windsor, United Kingdom
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  • Adapt

  • Why Success Always Starts with Failure
  • By: Tim Harford
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106

Everything we know about solving the world’s problems is wrong. Out: Plans, experts and above all, leaders. In: Adapting - improvise rather than plan; fail, learn, and try again. In this groundbreaking new book, Tim Harford shows how the world’s most complex and important problems - including terrorism, climate change, poverty, innovation, and the financial crisis - can only be solved from the bottom up by rapid experimenting and adapting.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A rising star

  • By Judy Corstjens on 23-07-11

very disappointed Tim Harford fan

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-09-11

I think I am in the minority here, as the book has an average of nearly 4 stars from other readers.
I loved the Undercover Economist, which I read, rather than listened to, and I am a big fan of More or Less on Radio 4. But I just can't get through this, I have given up at chapter 4. Perhaps it is unfair to give a book a negative review when I haven't finished it.
First of all, as a previous reviewer said, the narration is awful. He sounds to me like he is narrating the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I keep expecting him to say something like "So long and thanks for all the fish". The accents are annoying, but I could probably live with that. I just think he has the emphasis all wrong and it's changing the meaning. He says things deadpan that sound to me like Tim Harford meant them to be ironic, and then uses what I take to be his ironic voice to say things that sound like they should be serious.
Then, I get the feeling that this book is intended for an American audience. Where the Undercover Economist started with examples of coffee stands on Waterloo Station, this one starts with the variety of products in Walmart, and President Obama. . I've just got up to a discussion of the Haditha massacre in Afghanistan. I really don't think Tim has any authority (in the academic sense) to be writing about this, and I've given up. I might look out a written copy from the library, if they've been allowed any money for new books, so I can flick through and see if improves.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Psychopath Test

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,589
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,131
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,110

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It is indeed utterly compelling.

  • By Graeme on 30-08-11

Very enjoyable

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-09-11

When I initially read the blurb for this book I thought it was a novel, as it sounds a lot like one of those books by Carlos Ruiz, with important books at the centre of a mystery, It's not a novel, although it contains plenty of material that would make a good one.

I looked forward to hearing about who he was going to talk to next, and whether they would turn out to be an actual psychopath. I would have liked to have heard more about psychopaths in industry, and whether David Icke might be onto something. It is a little bit superficial, but I wasn't looking for an academic text, I like audio books in particular with a bit of a lighter tone.
The book is about the author's encounters with people who might or might not be psychopaths, how he interacts with them, and how he feels about them. There is a a little bit of history and background, but most of the time he refrains from any exposition, relying on straightforward accounts of what happened when he met these people, and leaving you to draw your own conclusions.
There is, as another reviewer said, a certain amount of repetition. There is also an awful lot of "I said", "he said", which I think is the author's writing style, and didn't annoy me, but I did notice it. I thought it lost focus towards the end, and became more about madness in general that psychopaths in particular.
However, none of the negatives spoiled it for me, I enjoyed listening to the author read his own book, I wish more would.
If you are interested in this, look out for the Horizon program "Are you good or Evil", on BBC. It's not available at the moment, (Sept 2011), but I am sure it will be repeated.
I found the subject interesting, and the book was engagingly written and told, and I am coming to believe that the narrator can make or break an audio book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Queen of New Beginnings

  • By: Erica James
  • Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64

Clayton Miller's life is a mess. His career as one of the country's best comedy script writers has stalled and his long term girlfriend has left him for his ex best friend and ex writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Queen of New Beginnings

  • By crazy chicken on 25-04-11

Book OK, narration bad

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-09-11

The thing that most spoiled the book for me was the narrator's habit of pausing in the wrong part of the sentence. It was as if she hadn't read ahead and paused where it made sense initially, only to discover there was another bit of the sentence that changed the meaning.

  • Remarkable Creatures

  • By: Tracy Chevalier
  • Narrated by: Hattie Morahan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120

From the moment she’s struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear Mary Anning is marked for greatness. When she uncovers unknown dinosaur fossils in the cliffs near her home, she sets the scientific world alight, challenging ideas about the world’s creation and stimulating debate over our origins. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is soon reduced to a serving role, facing prejudice from the academic community, vicious gossip from neighbours, and the heartbreak of forbidden love.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • favourite audible book so far, highly recommended

  • By Elizabeth on 15-05-11

favourite audible book so far, highly recommended

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-05-11

I loved this story of an unlikely friendship between two Lyme ladies and their shared passion for fossils. I'm not usually a fan of "historical" novels, but I'm so glad I tried this. I found myself looking forward to a long car trip so I could spend more time in the company of Miss Elizabeth, Mary, and the Icky, I felt I knew them. I especially liked Elizabeth's way of categorising people according to which feature they lead with. The narration was spot on, capturing Elizabeth particularly well. I wish there were more books narrated by Hattie Morahan.
There's so much in this book, at lots of levels. Discussions about how finding the fossils challenged the prevailing world view. Women's place in England at the time. And I probably would have missed the evocative place descriptions since I never read those in an actual physical book. The author does all this through the actions and conversations and thoughts of the characters.
I was disappointed when it came to an end and I am now planning a trip to Lyme Regis to see the snake graveyard for myself.
Loved it, and will be trying more of her books.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful