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Between nature, man and machines I am on the side of nature but fear nature may be on the side of the machines

Brokeback Mountain: Life-before-Brokeback and Life-after-Brokeback

Brokeback Mountain

Author: Annie Proulx

Narrator: Stanley Palumbo

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: 1 h 3 m

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: 2005

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +820

  -267

There is life-before-Brokeback and life-after-Brokeback. I thought this was a great story and read it once and then again right away with my wife on the way back from seeing the eclipse. It is sad, slow and lonesome with an ending that feels like having a horse dropped on you, I imagine. A really great author and amazing read.

You, like me, are probably the kind of person that likes to spend a lot of their time thinking about how horrible life can be for the downtrodden. What an absolute hell life is for people who society ignores, or even worse, persecutes, generally for no good reason at all. Trying to survive in a world where just being yourself openly would be enough invite physical violence from your very community members, the people you at one time thought you could trust. Annie Proulx does an amazing job of describing what it is like keeping a secret from your spouse, a secret so big you're not sure if your partner really even knows who you are, because all they have ever known of you is a lie.

Life if messed up for everyone in different ways but I think that there are lessons to be learned from those that have gone through the most trying situations, even if it is just in stories, and good god is this a roller-coaster of a doozy.

I have not read any other Annie Proulx but will be sure to. I would recommend this short story, it's going for $2 on Amazon and would make for a nice replacement to a movie night (it is very short). Buy two and have a read-in book club book (it is very very short).

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Spaghetti is pretty good.

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This site is dumb, this is dumb.

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Anonymous

You guys are jerks, why you vote gay book to the top? You try and say I gay? Not funny guys. And also, who give the parenting book review -3,000 points! How you even do that?

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What Happened: How Hillary Almost Ruined America Way Worse than Trump is Currently Ruining America

What Happened

Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Narrator: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: 16 h 51 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2017

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +104

  -19

In, What Happened, Hillary Clinton tells stories like the one time she went out to lunch with four good friends, when the waitress came to take their order and noticed she was serving THE Hillary Clinton, she stammered and just had to know how the group knew each other but especially wanted to know how they knew HER. Hillary tells how the group proceeded around the table telling the waitress, in turn, how each had met Hillary and at least one INCREDIBLE thing Hillary had done for them. One friend told of the time that her son had fallen off his bike and scratched his face, Hillary was able to "pull some strings" and get an appointment with "Washington's best plastic surgeon" the very next morning for the boy and after a short procedure, thankfully, there was never any sign of a scar", and on and on....

It took me months to get around to writing this review and I am still heated at the thought of how close this insane woman came to the White House. I don't know how but this county managed to hold an election between the two worst possible people. Before November 6 I would have said that Trump was the obvious worse choice (of course I voted Hillary (I'm not insane)) but today, after one year of Trump and reading this book, I can say 100% that this county, nay, The World, dodged a bullet the day we chose not to elect this lunatic to the White House.

I could go on and on about the insanity of this woman, the utter lack of regard for realty, he total disconnection from people, her attitude and justifications for failure are just sickening. If you want to spend 30+ hours vomiting little by little into your mouth, then you should read this book, for everyone else, just believe me when I say that even though Trump this the worst thing to EVER happen to this county, Hillary would have been worse.

The self serving stories like the above go on, and on, and on as Hillary drones about how difficult (and normal) her upbringing was and how difficult (and totally normal) her life has been for the last 20 years in "public service". That's right, somehow Hillary has confused living on the dole with a private 24 hour security service for the last 20 years as somehow "service".


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d

The book was not as bad as the person.

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The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Not Raising Jerks

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Author: Dan Siegle

Narrator: Tina Payne Bryson

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Length: 6 h 16 m

Genre: Parenting

Published: 2005

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +102

  -3075

This is a must read/listen to for any parent or caretaker, in my opinion. I really liked the short-lived show on Amazon called, Transparent. It is about a “modern” liberal West Coast wealthy family getting on in life, at one point the doofy eldest daughter has an idea to write a book about raising kids and a philosophy she calls, “Kids on Top”. Its hilarious, trust me. This book is not far off from that concept, parents have spent way too much time looking down on their kids and not getting down to their level. It is at best an unfortunate case that all people need to start life as tiny and helpless. Just imagine how it feels to know nothing except helplessness, it must be hard. 

Putting yourself in the shoes of your kids is a lot of what this book is about. They use phrases like, “get down on their level”, “ask, don’t tell” and, well you get the idea right? Kids on top.

It all sounds great but I will give one specific example for why I don’t think it works


How to deal with a tantrum.

 

Step 1. Find out what is going on. Ask them how they are feeling or what happened to them.

Step 2. Listen to them. Why are the upset, what are they trying to say? 

Step 3. Get on their level. Try and feel what they are feeling. If they are angry, tell them how you can get angry too and you know just how it feels. 

Step 4. Distract them. Once you have their attention and are on their level, get them to move to something else nearby.

Step 5. Revisit the situation. After everyone is calmed down, up to a few days later, bring up the problem and talk through what happened, why and what we could do better next time.

 

Lets try it out at home.

 

One night, we find the boy (four) having a fit about a toy his sister is playing with. 

Step 1, find out what happened. He is being a jerk to his sister because he wants the toy, ok, step 2.

Step 2, listen. “Son, why are you upset what do you need?”. Son, “She has my TOYY! I WANT IT!!!!” So far so good

Step 3, get on his level. So kneeling down I say, “[boy] I know. I know just what you mean. I want stuff a lot of the time that I can’t have and it stinks, I know just how you feel and I love you.”, him, “AAAAAAAhhhhggggg!” and runs away screaming after knocking over a potted plant on his way out of the room screaming, "Go Away Forever!" 

 

This was still a great book, a great perspective and the authors do an amazing job, it just didn’t work as advertised for me.



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a

Hello!fvd

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Aa

What a dumb site

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d

It was a good book but the follow up sucked, they said the same thing in both books, lame.

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aa

dumb book, dumb site, die

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you guys are all idiots

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IDIOTS

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How did you get the downvotes so high?

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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Self Loathing

Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams

Author: Matthew Walker

Narrator: John Sackville

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Length: 13 h 31 m

Genre: Science & Technology

Published: 2017

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +36

  -37

If for some reason you are looking to feel bad about how little sleep you are getting, how it is literally killing you, then this is the book for you. It is not too far off to think of sleep as the default state of living creatures. It is not so much that ants do not sleep (as the old assumption goes) but it is that they never "wake up". Like any physical system seeking the lowest energy equilibrium, sleep is that equilibrium for animals. For us, the most important functions of sleep seem to be restoration and enhancement, sleep heals both the mind and body.

Author, Matthew Walker addresses many human afflictions and in turn, traces its root cause to a lack of sleep. People that sleep more tend toward more happiness, longer lives, higher IQ's and more. Lack of sleep in turn causes depression, stress, higher rates of divorce and even suicide. The point is made excruciatingly clear, you need more sleep, I need more sleep, everyone needs is be asleep 8 hours a night in a dark quiet room, no questions asked. That is the minimum, if you care about yourself or the people around you, you will see to the 8 hours plus a minimum of a 1 hour nap around noon. We need to turn off all light emitting devices three hours before we get into bed he tells us, especially no blue tinted LED's, the worst apparently.

But there is more bad news, those "sleeping aids", they don't work and they are killing you. Dr. Walker tells us (clinically) there is no such thing as a sleep aid, we have sedatives, but that's it. We can sedate ourselves, but there is no one that considers sedation the same as sleep. Studies show that indeed, these two states are not the same, just because a person is non-responsive does not mean they are in one of the well defined "sleep stages". Even melatonin, says the author, is at best a placebo that is harming your kidneys. If for some reason you want to be unconscious in your bed at a given time, then sleep aids work, but as far as getting to sleep or staying asleep, the author says there is no compound that has ever been show to be effective.

I loved this book. I knew I was not getting enough sleep but this book gave me the initiative and tools to work toward a better night's sleep. After a month of trying what I read in Why We Sleep I can't say I feel any better, I put up darker shades in the bedroom, I try to drink less coffee, go to bed earlier, but nothing really feel different. Dr. Walker is able to and does a great job of tell us what is wrong and what to do better, but my guess is that most of us are treating our own bodies like crap not because we don't know any better but that we don't care or even worse, are downright self destructive and withholding sleep is a well know method of torture.

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armughan

hello

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Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Sucks

Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy and Worried and What You can Do About It

Author: Leslie Becker-Phelps

Narrator: Susan Boyce

Publisher: Tantor Audio

Length: 6 h 19 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2014

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +31

  -69

This was one of the best relationship books I have ever laid my ears on. For a long time I avoided relationship advice, in hindsight I have no idea why but the second I picked up this book I could not stop listening. It genuinely felt that the author was talking about me and I would highly recommend this title to anyone who may suffer from anxiety or deals with someone on the anxiety-spectrum.

If you are still reading this review, stop I can not say enough good things about author Dr. Phelps and what an amazing job she does describing what life if like for the anxious in love and how important a book it has been for me in understanding this type of person. It is frustrating that I am just now am hearing of the field of attachment types and feel dumb for not looking into this area before (when my sister suggested it to help with marital problems). The basic idea of the attachment theory is that much like personality dimensions, there are 2 (or 4, I am not sure) attachment types. The two types of attachment are anxious and avoidant. The first half of the book goes through how to identify which type you and your partner are and if you are anything like me, will quickly and strongly identify as one or the other. Later Leslie discusses the question of what you can to do if you are in a relationship that struggles with the tension between anxiousness and avoidance personalty types and unfortunately the answer is not much.

Changing core personalty traits is difficult to impossible for many and like others, Dr. Phelps recommends the only tried and true method of essentially repeating aphorisms and forcing positivity until it click, or, fake-it-till-you-make-it.

Although I finished the book feeling there was still no clear path forward for the anxious-in-love out there I did feel great about the fact the people like the author have taken the time to understand the (seemingly) growing epidemic of anxiety and loneliness that follows.

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Sapiens: A brief review of a great brief history

Sapiens

Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Narrator: Sapiens: A brief review of a great brief history

Publisher: Random House Audiobooks

Length: 15 h 18 m

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: 2015

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +18

  0

Would you wanted to know everything there is to know about Human Beings, you might imagine it would take multiple lifetimes of diligent study and a dedicated research team helping you, not to mention the mind of a genius. All you would really need though would be this book! Yuval Harari, the author, tops himself again and again in every chapter as he masterfully weaves us though the age of Man, starting with the earliest periods when dozens of different Human-like animals reluctantly shared the Earth.

More than anything, I love how he narrates human sentiment through the ages. Why did it take so many millennia for man to start using tools, building structures, using money. Most titillating, what made the sapiens the ones to eventually win out over the many other species. Essentially, we read, modern man was especially good at working together in extraordinarily large groups under shared delusions to slaughter competitors or game en masse. While Neanderthals would have had a maximum group size of a few hundred and a hunting party of much fewer H. sapiens could go to battle in the thousands all fighting for the same "god". Presumably this is what gives us our ability to congregate peacefully around an idea such as religion, but also use that shared idea to encourage hatred for a shared enemy. This gives us religion, good memories, big brains, color vision, war, ability to innovate, trade...
  
Sapiens is a book better than I could have imagined books being. An objective take of our species is exactly what I have always wanted. So much of this book, taken out of context, could be taboo but in this undertaking of understanding humanity for what it is, Harari is free to explore the best and worst of what makes us H. sapiens, like it or not.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Being a Loser

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Author: Jordan B. Peterson

Narrator: Jordan B. Peterson

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Length: 15 h 39 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +15

  -111

Jordan Peterson came into all of our lives after a YouTube video of him saying that as a University Professor, he would only ever use the pronouns he and she for people who were biologically a "he" or a "she". While watching an interview with him on Bill Maher I went a googln' and was quickly weirded out by what I found. As best as I can tell, there is an internet army of small minded, mostly young males who support Trump, are out of work and addicted to opiates. I did not know this, but apparently it is happening. Dr. Peterson has addressed his set of "directions for life" to them in an effort to get them to turn their lives around, learn/earn their own worth and start taking some responsibility. I say that is a noble goal and somehow, in addressing this group of downtrodden westerner beta and omega males, Dr. Peterson has produced a book that anyone should be able to find some benefit from, even if just better understand the people around us.


This is a great book, I loved hearing his take of many classic stories from the Old Testament reinterpretations to him explaining just what Pinocchio was really all about (its actually pretty cool :). As a University Professor, Dr. Peterson really comes off as such, his extremely well practiced and focused ramblings are the riveting tales of an old man around a campfire, layered, wise and captivating.

It is enough to know that it is a great book with a lot of good, general advice for life, one of my favorite parts was the following, his list of nine "Rules for Kids", here it is paraphrased:

Nine Rules for Kids

1. No hitting, kicking or biting, except in self-defense (so you don't end up in jail).
2. Don't torture or a bully other kids (so you don't end up in jail).
3. Eat in a civilized and thankful way (so people are pleased to feed you).
4. Share with other kids (so that they will play with you).
5. Pay attention, stand up straight and talk to adults (so they don't hate you and might teach you something).
6. Go to sleep peaceably (so that your parents can have a private life and not resent your existence).
7. Take care of your belongings (because you need to learn how and we are lucky to have them).
8. Be good company when there is fun around (so you will be invited to the fun next time).
9. Act like you are happy that other people are around (so that they will be happy when you are around).


Dr. Peterson read this book himself for Audible and did an amazing job. At one very endearing point towards the end of Chapter 8 the author's voice begins to give. For a good 5 minutes he pushes through (sounding absolutely horrible) but the fact that he doesn't stop seems to be in line with the theme of the book.




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12 rules for idiots is more like it.

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Borne: A really good Sci-Fi novel

Borne: A Novel

Author: Jeff VanderMeer

Narrator: Bahni Turpin

Publisher: Harper Collins

Length: 12 h 12 m

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +13

  0

Borne is a great sci-fi book, an instant classic for which I will need to rewrite my top 100 sci-fi book list to accommodate. Written just in 2017 Borne could have been written anytime in the last 50 years, which for me is key to any good sci-fi, that it not give away the era in which it was written. I always cringe when a story tells of how some minor technology that was new at the time, explodes and is predicted to have a bigger impact than it did.

Though a great book, Borne is guilty of the above, Jeff VanderMeer, the author, goes haywire with the idea of "bio-tech" in only a way that someone that had no understanding of what "bio-tech" is, could do. For VanderMeer, bio-tech is apparently akin to magic, and it is offenders like him that are to be blamed for blurring line lines between Sci-Fi and fantasy (a crime in my book).

Despite breaking all my rules, of being not "real sci-fi" and going of the deep end, clearly delving into fantasy for long intervals where super powers are just a "shell" away and bio-tech can grow unchecked by the laws of physics, despite this, I still loved, Borne.

If you want to know what Borne is about, its hard to say. "Bio-tech" run amuck, young love, dystopia porn with a healthy does of fantastic nonsense that in any other book would have had me pulling out the earbuds after 5 minutes, but not Borne, I loved Borne, no, I love Borne, and Borne love me, because Borne loves everyone.

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Dark Matter: A Review

Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Narrator: Jon Lindstrom

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Length: 10 h 14 m

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +13

  -11

Scientist say we may be living in a "Multiverse" not a "Universe". In a multiverse, by defenition, every that can happen, does happen, every possible version of you that can exist, does exist somewhere. I know, its crazy. Now image if there was a portal that connected all deviations of all of the universes, that is what our good nature genius scientist hero, Jason, has invented which allows him to travel through the multiverse at will. Bust, as soon as such a device is able to be invented there will be at least one version of the inventor who wants to use the invention for evil and that is just what happnes in the this novel. An evil version of Jason who has also invetend the same transdimential portal machine is using it to travel the multiverse searching for the Jason with the "perfect life" so that he can kill him and take his place, our hero Jason is just that Jason.

I loved this book. Loved it. It made me feel like a teenager reading just one more page then just one more chapter. The story is incredible, the use of the setting and new world view of the characters to tell a story about how we like to think of ourselves as unique people but are not is awesome.

At one point there are tons of "copies" of Jason, some good, some bad, all trying to get at the same family they think should be "rightfully" theirs, it gets crazy. I didn't cry reading it, but I could have, it was that good. It was methodical where it needed to be in describing technology can characters but fast paced at the same time. It might best be described as a thriller but I think Dark Matter will go down as a Sci-Fi classic in good time.

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aa

dumb book, dumb site, die

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Hillary's America: A review of an insane person's account of an insane person

Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party

Author: Dinesh D'Souza

Narrator:

Publisher: Penguine

Length: 13 h 2 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2014

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +9

  -58

Are the type of person to have ever looked into the JFK assignation? If you have, you may have come away with the vague feeling that no one has any idea what really happened and never will. Almost certainly though, the official "Lone Gunman" theory, just doesn't quite add up. If this has ever bugged you, author Collin McLaren is ready and eager to scratch that itch in this excellent piece of investigative journalism! McLaren perfectly lays out what is known about that day and from a law enforcement perspective, what is most likely to have taken place. Almost certainly Oswald would not have been able to fire three shots as was detailed in the Warren commission. Aside from some impossibly grand conspiracy, the only other logical explanation for the assassination and following cover up is, wait for it... (unless you already know the answer, but for everyone else...), it was... an accident. Yep, the fatal mistake was accidentally made by Secret Service agent George Hickey, riding in the car behind the President. Oswald would have been perched ahead (and above) of the motorcade and shot twice.  It was the car behind the President that attempted to return fire after the first shot, essentially over the President's head toward the book depository. For whatever reason, that fateful bullet instead of being aimed at the book depository hit the President in the back of the head, causing the famous forward jerking motion after exploding the back of the head onto the rear of the vehicle.

Anyway, if you want to read one Australian man's fairly reasonable conclusion of what might have happened that day, this is a great read. McLaren sounds like a great private dick and he clearly is both qualified to have undertaken this massive investigation and in his conclusions based on available evidence. I know there is a movie too and tried to get the significant other watch it with me, but having just put kids to sleep we were having trouble enjoying the multiple close up replays of the infamous head-shots right at the beginning of the film and turned it off after about 10 minutes.

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Bad Samaritans: Everything is fake, the government is out to get you, and the IMF is a fascist organization hell bent of keeping third world countries economically depressed

Bad Samaritans, The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

Author: Brian Kwong

Narrator:

Publisher:

Length:

Genre: Business & Economics

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +9

  0

Ha-Joon Chang gently shatters many of our western economic ideals and specifically our motivations for aid to the third word. With a sweetness of tone, bordering on being endearing, he destroys the last hope we may have had that the IMF and World Bank are anything other than fascist organizations with no other goals than to keep the third world in an ever deepening despair. To me, the central argument is summed up by the question posed by Chang, why does the IMF require every county they fund to "balance their books" at the end of every calendar year? It is a simple requirement to get IMF "adjudication". This is a high standard that even the US does not hold itself to. When we were in dire straits after 9/11 what did we do? Spent our way out of it, going more in debt than ever. What do we do in good times? Balance our books? No way, we just keep racking up more and more debt. So how can we possibly force small developing countries to be better than us?

Anyway, there are a ton a great examples in this great book. Bottom line, everything is fake, the government is out to get you, the news lies and even the very economic system we depend on is rigged against 99% of people on the planet for the benefit of a very select few Western European and North American well meaning plutocrats.

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Bad Blood: Secrets and Idiots in Elizabeth Holmes Fake Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood

Author: John Carreyrou

Narrator: Will Damron

Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio

Length: 11 h 36 m

Genre: True Crime

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +9

  0

I can't say why for sure but I have been obsessed with Theranos from day one. I have a vague feeling of a memory of hearing about their first "blood test patch" patent and product, thinking, huh, thats amazing. It was amazing because it was a lie, there never was such a thing as a "blood test patch" but that didn't stop Elizabeth Holmes from raising millions from rich family friends like Tim Draper and her families "Fleischmann Yeast" fortune to fund her new fake company when she was only 19 years old. This book is about, Elizabeth Holmes, who was (is) a psychopathic rich girl who (because of her family wealth and connections) was able to eliminate anyone around her who told her "no" and built a billion dollar company (Theranos) based on nothing but lies and her families' money. "Hate is like drinking poison and expecting it to harm your enemy," but still, I hate Elizabeth Holmes.

She started rich, was given everything, dropped out of one of the best schools in the world after just 1 year, and somehow got people to believe that she had INVENTED a device that could do what all of the large clinical testing companies had been trying to do for decades. After finishing freshman year, Holmes had her father's lawyer help her "write a patent" for an "idea" of a patch that could somehow, test your blood. It would be no different if Holmes has said she had "invented" a more efficient form of flight and was going to sell her idea to airline companies, saving them billions of dollars.

The biggest question of me is still just why. Why did anyone fall for this, why did no one tell those people how stupid the concept was or why did it take so long? If it really is this easy to become a $10 billion company, why are we not seeing a lot more nonsense ideas out there in this category? To anyone paying attention to Theranos, it was clear it was never anything other than a stock option pyramid scheme, destined to fail. To anyone paying attention to Elizabeth Holmes, it was clear that she was lying and, for some reason, doing a weird fake deep voice thing. I mean, the voice alone, if you have not heard this fake voice thing she does, please do, its weird.

In Bad Blood author, John Carreyrou details the story of how Elizabeth Holmes would be "caught" using her real voice in the office during late nights or when she thought she was otherwise alone. Like, what kind of a nut FAKES THEIR VOICE for years on end. On the upside though, this has given me a renewed meaning to my life, find out what Holmes' "real voice" sounds like. This was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who has been completely obsessed with Theranos and Holmes for the last decade and have been aching for the downfall of this obvious lunatic and her fake company. My only hope is that the take down of Trump is as sweet as watching Holmes fail in every excruciating detail in this amazing book.

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The Like Switch: A douchey guy writes a book about how to manipulate people

The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over

Author: Jack Schafer PhD

Narrator: The Like Switch: A douchey guy writes a book about how to manipulate people

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: 7 h 40 m

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: 2015

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +8

  0

Have you ever met the kind of Baby Boomer that has generally had a good and easy life, made it to the top of their corporate ladder and generally think of themselves as the proverbial, shit?

Well, that's our author, Jack Schafer to a tee. Schafer writes a book about how to win people over from the perspective of someone who would have faild upward almsot no matter what and assumes that what has worked so miraculously for him would work for anyone. All in all, a gross book, mundane "tips" and a slimy self centered author.

For example, this "tip" on how to negotiate came with the story of how one time he spent 8 hours at a car dealership "negotiating" the price of a car. At the end of the 8 hours he took out a check, wrote, as he puts it, "a ridiculously low" offer on it and handed the check to the now exhausted and exasperated sales woman who has just had an entire day wasted by this ass hat. He tells us, she finally did accept my offer as to have not sold ANY car that entire day would have been a total loss, so she had to accept my low offer.

Or, the time his FBI department got a new boss, so he spent the first couple months being rude and talking poorly about the new boss and ignoring her at the morning meetings. Then, slowly, he began to "warm up" to the new boss, being nicer and nicer, and then finally giving public compliments on how great she was. Now the boss likes him more than the others because at first he made her think that he didn't like her.

Or the time he had a suspect who was already in jail for a different crime and so had the chance to have him one-on-one every day. Every morning for a week he would bring in the inmate into an interview room, would offer him a cup of coffee and then just sit there in silence reading the newspaper calmly. MIRACULOUSLY, after just a few days the suspect was begging to talk about anything. After a few more days of just talking about whatever the suspect wanted to each day, he finally asked about the suspected crime, and MIRACULOUSLY they just started talking about it like it was any one of their other conversations!

Or the time he had a not very smart suspect in the interrogation room and had his partner leave the room, then lied to the suspect saying they had a special kind of lie detector that his partner was going to come back and use on him. When the partner came back in, they just asked him, "did you rob the bank", the guy said, "No", then the "lie detecting" partner just said, "he's lying." then the suspect said, "Wow, how'd he do that!?!". And they got him. Boom.

The guy is a sleazeball who has obviously been blinded by his life of false power in law enforcement. I'm not glad I read this book, I'm not glad that this type of person even exists. So full of himself, such an awful book.

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Trump Nation: A review of the beginning of the end

TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald

Author: Timothy L. O'Brien

Narrator:

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Length: 3 h 25 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

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  +8

  -8

Everyone knows that when Donald was first getting his feet wet in the real-estate development business his incredibly wealthy ($300 millionaire) father gave him a $1 million jump start loan. This amazing author, Tim O'Brien, goes into detail about that initial loan, but also the following $10 million, then $30 million loans he received from his father's estate in his early years.

For me, the take away of this microscopic look into the life of one of the dumbest human beings alive, was that some people just get lucky and fail upwards. Almost comically, Donald has failed at most of what he has done. He would have made many times more money than he did over his lifetime had he just taken his father's initial loan and put it in any stock market index fund.  At every failure, his father was able to bail him out. My FAVORITE example was when his Dad, Fred Trump, wanted to give his boy Donny $2 million tax free and fast for his failing casino. Instead of filing paper work and paying taxes on such a large gift to his son, Fred Trump went to Donny's casino and bought $2 million worth of poker chips, then essentially just threw them away (never chased them), netting Donny a cool $2 mill, tax free.

Donald Trump is an idiot, at least by the close account of this book. He is really not much more than son of a rich guy, rich idiot who has never been allowed to fail completely and (at least before the election that made us all question our sanity) has had only one positive quality, that of being amazingly great to watch on reality TV. O'Brien spent A LOT of time with Trump by the sounds of it and over all Trump comes off a a great guy. Nice to the people around him, personable and good at not mixing business and the rest of life. But good God, what a sad misguided idiot he seems to be too.

If you want a great look into what it is to be Trump, this is the best account I've yet seen. God help us all, #ReadyForWarren2020

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I, Spy: How I learned I don't want to be my own private investigator

I, Spy; How to Be Your Own Private Investigator

Author: Daniel Ribacoff

Narrator: Fred Berman

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Length: 5 h 15 m

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: 2012

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +8

  -1

Did you ever think you wanted to be a private dick, well, probabaly not anymore after you finish this book. I didn't want to do it right away, but as like a retirement project in my 50's, hopefully get the whole family involved running the operation, BBS answering phones, Q out tailing perps, Em in the library, scrolling through microfiche newspaper articles late into the night, me, learning kung fu, spending time in seedy bars, sneaking around, picking locks.... I thought I might have the eye for detail, or something even more stupid and romantic about what it was like to be a private investigator.

Author, Daniel Ribacoff, as an ex-diamond seller/security man and later full-time PI, tells us all about the day to day of what it is like to do this job and gives plenty advice about how to do it. Bottom line for me was that, like everything, it takes a lot of hard work to do it right and it might be years before an actual business could be up and running starting from scratch. I loved this book, it was great having my dream shattered and my ideal future fade to nothing. How I thought investigating criminals would be anything but hard work and long hours is beyond me, but Ribacoff makes very clear what this type of life entails.

I think this could have been two books, one about how to be a PI, a how to guide, and a second book that was a memoir of this amazing man's career. Once I got 1/2 through and realized that I was no longer interested in my future self being a scruffy PI working from a small 2nd story office in the bad part of the old downtown, my focus was lost during the details of specific operations. Aside from not caring about the specifics of how to follow people for days on end and how to pee in what and where while on the road I thought it was a great read and would recommend it.

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Crashed: How Bailing of the Banks Gave Us a Decade of Financial Crises

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Author: Adam Tooze

Narrator: Crashed: How Bailing of the Banks Gave Us a Decade of Financial Crises

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Length: 25 h 27 m

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +7

  0

Crashed was so good I had to listen to it twice! If you have any interest in the economy this is a must read/listen to book. The author describes how at the onset he intended to write a book about the 2008 financial crises but once he got started realized that book is simply not possible to write ecause we are still in the 2008 financial crises 10 year later. 

I both love and hate the Tulip Bulb Bubble story because it has so little to do with financial bubbles and modern economics it is a joke it is so often referenced, but like in most cases the allegory holds some wisdom. Here, imagine that in the 1600's the Dutch government had decided that the Tulip market was "too-big-to-fail", what would have happened? 

As it did happen, it was an economic disater for a lot of perople, especially the wealthy who had a lot of money tied up in these investment (mostly because they were backed by the Dutch government, just like Fannie May backing US mortages). Rich people saw that Tulip investments had government backing so essentially were "safe". But when the market began to fall, the Dutch changed their minds when they realized they could not cover all the "paper" debt. It was a big crash to say the least. 

But, what would have happened if instead the Dutch government had said “No” to the crash and decided that it was better to instead print enough new money to buy out ALL of the tulip bulb contracts that were vastly over priced (because they had initially decided to back them)? Because that is exactly what happened in 2008.

In 2008 the US government was running their own little Tulip Bulb bubble scam. The idea was they would use government institutions (Fannie May to buy up ALL the mortgages they could, then “back” them from defaulting. Just like when the Dutch did the same thing with Tulip bulbs, government backing sent prices sky high. Not only were they inflating the market, giving (yes GIVING) houses to people that would never be able to pay back the mortgage taken out, they were backing the bad mortgages with Fannie May!

Once the world saw there was being, essentially, unlimited debt being created and backed by the US government at greater that 5% interest, there was no question, and the world financial markets started to pile in. This is why the majority of the TARP bail out funds went to foreign banks, like Deuschea Bank, they were the ones holding most of the bad debt, and the US was on the hook for it.

The US had no choice but to print $Trillions and hand it out to German, China and Japan.

So, what would have happened to the Dutch had they decided to do what we did? Who know but I can bet it would have been a lot worse for everyone involved. The US bailed out FOREIGN banks at the expense of US tax payers. This was not a choice, but still, super messed up to think my grand-kids’ taxes will probably be going to pay for this bail out for decades to come. In 2018 the 2008 financial crises is not over my friends, it is just getting started.



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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Mediocre Books Get Mediocre Reviews and Threatens Readers

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Author: Cathy O'Neil

Narrator:

Publisher: Random House

Length: 11 h 20 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2014

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +7

  0

The author, Cathy O'Neil, does not seem to understand humans very well. I believe this book is about her journey through first trying to understand them through statistics to realizing that that simply is not possible. Superficially, Ms. O'Neil is writing about the poor power of prediction of mathematical models when applied to people, or how these models can amplify unconscious bias against certain minority groups. But what I think the author is really writing about is what a difficult time she has had understanding the people in her life. Like most autism spectrum researchers turned authors, we kick off with a great story about how "Big Data", if used improperly can have devastating effects. This is because (writes O'Neil) big data analysis is an automatic process once the model is built and accepted, that is, it is hard to know why a model "spits-out" a particular answer given a particular input, so mostly, it just needs to be either accepted or not. Unintended bias crops up when, say, a bank is trying to decide how much interest to charge a customer. Lets say our Bankers are honest and good and do not want to discriminate based on race so they strive to not include that type information in their model. Later they may find that (statistically) they are discriminating based on race, even if their model only includes variables like income, age, location, home size, past loans, etc. Thus, in a case like this, "Big Data" fails to produce an unbiased result, one which may never be caught unless another analysis is done after the fact, though this is rarely done in industry says, O'Niel.
I would not recommend this book. It is for no one. Not for data scientists, O'Neil's insights are not profound, they are interesting, but nothing new. Not for laymen, even given the excellent writing and (for the uninitiated) eye opening ideas, I don't think there are many in that category who care to know how these algorithms work but also don't already know that modern frequentist statistics is seriously flawed.
After finishing the book I right away watched her TED" talk and was disappointed to find it almost word for word the opening book chapter, same with a few other talks I tried. It was a good book, try it if you want, but to be honest, the last two chapter I did not want to finish and were a bit of a chore.

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The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships

Author: Neil Strauss

Narrator: The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book

Publisher: Harper

Length: 6 h 30 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2012

Reviewer: Anonymous

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  +7

  0

I won't waste space on the Internet telling you why this book, written by the author of, The Game is not especially good. His first book was about how to pick up women, his follow up, apparently, is about how to keep them. I did not like it, it was like taking advice from the guy in 5th grade when you're in 4th grade about how to get the girl on the playground to you like you.


Just give her an ice cream cone you get from the lunch room and after she says thank you, when shes not looking, give her a kiss, right on the mouth. Normally a girl would be angry but if you just gave he the ice cream she can't get mad.
-Neil Strauss, The Game and Jimmy Smith, 5th grade


I've said too much, given away too many secrets. People like the dumbest fucking shit and this is no exception. Rolling Stone magazine was once a bastion of the counter culture, this last decade has seen sales fall and, in my opinion, had the content go to sensational Cosmo-like grabbing headlines. Neil Strauss has served his tenure at the magazine as a staff journalist during this time of decline, I can't say 100% that the ruin of Rolling Stone is 100% the fault of just Neil Strauss, but I can say, this book was not that good, did not include any relationship advice and was kind of gross in parts.

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A Perfectly Stupid Guide to Nothing At All and Being a Regular Human

The 4-Hour Body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman

Author: Tim Ferriss

Narrator: A Perfectly Stupid Guide to Nothing At All and Being a Regular Human

Publisher: Random House Audiobooks

Length: 3 h 51 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2011

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +7

  -23

If you have not read Timothy Ferris's first best selling, headline grabbing book, The Four Hour Work Week, you have at least heard of it. The Four Hour Work Week is just what it sounds like, a step-by-step guide on how to make tons of money working no more than four hours a week, and it is just as stupid and unattainable as it sounds. Tim Ferriss apparently has hit upon a gold mine is selling bullshit to desperate people, first his target was the poor to middle working class of America, now with this book he is targeting the overweight.

His bullshit goes like this: by spending just 20 minutes in the gym three times a week for just three weeks anyone can go from flabby to Greek god following the guidelines in the book. Spoiler, the guide is to eat well and exercise. I am amazed that anyone (let alone millions, let alone myself (I did)) falls for this idiot's shilling. Just like in his first book he tells how if he can do it anyone can. More than anything Tim seems to be a professional salesman, in the same way a sleazy used car salesman will tell you a car costs $5,000, but only once he has you in the back room signing papers does the fact come out that $5,000 is the base price, and there is another $5,000 or so of fees and taxes. Tim lies to us, saying he went from unhealthy and fat to the peak of vitality with literally, ONLY a total of four hours in the gym. If this sounds like a dumb thing to say, its because it is a dumb thing to say. My only question is how does this jackass keep getting away with it. How many more Four Hour .... books are we going to see from this snake oil salesman. What's next, will he promise us a Four Hour College Degree, or how about a Four Hour Sleep Cycle, Four Hours to Learn Chinese... The potential list of bullshit this guy will sell is endless. Personally, I am sick of this sleazeball pushing deceptive books onto those who are most vulnerable to this kind of lie.

Please don't buy or read this book or any of his sure to come Four Hour to do Anything books he has in the pipeline, his publisher, Penguin Random House should be ashamed of this lie peddler and although I hate the phrase, Fake News, that is exactly what this guy is, 100% fake.

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Fear: Trump in the Shit House

Fear: Trump in the White House

Author: Bob Woodward

Narrator: Robert Petkoff

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: 12 h 20 m

Genre: True Crime

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +7

  0

This book was fine, yes just fine. Bob, you were a great man during the Nixon years but if you thought you were going to bring down two presidents in your life time you are going to need to bring more than just the gossip rag that is this book. If you have read no other "Trump Book" read this one, then read, It's Even Worse Than You Think. But, if you have read any other "Trump Book" I would say don't bother. Unhinged was good, not great and this one is just slightly better. Like most of the "Trump Books" Fear reads less like investigative journalism and more like the play-by-play you would get from a playground full of 5th graders.

Trump is an idiot, maybe he always was or maybe its his age, who cares, that is basically Bob Woorward's only point with this book.

I learned almost nothing from this, I guess it is good that we have a record of the demise of the US but really, whats the point. Bob simply rehashes old news talking points while vicariously calling Trump names every chance he gets. Other books have done a much better job of what the author attempts here. Omorosa was closer to Trump, so her detailed were juicer, in It's Even Worse... the detail is much finer and reads like a real investigation, Fear is lukewarm at best.

It is great for The Democracy that all these Trump Books are coming out, so I hesitate to say that this book was unncessary, but it certainly does not add anything meaningful to the conversation. There is nothing impeachable, STILL, and even getting him while in office for firing Comey is a long shot.

The way Bob's book leaves it, we have a long road ahead of us, the President may be a criminal and an idiot but apparently he's not stupid enough to get caught.

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How to Change Your Mind: What A Pop-Science Book Can't Teache Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

How to Change Your Mind: What A New Science of Psychedlics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Author: Michael Pollan

Narrator: How to Change Your Mind: What A Pop-Science Book Can't Teache Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Length: 13 h 35 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +7

  0

Everyone likes Michael Pollan and I do too, but who the hell is he? Wikipedia says Pollan graduated in the late 1970's, wrote his first book in 1991 and his first best seller a decade latter in 2001 with a piece about Easy Opium for Harper's in the middle. On paper this man has lead a charmed life and on paper, this was a great book  but this twilight memoir about drug use by a rich celebrity ends up rubbing me the wrong way. If it was any other author I am sure the book would have been ignored as just another druggie memoir and nothing more than a  rudimentary, Wikipedia researched history of the top five most popular psychedelics. 

For the type of people that are both interested in psychedelics and reading, they have probably already read up plenty on their drugs of choice. No one in good conscious should be recommending this book (looking at you GoodReads.com ( ͡º ͜ʖ ͡º). I wish there was more to say about this book but there is not, maybe in place of the rest of this review I should just give you a list of much better books on psychedelics that I can recommend...



Fire and Fury: Inside the Insanity of the Trump White House

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

Author: Michael Wolff

Narrator:

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Length:

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2018

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

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Overall
 


  +6

  -6

I love these characters! They are impulsive, exciting, daring and most of all, a bunch of idiots, like watching the first or second season of Survivor when it was still good. If you keep up with the news cycle there is nothing new to surprise you in this insider account by author Michael Wolff. This is a fun and personal look into the workings of the Trump White House and the mind of the man himself where the bottom line seems to be that, really, there is just nothing there. When Kellyanne says that there is nothing going on with "the Russia stuff", that is probably true, there is nothing going on with anything, everything in the Trump world is minute by minute, second by second, there is no plan, no goal because exactly 0 members of the Trump team ever though there was a chance they would win.

For me, this books is really just about how stupid an otherwise functioning human being can be and how many of them there are. By all accounts it is looking like about 30% of American's have some mental disability, couple that with the electoral college, an epic amount of Republican gerrymandering and Russian Internet Trolls we are left with a commander in chief who seems to not be fully literate and thinks that global warming is a Chinese hoax. There is nothing good or interesting going on with this administration, they bumble from one crisis to the next with no short term memory and a general aim of just doing the opposite of whatever the last President did. My personal opinion is that Trump is bad but not nearly as bad as Bush II was and for all his faults Trump comes off as a nothing President who is probably just going to fade away (I hope).  If his handlers were to lose control of him, Trump may end up being the worst thing to ever happen to this country but for now, this was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone with the extra time to "get to know" our 45 President.


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How Not to be Wrong: A review you have no business reading, go read this book instead

How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Author: Instaread

Narrator: Dwight Equitz

Publisher: Instaread

Length: 13 h 21 m

Genre: Science & Technology

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +6

  -6

This book is incredibly impressive, right away I rereaded the first two chapters after finishing each. As soon as I get a chance I will be reading the whole thing again and am looking for a cheap/free version of Jordan Ellenberg's first book. If only this book were required reading for every elementary to high school math instructor and student we would have a lot more kids interested in math and going into the sciences. The simple idea is that math is just a set of common sense "tricks" for thinking correctly, that's it, that is math. If every time a student asked why they were doing such and such a math exercise they were given this answer, along with any one of the amazing examples from this book, we would have a lot more successful students. Ellenberg makes his stories so clear that it makes me suspect the only explanation for the educational system doing such a bad job is conspiracy to keep students from doing math. For me, this is a must read for any non-mathematicians or anyone that doesn't already understands this simple idea of what math is.

My favorite example from the book is the history of the lottery. How it started as part of the democratic process as a way to "elect" a portion of the legislature directly from the constituency. In my opinion this is a great idea that should be a necessary part of any democracy as a way to protect against only the privileged being able to seek elective office. It sounds like a good idea and it was, people loved it and the idea of a "lottery" for official seats spread like wild fire across the early republics. As much as the people loved it, the ruling class of course hated it as it meant that anyone (even the non-wealthy) could "run for" and hold office. We may say elections in the US are open, but only for those that can afford to not work for months on end while still looking good on camera. Trying to get rid of the "lottery" met with objection and after a lot of effort the ruling class hit upon the tactic of replacing the holding of office with simply a large cash payout. This payout did the same thing as before except kept the "winner" from ever having any real power. The math "trick" comes in later when a group of MIT students scam a state lottery for millions based on the "windfall" idea of a lotto paying out whatever is left in their coffers at the end of a fiscal period.

Anyway, please read this book, then tell everyone else you know to read it too, thank you :)

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Our Revolution: A Review to Believe In

Our Revolution, A Future to Believe In

Author: Bernie Sanders

Narrator:

Publisher:

Length:

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

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  +6

  0

I am more confident about the future of this country at the end of this [book] than I was at the beginning.
-Bernie Sanders

Start with a quote. This one from Bernie sums up perfectly how inspiring Bernie Sanders has been for me personally and how amazing this book was. This campaign memoir is an amazing take on American politics in 2016, from the seemingly total blindness to suffering Americans from the big wigs at top like the Clintons to the downright evil tactics of the Republican party to keep the wealthy, wealthy and the poor discouraged and disenfranchised.

I voted in the primaries for Bernie and being a distopian at heart, proudly proclaimed the next day that by taking the primary from Bernie, Hilary was giving the office to Trump and I still believe this 100%. Bernie lays out clearly how toward the end, EVERYONE knew that he had a better shot of beating Trump, EVERYONE knew Hilary was going to have a hard time and Bernie would have clear shot. But damn Hilary if she didn't have to have her time to shine, the country be damned.

The second we lost Bernie as a candidate the liberal agenda was for the first time in almost 10 years, called into serious question. Hilary was practically doomed from the start. As people screamed for anti-establishment candidates, the Dems gave us another Clinton. We could be living in a world of free education, healthcare, flying cars, 100gb 6g internet and who knows what else if Bernie would have been ALLOWED to become president by Hillary, oh well.

This is a great book, Bernie is a great man, too bad we missed out on being a great country for another 8 years.

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The Millionaire Booklet: Why I might not be getting super rich anytime soon

The Millionaire Booklet and The 10X Rule

Author: Grant Cardone

Narrator: The Millionaire Booklet: Why I might not be getting super rich anytime soon

Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC

Length: 7 h 24 m

Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology

Published: 2011

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +6

  0

I promise, by the time you finish reading this short book you will know exactly how to become super rich. The beauty is, that just about anyone can do it, no matter what your current situation. The steps are incredibly simple and if followed, essentially are guaranteed to make you, super rich.

According to Cardone, the secret to getting rich is a three part plan, and here it is.

~~~~~~~Spoiler Alert~~~~~~~

1) Poor people save for stuff. They save for emergencies, vacations, cars, retirement, they save now to spend later. The super rich (or soon to be super rich) save to invest, all else be damned.

2) Live like you're broke. Every check, put away as much of it as you possibly can, leaving just barley enough to live on (if not less), and NEVER touch the savings except to invest it.

3) Manage "income flows". Ask yourself, "who has my money" (i.e. money you can possibly get) and no matter how small, look for additional income flows from those people and as soon as one income flow can be ignored move on. Work to build and stabilize one income flow, then look for the next. This takes working harder and longer than anyone else around you. Ignore friends and family, do not take vacations. Number one rule (of rule number 3) you are always working.

Cardone tells us we can expected this to take somewhere around a decade, during which time we are to put absolutely no energy into anything other than making money and growing our income flows. He warns us, people around will hate you, you will lose ALL of your friends and ALL of your family if you do this. People will think you are a greedy scumbag all the while and do their best to talk you out of it. Saying things like, they would not want to live like that, they would not like to spend so much time working. Losing the best years of your life to just making money, who needs that, I want to have a REAL LIFE.

He also tells us that not one of those people who try and talk you out of becoming super rich would not jump at trading places with you once you have made it and they still have another 20 years of working 9-5 to look forward to. So, work your ass off for 10 year, manage your income flows and live like you're broke, I'm in, let's all become millionaires together!

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JFK: The Smoking Gun

JFK: The Smoking Gun

Author: Colin McLaren

Narrator:

Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Length: 10 h 11 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2013

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +6

  0

Are the type of person to have ever looked into the JFK assignation? If you have, you may have come away with the vague feeling that no one has any idea what really happened and never will. Almost certainly though, the official "Lone Gunman" theory, just doesn't quite add up. If this has ever bugged you, author Collin McLaren is ready and eager to scratch that itch in this excellent piece of investigative journalism! McLaren perfectly lays out what is known about that day and from a law enforcement perspective, what is most likely to have taken place. Almost certainly Oswald would not have been able to fire three shots as was detailed in the Warren commission. Aside from some impossibly grand conspiracy, the only other logical explanation for the assassination and following cover up is, wait for it... (unless you already know the answer, but for everyone else...), it was... an accident. Yep, the fatal mistake was accidentally made by Secret Service agent George Hickey, riding in the car behind the President. Oswald would have been perched ahead (and above) of the motorcade and shot twice.  It was the car behind the President that attempted to return fire after the first shot, essentially over the President's head toward the book depository. For whatever reason, that fateful bullet instead of being aimed at the book depository hit the President in the back of the head, causing the famous forward jerking motion after exploding the back of the head onto the rear of the vehicle.

Anyway, if you want to read one Australian man's fairly reasonable conclusion of what might have happened that day, this is a great read. McLaren sounds like a great private dick and he clearly is both qualified to have undertaken this massive investigation and in his conclusions based on available evidence. I know there is a movie too and tried to get the significant other watch it with me, but having just put kids to sleep we were having trouble enjoying the multiple close up replays of the infamous head-shots right at the beginning of the film and turned it off after about 10 minutes.

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Hackers: My Heroes of the Revolution

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution: 25th Anniversary Edition

Author: Steven Levy

Narrator: Hackers: My Heroes of the Revolution

Publisher: Novel Audio

Length: 20 h 23 m

Genre: Biography & Memoir

Published: 2015

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +6

  0

I love the people this book is about, they are the closest thing I think I might have to human heroes. Author Steven Levy delivers with the perfect sub-title. Day-to-day it is lost on us where the technology we use comes from. We might (at most) worry about the manufacturing process, or even the trade in value or where to recycle an old device, but where did the iPhone really come from, why don't monitors flicker any more, is the current technological environment we find ourselves in the inevitable result of the laws of nature and discovery, or
was it shaped inexorably by the minds of a select few incredibly hard working and very bright young hackers in the 1960's to
1980's?

Hackers did it. Who built Apple computers, largest company in the world, hackers. Richest man in the world, a self-described hacker. Why do we have "word processors", video games, color screens... literally everything we enjoy today is only because a hacker was there, working night after night, alone on a problem until it was solved.So much of what hackers have innovated may seem so obvious that we can't image technology would have gone any other way, but the internet itself proves a perfect example of why Hackers should be your heroes if they are not already. In the beginning, Internets were closed and the mode was for a centralized database that was only accessible though a gatekeeper.

That would have been (that WAS) the internet, until a hacker Tim Berners-Lee hacked up a free "Web" accessible World Wide and for free.My point is not to convince to that Hackers should be our god-kings, appointed for life and voted in by fellow Hackers into the Hacker Ruling Elite, it is just that you should read this book. Hackers is amazing because the people it is about literally built from the ground up our current way of life and their stories are amazing. If in the future, after robots have taken all the jobs and the world is divided into the Gods and Useless it is the Hacker forefathers who will be worshiped as Gods of the Gods and demonized by the 99.9% as creators of the monstrous hell that they kick started way back in the early 1960's.



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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: A pirate's review

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History

Author: Don Yaeger

Narrator:

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Length: 4 h 52 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2015

Reviewer: Anonymous

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Overall
 


  +6

  0

Thomas Jefferson's self architected and so adorably named home, Monticello, was one of the most expensive at the time and cost $70,000 (not including the slaves Jefferson owned to build it). At that same time, for example, just one group of pirates in the middle east was demanding $100,000 per year as tribute to not attack US merchant ships. In the beginning, essential trade by sea was done at the peril of bad weather, old ships, mutinous seamen and, of course, fucking pirates.


For most of "modern" history pirates were and still are the wealthiest people in the world. This amazing book walks us though how at the birth of a nation pirates succeeded in bringing our third president to his knees and how the US finally gained the upper hand.

This. Was. An. Amazing. Book. I think it must be a rare combination to get an incredible story in history along with such an incredibly story teller. Brian Kilmeade weaves an incredible drama that starts with setting the scene of the day by giving a sense of the real fear that pirates inspired. They were the worst of the worst and bled nations dry financially and morally. Jefferson's fear went so far as to refuse to allow his daughter to travel on any US ships, only French and British, as they were know to pay the highest "tariffs" to the pirates.

With the fear of god properly instilled, Brian tells story after incredible story of heroicism by US Navy men. Literally fighting pirates hand to hand in the harbor of Tripoli, or the US filling a ship full of explosives and sending toward an enemy boat.

Or about how a US ship was (falsely) flying a British flag, then pulled along side a pirate ship all nice like, "Jolly day, Pip, pip, right. Seen any Americans out? Those dandies." And the pirates said, "It is unlucky that today we have not seen any Americans as I would have liked to run them all through." Then, fast, the US ship dropped the British flag, raising the US flag (because the US Navy is honorable as shit and said they would not attack anyone with a US ship not flying the US flag) then disabled the pirate ship. The pirates (not being honorable) surrendered and when US marines boarded the ship the pirates started shooting and attacking them, only to be overtaken AGAIN and eventually taken all prisoner.

Anyway, long and short of it, the book was amazing, anyone with ANY interest in amazing stories, history, people, ideas, stuff or even things would love this book!

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Jurassic Park: A Novel Novel

Jurassic Park: A Novel

Author: Michael Crichton

Narrator: Scott Brick

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Length: 15 h 9 m

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 1990

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +6

  0

Michael Crichton uses the word, "crazily" at least half a dozen times in this book. That is weird, but lets get on with the review...

I don't know how many times I will need to be taught the lesson that the book is always better than the movie but I hope this is the last time. I have made this mistake in the past, of putting off reading a book just because it is too popular. Like an idiot I assumed that between my having seen Jurassic Park, 3 times (!) in theaters I had nothing to gain from reading the pop SciFi prose of Mr. Crichton.

But enough on what an idiot I am for ignoring this now SciFi classic and on to this amazing fucking book. I loved nearly every page, not to say it was not pandering and dumbed down to the point of sounding silly in places, e.g. using chaos theory to predicts what will happen in a particular situation seems silly. A good portion of the book is devoted to how mathematician, Malcolm, predicted the fall of the Park because Chaos theory shows that we can not control complex systems. But that is dumb really, and I hate to say, but this is exactly the type of silliness I think I was trying to avoid all these years. Truth be told, while reading I let it all slid because Mr. Crichton is just that good, to be able to feed us line after line of scientific mombo-jumbo and leave even us real scientist begging for more.

A great book for anyone, even 25+ years on it really still sounds very modern. I have not been reading many novels but am glad I made the time for this classic. I am not going to run out looking for my next Crichton fix, but will certainly try and stay more open minded about "popular" books in the future.

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Ready Player One: A virtual book review

Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

Narrator: Antoine Doignon

Publisher: Audible Studios

Length: 14 h 13 m

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 2017

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +6

  0

Ernest Cline is an effective story teller with a great story to tell for our generation of over-prepared and under-challenged youth. This is an incredible book about a young cyber-punk hero, Wade, who needs to beat the evil MegaCorp in the World's Greatest Video game in order to save the world (the video game world) from being lost (be subject to a small fee to play rather than be free).

The author paints a beautifully depressing picture of a dark and dying future where most people spend their time in virtual reality with some kind of full body feed-back suit that lets them interact with the video game world, called the Oasis.

I shouldn't give too much away about how and why our hero is a starving, video game addicted homeless teenager playing in a game for his life in virtual reality against the World's largest and most evil company, but I can tell you this is a hell of a dystopian ride and I would recommend it to everyone that wants a great story and to feel really shitty about the future we are leaving our children at the same time.

From the start, the concept is great, nearly everything is told from within the video game. At times games are being played within "the game" and the reader is completely taken in to the virtual world along with the characters. Of course the author plays with ideas like people forgetting to eat, sleep, or keep their real-life bodies warm while they are in game and we get to have a lot of fun imaging their world, where anyone can slip away from the real at anytime into their own personally designed digital heaven.

A great read, I'll be looking for more from Ernest Cline ASAP, now I gotta unplug get back to reality for a bit :(



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Collusion: Stupid Meetings, Dumb Money, and the Open and Shut Case on How Russia Handed Donald Trump the US Presidency

Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House

Author: Luke Harding

Narrator: Collusion: Stupid Meetings, Dumb Money, and the Open and Shut Case on How Russia Handed Donald Trump the US Presidency

Publisher: Guardian Faber

Length: 10 h 37 m

Genre: History & Politics

Published: 2017

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +5

  -3

We got him. According to author Luke Harding it is already too late for The Donald, the dossier is real and since the late 1970's Donald has been courted by and intimately associated with Russian finance by laundering money through his real estate properties. The only reason Donald Trump has had any measurable success is because the Russian government has in the past seen it fit to prop up his shoddy business deals with cheap loans or outright free money. If the reporting here is true, nearly every move Donald Trump has made is designed to please, or at least not disrupt, Russian interests. Taken as a hypothesis, that one of Trump's main aims is to please the top Russian leadership, the facts of the case make more sense. Nearly every odd staffing choice he has made from Manafort "working for free", to the creepy bald skeleton guy, to the no-soul skeleton lady, to the weird right wing nationalist creeps... They all have some seemingly exploitable Russian connection that has either been sought after by Trump directly, or in the opinion of the author, these people are being put together, and their connections are all tied to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

There is no conspiracy theorizing needed in the case of the American People vs. Donald J. Trump, his actions demonstrate (1) a clear intention to collude with Russia for gaining ground in the 2016 election and (2) clear cases of money laundering through his multiple international properties, specifically revealed in the Panama Papers recently. The guy is a dirt-bag and my only guess is that Bob Muller right now is just so baffled as to how such a degenerate got to the White House the FBI is taking more time than they obviously should be just catching up.

By the accounts in this excellent book, Trump should be arrested immediately, so is it that either the book is simply not accurate, Trump is somehow above the law, or something else is going on, probably it is the something else thing. No matter what, this is a great book, Luke Harding is an amazing author/journalist/detective. Please read this book and please, VOTE!

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The Postman: A post-apocalyptic book review

The Postman

Author: David Brin

Narrator:

Publisher: Bantam Spectra;

Length:

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 1985

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +5

  -2



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The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence, the Rise of the Gods and Death of the Useless

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism

Author: Calum Chace

Narrator:

Publisher: Three Cs

Length: 7 h 11 m

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published: 2016

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +5

  0

It is hard to know if I liked this book so much because it was well researched, thoughtful and insightful or because it is the perfect blend of dystopian hell and geek redemption. Superficially the author, Calum Chace, is writing about the loss of jobs to machines and how this has been a fear for all of the industrial revolution, but, "this time really is different".
Calum explains why before it was manual labor but this time machines are coming for our "cognitive" or intellectual tasks. How will society deal with mass unemployment? Universal basic income says  weather the machine owners (or AI copyright holders) like it or not.
All in all a great book on the near term incoming jobs crisis for the non-programmers out there, or as Calum puts it, all struggles in the future will be between the Gods and the Useless.

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Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos): A review of a horrible book

Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons

Narrator: Marc Vietor

Publisher: Audible Studios

Length: 20 h 44 m

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 1989

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +5

  -59

Dan Simmons is that guy (usually at work or standing between you and something you are trying to do) that just wants to talk and talk and talk about whatever-the-fuck-it-is-that-happens-to-be-on-his-mind-that-second.

This book is (supposed to be) several interconnected stories, but the idea barely works. One story will be great and another seems like just filler, or a second rate one Mr. Simmons might have had laying around then threw into the "collection".

I think these books were well received because of the excellent thought provoking ideas, like that there are different "sects" of computer intelligence in the future. Some believe humans are necessary for computer's survival and others want to see them exterminated.

And this idea that human religion is like a "gift" sent back through time from our future selves to help fight the upcoming robot wars.

But holy hell Dan, are you trying to save on cover art or something? If you have five ideas, maybe write five books. 2 out of 5 stars. Two of the stories were great, the reset seemed out of place and I alway resent being forced to read through crap an author gets to the good stuff.


Hyperion FAQ:

Should anyone read this book? No, 100% no, I should be the last person to have ever read this book.

What about hardcore Sci Fi fans, some people really like deep intricate books? No, no one should read this horrible rambling crap. The ideas are great, but it could have been done in 1/2 the length.

What about hardcore Sci Fi fans in prison with a lot of time on there hands and access to the blog, should they read Hyperion by Dan Simmion? No.

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is this the real life

or is it just

Author: fantasy

Narrator: easy

Publisher: go

Length: come

Genre:

Published: 0

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +3

  0

Post text..

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Station Eleven: A Novel

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Narrator: Kirsten Potter

Publisher: Random House

Length: 10 h 40 m

Genre: Science Fiction

Published: 2014

Reviewer: Anonymous

Book 
 

Audio 
 

Overall
 


  +0

  -10



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