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Olivier

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Interesting but a bit preachy

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

Reviewed: 17-09-18

An interesting behind the scenes look at a few pieces of software written by the author at Apple. Was a bit frustrated at the endless recaps of what we had just heard. The author obviously thought his audience could not put 2 and 2 together. Otherwise pleasant voice. Sound a bit odd (difficult to pinpoint but hard to listen to in a car).

Enlightening and gripping from beginning to end

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

Reviewed: 26-07-17

The author is clearly biased against George W. Bush, but this does not detract from the enjoyment of this fantastic book, because the author is upfront about his bias and is extremely objective in his telling of the story and analysis. In fact, apart from his belief that Gore is a better human than Bush, most of his commentary about Gore is negative (cannot make decisions, prefers to hob-nob with journalists and write op-ed pieces rather than get in the trenches, and hire and fires staff with no consistency causing low morale on his team, ...) while his comments on Bush and his campaign are often quite admirative (does not micromanage, leaves subordinates room to work, does not fire staff wantonly and thus gains their total devotion, focuses on the deciding issues and is not afraid of flak, ...). It's a bit like reading a history of the May 1940 Blitzkrieg written by a French general; of course he would have wanted the French Army to win, but he cannot help but admire the Wehrmacht's performance, and bemoan the sad state of the French Army and high command.

1 person found this helpful

Fantastic Narrator, Barnaby Edwards

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

Reviewed: 11-04-16

Incredibly detailed, sometimes to a fault. Arguable choice of the 10 decisions that Changed the World, with a big US emphasis. Still, overall, excellent material.

But, what I really want to stress is the fantastic job done by the narrator, Barnaby Edwards. I have listened to dozens of history books, most over the 15 hour mark, and enjoyed most of them, but rarely has the narrator made such a mark on me.

Barnaby Edwards reading is fast, but unfaltering. One does not feel rushed, but one feels that the reading speed is almost at the level of silent reading, with no loss to intelligibility. I would guess that, read by anyone else, the 25 hours of the book would have stretched by 1 or 2 hours.

Last, but certainly not least, Barnaby Edwards' pronunciation of the foreign names of a language I know (French, Italian and German) is excellent, neigh faultless. So many good books are massacred by readers who cannot pronounced foreign names that this deserves a special mention.

PS: I am not related to Barnaby Edwards in any manner.

16 people found this helpful

A Good Second Book On Google

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

Reviewed: 14-09-14

Three years ago, I read "In the Plex" an excellent book on the development of Google, and which I would recommend as a first book on Google.

But, once you've read a generalist book such as "In the Plex", and if you want to know more about Google, then I would really recommend reading "I'm Feeling Lucky". "I'm Feeling Lucky" is a personal retelling of one person's life at Google from 1999 to 2005 and as such it makes Google come alive as a "real person". One gets to see that all was not pristine' it had turf wars, office politics, and the 2 founders may certainly have been geniuses in many areas, but not definitely in people or organisational management, and one understands why the board forced them to get a CEO.

I would not recommend this as a first book on Google, but wholeheartedly as a follow-up book.

1 person found this helpful

Another Madden Hit

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

Reviewed: 09-02-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to be better than the print version?

No printed version; these are lectures.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A. These are lecture about history.

What about the narrator’s performance did you like?

Relaxed, informal, funny in a deadpan type of manner.

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

Not necessarily, it covers over 600 years of history.

Any additional comments?

This must be the 5th or 6th lecture series from Professor Madden, and I loved each one. He is knowledgeable, tongue-in-cheek funny and makes history come alive.

2 people found this helpful

One of the best recent Grishams

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-02-13

The Litigators is one of the most enjoyable recent Grisham books, with funny and likeable characters, good guys that are not perfect (far from it) and bad guys that are believably smart and realistically depicted. The reader was fine.

Madden Rules !

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-02-13

God Wills It!: Understanding the Crusades, was my second set of lectures from Professor Madden (the first one being "Empire of Gold", the History of the Bizantine Empire).



As before, Professor Madden's lecture text does a splendid job of bringing to life a periof of history which everyone has heard about, but which very few people actually know, even superficially. If you like history and have ever wondered what the Crusades were REALLY all about, then these lectures are for you.



In addition, Professor Madden's delivery, which was a bit halting at times in the other set of lectures, is excellent in this one.

Entertaining, Fun and Informative

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-02-13

I had previously listened to Professor Drout's lectures on science-fiction, which I had only moderately enjoyed after the lecture reaches the 1970's (see my review for more details). But I did nonetheless get the another set of lectures from Professor Drout because he is such a wonderful lecturer with great delivery and an excellent sense of humour. I was hoping that another, more historical, topic would bring out the best in him, and I was not disappointed. The set of lectures on The Anglo-Saxon World covers Britain from 500 AD until 1066 AD (the norman Conquest) with an excellent additional lecture on how the Anglo-Saxon concepts remained important up to the time of Henry the Eight. The lecture on the decades before 1066 and the lecture on the use of Anglo-Saxon as a political football under Henry the Eight are excellent (and stupendously funny at times). I am not a literature student and I was a bit worried during the introduction as it seemed that the lectures would focus more on literature than history, but my fears were soon calmed. I even enjoyed the 3 lectures on "pure" literature (lectures 9-10-11) because they stressed the psychology of people living in those times. So, even if you are not a literature geek, don't skip those 3 lectures. The only aspect that is supremely annoying in this lecture set is that each lecture begins with a long section where Professor Drout reads an excerpt in Anglo-Saxon which probably only 100 persons on Earth understand. These readings are followed by the English translation but they got really irritating, mostly as I am guessing that no one really know how Anglo-Saxon sounded, so were are not learning much from Professor Drout's attempts. Still, a minor quibble. Heartily recommended.

2 people found this helpful

Excellent Until Halfway

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-01-13

There is a lot to commend in Professor Drout's lectures on Science Fiction Literature.

The speaker's delivery is impeccable; no pause or hesitation, for almost 8 hours. It is also clear that Professor Drout knows a lot about the Science Fiction genre (although his area of specialization is Fantasy, most specifically J.R. Tolkien).



Until the end of the lecture on Heinlein, I really enjoyed the contents. But, afterwards, the lectures ceased to be on Science Fiction and became English Litterature, focusing on Surrealism and weird avant-garde authors, whose books often could not be classified as Science Fiction, and are extremely hard to read, by the lecturer's own admission. The last few lectures also got more and more politically correct, with the lecturer choice of "the best ever Science Fiction story" being just over the top (hint, to use PC-parlance, it was not written by a DWM).

If, like me, Science Fiction is entertainment for you, then you'll also disconnect when the lectures start covering the 1970's and 1980's (though I did listen to the very end). If, however, you are an English Litterature scholar, then you may enjoy learning about Science Fiction from a fellow scholar.

An Engrossing Story Told By An Expert

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-01-13

I just finished listening to Professor Madden's lectures on the History of the Byzantine Empire and cannot recommend it enough to anyone interested in history.

Not only is the history of the of the Byzantine Empire interesting, per se, but one also learns a lot of background information about things in Western Europe. For example, one learns how and why the Pope came to rule extended lands in Italy, how Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire "by accident", and many others.

The text is excellent with a lot of wit, particularly when discussing all the various schisms that occured on religious grounds over 1000 years between the Popes and the Patriarchs of Constantinople.

The delivery of Professor Madden is a bit hesitant and stilted, at the beginning, but one gets used to it and around the middle of the series of lectures the sound engineers do some tweaking and the voice is less nasal. In any case it is obvious that these lectures are being given by someone who knows the Bizantine Empire inside out and one is left with an heavy heart when it finally collapses in 1453 (sorry for the spoiler ;-).

3 people found this helpful