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  • What If?

  • Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  • By: Randall Munroe
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,600
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,954
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,914

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent of the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Humorous but serious answers to crazy hypothetical

  • By Neuron on 05-08-16

The fun tone of xkcd, but more in-depth sci-ency

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

If you've seen the xkcd, you'll have a feel for the tone of this book but these are really interesting what-if scenarios. Over the course of the book I built a better foundation for what to look for in each of these problems- especially the impact of air resistance on moving objects. Munroe dives right to the heart of the problem to figure out which affects are negligible and which would dominate in each of these scenarios. Munroe's sense of humor is evident throughout, but he works through each scenario with good scientific rigor (except maybe the one about the benefits of extinguishing the sun, but that was well covered ground by a number of other authors).

  • When the Air Hits Your Brain

  • Tales from Neurosurgery
  • By: Frank T Vertosick Jr. MD
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,678
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,482
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,470

With poignant insight and humor, Frank Vertosick, Jr., MD, describes some of the greatest challenges of his career, including a six-week-old infant with a tumor in her brain, a young man struck down in his prime by paraplegia, and a minister with a .22-caliber bullet lodged in his skull. Told through intimate portraits of Vertosick's patients and unsparing-yet-fascinatingly detailed descriptions of surgical procedures, When the Air Hits Your Brain illuminates both the mysteries of the mind and the realities of the operating room.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sensitive and Enlightening

  • By Largactil on 02-03-17

It *is* Brain Surgery

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

This is my first experience with brain surgery, and the author walks us through the process of becoming a brain surgeon. Through a backdrop of hospitals in the 1970's and 1980's, Dr. Vertosick talks about the limitations of surgery and the associated ego and pain that follow the brain surgeon throughout their career. Discussion of the procedures occasionally would make me cringe - I swear I had a lumbar aneurysm for a couple of days after hearing about the procedure. Discussion of the patient stories was beautiful and crushing - the story of a young infant who lived for months has had an impact on how I see my children. All-in-all, these stories as outlining a genre of brain surgery for new authors, like Henry Marsh. I have new respect for the sacrifice of surgeons in the face of their limitations, and the weight that their actions and decisions have on their patients.

Thank you Frank Vertosick for taking the time to write your story! It is a fantastic audiobook!

  • Why Not Me?

  • By: Mindy Kaling
  • Narrated by: Mindy Kaling, Greg Daniels, B. J. Novak
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,011
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,489
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,409

In Why Not Me? Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it's falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or, most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you're constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I love mindy

  • By green ice cream garden on 04-24-17

Dawn of The Mindy Project

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

This is the first Mindy Kaling book I've read, and I think that listening to her narrate this book for 4 hours and 57 minutes pretty much means we're friends. At least I feel like we've been friends for a while, grabbing coffee and talking about doing all the things mostly-famous people do. This is pretty much the feel of the book. Mindy discusses aspects of being a writer and actor that will help you appreciate the effort and distinguish the genuine from the cosmetic. I had never thought about it much before, but Mindy's explanation of the role that 3rd world hair donations play in making our screen actresses stunningly beautiful was poignant, and it raises a lot of questions on why we fight for some causes but not others.

As a comedy book, this is ok. As a chance to get to know Mindy, it's fantastic. Not for everyone, but I loved getting to see the world from Mindy's perspective.

#mindy #TheOffice #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

  • The Fifth Risk

  • By: Michael Lewis
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,448
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,293
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,285

"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.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Awkward and Disappointing

  • By Amit M on 10-04-18

The First Days of the Trump Administration

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

I'm a fan of Michael Lewis, and without completely understanding the premise of "The Fifth Risk" I dove in wholeheartedly. The book walks through the transition of power between the Obama administration and the Trump administration, and outlines the curious lack of interest presented by the Trump administration heading in to the inauguration. In general, the normal transition of power activities didn't take place, and never reached anything close to the scale of past administrations. With vacancies still prevalent across the administration 2 years into his term - this book helps explain why the government has never quite gotten up to speed under President Trump.

Beyond this premise, Michael dives in to a few governmental departments to figure out how they work, and what they work on. Michael tells a number of stories along the lines of, "Although nobody in the Trump Administration really ever tried to figure it out, the Department of Commerce has very little to do with commerce... what they really do is... " Overall, these stories are fantastic and this book describes the public service, and mission of the government in a way that few seem to appreciate in the era of 24/7 political news. As much as you might align with the right or the left, we all need the government to continue clean-up of the Hanover Nuclear Facility so that Washington State continues to be inhabitable. I loved learning about these governmental departments in more detail- loved it. The only downside of the book for me is that is doesn't quite tie together as well as some of the author's previous books. Still - it's great!

  • The Coming Storm

  • By: Michael Lewis
  • Narrated by: Michael Lewis
  • Length: 2 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,080
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,675
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,635

Tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis… Weather can be deadly – especially when it strikes without warning. Millions of Americans could soon find themselves at the mercy of violent weather if the public data behind lifesaving storm alerts gets privatized for personal gain. In his first Audible Original feature, New York Times best-selling author and journalist Michael Lewis delivers hard-hitting research on not-so-random weather data – and how Washington plans to release it. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why you shouldn't ignore the weather forecast

  • By Elisabeth Carey on 09-10-18

Preview: The Fifth Risk

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

If you're at all interested in reading "The Fifth Risk" by Michael Lewis, I recommend listening to this first. "The Coming Storm" is taken directly from a few chapters of "The Fifth Risk", and is read by the author (excellent narrator, BTW).

  • Do No Harm

  • Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery
  • By: Henry Marsh
  • Narrated by: Jim Barclay
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,172
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,084
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,082

With compassion and candor, leading neurosurgeon Henry Marsh reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets, and the moments of black humor that characterize a brain surgeon's life. If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practiced by calm and detached surgeons, this gripping, brutally honest account will make you think again.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Neurosurgical struggles between hope & reality

  • By Bonny on 06-03-15

When the Air Hits Your Brain...

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

I loved "When the Air Hits Your Brain" by Frank T Vertosick, so I was cautiously optimistic about picking up another book on brain surgery. Happily, Henry Marsh is an excellent storyteller who approaches the topic of brain surgery from his personal experience. Henry walks through the stories of his late career, looking back more than looking forward, and he touches on some of the themes from "When the Air...". Generally speaking, that surgeons with power over life often struggle with ego and are haunted by the procedures that didn't turn out according to plan. Henry's account of the UK hospital trust system is often comedic, and befitting a "Brain Surgeons in Cars, Getting Coffee" series on Netflix. In the end, I think I'd recommend "When the Air..." over "Do No Harm" for its coverage of the field of brain surgery in the 1970's and 1980's, but in the end reading both was great and I'm looking forward to Henry's next book, "Admissions".

  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces

  • By: Joseph Campbell
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey, John Lee, Susan Denaker
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,514
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,373
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,361

Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell's revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In this book, Campbell outlines the Hero's Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world's mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Meaningful and thought-provoking

  • By Learner on 02-09-16

The Listener with a Thousand Pauses

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

I love stories, and having heard this book mentioned in a number of other books I decided to dive in and experience it for myself. I'm not sure what I expected of this book, but I was expecting some sort of "greatness" from it. While I'll agree that this is a thoughtful, and thorough treatment of the art of storytelling, and the commonality of stories across cultures, I'm not sure it's worth listening to unless you're really deep into understanding stories over time. Listening to this book required frequent pauses, both so I could understand and appreciate, and so that I could rest. This book has the feel of a 14 hour lecture, taught day after day in a dark lecture hall by a bland lecturer. I'll admit that this was probably the style back in 1949 when this book was written, but for most listeners I think you're better suited with something derived from this master work than with this original.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • How to Make Disease Disappear

  • By: Rangan Chatterjee
  • Narrated by: Matthew Waterson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 127

How to Make Disease Disappear is Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s revolutionary, yet simple guide to better health - a much-needed, accessible plan that will help you take back control of your health and your life. A physician dedicated to finding the root cause of ill health rather than simply suppressing symptoms with drugs, Dr. Chatterjee passionately advocates and follows a philosophy that lifestyle and nutrition are first-line medicine and the cornerstone of good health.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent approach!

  • By Kelly Henry on 08-07-18

Simple Tips for Improving Health

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

Reviewed: 09-29-18

Dr Chatterjee has decided to stop focusing on relieving symptoms of disease in his practice, and instead focus on the underlying health issues of his individual patients. In this book, he covers recommendations for a healthy life that could easily fit into your everyday routine, no matter your age, occupation, or where you live. His general philosophy is "do what you can" and generally assess your efforts to your own standard with a goal of improvement as you can. He acknowledges the shortfalls of this approach (surgery, medicine, and more aggressive treatment still have their place).

In broad strokes, Dr Chatterjee wants to help you eat, sleep, and move (preferably outdoors). He talks about the benefit of morning sunlight, the harm of evening screen light, and the need for full and complete sleep in a dark atmosphere (at least as often as you can). He talks about how when exercise is a chore, performed indoors in a gym, that many people may be doing more harm to their overall health than good. He talks about the need to balance how you move (not simply focusing on the "mirror muscles"), and how weight training can change the relationship between your muscles in unhealthy ways.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. Much of it can be found in the myriad of other health related books, but there are passages where you feel that Dr. Chatterjee wrote this to make a positive impact on your own health, and he avoids being trendy in favor of being practical. In addition, he points out that your own health will never be studied to the extent it needs to be in order to prescribe how well any other medical study will apply in your personal case. Even in areas where promise is shown but the studies are incomplete, it could be decades or a lifetime before the medical community understands "why" or "how" a thing affects our general health.

  • But What If We're Wrong?

  • Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past
  • By: Chuck Klosterman
  • Narrated by: Chuck Klosterman, Fiona Hardingham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,050
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 948
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 944

We live in a culture of casual certitude. This has always been the case, no matter how often that certainty has failed. Though no generation believes there's nothing left to learn, every generation unconsciously assumes that what has already been defined and accepted is (probably) pretty close to how reality will be viewed in perpetuity. And then, of course, time passes. Ideas shift. Opinions invert. What once seemed reasonable eventually becomes absurd, replaced by modern perspectives that feel even more irrefutable and secure - until, of course, they don't.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another bad review for the narrator

  • By Norris Family on 06-13-16

The future blurs the past

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

There is a body of work that suggests the future will be more about eliminating things from the present than adding new things. picking up on this idea the author explores how rock music might condense to a single group or album in 500 years. This is a really thoughtful account of looking retrospectively at the present to call out the absurd. How will today's books, movies, sports, and television be viewed decades or millennia into the future? This book explores these possibilities, as well as the potential that the modern world may leave a legacy that ages remarkably better from that of our ancient past. Definitely worth consideration!

  • My Life in France

  • By: Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,391
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 886
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 895

This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia Child embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a pleasure!

  • By Sara on 07-03-08

The Making of Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

This is exactly the kind of celebrity chef book I was looking for!

Picking up with her marriage and assignment to Paris while in her 30's, this book follows Julia Child's life in France; her friendships, and her motivation to learn to cook. From letters, notes, and diaries, Julia remembers conversations and meals from this period well into old age.

Julia had a passion for food that went in to Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volumes 1 & 2) over two decades of development. Her foundation of support from her husband, and Simca who co-authored both cookbooks was inspiring. This was a compelling listen, and one that helps quantify the possibility of a lifelong love of food, friends, and la belle France.