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Swing Swang

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All blindingly obvious...with hindsight

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

Reviewed: 27-07-16

Well worth listening to, and whilst in no way a self-help book there is much to cause you to do things differently.

This is not a typical review, but just a couple examples of things that I'm now doing differently:

When I come across someone who has a declared 'conflict of interest' I now make much more allowance that what they are telling me is biased and I devalue the worth of what they are telling me much more than I did previously - this is of real value to those of us that read academic papers/attend conferences/listen to expert witnesses/speak to researchers funded by pharmaceutical companies etc.

I now often have a very superficial chat about morality and ethics at the beginning of meetings (which can be easily done whilst you are preparing a drink for someone rather than calling out for coffee and setting down to business straight away for example), it might be something faith based that we can talk about, or totally humanist (and it doesn't matter if you're not a humanist or if you are an atheist) as this subconsciously primes the person in front of you to behave more honestly, and also makes you more honest in your dealings with them so that you are both less likely to behave in that grey area of what is acceptable. Win win.

I would have liked a bit more information about the entry criteria for his experiments as I feel that it would be likely that some of the results could be biased if a high degree of rigour was not applied. The entry criteria were probably very rigorous, but we should have been told.

MEMBER GIFT: The Tales of Max Carrados cover art

Great little (and free) listen

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

Reviewed: 22-02-16

This came a a free gift from Audible a few months ago. What a great little listen. I'd never come across the Max Carrados stories before and am really looking forward to listen to more. Well read by Stephen Fry, the first story had the feel of a vignette from a one act play, such as Shaffer's "Sleuth". In fact it's a shame that Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier didn't record this first.

Brilliant story, atrocious pronunciation.

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

Reviewed: 02-12-15

This book is brilliant from prologue to epilogue. This book gives us a deeper understanding of the growth, psyche, and motivations of an overlooked European nation. This book helps us understand our torn sectarian world a little better.

The majority of the book is taken up with the exploits of Vasco da Gama and Afonso de Albuquerque. They are presented as great, tenacious, honest and loyal men who are motivated by their faith, as well as being totally ruthless, evil, and vindictive ‘monsters’ (choose your own expletive). The history does not need to be in any way revisionist. They are condemned and lauded by their own writings and those of their contemporaries.

I cringed at the narrator’s atrocious Portuguese pronunciation.

On occasion names were so abominably mangled that this Lusophone had to go away and look them up. The producers should have coached him, and he should have practiced. They should hold their heads in shame at allowing the excellent narrator to record such a poor performance.

1 person found this helpful

Not just tartan and whisky

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

Reviewed: 28-07-15

A most pleasing collection of Scottish anecdotes about its people and institutions: obscure or obvious, profound or profane, modern or moth-eaten. All are grist for Ross’s mill. There is much here for the homesick Scot, or for the merely curious.

Each chapter stands in isolation. They were written over a four year period and this does occasionally lead to puzzlement with regard to the exact placing of milestone events that will happen, ‘later in the year’.

Robbie’s narration is not flawless, although I would say that it’s a very minor irritation rather than a hindrance to listening. On a couple of occasions a few words are re-read, indeed a single tongue-tied expletive remains (no time reference given – just to make you pay attention). That notwithstanding Robbie is an excellent choice of narrator; his mimicry of the various Scottish accents of both genders enhanced my enjoyment of this title.

Too long, too worthy, and inadequately narrated

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

Reviewed: 10-12-14

I wanted to like this a lot. I didn’t.

I could not identify with Roz from the outset, I could not empathise with her need to declutter, and in particular I could not appreciate her first act; that of getting rid of her husband. Now it may be that she wished to retain a certain degree of privacy and she chose not to present the full story, but she stands judged on what she has written, not upon speculation.

This is a shame, a real shame because in between all of the padding, all of the pithy philosophy, she does have a message that is worth listening too. She just takes too long to say it, and the delivery is less than perfect.

The producers should have re-record the sections where the stress, intonation and pauses of this self-narrated audiobook interfered with relaxed listening.

1 person found this helpful

Very well written, very well read

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

Reviewed: 22-11-14

Wonderfully narrated production of CS Lewis's classic. Great at so many levels: a great little series of letters, a useful observation on how we're all capable of behaving, and a challenging insight on how we can be tempted. Great to hear this in audio some 30 years after having read this in print.

5 people found this helpful

Some things change, some stay the same

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

Reviewed: 31-10-14

Classic comedy series. Brought back all the memories from 30 years ago. So full of memorable quotes that have become part of the English language.

And thirty years on we're still debating the same things - Some things change, some stay the same:

One: I am not a "badger-butcher".
Two: badgers are not an endangered species.
Three: the removal of protective status does not necessarily mean the badgers will be killed.
Four: if a few badgers have to be sacrificed for the sake of a master plan that will save Britain's natural heritage - tough!
- Episode Six: The Right to Know

3 people found this helpful

Good and Bad in Equal Measures

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

Reviewed: 28-08-14

I wanted to like this a lot.
I did in fact like this a lot, at least to start with.
However the latter half of this book seemed to have an such an anti-religeous thread running through it that at times what appeared to be a personal vendetta against anyone who believed in a deity masked the validity of many of Pigliucci's arguments. A little more humility, and a little more respect for contrary, but valid, opinions would have done much to mitigate this.

A delightful linguistic meander

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

Reviewed: 28-08-14

A delightful meander through the backwaters, rivers and rapids of the English language. This book will enthral and fascinate wordsmiths and students of English language. Beautifully narrated. A real joy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

Listen to to be a better listener.

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

Reviewed: 28-08-14

Listen to this to be a better listener, listen to this to be a better writer, and listen to this to be a better critic.

Mark clearly defines some of the 'flowers of rhetoric', then illustrates them with well-known examples from literature.

Brilliantly narrated. The content is so good, and so very accessible, that you'll also want to buy the printed copy for reference.

14 people found this helpful