LISTENER

M. Russell

South Africa
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 111
  • helpful votes
  • 21
  • ratings
  • The Science of Mindfulness

  • A Research-Based Path to Well-Being
  • By: Ronald Siegel, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Ronald Siegel
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 243
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206

Ever noticed that trying to calm down often produces more agitation? Or that real fulfillment can be elusive, despite living a successful life? Often, such difficulties stem from the human brain's hardwired tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Modern science demonstrates that this survival mechanism served the needs of our earliest ancestors, but is at the root of many problems that we face today, such as depression, compulsive and addictive behaviors, chronic pain, and stress and anxiety.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thought provoking

  • By Sharon jeffrey on 01-06-15

Life changing

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

Reviewed: 06-03-16

All round excellence... Only sadness is completing the listen. But the real joy...? Starting again! Thank you

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Thriving Beyond Sustainability

  • Pathways to a Resilient Society
  • By: Andres R. Edwards
  • Narrated by: Dave Adams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

Every 15 seconds, a child dies from waterborne disease. Three times an hour, another species becomes extinct. Each day, we consume 85 million barrels of oil and pump 23 million tons of carbon dioxide into an already warming atmosphere. But against this bleak backdrop, beacons of hope shine from thousands of large and small initiatives. Thriving Beyond Sustainability draws a collective map of individuals, organizations, and communities that are committed to building an alternative future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book, strange American narration!

  • By M. Russell on 29-08-11

Excellent book, strange American narration!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-08-11

If you've read any of my reviews you'll probably think I'm a pedant when it comes to narration. Here is another excellent book narrated by another American determined to impose the affectation of dropping his h's in the manner of 'erbs' instead of Herbs (fine - tell me how you pronouce Paris then!) But here we are taking it to idiot extremes by saying 'ibrid' instead of hybrid, and even ohm instead of home! But the content survives simply because it is first class and an excellent read (if not listen!) So take the content, not the read seriously. But why am I surprised? As John Cleese famously said "The Americans haven't spoke English for years!"

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Why We Get Fat

  • And What to Do About It
  • By: Gary Taubes
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 704
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 422
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 412

Building upon this critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, Taubes now revisits the urgent question of what’s making us fat—and how we can change—in this exciting new book. Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat makes Taubes’s crucial argument newly accessible to a wider audience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I don't do this...

  • By Colin on 21-04-11

Getting to the meat of it...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-08-11

This book would have five stars were it not for the narrator. The material is absolutely excellent. Insightful, well researched, carefully structured and unpacked I wish it had been available when I was growing up instead at the latter part of my life. I'm very fortunate not to be obese but there is no question that my body has paid a price for a life-time of dietary ignorance. Vulnerabilty to all the ills of the first world is the price, and I have the package - diabetes, prostrate problems, hyper-tension - I'm just lucky to have made it to 70! This is one of those books that will change your life and your attitudes to obesity - all for the better - thank you Gary Taubes. But now what of the reader? Mike Chamberlain is very strange. The American determination to pronouce certain words without an 'h' (as in urbs instead of herbs - OK I can live with that) is taken to extremes and he makes practically all 'h's silent! Its very funny - though I am sure he didn't mean it to be....Fortunately the material survives and its well worth putting up with the reader's quirk. However I have come to a decision - from now on I buy only books narrated by the author - Rob Lowe, Stephen Fry, Darren Bown, Michael Caine, Christopher Hitchens - all brilliant reads...

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • The Wisdom of Crowds

  • Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations
  • By: James Surowiecki
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant. Groups are better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • All of us are smarter than any of us

  • By Jim on 27-04-13

Shoot the messenger

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-08-11

This book takes an awfully long time to unpack a very simple idea - interesting, persuasive but excessively laboured and wordy. The worst part though is the choice of narrator. Grover Gardner is just plain unbearable, quacking away in a style that destroys the material. Shoot the messanger. Please!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Your Brain at Work

  • Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
  • By: David Rock
  • Narrated by: Bob Walter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152

Meet Emily and Paul: The parents of two young children, Emily is the newly promoted VP of marketing at a large corporation while Paul works from home or from clients' offices as an independent IT consultant. Their lives, like all of ours, are filled with a bewildering blizzard of emails, phone calls, yet more emails, meetings, projects, proposals, and plans. Just staying ahead of the storm has become a seemingly insurmountable task.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Beethoven on a Kazoo

  • By M. Russell on 23-08-11

Beethoven on a Kazoo

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-08-11

One of the biggest problems with audio books in general is that they rely to a very large degree on the ability of the reader. Excellent material can be utterly spoilt by the narrator - and this is the case here. I have no-one to blame but myself. Listening to the sample I thought I could stand Bob Walter's extraordinary read. I was wrong. This professional reader has absolutely no idea of the meaning of the narrative. It is a self indulgent presentation by someone so enamoured with the sound of his own voice that the meaning is buried beneath a dreadfully inept delivery. The book itself is excellent - and David Rock has achieved another sale because I had to buy the hard-copy to extract the value. So do yourself a favour - cut out the middle man and read this one the old fashioned way.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Peak Everything

  • Waking Up to the Century of Declines
  • By: Richard Heinberg
  • Narrated by: Edward Dalmas
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Peak Everything addresses many of the cultural, psychological and practical changes we will have to make as nature rapidly dictates our new limits. This latest book from Richard Heinberg, author of three of the most important books on Peak Oil, touches on the most important aspects of the human condition at this unique moment in time.

A combination of wry commentary and sober forecasting on subjects as diverse as farming and industrial design, this book tells how we might make the transition from The Age of Excess to the Era of Modesty with grace and satisfaction....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • And the world dreams on...

  • By M. Russell on 31-07-11

And the world dreams on...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-07-11

Heinburg's well researched and cogently argued view of a world a mere ten to twenty years away is persuasive...and chilling. The incovenient truth is far more than simply climate change and for once in my life I think Bush got it right. The problem is the world's addiction to fossil fuels - particularly oil. If you are at all interested in where the world is going and, much more importantly, your own future (along with that of your children and their children) then this is essential reading. Are we at the end of oil? Is the world going to suffer global 'cold turkey'? What effect will it have on your life? The narrator cost the book a star in the rating system, but it isn't bad enough to get in the way of the message...so don't let it put you off. This is a compelling, eye-opening book that has started me on a road to radical change in my life. I cannot recommend it too highly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • God Collar

  • By: Marcus Brigstocke
  • Narrated by: Marcus Brigstocke
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 519
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 213
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 211

‘There's probably no God ... but I wish there was. I've got some things I need to ask him.' Based on Marcus Brigstocke's award-winning Edinburgh and West End show, God Collar focuses on the ‘God-shaped hole’ that opens up in Marcus’s life following the death of his best friend.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sorry but I don't do 'Laugh out loud'

  • By M. Russell on 18-07-11

Sorry but I don't do 'Laugh out loud'

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-07-11

Not ever.
Not until now anyway.
What a genuinely funny book - beautifully told and deliciously mischevous! And you can write that on the side of a bus so it must also be true...

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Why There Is Almost Certainly a God cover art
  • Why There Is Almost Certainly a God

  • By: Keith Ward
  • Narrated by: Keith Ward
  • Length: 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Professor Keith Ward, philosopher and theologian, talks through the issues thrown up by Richard Dawkins with a philosophical and scientific point of view.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very clear and well presented

  • By Stir on 27-11-10

Is it god or conciousness? Carry on Keith!

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-11

Listening to Keith Ward's attack on Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and others I was struck by his ability to convince himself that he had found a single straw with which to demolish their arguments that god was created by and is a figment of man's imagination. Philosophy meets quantum physics. If consciousness is without time or space and you want to call that consciousness ???god???, so be it. But how passionately he wielded that straw! He blathered on for 40 minutes - without ever attempting to connect the dots from god to Jesus (his preferred saviour) the scriptures, teachings and mind-numbing contradictions in his religion. He avoids explaining why he refuses to use his 'god-given gift' of a rational mind in these matters and instead is content to let ancient (not even original) superstition and dogma rule. But perhaps he was just having a bit of fun at a fellow academic's expense. Certainly his audience seemed to enjoy it ??? after all he does a fine impersonation of Kenneth Williams. But Williams made a lot more sense.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Brain Rules

  • 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
  • By: John J. Medina
  • Narrated by: John J. Medina
  • Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know - such as the brain's need for physical activity to work at its best. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget - and so important to repeat new information? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant brain food

  • By Mark on 11-10-11

Mind.. your body!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-11

John Medina???s ability to speak passionately and engagingly makes this book a real treat! And hey! Mind and body are NOT two separate ???bits???. Just a small investment in getting a bit more oxygen upstairs will make all the difference. As someone once famously said, ???It???s not rocket surgery!??? But it is brain science ??? delivered in a chatty, sometimes mischievous but always accessible way. So do your body and your brain a favour ??? it beats la dolce viagra any day!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Rage Against God cover art
  • The Rage Against God

  • How Atheism Led Me to Faith
  • By: Peter Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Peter Hitchens
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

Partly autobiographical, partly historical, The Rage Against God, written by Peter Hitchens, brother of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens, assails several of the favorite arguments of the anti-God battalions and makes the case against fashionable atheism.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Thank god I'm an athiest!

  • By M. Russell on 18-05-11

Thank god I'm an athiest!

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-11

If you were expecting, as I was, a balanced and reasoned discussion to counter the positions put forward by his brother, Christopher Hitchens then you are bound to be disappointed. I bought the book to find balance. Instead I think I stumbled into the worst of sibling rivalry! This Hitchens postulates that athiests have launched a virulent attack on Christianity. I have found instead that they are more usually simply indifferent to old superstitions - certainly, no athiest has ever set out to convert me to their (non) belief! He claims that dictators and governments through the ages have hijacked, exploited or replaced religious beliefs to their own ends. He fails to see the possibility that if, as the other Hitchens contends, religion is man-made and a tool for control then it is no surprise. He says fear was the reason for his rekindling of belief and that morality is impossible without a divine presence. He provides no cogent support for these contentions so, as religion demands - just take his word for it. But most crucially he has also not interrogated why he, in common with the rest of homo sapiens, has the need to 'believe' in the first place. It has, after all, been wired into the structure of widely divergent societies since the development of the neocortex. For that he'd need to read Sex Time and Power by Leonard Schlain (also available as an audio book on this site) and a far, far better investment.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful