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FM Veteran

FM Veteran UK Member Since 2012
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  • "Beats Rand"

    Overall

    ‘The Fatal Conceit’ is not what you’d call a light read, but worth the effort if you can keep up your concentration. Hayek will always command historical interest, having been such a philosophical influence on Thatcher. As an economist of distinctly capitalist bent, he here puts the theoretical boot into socialism. You’ll either find it a compelling case or a tirade; but it rehearses the respective arguments tidily, whatever your perspective. My only reservation is that the book sounded rather like an essay, and would guess that the original print version contains references to back up the many assumptions.

    Narrator Everett Sherman does a nice job, with a calm, mature voice that fits the content well, and a leisurely pace that gives you time to take in the sometimes complex arguments. Be aware that there are a few re-recorded passages that have been spliced in rather obviously.

    In many respects, Hayek is on the same ground here as Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’, albeit with an academic rather than a fictional orientation. Given a choice, my opinion would be that, in terms of brevity, precision and humanity, it has to be Hayek.

    More

    The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By F. A. Hayek
    • Narrated By Everett Sherman
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Hayek gives the main arguments for the free-market case and presents his manifesto on the "errors of socialism." Hayek argues that socialism has, from its origins, been mistaken on factual, and even on logical, grounds and that its repeated failures in the many different practical applications of socialist ideas that this century has witnessed were the direct outcome of these errors. He labels as the "fatal conceit" the idea that "man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes."

    FM Veteran says: "Beats Rand"
  • "Well argued dissent"

    Overall
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    Story

    Having liked all Ridley’s science books, I was worried to hear about this one. I suspected that he, a Tory peer, was lurching into political writing in defence of climate-change denial. So I put off reading it for three years; but I wish now that I hadn’t. Though presenting an optimistic view at odds with most scientists, it produces a shipload of facts, data and evidence in support – enough to have me questioning my own assumptions. If you’re convinced that the world’s going to hell in a handcart and you won’t hear otherwise, stay well away. But if you can entertain conflicting ideas simultaneously, this one’s for you.

    As for Ridley’s thesis: hearing the historical evidence, I found it hard to dispute his case that the world's never had it so good. His argument that pessimism is over-cooked is also convincing - in principle. For me, the big flies in the ointment are his PC beliefs that all people are the same, and that you can’t get enough of them. And some of his suppositions already look doubtful. Since the book was written, the UN has admitted that its estimated 9bn population peak was wildly optimistic. It’s also clear that the regions where populations are exploding are the very least equipped to engage in the trade- and innovation-led salvation Ridley proposes. Despite all that, it makes a change to hear a dissenter rattling Al Gore’s cage.

    I disliked the choice of reader, L J Ganser. Ridley, an Eton- and Oxford-educated aristocrat, talks in an appropriately understated manner. To hear him narrated like a New York car-salesman feels all wrong, especially as the text gives many clues to its English provenance. Some homework wouldn’t have hurt: not knowing that Samuel Pepys rhymes with ‘keeps’ is one of many crass blunders; but, for a real laugh, you’ll need to hear the economist Jeavons’s moniker mangled yourself.

    In short: get it. You’ll be either entertained or exercised, and certainly informed. And you’ll never take the doomsayers’ word at face value again.

    More

    Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Matt Ridley
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Over 10,000 years ago there were fewer than 10 million people on the planet. Today there are more than six billion, 99 per cent of whom are better fed, better sheltered, better entertained and better protected against disease than their Stone Age ancestors. Yet, bizarrely, however much things improve from the way they were before, people still cling to the belief that the future will be nothing but disastrous.

    judith says: "Could have been even better"
  • "A no-brainer for thinkers"

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    Story

    This is a book that everyone working in spheres concerned with influencing human behaviour, from marketing to politics, should be obliged to read. For many, it will be the first time they’ve had exposure to evidence-based insight into how the mind really makes decisions. But you needn’t be a self-defined expert: anyone who’d like to understand why so many decisions are awful will love this.

    If you already know a bit about behavioural economics, there may not be much here that’s a revelation. Kahneman has been publishing since the 1970s, and much of his earlier thinking was brought to life by Stuart Sutherland’s ‘Irrationality – the Enemy Within’ in 1992. More recently and publicly, Kahneman acolytes Sunstein & Thaler cleaned up with ‘Nudge’. I got the impression that maybe this book is the author’s last-gasp effort to cash in his own chips. But that doesn’t take away from this rarity, a popular-science book that’s not self-help drivel but has peer-reviewed experiment running right through it, forming a terrific compendium of insights into how and why our brains routinely screw up.

    One word of caution: novices to the area shouldn’t take the System 1/2 model as gospel. One mental failing Kahneman highlights is ‘What You See Is All There Is’ – in other words, we neglect all accounts but the one we’re being presented with. This book risks providing precisely such a trap. Psychologists have been adept over the decades at devising highly plausible and repeatable models that establish their fame and fortune but turn out to have little scientific grounding. It’s notable that, though neuroscientific experiments have indeed demonstrated how sensory data may be processed in parallel by slower or faster networks, Kahneman mentions surprisingly little such evidence. A complete model might need for example to embrace individual differences in the density of neural connections in the prefrontal cortex: in other words, some of us just think logically a lot more often than others do.

    More

    Thinking, Fast and Slow

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Daniel Kahneman
    • Narrated By Patrick Egan
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (138)

    Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology challenging the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of the world's most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound impact on many fields - including business, medicine, and politics - but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research in one book.

    clive says: "Fascinating, but be prepared to concentrate"
  1. The Fatal Conceit: The Er...
  2. Rational Optimist: How Pr...
  3. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  4. .

A thrilling, true story

An extraordinary space odyssey

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    Roy says: "A short Review of Nearly Everything"
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    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 29 mins)
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    Matthew says: "The best audiobook to date"
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UNABRIDGED) by Jon Ronson Narrated by Jon Ronson

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    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
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    Them began as a book about different kinds of extremists, but after Jon had got to know some of them - Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen - he found that they had one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, Jon sets out, with the help of the extremists, to locate that room. The journey is as creepy as it is comic, and along the way Jon is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and more.

    Boggy of Bucks says: "Enjoyable"
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    clive says: "Fascinating, but be prepared to concentrate"
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    1913 - Suffragette throws herself under the King's horse. 1969 - Feminists storm Miss World. Now - Caitlin Moran rewrites "The Female Eunuch" from a bar stool and demands to know why pants are getting smaller. There's never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven't been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain.... Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should you get Botox? Do men secretly hate us? What should you call your vagina?

    Helen says: "The best audio book so far!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Richard Dawkins Narrated by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

    The Selfish Gene

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
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    Michael says: "A wonderful book, wonderfully narrated"
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    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
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    Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

    judith says: "History made science"
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UNABRIDGED) by Richard Dawkins Narrated by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

    The God Delusion

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
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    Winner of the British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2007.
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    Winner of the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

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UNABRIDGED) by Richard Wiseman Narrated by Peter Noble

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    Global news and analysis from the BBC World Service. Join our leading team of presenters for the best interviews, features and analysis of world events.

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    Vanity Fair is a cultural filter, sparking the global conversation about the people and ideas that matter most. With a dedication to journalistic excellence and powerful storytelling, Vanity Fair is the first choice - often the only choice - for the world's most influential and important audience. From print to social media, the big screen to the smartphone and now on audio, Vanity Fair is the arbiter of our era.

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    Having noted the absence of happiness in human life, a group of scholars began to look for a way to attain this happiness. They could put their hands on the core of happiness by means of physical laws, so that they could reach it by following such a set of laws! However... Can worldly scientific laws, however great they may be, control happiness, make it surrender to them, and allow itself to be harnessed by their reins?!

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    Turn to Science News for the latest coverage of biology, astronomy, the physical sciences, behavioral sciences, math and computers, chemistry, and earth science. This 75-year-old publication is known for its sharp writing and up-to-date coverage of the latest scientific research. Since its debut in 1922, Science News has been committed to providing reports on scientific and technical developments that the layman would find interesting and easy to digest.

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    This critical account of the fair trade movement explores the vast gap between the rhetoric of fair trade and its practical results for poor countries, particularly those of Africa. In the Global North, fair trade often is described as a revolutionary tool for transforming the lives of millions across the globe. The growth in sales for fair trade products has been dramatic in recent years, but most of the benefit has accrued to the already wealthy merchandisers at the top of the value chain rather than to the poor producers at the bottom.

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