film version of CAROUSEL is the weakest adaptation. There is very little "chemistry between Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan. The Blu-ray versions are excellent.

I have a general rule that an author should NEVER read his or her book. In this case the author, Todd S. Purdum does an outstanding job of reading his book for Audible.

I highly recommend this book. It brought back so many wonderful memories of those Broadway musicals!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Goldwater

  • The Man Who Made a Revolution
  • By: Lee Edwards
  • Narrated by: John Doherty
  • Length: 21 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

The most comprehensive biography of Barry Goldwater ever written is back by popular demand with a new foreword by Phyllis Schlafly and an updated introduction by the author. Lee Edwards renders a penetrating account of the icon who put the conservative movement on the national stage. Replete with previously unpublished details of his life, Goldwater established itself as the definitive study of the political maverick who made a revolution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Barry Goldwater biography--excellent!

  • By BigWally on 06-20-18

Barry Goldwater biography--excellent!

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

Reviewed: 06-20-18

This is an excellent biography of Barry Goldwater. In 1964 as an 19 y.o. young man I was a strong supporter of Goldwater and conservatism in general. In 1964 a friend and I were touring the west coast. On our way back to North Carolina we visited the Cow Palace in San Francisco, site of the 1964 convention, and drove up to Goldwater's home in Phoenix.

One thing I learned from the biography was that Goldwater knew that he could not win in 1964. I had thought that he truly believed that he could win in 1964. I was disappointed to learn this. LBJ was one of the crookedest presidents we have ever had. He knew that he was going to send a large number of troops to Vietnam after the 1964 election, all the while lying to the American people that he was not going to increase troop strength. He never supported African Americans until the 1964 Civil Rights bill. Johnson was a complete hypocrite! I guess Goldwater knew there was no way he could win.

My only complaint of the Audible edition is that the reader reads very slowly and worse, he mispronounced many words and names. I wish they had chosen a better reader!

A great biography which I can recommend unreservedly!

  • The Activist

  • John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review
  • By: Lawrence Goldstone
  • Narrated by: Robert Sams
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

In the waning days of his presidency, in January 1801, John Adams made some historic appointments to preserve his Federalist legacy. Foremost among them, he named his secretary of state, John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court-neither of them anticipating that Marshall would soon need to decide the most crucial case in Supreme Court history-Marbury vs. Madison.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The Activist: John Marshall, etc.--Not recommended

  • By BigWally on 06-12-18

The Activist: John Marshall, etc.--Not recommended

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

The book is very complicated. Would only recommend to attorneys. About a third of the way through the reading, there are multiple errors by the reader. Clearly, no one edited these errors from the final audiobook! The reader in general was good, but the errors made it very unpleasant for about an hour. Would NOT recommend this audiobook to the general listener.

  • The Obesity Code

  • Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss
  • By: Dr. Jason Fung
  • Narrated by: Brian Nishii
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,760
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,852
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,754

In this highly listenable and provocative book, Dr. Jason Fung sets out an original, robust theory of obesity that provides startling insights into proper nutrition. In addition to his five basic steps - a set of lifelong habits that will improve your health and control your insulin levels - Dr. Fung explains how to use intermittent fasting to break the cycle of insulin resistance and reach a healthy weight - for good.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • There is a PDF, Folks

  • By Cynthia on 06-27-17

Review of THE OBESITY CODE

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

Dr. Fung, a Canadian, is an internist who trained at the University of San Francisco as a kidney specialist. He deals with many patients who have type II diabetes. He has written many scientific papers about dieting and other subjects.

My wife and I followed his recommendations regards dieting. We both lost significant amounts of weight. The weight loss was gradual with about 1 pound per week. At no time did we feel stressed out about Dr. Fung's instructions.

Dr. Fung's book is the most helpful book we have ever found which enabled us to lose weight and keep the weight off. We can highly recommend his book!

  • Wild Bill Donovan

  • The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage
  • By: Douglas Waller
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 120
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 122

He was one of America's most exciting and secretive generals - the man Franklin Roosevelt made his top spy in World War II. A mythic figure whose legacy is still intensely debated, "Wild Bill" Donovan was director of the Office of Strategic Services (the country's first national intelligence agency) and the father of today's CIA. Donovan introduced the nation to the dark arts of covert warfare on a scale it had never seen before.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Birth of the Spyworks Industry

  • By Diane on 04-23-12

Review of a biography of William Donovan

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

This is a fascinating biography of the man who developed the OSS which was the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan was a complex man who loved his country and wanted to protect the USA from aliens intent on harming the country. Single handedly, he developed the spy agency which has guarded us from enemies abroad.

I can highly recommend this biography with one minor exception.

My only complaint is that the reader has a pronounced nasal quality which I found very annoying. I wish they had chosen a better reader! Even with that complaint I still recommend the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful