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Jan W. H. Schnupp

Oxford, England
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 158
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • Future Crimes

  • A Journey to the Dark Side of Technology - and How to Survive It
  • By: Marc Goodman
  • Narrated by: Marc Goodman, Robertson Dean
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172

The New York Times best seller. Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flipside. Criminals are often the earliest and most innovative adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. Today's criminals are stealing identities, draining online bank accounts, and wiping out computer servers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thought provoking

  • By John Thurman on 24-08-15

Should be mandatory reading.

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

Reviewed: 03-01-17

Packed with important and interesting facts about the Internet and related technologies that we have become dependent on.

  • The Establishment

  • And How They Get Away With It
  • By: Owen Jones
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,150
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,137

Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms, and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Won't do your blood pressure any good....

  • By Colin on 11-04-17

connecting the dots

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

Reviewed: 08-02-16

The author reviews about 2 decades worth of political scandals, puts them in context and connects the dots. A very thougt provoking if depressing read. The sections comparing cost of various welfare expenditures against those of private finance initiatives I found particularly eye opening. even if you don't share the authors avowedly very left wing perspectives you will have to admit that he is putting his finger on some important and awkward questions which the establishment would rather you did not ask.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Music and the Brain

  • By: Aniruddh D. Patel, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Aniruddh D. Patel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Music is an integral part of humanity. Every culture has music, from the largest society to the smallest tribe. Its marvelous range of melodies, themes, and rhythms taps in to something universal. Babies are soothed by it. Young adults dance for hours to it. Older adults can relive their youth with the vivid memories it evokes. Music is part of our most important rituals, and it has been the medium of some of our greatest works of art.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clear intro to the neuroscience of music

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 26-11-15

Clear intro to the neuroscience of music

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

Reviewed: 26-11-15

Another reviewer described this audiobook as "passionless". To me that criticisms seems rather unfair, a bit like describing a nice juicy watermelon as not tasting meaty enough. I can imagine that if you turn to this audiobook looking for gripping musical entertainment then you might perhaps be a bit disappointed, but I don't think that is what the author was aiming to provide. If you are after a beautifully clear, accessible and quite comprehensive overview of the state of the art of brain research relating to music perception, then this among the best introductions you are likely to find. There are a number of other popular science titles relating to music on the market, e.g. Oliver Sacks' "musicophilia" or Levitin's "this is your brain on music", which might, for some, score higher on entertainment value, but the material covered in those books is very anecdotal and light-weight in comparison. Prof Patel's course, in contrast, is throughout firmly grounded in proper, quantitative and peer reviewed scientific research. If you want proper science, then this is the good stuff.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Fragile by Design

  • The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit
  • By: Charles W. Calomiris, Stephen H. Haber
  • Narrated by: Basil Sands
  • Length: 20 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Analyzing the political and banking history of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil through several centuries, Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents due to unforeseen circumstances. Rather, these fluctuations result from the complex bargains made between politicians, bankers, bank shareholders, depositors, debtors, and taxpayers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping

  • By Gerard on 04-05-15

Interesting, but why the hectoring voice?

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

Reviewed: 13-11-15

I certainly learned a lot about banking history. The authors make a compelling case that the interplay between powerful politicians and the bankers they turn to to fund their pet projects can interact in important but often unforeseen manners, and that there are important lessons in history which have (surprise surprise) by and large not been learned. Overall an interesting book and I am glad I persisted with it, but it was a bit of a struggle, partly because some of the early American banking history stuff I found a bit boring, and in a big way because, sorry to be so blunt, I found the voice and narration style of the narrator very grating. He always sounds as if he is shouting at you. (Basil: mellow out!) Still, I learned a great deal.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Sapiens

  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10,904
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,601
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,537

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens? In this bold and provocative audiobook, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here, and where we're going.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thought provoking but overconfident

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 24-09-15

Thought provoking but overconfident

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

Reviewed: 24-09-15

I enjoyed this book a great deal, and found many ideas expressed in it quite thought provoking and insightful. In particular, the idea that the apparent drive of our species to form common narratives, stories, concepts, narratives, may have evolved because it facilitates spontaneous, loosely organized but highly effective cooperation among large numbers of individuals was interesting and very compellingly argued.
Nevertheless, the author does have a tendency to present his ideas not so much as interesting ideas that might be true, but as facts. His style is very engaging and persuasive, so you often don't even notice the hidden questionable assumptions, or the fact that, in his wide, sweeping arguments, the author often roams through several disciplines that he can't possibly all be expert in.
Overall a very enjoyable intellectual journey, but to be enjoyed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

135 of 140 people found this review helpful

  • The Bonobo and the Atheist

  • By: Frans de Waal
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

In this lively and illuminating discussion of his landmark research, esteemed primatologist Frans de Waal argues that human morality is not imposed from above but instead comes from within. Moral behavior does not begin and end with religion but is in fact a product of evolution. For many years, de Waal has observed chimpanzees soothe distressed neighbors and bonobos share their food. Now he delivers fascinating fresh evidence for the seeds of ethical behavior in primate societies that further cements the case for the biological origins of human fairness.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 10-08-14

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 10-08-14

I had very high hopes for this book - and found them sorely disappointed. Frans de Waal is no doubt a great expert on animal behaviour and has countless interesting observations and anecdotes to draw from. Sadly he is not a deep and careful thinker, and has a tendency to over-generalize and jump to unjustified and unjustifiable conclusions. A typical example might be the passage where the author blames "science" and "scientists" for the atrocities committed during Hitler's holocaust. Not only is this utter nonsense, it is insulting to scientists. And that is not an isolated example of dubious assertions made in this book in areas where the author is hardly an authority being presented as fact. All this in order to investigate the "biological mystery" of pro-social behaviours, which really isn't that hard to understand at all. (If creatures need to reproduce to persist down the generations, and if reproducing is easier in groups where we watch each others backs rather than stabbing them, the evolution of pro-social behaviours is hardly unexpected. What's the big deal?) All in all a laboured and unconvincing treatment of a non-problem, and the odd interesting story about our closest relatives was not enough to save it. I could not make it past the first half of the book. If you are interested in this sort of subject, you are likely to be much better off with Steven Pinker's "Better Angels of Our Nature".

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Our Mathematical Universe

  • My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
  • By: Max Tegmark
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy, and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Test Your Little Grey Cells

  • By Simon Gibson on 30-03-14

Enjoyable trip through spacetime - no maths needed

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

Reviewed: 06-07-14

I'm about 2/3rds through and am enjoying this book greatly. It provides a clear and accessible account of modern cosmology. Finally I understand why some people are very excited by measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation. The title may make you wonder whether this book will be hard work, but I didn't think so. You certainly don't have to do equations. Even though the subject matter (multiverses, general relativity & similar) may seem heavy going, the writing style of the book is quite chatty and enthusiastic, so it doesn't feel like work. And the narrator has a lovely smooth voice and reads with nice emphasis.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Look Who's Back

  • By: Timur Vermes
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,258
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,183
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,181

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb satire on modern life

  • By Evolutionary Artefact on 16-09-14

Not as funny as I had hoped

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

Reviewed: 02-06-14

I was hoping for a laugh-out-loud funny book. This was not it. Mildly amusing, but in the end just too predictable...

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Drunkard's Walk

  • How Randomness Rules Our Lives
  • By: Leonard Mlodinow
  • Narrated by: Sean Pratt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not an easy listen but worth it

  • By P C. on 30-08-17

The lighter and the darker sides of probability

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

Reviewed: 02-06-14

Mathematical subjects can be awfully dry, but in this book the author weaves a highly accessible, enjoyable and enlightening tapestry of the history of mathematical thinking on luck and chance. Thought provoking examples of the counter-intuitive nature of randomness and chance are interwoven with little vignettes of the sometimes surprising episodes of the lives of pioneering probability theorists. Take for example Cardano, who invented probability theory to beat others at dice games in order to pay his way through renaissance medical school. He rose to become chair of the medical school, only to be betrayed to the inquisition by his own incestuous and cruel children who were maneuvering for "cushy" jobs as full time torturers and henchmen. What are the odds of that? Or, indeed, what are the odds that a mother will kill two of her children? Or that OJ Simpson got away with murder? You don't have to die to find out.

  • Forecast

  • What Physics, Meteorology, and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics
  • By: Mark Buchanan
  • Narrated by: Fleet Cooper
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Picture an early scene from The Wizard of Oz: Dorothy hurries home as a tornado gathers in what was once a clear Kansas sky. Hurriedly, she seeks shelter in the storm cellar under the house, but, finding it locked, takes cover in her bedroom. We all know how that works out for her.Many investors these days are a bit like Dorothy, putting their faith in something as solid and trustworthy as a house (or, say, real estate). But market disruptions - storms - seem to arrive without warning, leaving us little time to react.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Eye Opener

  • By Jan W. H. Schnupp on 08-02-14

An Eye Opener

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

Reviewed: 08-02-14

This well written and highly accessible book should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in politics, economics, finance, or anyone who is just trying to achieve or maintain a modicum of prosperity in an uncertain future.
The author's main point is that positive feedback mechanisms can lead to bubbles and instability in the economy just as easily as negative feedback can cause (localized and temporary!) stability and equilibrium, and that future financial crises are therefore just as "natural" as future rain storms. The author makes this point very cogently, and indeed it's really somewhat obvious if you think about it enough, but the author also clearly shows that far too many of the people in charge in politics and finance have a complete blind spot when it comes to that simple truth, and due to their blind faith in self correcting markets make stupid and massively expensive mistakes. (Yes, Gordon Brown, we are talking about you here, among many others.)
The criticism of the "efficient market hypothesis" in this book is particularly clear and penetrating, and I would love to hear the author's reaction to the fact that last year's economics Nobel prize went to the inventors of the efficient market myth. If the Swedish academy can get it so wrong, I guess that just underscores why this book is so important.
One of the most important books I've read in years, and to top it all off it's even quite enjoyable, as the book's narrative is nicely illustrated with well researched and fascinating glimpses into the mathematics of earth quakes, the workings of stock markets, or state of the art forecasting methods in meterology and in finance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful