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WJ Brown, Audible Customer

Everywhere
  • 33
  • reviews
  • 309
  • helpful votes
  • 64
  • ratings
  • Stony the Road

  • Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
  • By: Henry Louis Gates
  • Narrated by: Dominic Hoffman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81

A profound new rendering of the struggle by African Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counterrevolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Valuable examination of Jim Crow and Rise of White Supremacy in America

  • By WJ Brown, Audible Customer on 05-14-19

Valuable examination of Jim Crow and Rise of White Supremacy in America

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

Reviewed: 05-14-19

I learned quite a bit I really had no idea about before encountering this book, which was highly praised in a recent “Economist”. I’m glad that I purchased it. I had no idea what a racist President Woodrow Wilson actually was, nor the era significance of “Birth of a Nation” and how vile and reprehensible it was, the history of blackface, and the incredible bigotry and resentments against African Americans that occurred during Reconstruction. The entire period is a moral stain on our already fantastical and unrealistic vision of our country. The lessons herein must be understood, remembered, and discussed, and in the absence of that, we so much of history being repeated.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Future Is Asian

  • Commerce, Conflict and Culture in the 21st Century
  • By: Parag Khanna
  • Narrated by: Nezar Alderazi
  • Length: 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

In the 19th century, the world was Europeanized. In the 20th century, it was Americanized. Now, in the 21st century, the world is being Asianized. The “Asian Century” is even bigger than you think. Far greater than just China, the new Asian system taking shape is a multicivilizational order spanning Saudi Arabia to Japan, Russia to Australia, Turkey to Indonesia - linking five billion people through trade, finance, infrastructure, and diplomatic networks that together represent 40 percent of global GDP.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Mangled a lot of Chinese personal and.place names

  • By Hawaiian Kava on 03-05-19

Very good, comprehensive and sweeping

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

Reviewed: 02-22-19

Narration was surprisingly awful towards the first few chapters. Narrator got “ISIS” wrong several times, as one example.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life

  • By: Rufus J. Fears, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Rufus J. Fears
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 910
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 814

Why do "Great Books" continue to speak to us hundreds and even thousands of years after they were written? Can they deepen our self-knowledge and wisdom? Are our lives changed in any meaningful way by the experience of reading them?Tackle these questions and more in these 36 engaging lectures. Beginning with his definition of a Great Book as one that possesses a great theme of enduring importance, noble language that "elevates the soul and ennobles the mind," and a universality that enables it to "speak across the ages," Professor Fears examines a body of work that offers extraordinary wisdom to those willing to receive it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A course that will open you to new ideas.

  • By Kristi R. on 07-06-14

Very good. Mile wide, but only 100 feet deep

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

Professor Rufus Fears does a generally extraordinary job in making these books accessible to the listener… but my issues are that he tries to cover too many books, and in doing so, his coverage of each seems topical and bereft of the great detail that the topics seem to warrant. Maybe I judge it too harshly, and the points are so self-evident that a more detailed examination isn’t necessary.

  • Periodic Tales

  • A Cultural History of the Elements, From Arsenic to Zinc
  • By: Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Narrated by: Antony Ferguson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 455
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 415
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 414

Like the alphabet, the calendar, or the zodiac, the periodic table of the chemical elements has a permanent place in our imagination. But aside from the handful of common ones (iron, carbon, copper, gold), the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, how they exist in nature, how they got their names, or of what use they are to us.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Buy the book, not the audio book

  • By Smith family on 12-09-15

Such a great topic, so boringly delivered

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

Reviewed: 11-15-18

About as dynamically delivered as having Google Assistant read aloud a label from a can of paint. I’m sure the physical copy of the book must be better.

  • Identity Crisis

  • The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America
  • By: John Sides, Michael Tesler, Lynn Vavreck
  • Narrated by: Paul Heitsch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79

Identity Crisis takes listeners from the bruising primaries to an election night whose outcome defied the predictions of the pollsters and pundits. The book shows how fundamental characteristics of the nation and its politics - the state of the economy, the Obama presidency, and the demographics of the political parties - combined with the candidates' personalities and rhetoric to produce one of the most unexpected presidencies in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating Look at American attitudes

  • By EC on 12-19-18

Great review of 2016

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

A fantastic overview of how the national elections of 2016 unfolded — but delivered as if it was read by a monotone, male Amazon Alexa. The droll delivery really detracted from my experience with the audio, relative to other titles.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Thinking Like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making

  • By: Randall Bartlett, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Randall Bartlett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,230
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,073
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,062

Economic forces are everywhere around you. But that doesn't mean you need to passively accept whatever outcome those forces might press upon you. Instead, with these 12 fast-moving and crystal clear lectures, you can learn how to use a small handful of basic nuts-and-bolts principles to turn those same forces to your own advantage.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great for beginners, nothing you for an economist

  • By V. Taras on 07-08-15

Solid ‘Great Courses’ entry

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

This is a solid entry in the ‘Great Courses’ series, certainly worthwhile content on an important and relevant topic. With such comments, a rating of “4” may seem a bit harsh, but in fairness, it’s relative brevity makes it just unfair to compare with much more expansive content on economics available also from ‘Great Courses’. If possible, I would give it ratings of 4.5…

  • Lab Rats

  • How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us
  • By: Dan Lyons
  • Narrated by: Dan Lyons
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127

In the months following the publication of Disrupted, Dan Lyons was astonished as hundreds wrote to him with their own harrowing stories of discrimination, fear-mongering managers, and companies denigrating employees in pursuit of quick profit. The letter writers felt helpless, confused, and victimized. Lyons began to understand how the problems he had identified in the start-up world are infecting virtually every kind of job in America. Paradoxically, the misery index is soaring at a time when companies are giving more lip service than ever about finding ways to make employees happy.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Loved “Disrupted”, and this starts strong, but…

  • By WJ Brown, Audible Customer on 10-27-18

Loved “Disrupted”, and this starts strong, but…

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

Reviewed: 10-27-18

“Disrupted” was such a triumph in indictment of nonsense business models, frat boy culture, “this time is different” thinking, and ageism, all of which ran into the author like a buzzsaw. Of course, there was also two seasons righting for “Silicon Valley” and all the other landmark work (“not Steve Jobs”, etc), so when I first noticed I could pre-order “Lab Rats”, I was likely among the earliest to do so.

And, it starts out really strong, with a continuation and updated skewering of Amazon, Netflix, Reed Hoffman, Reed Hastings, Jeff Bozos, and so many others. His general thesis is fantastic — that old line businesses, desperately wanting to remain relevant, have been porting “practices” (such as they are) and film-flam management techniques, grafting these onto their certainly challenged business models (like Ford, as a good example).

But the last 3-4 chapters or so squandered all this good momentum. Dan’s antidote to amoral bro culture and Uber-like practices that dehumanize workers is … a floor cleaning business, or something, that gives its employees “true vacations” and “an opportunity to grow into senior management”.

Dan fails to recognize structural changes occurring in the way work is done, and no, we aren’t all going to pivot and launch mopping startups.

I may revise this later, but having just finished the audiobook, I was left uneven with the entirety of the effort.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Demon-Haunted World

  • Science as a Candle in the Dark
  • By: Carl Sagan
  • Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Seth MacFarlane
  • Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,872
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,705
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,693

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Cary's new career

  • By DT on 09-05-17

So miss Carl Sagan — a candle in the night

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

Reviewed: 10-25-18

It is through rediscovery of his aging works that the listener comes to fully appreciate the brilliant mind and important perspectives that Carl Sagan contributed to our civilization. He is so missed, and I’ve come to regret being more mindful of his efforts in his time with us. ‘The Demon-Haunted World’ reminds us that science should be used to dispel dangerous mistruths and “magical thinking” that can have real-world impacts, risking lives, squandering human potential, even threatening our democracy and our very freedoms.

Regarding the performance: The actor Cary Elwes is a fine thespian, and so enjoyed — on screen — across many of his memorable roles. However, as a narrator, his monotone British voice watered down my enjoyment of this material. I understand how celebrities would want to attach themselves to this project, but I found my ability to concentrate on the important subject matter as wandering often with his presentment of it.

  • The Fifth Risk

  • By: Michael Lewis
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,288
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,780
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,762

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them. Michael Lewis’ brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed

  • By Anonymous User on 10-11-18

Good content, but all over the place (and short)

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

Reviewed: 10-08-18

Seemed to be just a bunch of essays or short articles, which may have been the goal and perhaps I missed it in the overview, but I was left wondering where subjects ended and new topics began… disjointed overall.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Prediction Machines

  • The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence
  • By: Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb
  • Narrated by: LJ Ganser
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 737
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 646
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645

Artificial intelligence does the seemingly impossible - driving cars, trading stocks, and teaching children. But facing the sea change that AI will bring can be paralyzing. How should companies set strategies, governments design policies, and people plan their lives for a world so different from what we know? In Prediction Machines, three eminent economists recast the rise of AI as a drop in the cost of prediction. With this single, masterful stroke, they lift the curtain on the AI-is-magic hype and show how basic tools from economics provide clarity about the AI revolution and a basis for action by CEOs, managers, policy makers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not sure what I was expecting, but underwhelmed

  • By WJ Brown, Audible Customer on 09-27-18

Not sure what I was expecting, but underwhelmed

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

Reviewed: 09-27-18

There are good examples of applied AI discussed throughout (but almost all of which I’ve seen or heard previously), but I never felt that this was advancing my understanding of the topic in any meaningful way.

63 of 65 people found this review helpful