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General Non-Fiction

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judith

judith canary wharf, United Kingdom Member Since 2009
HELPFUL VOTES
255
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3
  • "A rising star"

    Overall

    Tim Harford gets better and better, now with a whole thoughtful book exploring the concept of evolution as applied to markets and other complex systems. He is really becoming the UK's Paul Krugman with his colourful analogies that bring to life economic concepts for the lay person - Coco bonds as airbags and 'economic Bulldogs' for the unintended consequences of well intended policy. So why only four stars? Well, most unfortunately, Tim (who, as we all know, is himself a highly competent presenter, well able to read his own book) delegated this task to some actor who decided to deliver various lengthily quoted passages in the supposedly appropriate accent. So Adam Smith appears with a rich scottish burr, and various Americans with a transatlantic drawl. This is irritating and unnecessary (and probably inaccurate) but tolerable. It becomes unbearable when we have third world economists such as Muhammad Yunus (founder of the Grameen bank). The narrator can't actually face the horror of putting on a faux-Bengali accent so he does a sort of 'humble peasant voice' instead. Made me squirm. Tim - read your own books - please.

    More

    Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Tim Harford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Everything we know about solving the world's problems is wrong. Out: Plans, experts and above all, leaders. In: Adapting - improvise rather than plan; fail, learn, and try again. In this groundbreaking new book, Tim Harford shows how the world's most complex and important problems - including terrorism, climate change, poverty, innovation, and the financial crisis - can only be solved from the bottom up by rapid experimenting and adapting.

    judith says: "A rising star"
  • "Gadfly-Gladwell"

    Overall

    Mr Gladwell has collected an interesting set of anecdotes loosely connected to short time spans and pulls them together without much logic or structure and with many internal contradictions. Sometimes experts are people who have analysed their topic (e.g. food) so that they have access to their sub-conscious whereas non-experts flounder around with holistic impressions, sometimes experts have such finely tuned intuitions that they can instantly say that, for example, a statue is fake, but they have no access to the (highly trained) sub-conscious that tells them this. Ignore pedants like me, Mr Gladwell's amiable muddle-through will provide entertainment and food for thought (especially about prejudice) for any reader.

    More

    Blink

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (38)

    Intuition is not some magical property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. It is a product of long hours and intelligent design, of meaningful work environments, and particular rules and principles. This audiobook shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices, and in everyday life.

    Jane says: "Enjoyable, but goes in an unexpected direction"
  • "Could have been even better"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great subject - why we should be optimistic about the future, after all, the human race has not done too badly so far, from hot baths to antibiotics - and there is much to enjoy in this book. I was particularly amused by the section that reviewed calamities that never happened (e.g. acid rain, Y2 bug, Malthusian starvation). There is also a serious and thoughtful message about eco-friendliness and 'green' politics: technology and going forward may be a better solution than trying to put the clock back to an idyllic rural past that never really did or can exist. Green policies, driven by emotions, can lead to mistakes and errors (e.g. the disaster of bio-fuels and the folly of wind farms). However, I also found the book rambled a bit and would be improved by a good edit. Also, some of the material seemed a bit derivative – but it was possibly just out of date, since the book was written in 2008. I have read several books in recent years - Pinker's 'Better Angels' and 'Why Nations Fail' that cover many of Ridley's points, but a do a better job.

    Narration: Awful! Matt Ridley mentions in the book that he 'grew up in London in the 1970s' He does not, therefore, have a grating American accent. I could not get over this contradiction. I like it when the author reads - Tony Blair, George Bush, Sarah Palin, Christopher Hitchens - but if you don't have the skills to do that then get somebody who sounds like the author would. Am I bigoted to want that?

    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.

    FM Veteran says: "Well argued dissent"
  1. Adapt: Why Success Always...
  2. Blink
  3. Rational Optimist: How Pr...
  4. .

A Peek at George's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
4
 
Suffolk United Kingdom 10 REVIEWS / 10 ratings Member Since 2014 0 Followers / Following 1
 
George's greatest hits:
  • Night School: Wake Up to the Power of Sleep

    "Very interesting"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Night School again? Why?

    I would listen to this again - very informative and narrative was relaxing so could listen as I went to sleep


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Night School?

    Interesting


    What about Peter Noble’s performance did you like?

    Softly spoken so I could listen as I was going to sleep


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    N/a


Stewart Webb

Stewart Webb Reading, Berks UK 06/06/2010 Member Since 2008

I am an avid audio book listener, having at least two books on the go at any one time and getting through two or so a week.

HELPFUL VOTES
31
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21
6
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0
2
  • "More Fact Pact Bryson"

    27 of 29 helpful votes

    I am a lifelong fan of Bill Bryson. His travel books are legendary. However since he has ceased travelling he now writes books such as this and many previously, basically packed with interesting facts and historical anecdotes.

    He uses his house here to take us on a journey to each room, then onward to tell us for instance the story of archaeology or the life of the inventor Alexander Graham Bell or the origin of underwear.. see what I mean random, but it has to be said mostly fun.

    My only two gripes (and why I did not give it 5 stars) are firstly it is read by the author. He is not a bad reader, but at times tends to drone, I do wish authors would leave reading there books to the people trained to do so. Many of his older books were read by Kerry Shale, and very good they are to.

    Secondly he does have a tendency to repeat some items from his earlier books, not sure if this intentional or not, but it is a bit annoying, if like me, you have read all his output.

    If this is your first foray into Bryson, I should start with an earlier book, but that is not to say this is a bad book by ant means, but he has done much better.

    More

    At Home: A Short History of Private Life

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Bill Bryson
    Overall
    (915)
    Performance
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    Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.

    Stewart Webb says: "More Fact Pact Bryson"

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    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
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    Overall
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    • By J. G. Ballard
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    Story
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    Overall
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    Performance
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    Story
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UNABRIDGED) by Tim Butcher Narrated by Tim Butcher

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  •  
  • The Palestine-Israel Conflict (






UNABRIDGED) by Dan Cohn-Sherlock, Dawoud El-Alami Narrated by Richard Aspel

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    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Dan Cohn-Sherlock, Dawoud El-Alami
    • Narrated By Richard Aspel
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The new audiobook edition of this best-selling book gives a thorough and accessible account of the history behind the Palestine-Israeli conflict, its roots, and the possibilities for the future. The audiobook is divided into two parts - the first by an American rabbi and Professor of Judaism, and the second by a Palestinian lecturer on Islam. The result is a real insight into the situation, with each author giving full vent to the emotions behind the two sides of the debate - Cohn-Sherbok and El-Amini come together at the audiobook's conclusion to debate the issues.

  • Cut: The true story of an abandoned, abused little girl who was desperate to be part of a family (






UNABRIDGED) by Cathy Glass Narrated by Denica Fairman

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    In her new book, the Sunday Times and New York Times best-selling author of Damaged tells the story of the Dawn, a sweet and seemingly well-balanced girl whose outward appearance masks a traumatic childhood of suffering at the hands of the very people who should have cared for her. Dawn was the first girl Cathy Glass ever fostered. Sweet and seemingly well balanced girl, Dawn's outward appearance masked a traumatic childhood so awful, that even she could not remember it.

  • The Up Side of Down (






UNABRIDGED) by Megan McArdle Narrated by Mia Barron

    The Up Side of Down

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Megan McArdle
    • Narrated By Mia Barron
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    Why do some failures inspire breakthroughs and others breakdowns? Most new products fail. So do most businesses. And most of us, if we are honest, have experienced a major setback in our personal or professional lives. Exploring her own experiences of failure - losing her job and sending CVs into a void, clinging to a relationship that was clearly not working, Megan McArdle shows how to recognize when you're in a rut and how to bounce back successfully.