LISTENER

Alistair Kelman

London, UK
  • 6
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 10
  • ratings
  • Exactly

  • How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
  • By: Simon Winchester
  • Narrated by: Simon Winchester
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 77

Best-selling author Simon Winchester writes a magnificent history of the pioneering engineers who developed precision machinery to allow us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson. Precision is the key to everything. It is an integral, unchallenged and essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical and intellectual landscapes. The items we value in our daily lives - a camera, a phone, a computer, a bicycle, a car, a dishwasher perhaps - all sport components that fit together with precision and operate with near perfection....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautiful and empathetic clarity of expression

  • By Alistair Kelman on 12-06-18

A beautiful and empathetic clarity of expression

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

If ever there was a book which is better in its Audible version than in its printed prose this is it. Simon Winchester's love of language and engineering wafts out of this dulcet recording with every chapter providing a story arc which resonates in the mind. I have listened to "Exactly" while walking in Richmond Park, while riding on buses and trains and while resting in bed after a long day. It is one of those rare Audible books which you wish to listen to again and again - the prose becomes a kind of poetry; a sonnet singing the praises of precise engineering and how it has built the modern world.

Much of this book is really new - since the author has pulled together threads from sources which have been classified as state secrets and commercial secrets, accident reports and annual reports. How was it that Rolls Royce nearly caused the death of over 450 people in an air disaster in Singapore? What are the lessons to be learned from this failure? What are the limits of precision?

Capturing machine-processes in words is not easy. But the sonorous Winchester voice over his carefully selected words performs this task admirably. He uses many of the tricks of advocacy to get complex ideas across, describing the same thing three times but using subtly different phrasing and wording so that a composite three-dimensional image can be built up in the mind. This is a master communicator at his best - leaving a legacy in a recording which will be enjoyed for all time.

Listen to it and enjoy it. You will never regret this purchase.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • McMafia- Seriously Organised Crime

  • Brain Shot
  • By: Misha Glenny
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

BRAIN SHOTS: Not everyone has the time to listen to long recordings of their favourite books- which is where Brain Shots come in. These are ‘big ideas’ books in a bite-sized audio format- taken complete and unabridged from the ebook edition.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book

  • By Mani Masuria on 09-04-18

Essential reading

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

Reviewed: 18-03-18

even though this book is 8 years old it remains essential Reading and has stood the test of time

  • Ep. 8: The Child Porn Paradox (The Dark Web)

  • By: Geoff White, Bernard P. Achampong
  • Narrated by: Geoff White
  • Length: 26 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

Most of us assume the online underworld is flooded by images of child sexual abuse. Yet due to the hazards of investigating the Dark Web, it is very difficult to find independent research. So just how much child porn is there on the Dark Web? And what are the police doing to tackle it? In this episode, Channel 4 News's former Technology Reporter, Geoff White, discovers a shocking truth — that many paedophiles don't need the dark web. They're active in a much more open way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A gripping review of a little understood world

  • By Alistair Kelman on 09-02-18

A gripping review of a little understood world

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

Where does Ep. 8: The Child Porn Paradox (The Dark Web) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In a world of fake news and hysteria, it is good to find a balanced, evidence-based gripping analysis of the Dark Web. The series visits this world, available to anyone but harmful and dangerous to many, whose existence is only now being appreciated. Episode 8 considers child pornography and produces some very worrying insights into not just the Dark Web but in the way that Facebook and similar services are being used to harm children.
I have listened to many documentary podcasts - this series is undoubtedly one of the best ever with very high ITN production values, analysis and storytelling at its best.

What did you like best about this story?

This builds on the earlier episodes

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is a book to enjoy over a series of days rather than listening to at one sitting. It deserves revisiting again and again

Any additional comments?

I would be wonderful if the transcript of this audio programme were made available too

  • Capitalism's Toxic Assumptions

  • Adam Smith's Seven Deadly Sins
  • By: Eve Poole
  • Narrated by: Christopher Oxford
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

In science, no -one believes the Earth is flat anymore. Economists, on the other hand, haven't budged from their original worldview. Market capitalism depends on seven big ideas: competition, the "invisible hand", utility, agency theory, pricing, shareholder value, and limited liability. These served the world well in the past, but over the years they have become cancerous and are slowly killing the system as a whole.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Roadmap to protect against another collapse

  • By Alistair Kelman on 05-04-15

A Roadmap to protect against another collapse

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

Reviewed: 05-04-15

In 2008 when the Queen spoke to academics at the London School of Economics about the turmoil on the business markets she famously asked "Why did nobody notice it?" The massed ranks of mainly male economists were unable to answer her question. Seven years later despite many worthy books on the financial crisis the world’s community of economists remains incapable of using the evidence of the past to reliably provide any assurance to protect our future from another collapse.

Until now. Along has come Dr Poole with a comprehensive reassessment of the flaws in modern capitalism and with a road map to guide the profession away from its worst ills. She has had the nerve (and intellect) to look at the fundamental laws of the dismal science and question them in the light of modern evidence derived from psychology and moral philosophy - remembering always that Adam Smith, the father of the “invisible hand”, wasn’t an economist but was a moral philosopher whose work was taken up and interpreted by economists after he was dead when he couldn’t easily answer back.

Her conclusions about co-operation and not selfishness being a key aspect in the success of business enterprises should find support from Matt Ridley whose TED talk https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCQQyCkwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ted.com%2Ftalks%2Fmatt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex%3Flanguage%3Den&ei=VfYgVce1OZDPaI-WgeAC&usg=AFQjCNEKToSGP_cOsilmEFltGsYfXaPwAA&sig2=XReqPeu4XFU9bpQD34WOcg&bvm=bv.89947451,d.d2s
develops ideas Matt first cited in The Origins of Virtue

Most importantly Dr Poole indicates ways in which we could re-engineer our business processes and corporate structures to stop the harm arising from the rampageous beast of raw capitalism whilst preserving all its best features. Her analysis is by no means complete - nobody could in a single volume cover the myriad of changes in regulation, structures and human resource management that are required to implement her thoughtful proposals. But it is a major start to the process of re-evaluation of the fundamental laws of economics which are necessary because, in the words of an earlier Prince of Wales, “Something must be done”.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back

  • By: Tim Harford
  • Narrated by: Cameron Stewart, Gavin Osborn
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159

A million listeners bought The Undercover Economist to get the lowdown on how economics works on a small scale, in our everyday lives. Since then, economics has become big news. Crises, austerity, riots, bonuses - all are in the headlines all the time. But how does this large-scale economic world really work? What would happen if we cancelled everyone's debt? How do you create a job? Will the BRIC countries take over the world?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The perfect book for that business flight

  • By Alistair Kelman on 29-08-13

The perfect book for that business flight

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

Reviewed: 29-08-13

The best teaching comes from telling stories - stories about human feats, challenges which were overcome, where the art of the possible conquers all. Tim Harford in his lectures and his writing does this all the time - putting a human face on problem solving.

This audiobook is for you if:

You consider yourself to be a serious person, concerned about the way of the world, unhappy about lives being wasted through deprivation, poverty and idleness;
You enjoy listening to the output of BBC Radio 4 (and particularly to the BBC Today programme, "More or Less"and new programmes like "The Philosopher's Arms");

I wondered when I bought it why it needed two narrators when novels etc can make do with just one. But the interchange of question and answer, explaining matters by the use of Socratic debate, really demands two voices and Cameron Stewart and Gavin Osborne do it justice as narrators. Tim never uses jargon unnecessarily and it is always explained in simple terms.

This is the idea audiobook to listen to after you turn left at the top of the stairs and settle into your aircraft seat. Get the steward to fix you a long drink, let everyone else watch the highly edited action movies and chill out to a tour de force. It will teach you that the modern macroeconomist needs to be a renaissance man - and that is a really good takeaway.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • False Economy

  • A Surprising Economic History of the World
  • By: Alan Beattie
  • Narrated by: Peter Johnson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

Here is an important book for turbulent times, an accessible and engaging economic history of the world, by the world trade editor of the Financial Times.

Witty, knowledgeable, and fluent, False Economy tells extraordinary stories of economic triumph and disaster, explaining how some countries went wrong while others went right, and why it’s so difficult to change course once you’re on the path to ruin.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting book, terrible reading

  • By Quietroom on 19-08-10

Enjoyed the book - haven't checked the audio

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-11

Whatever the listener's view I have read this book which is really superb. So if you want to enjoy it 'on the go' then I would recommend you get this audiobook