LISTENER

Mr

  • 82
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 83
  • ratings
  • Brazil

  • The Troubled Rise of a Global Power
  • By: Michael Reid
  • Narrated by: Michael Healy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

Experts believe that Brazil, the world's fifth largest country and its seventh largest economy, will be one of the most important global powers by the year 2030. Yet far more attention has been paid to the other rising behemoths: Russia, India, and China. Often ignored and underappreciated, Brazil, according to renowned, award-winning journalist Michael Reid, has finally begun to live up to its potential but faces important challenges before it becomes a nation of substantial global significance.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great guide to a fascinating country.

  • By Mr on 15-11-18

Great guide to a fascinating country.

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

Reviewed: 15-11-18

When I started this book, all I knew about Brazil were the cliches of carnival, violent favelas, and rain-forest destruction. Sixteen and a half hours later, I feel I have a much better grounding about this vast, diverse and often contradictory nation: that is so little discussed in the west. The author has an obvious deep interest in the country, has interviewed most of its leading figures in over the past two decades, and does a great job of outlining the historical forces that have shaped it, as well as bringing out the challenges and opportunities it faces going forward.

There is a strong focus in the second half of the book on recent economics, unsurprising when you know the author is a writer for the "Economist" magazine. This suited me just fine as I'm more than usually interested in such things, but it may exhaust the patience of a general reader. I would however have liked a bit more "colour commentary" about Brazil's people and culture. There is precious little about the daily lives of its inhabitants beyond the broad categorizations of different social classes.

The narrator is decent.

  • Reasons to Stay Alive

  • By: Matt Haig
  • Narrated by: Matt Haig
  • Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 996
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 886
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 885

What Does it mean to feel truly alive? Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A brave work for which I am so grateful

  • By Camilla Morgan on 26-05-15

Am I allowed to not like this?

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

Reviewed: 24-10-18

I am very interested in mental health and psychology, and I know that everyone has to cope with it in their own individual way. Haig says in his book that writing helped him cope with his depression, and obviously other people have also found it helpful. So the book has served it's purpose.

I however, really struggled to keep listening. The first half came across as a long protracted cry of self-pity, and the second half a long series of self-help cliches culled from various "books wot I ave red". Interspersed with personal anecdotes that go nowhere, and tendentious cod-philosophy, usually without any kind of context.

I *know* that feeling sorry for oneself is an unavoidable part of depression, and is *not* a character weakness. But I found the author's apparent determination to see something heroic in endless misery infuriating. At several points he seems to me to come dangerously close to suggesting that depression and hypochondria are a necessary pre-condition for being able to truly appreciate the finer points of human existence: which I think is balderdash. Depression is not "ennobling" and mental suffering without purpose, has no more virtue than physical suffering without purpose.

Towards the end of the book, Haig writes - "More harm is done by work than by idleness". And this perfectly summed up my problem with the book, it's all about wallowing inside the self, and not about being focused and purposeful. Which IMHO is the only thing that will keep people stable after the sugar-rush of self-help mantras has dissipated.

I'm delighted that Haig found writing this book helped him over-come his demons. And I'm delighted it's helped so many other people too - but I found it exasperating.


I didn't like the narrator either, but that might just be because I found the material he was reading uncompelling.

  • France 1940

  • Defending the Republic
  • By: Philip Nord
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 4 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

In this revisionist account of France's crushing defeat in 1940, Philip Nord argues that the nation's downfall has long been misunderstood. Nord assesses France's diplomatic and military preparations for war with Germany, its conduct of the war once the fighting began, and the political consequences of defeat on the battlefield. Ultimately, he finds that the longstanding view that France's collapse was due to military unpreparedness and a decadent national character is unsupported by fact.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good book, somewhat misleading subtitle.

  • By Mr on 13-10-18

Good book, somewhat misleading subtitle.

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

Reviewed: 13-10-18

In this slim volume, Nord contends that in 1940, the French suffered a simple, operational, military defeat. That they were neither "decadent" nor poorly prepared, and that it was France's lack of geographical barriers rather than any inherent weakness, that made it unable to withstand the same defeats suffered by other large allied nations.

The course of military events is however, dealt with quite briefly in favor of the subject that is obviously the author's real interest - the maneuverings in French politics immediately following the defeat, that resulted in the abolition of the 3rd Republic and establishment of the Vichy regime. The book isn't really about "Defending the Republic", but about the political actors (a strange alliance of appeasers, pacifists and generals) who abolished it for their own reasons.

It's a compelling story, that is often neglected in English language histories, and I enjoyed hearing it. But I would have preferred a longer and more comprehensive work that did not skip over so much ground.

The narrator isn't terrible, but I found him a little slow and monotone.

  • The Little Book of Value Investing

  • By: Christopher H Browne
  • Narrated by: John Bedford Lloyd
  • Length: 4 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

Following on the heels of the national best-selling The Little Book that Beats the Market, which has sold over 275,000 copies since its November 2005 publication, The Little Book of Value Investing offers investors (professional and amateur alike) the necessary tools to follow a value-investment model that consistently beats the market.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Still one of the best books on value investing

  • By Bus on 05-10-16

Good, solid guide to the subject.

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

Reviewed: 11-10-18

This is one of the better volumes in the "Little Book Of" series. A sensible, to-the-point and comprehensive guide to sniffing out under-valued companies for long-term buys. There's refreshing little time wasted on lengthy anecdotes and pointless analogies, just a no-nonsense breakdown of what you need to know.

Narrator is fine.

  • 12 Rules for Life

  • An Antidote to Chaos
  • By: Jordan B. Peterson
  • Narrated by: Jordan B. Peterson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,455
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,793

What are the most valuable things that everyone should know? Acclaimed clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has influenced the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world's most popular public thinkers. In this book, he provides 12 profound and practical principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to Heaven

  • By Matthew on 04-02-18

A tremendous well of wisdom.

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

Reviewed: 16-09-18

There's not much I can say about this book that has not already been said. It's brilliant.

Peterson has an uncanny ability to perceive and describe the fundamental psychological processes behind the problems afflicting both our society and ourselves as individuals. He diagnoses with laser precision the crises that has been created by the past 50 years of wrong-headed thinking about human nature and about social constructs. He knows how to write his ideas succinctly, and he offers both scientific evidence to back it up, and anecdotal evidence to make you remember it. His breadth of reading comes through strongly as he uses stories from the great religious, ethical and literary works of the past to illustrate fundamental truths about why we make the choices we do.

The author reads his own work - which turned out to be a good decision, and added to my enjoyment of it.

  • The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing

  • Finding Value, Generating Absolute Returns, and Controlling Risk in Turbulent Markets
  • By: John F. Mauldin
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 4 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2

To make money in this troubled economy you need to understand where the markets are headed, not where they've been. Clinging to outdated strategies and played out market trends are sure ways to miss out on new investments. In The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing, acclaimed investment expert John Mauldin teaches you how to read the direction of the markets to make decisions that capitalize on today's investment opportunities.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Cliched advice dressed as radicalism.

  • By Mr on 10-09-18

Cliched advice dressed as radicalism.

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

The author opens by confidently predicting the years following 2012 will be a "secular bear market". Not a good start.

There are IMO two different kinds of books about markets: those intended to to help you trade better, and those that bury you in analysis. This is the later. The author spends a long time bashing Mutual Funds and regaling you with "technology waves", "60 year cycles", "modern investment theory" and various other concepts that will be of very little use to you when you're sitting at your desk trying to decide what to do with your savings.

His criticism of efficient markets theory and "buy and hold" funds is valid, and introduced a few concepts I had not heard of before. But having spent most of the book doing this, he then unveils in the last coupe of chapters his grand solution ---------- (drum roll) ------------- buy "value stocks", and diversify.

After 10 chapters attacking conventional long-only equities funds, that was somewhat underwhelming. And if you want to learn value investing - I would suggest there are much better works on the subject out there than the very brief and inadequate treatment of it here.

Narrator is fine.

  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review

  • By: Eureka Books
  • Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
  • Length: 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 6

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (2010) is about how to bring about change in an organization. Its main focus is changing behavior by appealing to the rational and emotional sides of people's psyches. To generate change, authors Chip and Dan Heath believe a leader must connect with both sides, the rational and the emotional. This is because sometimes, one side can work against the other and sabotage successful change.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good blaggers guide.

  • By Mr on 08-09-18

Good blaggers guide.

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

A concise, clear and well laid-out introduction that will allow you to convince anyone who meet that you have in fact read the book.

Narrator was a touch robotic for my taste.

  • Tor and the Dark Art of Anonymity: How to Be Invisible from NSA Spying

  • By: Lance Henderson
  • Narrated by: James C. Lewis
  • Length: 3 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

This manual will give you the incognito tools that'll make you a master of anonymity! Other books tell you to install Tor and then encrypt your hard drive...and leave it at that. I go much deeper, delving into the very engine of ultimate network security, taking it to an art form where you'll grow a new darknet persona - how to be anonymous online without looking like you're trying to be anonymous online.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • informative read overall

  • By Matt on 22-02-16

Informative and opinionated.

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

Reviewed: 08-09-18

I can't actually think of any reason why I would need to buy something of dubious legality over the dark-web, but it's good to know that after reading this book: I could do if I wanted.

In this book, Henderson brings his distinctive blend of technical expertise, nerdy references and libertarian rants to the subject of TOR and internet anonymity. I certainly learned a great deal, more than I will probably ever need to know about the subject of staying anonymous online, and frankly more than I really understood. It was undeniably fascinating. The author still spends too much time ranting about various authority figures he dislikes, but has managed to reign-in his habit from previous books of adding too many personal anecdotes.

The main message to take away is "You are the weakest link in any security system". A lesson applicable to everyone in a world where cyber security now has to be a major concern of every business, and organization. Even those who have nothing to do with the political dissidents and anonymity nuts Henderson is focused on.

  • Trend Following (Updated Edition)

  • Learn to Make Millions in up or down Markets
  • By: Michael W. Covel
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Length: 24 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

Michael Covel is the author of five books, including the international best seller, Trend Following and his investigative narrative, The Complete TurtleTrader. Fascinated by traders that quietly generate spectacular returns, those going against the grain of investment orthodoxy, he has uncovered astonishing insights about how they think, strategize, and execute their systems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • useful

  • By lauren on 17-01-17

A powerful and entertaining tritise.

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

Reviewed: 07-09-18

The latest edition of Covel's crusade to convert the world to trend following is a well-researched, well argued, and unashamedly partisan argument against the "buy and hold" mantra so popular in the mutual fund industry. Covel can be more than a little scathing about his critics and about some of the argument's used against trend-following, and his wit livens up a serious and compelling look at this particular strategy.

The numerous appendices and interviews in the 2nd half of the book are an diverse and rewarding addition to the main text, and I recommend the book to anyone interested in financial markets. Even if you don't think trend following is a fit for your trading personality.

Narrator is fine.

  • The Little Book of Hedge Funds

  • What You Need to Know About Hedge Funds but the Managers Won't Tell You (Little Books. Big Profits)
  • By: Anthony Scaramucci
  • Narrated by: Don Hagen
  • Length: 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

An accessible overview of hedge funds, from their historical origin, to their perceived effect on the global economy, to why individual investors should understand how they work, The Little Book of Hedge Funds is essential reading for anyone seeking the tools and information needed to invest in this lucrative yet mysterious world. Authored by wealth management expert Anthony Scaramucci, and providing a comprehensive overview of this shadowy corner of high finance, the book is written in a straightforward and entertaining style.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really good intorduction to the industry.

  • By Mr on 28-07-18

Really good intorduction to the industry.

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

Reviewed: 28-07-18

I've found the "Little Books" series to be somewhat hit and miss, but this one is a hit. It avoids the trap some of its sister books fall into of either skimming over too much material, or covering too little. Scaramucci provides a comprehensive introduction that will give you a much better idea how this vast industry operates, and dispels some of the common myths around it. He also explains some of the common strategies HF use and how they differ from traditional Long-Only funds.

Oh and if you're buying this to find out how to get into the industry, Scaramucci will provide some advice, but he will also give you some truths that will make you think very carefully about whether this is *really* what you want.

Narrator is fine.