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  • reviews
  • 8
  • helpful votes
  • 19
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  • Do No Harm

  • Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery
  • By: Henry Marsh
  • Narrated by: Jim Barclay
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 752
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 694
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 690

What is it really like to be a brain surgeon, to hold someone's life in your hands, to drill down into the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? In this brutally honest account, one of the country's top neurosurgeons reveals what it is to play god in life-and-death situations. Henry Marsh gives us a rare insight into the intense drama of the operating theatre and the exquisite complexity of the human brain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Brain surgeon in the 21st century nhs

  • By David on 15-07-14

Funny AND heart breaking

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

Reviewed: 28-10-18

I listened to this book on the recommendation of a radiologist friend, because it would help me understand what a Doctor's life is really like." Interestingly, Henry Marsh, a neurosurgeon, spends quite a lot of time explaining how neurosurgery is different from other types of medicine. And the book is just a long sequence of anecdotes. "Jjust one *&$#ing patient after another" (to borrow from one Alan Bennett). Or maybe that's the point. There is no typical doctor, and doctors (or surgeons at least) don't have "an experience" but many, none of which typifies them but each of which contributes imperceptibly to their professional whole.

Philosophic waffle aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me laugh out loud. It made me cry. There aren't many books that do either, let alone both.

  • Solve for Happy

  • Engineer Your Path to Joy
  • By: Mo Gawdat
  • Narrated by: Mo Gawdat
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278

Solve for Happy is a startlingly original book about creating and maintaining happiness, written by a top Google executive with an engineer's training and fondness for thoroughly analyzing a problem. In 2004 Mo Gawdat, a remarkable thinker whose gifts had landed him top positions in half a dozen companies and who - in his spare time - had created significant wealth, realized that he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would, examining all the provable facts and scrupulously following logic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • fantastic narrative of a complex subject made easy

  • By Lisa McNulty on 25-03-17

Not insightful, not useful

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

Reviewed: 14-10-18

Ditched 20% of the way through. Some good ideas near the start - like writing a list of things that make you happy - but then the book veers into lists of theories based on whim and an interminable succession of platitudes. Neither insightful nor useful.

  • 10% Happier

  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162

The perfect book for the spirituality sceptics who really do need meditation in their daily routine. 10% Happier is a spiritual book written for - and by - someone who would otherwise never listen to a spiritual book. It is both a deadly serious and seriously funny look at mindfulness and meditation as the next big public health revolution.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Almost gave up several times

  • By Katrina on 26-04-18
  • 10% Happier
  • How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story
  • By: Dan Harris
  • Narrated by: Dan Harris

Clear, convincing and funny

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

Reviewed: 03-08-18

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was clear, funny and convincing. It is also well written, you can tell the author enjoys language immensely. He articulates the benefits of meditation clearly, and also explains how to do it clearly as well. Not complex. I’m hooked. I’m trying it already and I like it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Eldritch Tales

  • A Miscellany of the Macabre
  • By: H. P. Lovecraft
  • Narrated by: various narrators
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

Following the phenomenal success of Necronomicon, its companion volume brings together Lovecraft's remaining major stories plus his weird poetry, a number of obscure revisions, and some notable nonfiction, including the seminal critical essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature." athering together in chronological order the rest of Lovecraft's rarely seen but extraordinary short fiction, this collection includes the entirety of the long-out-of-print collection of thirty-six sonnets "Fungi from Yuggoth."

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Compared with Dreams of Terror and Death

  • By Mic on 08-12-16

A fantastic, fantastically varied collection

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

Reviewed: 30-07-18

Necronomicon (ISBN 1483013499) contains the stories he is most famous for, but Eldritch Tales is a fantastic collection in its own right and absolutely worth reading. As the many odds and ends of his writing career, there is much greater variety in style and structure and the stories are enjoyable in their own right as well. Whilst the quality varies more than in Necronomicon, this substantive collection is well worth listening to in its own right.

  • I Am Legend and Other Stories

  • By: Richard Matheson
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean, Yuri Rasovsky
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 17

In Matheson's vampire classic I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world and transformed the unfortunate survivors into bloodthirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire hungry for Neville's blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A good story, audio book performance (or Audible app) had some strange pauses

  • By C on 30-07-18

A good story, audio book performance (or Audible app) had some strange pauses

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

Reviewed: 30-07-18

This audio book has I Am Legend and also number of other short stories. They’re a nice bonus but I bought it for the former so that’s what il reviewing: On the whole a good story. Vampirism as a germ is an interesting idea and given a patina of scientific respectability. Robert Neville, the protagonist, is drawn well. The audio book had a number of pauses and glitches but I think that’s mostly technical issues in the Audible app not the recording itself.

  • The Guns of August

  • By: Barbara W. Tuchman
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman here brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns of August will not be forgotten.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Diplomacy & Battle

  • By Lord Peridot on 21-05-16

A fascinating history, is it a prediction of the future?

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Tuchman's book focuses on the origins of World War I, beginning in the early 1900's and ending with an afterword encapsulating the First Battle of the Marne, when Germany was forced to retreat and the war collapsed into the static stalemate for which it is best known. Covering both the Western and Eastern front and their interplay, including the Mediterranean and USA but focusing on Germany, France, the UK and Russia, her book succeeds in painting a comprehensive history.

Whilst history, especially military history, can be a dry sequence of events, Tuchman's greatest success is that it is not. Although she describes what happens, it is always in the context of the senior figures in all the countries. What's more, with deep primary research and a rich array of biographic information, she is able to draw out their character, the challenges they faced and so how they responded. In this way, the cause of the war is not painted as either the result of individual's foibles and predilections, nor as a result of forces beyond human control, but the combination and interplay. The result is both fascinating and, I think, deeply insightful.

Finally, I reflect on the current world we live in, and that of Europe in 1913. It is often claimed today that war is impossible - the European, global or regional economy is just too interconnected. Reading the Guns of August is revelatory. Because it was also the common opinion then that war was impossible, even as the senior figures stepped, increment by increment, closer to a conflict that was as inevitable as it was impossible to predict in any detail. The world we live in today is the same, and reflecting on Russian hybrid warfare, cyberwar and the way economic power is used geopolitically makes me sadly confident that another war is certain, just as I am also certain it will be impossible to predict until well after it has started.

  • Hitler's Spy Chief

  • By: Richard Bassett
  • Narrated by: Mark Topping
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Wilhelm Canaris was appointed by Hitler to head the Abwehr (the German secret service) 18 months after the Nazis came to power. But Canaris turned against the Fuhrer and the Nazi regime, believing that Hitler would start a war Germany could not win. In 1938 he was involved in an attempted coup, undermined by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. In 1940 he sabotaged the German plan to invade England, and fed General Franco vital information that helped him keep Spain out of the war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing! The Inside Track on WWII Intelligence!

  • By Mr. R. Mun Gavin on 28-05-18

Canaris is fascinating, but this “history” lacks depth

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

Reviewed: 23-05-18

Overall, this was an entertaining story, but it does not satisfy as a work of history.

Wilhelm Canaris, the protagonist, is a fascinating individual with an impressive array of achievements. Interestingly, as chief of the German foreign intelligence service before and during WW2, there is substantial evidence that he both supported and didn’t support Germany in the war.

Some resolution of this central contradiction is essential. Yet, unfortunately, there is no substantive analysis or investigation of this contradiction in Bassett’s book. Instead it is, so to speak, “just one %}#€ing thing after another” and ultimately unenlightening. For such a fascinating biographic topic this is a real disappointment.

There were also a number of issue with the recording, a surprise given Audible’s high standards. Many words were mispronounced, using neither British nor American English- e.g. macabre, sine qua non. Several sentences were repeated, as if the recording skipped. This problem has not occurred for me with any other Audible book so I suspect it is an issue with the recording not the Audible software.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Elon Musk

  • By: Ashlee Vance
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,557
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,093
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,074

South African-born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it. He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey, Jr. The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating insight but a little repetitive

  • By Andrew on 15-01-17

Elon is inspirational, this book is not

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

Reviewed: 27-01-18

The various reviews that critique this book as “fanboyish” are unfortunately right.

Additionally, the author really doesn’t understand the technology he writes about. I lost count of the number of times he equated writing shorter code with writing better code, which is like saying a short novel is better than a long one. So whilst I can’t evaluate what the author says about rocketry or cars I am inclined to be skeptical.

All in all worth listening to because the reading is good and Elon is inspirational, but otherwise mediocre.

  • Treason

  • By: Orson Scott Card
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Lanik Mueller is a "rad" - radical regenerative - a freak who can regenerate injured flesh...and trade extra body parts to the Offworld oppressors for iron. On a planet without hard metals, or the means of escape, iron offers the promise of freedom through the chance to build a spacecraft. But it is a promise which may never be fulfilled, as Lanik uncovers a treacherous conspiracy beyond his imagination.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A surprisingly good story, it just gets better and better

  • By C on 17-11-17

A surprisingly good story, it just gets better and better

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

Reviewed: 17-11-17

This review is based on Audible’s recording.

Gradually, as I listened to more and more of this novel, my opinion of it rose. It really is very good, maybe even almost as good as Ender’s Game. Written in the first person, what begins as a fairly banal sci-fi space opera set in a somewhat fantastical world deepens and matures. All is not as it seems, with twist after twist until the end, and the story ultimately becomes the journey of one man to adulthood and self-understanding. A fascinating and pleasant tale.

  • The Road to Wigan Pier

  • By: George Orwell
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Northam
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 559
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 475
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 471

A graphic and biting polemic that still holds a fierce political relevance and impact despite being written over half a century ago. First published in 1937 it charts George Orwell's observations of working-class life during the 1930s in the industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. His depictions of social injustice and rising unemployment, the dangerous working conditions in the mines amid general squalor and hunger also bring together many of the ideas explored in his later works and novels.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Road to Wigan Pier

  • By M on 15-10-12

First half excellent, second half accidentally interesting, but recording is often too quiet throughout.

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

Reviewed: 11-10-17

The first half is a dispassionate, detailed and frankly horrifying account of the working class in 1930's Northern England. That alone is excellent.

The second half is a slightly rambling collection of essays arguing for socialism. More than anything they serve as an unfortunate illustration of the author's own familial and situational biases - his concurrence with the contemporary, common distaste for vegetarians a position that rings surreal to a modern ear. Which raises the interesting implicit question: what are our own invisibly crazy beliefs.

Unfortunately, the recording is let down by being too quiet in many places. Even on maximum volume I struggled to make out the words if there was any background noise. A real pity.