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Alastair

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  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 7
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  • Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior

  • By: Mark Leary, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Mark Leary
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

Every day of your life is spent surrounded by mysteries that involve what appear to be rather ordinary human behaviors. What makes you happy? Where did your personality come from? Why do you have trouble controlling certain behaviors? Why do you behave differently as an adult than you did as an adolescent?Since the start of recorded history, and probably even before, people have been interested in answering questions about why we behave the way we do.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good start

  • By Johnny on 03-10-16

Eye and Brain Opening Explanations of Behaviour

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

Reviewed: 01-09-18

Very good first step into behavioural science. Tackles nature vs nurture, why we laugh and blush and psychic capability (don't laugh until you have heard the scientific evidence) among other topics. A little basic from time to time, and some of the theories have done the rounds several times, but overall a good introduction.

  • English Grammar Boot Camp

  • By: Anne Curzan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Anne Curzan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

Grammar! For many of us, the word triggers memories of finger-wagging schoolteachers, and of wrestling with the ambiguous and complicated rules of using formal language. But what is grammar? In fact, it's the integral basis of how we speak and write. As such, a refined awareness of grammar opens a world of possibilities for both your pleasure in the English language and your skill in using it, in both speech and the written word.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very interesting and engaging

  • By gill on 14-04-17

Insomniac?

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

Reviewed: 04-05-18

I didn't find this course particularly interesting and pales to her previous effort which was enriched with history snd more etymology. Quite basic.

  • The Science of Energy

  • Resources and Power Explained
  • By: Michael E. Wysession, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Michael E. Wysession
  • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136

To better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Comprehensive picture of energy resources

  • By Eoin on 17-09-16

Not a Waste of Energy!

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

Reviewed: 01-02-18

Nicely done introduction to the various pros and cons of our choices of future energy sources. It competently demonstrates human stupidity in the never ending search for the almighty dollar. It doesn't assume too much and so it's ideal for those who wonder why as opposed to established nuclear scientists, although fascinating equations and ratios are used to demonstrate various facts.

  • Lightning

  • By: Dean Koontz
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 12 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 494
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 404
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 404

A storm struck on the night Laura Shane was born, and there was a strangeness about the weather that people would remember for years. But even more mysterious was the blond-haired stranger who appeared out of nowhere - the man who saved Laura from a fatal delivery. Years later - after another bolt of lightning - the stranger returned.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book - superbly read

  • By Susan on 09-08-10

Koontz Cutting his Teeth?

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

Reviewed: 26-01-18

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book tended to concentrate far more than necessary upon relationhips and there weren't really enough exciting moments as a consequence. I think that DK was trying to make the reader care more about the character, but it backfires because by the time something happens, you're sort of hoping that it's terminal so that you don't have to put up with any more of this crap.

Would you be willing to try another book from Dean Koontz? Why or why not?

Yes, I have read quite a lot of DK and so I know how 'tempermental' he can be.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Christopher Lane?

I am still discovering Audible. I love Stephen Fry, but he wouldn't do for this book. Also, if the accent is too forced it doesn't work too well for me. I am a Brit and we have a natural aversion to how it's spoken across the pond. Well, I do anyway. Maybe Johnathan Keeble? Versatile and believable.

Was Lightning worth the listening time?

Yep. Nice concept, although not overly original even at the point in time in which it was written.

Any additional comments?

I still like DK for his quirkiness. I disagree entirely with the need to analyse relationships and feelings as if we are 5 years old. In listening to this book, I was able to conjure up a fair amount of 'mental film' which means that it's descriptive enough.

  • The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins

  • By: Anne Curzan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Anne Curzan
  • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

From new words such as "bling" and "email" to the role of text messaging and other electronic communications, English is changing all around us. Discover the secrets behind the words in our everyday lexicon with this delightful, informative survey of English, from its Germanic origins to the rise of globalization and cyber-communications. Professor Curzan approaches words like an archaeologist, digging below the surface to uncover the story of words, from the humble "she" to such SAT words as "conflagration" and "pedimanous."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it!

  • By Kaya on 24-03-15

Sttetching Material Too Thinly<br />

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

Reviewed: 21-01-18

The first half is excellent and eadily retains a high level of interest. The high points were Greco - Latin influences historically and in our modern time. I really enjoyed learning about the Proto indo- gernanic roots and would have welcomed further information upon the subject (as it is, I have decided to deepen my understanding through research anyway). Boerwulf (check spelling) as one of our earliest documents could have been further exploited, as could the amusing dictionary wars.

I feel a bit mean giving this lecture only three stars, but the fact is that the second half seened rather as if it was a list of slang or dialect from which the lecturer saw fit to guide us through relationship issues and to moralise about political correctness. Common knowledge for the most part, and does seem watered down in terms of material.

Overall, I am pleased that I listened to it all and I shall be following up on a few leads. In retrospect, I would not have lost a lot had I stopped at lecture 20.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Power of Habit

  • Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
  • By: Charles Duhigg
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,626
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,960
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,938

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distil vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Appendix missing

  • By Mark Pack on 22-07-12

'How to Change' is an Appropriate Title

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

Reviewed: 23-03-17

What disappointed you about The Power of Habit?

The book is clearly written for an American audience and rarely uses words of more than three syllables. If you have ever heard of Pavlov, then you won't gain anything from this book. Coupled with Chamberlain's whiney, nasal narrative, the highlight of which is his struggle to pronounce 'gone', the book is about as scientifically rewarding as an episode of Peppa the Pig.

Has The Power of Habit put you off other books in this genre?

No - I shall be more weary of the author and the narrator however.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Mike Chamberlain?

Nobody else, as the content matches the poor quality of the narration.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger that I had been conned into buying something that I thought might expand my understanding of things. Disappointed that people still get away with writing so lazily.

Any additional comments?

It might be worth looking into a grading system for these books. Maybe based upon the average syllables per word (no, I'm not joking!)