Author: Alice Schroeder
Narrator:
Publisher:
Length: 24 h 4 m
Genre: Business & Economics
Published: 0
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +237

   -483

The Snowball is hands down the best biography I have read in a long time. Warren Buffet comes off as one of the most interesting and wholesome individuals this world has ever known. Buffett seems to have found himself at the perfect intersection of privilege, luck and genius, in that order. I loved this book and it should be the top non-ficiton book on your to-read list.  


However.


It seems that most people that learn about Warren Buffett walk away with the wrong message, Buffett is not simply a great stock picker, that is not the story to be told. The real story of Warren Buffett is that he was able to attract more capital investments to himself and his organizations than anyone else in the history of the World because he was seen as a very trustworthy person. What gets forgotten about Warren Buffett is the reason he was so trustworthy is because he was born in the very upper-most echelons of American culture with a Senator father and a wealthy extended family going back generations. Warren Buffett is indeed not a normal human being, but only because he can afford to be different. it is disgusting to me that the first and only thing that people are not talking about Warren Buffett about is the fact that he came from wealth and power and was able to accumulate more wealth and power, in my book that's barely an accomplishment. Buffett is a near inevitable outcome of his circumstance, nothing more.


Warren Buffett's family owned the largest grocery store chain in the state when he was born. Warren Buffett's father was a US senator. He was able to attend the best schools in the country when he even admittedly applied to graduate school with bad grades no recommendations only days before school started and all he had was the Buffett name to go on. Becuase of all this privildge Buffett is now FAMOUSLY a stingly asshole to his own children, because of the massive guilt he must suffer from, he is well known for making a show of not giving to “charity” cases or his children, so he can act as if he believes the only way to make one’s way in the world is to start at the bottom and work your way up. The man is a hypocrite of the worst kind, a “pull the ladder up behind you” kind of rich man. By his own account,  he pays just over 14% income tax, lower than the vast majority of middle class Americans. 


Warren Buffett went from being one of the most privileged people in America to being the richest person in America. The key to Warren Buffett’s success was not his investment acumen, as he himself describes is extremely straight forward, what made Warren Buffett a success was that he started wealthy, had an ability to solicit millions of dollars from rich connections for his business ideas and then plow “excess money” into stable long-term investments starting at a very young age. No other 20 year old in this day and age would be able to attract multi-million dollars investors into their projects and ideas without having some sort of very strong connections and in Warren's case it was his father being a wealthy senator. Still in his twenties Warren buffett's investment company had a policy to not disclose anything about how Warren was investing people's money he would only give them a once yearly report on how the investment did, today that would be an incredibly shady proposition.


Now that I've done my best to shit on Warren Buffett's lifetime of achievement I do want to say this was an incredible book I loved hearing about Warren Buffett every second of his life is interesting to me he is a beautiful human being and if everybody could be a little bit more like Warren Buffett this world could be a better place. My only point is that Warren Buffett is an anomaly, not a one in a million stock picker, but a 1 percenter that leveraged his father's game and connections to solicit huge amounts of money at a very young age and invest it very conservatively over a long period of time. 




Username: Anonymous

I don;t like Buffett, I think he is the devil incarnate.

   +4

   0





Themis Files Trilogy

My New Favorite Fantasy Book



Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Narrator: William Hope
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 9 h 2 m
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2018
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +125

   -116

This review is for all three books in the Themis Trilogy,  Sleeping Giants (Book 1)was the book that convinced me to purchase and read an additional two books just for the chance of getting a little more of what we got with Sleeping Giants. In short, if you have not read it, Sleeping Giants should be on the top of your fiction reading list but move Books 2 and 3 to the very bottom of that list, if not 86ing them alltogether. 


While a great story, Sleeping Giants has tragically been grossly categorized as Science Fiction, baring no resemblance to the greats like Heinlein and Asimov. The line between SciFi and Fantasy is an interesting debate but for me this series lies clearly in the fantasy genre with little to no overlap. There is little to no real world extrapolations based on scientific advances, the world Neuvel creates is compelling but is complete fantasy without any effort to get his readers grounded in even the hint of reality. I loved this book, but not for the reasons that I love to read SciFi, I loved it the way I love porn, or Häagen-Dazs® ice cream because it feels good and I don’t have to think too much about why. 


Book 1 is a futuristic robot/alien love/hate story dominated by a fast paced comedic flow which would seem like trying to hard if the author wasn’t so damn good at it. This book and the two that follow are like The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu in its fourth season. Its a good show, I’m still watching it, but not for the story, I’m watching for the characters, the drama, in season 4 we keep watching not because we thing Offred is going to make it out, the story doesn’t matter anymore, we watch for the ambiance, we like living in that world and I love living in Neuvel’s world. 




Username: Anonymous

Some joker gave this book -9,000 upvotes somehow so I knocked it down by 100x and took the abs(). It was a great book and no way does it deserve -9,000 votes, Sir, please be reasonable.

   +1

   -5





Sapiens

Sapiens: An Amazing History of All the Things!



Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
Length: 15 h 18 m
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +116

   -1040

If 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.


Username: Anonymous

Great book, great author, should be required reading (listening).

   +5

   -1






Author: Phil Champagne
Narrator: Stephanie Murphy
Publisher: e53 Publishing, LLC
Length: 7 h 32 m
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +50

   -40

The Book of Satoshi is the definitive collection of the writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin. The invention of a frictionless, low fee, instant, censorship resistant and international digital cash system was the greatest of the 21st century. The idea that money could be sent anywhere, anytime for next to no cost and instantaneously captured the imagination of a generation of young tech enthusiast, students of economics and digital natives, for whom an on-line currency made perfect sense.

 

Aside from the man’s invention, Satoshi was undeniably one of the greatest minds in the field of computer science and engineering. His ideas presented though his writings seem perfectly formed, his writing style is perfection and error free as far as I can tell. I absolutely cherished every word of this collection, reading the words of a great mind has a way of making me feel smart and this is a great example of that, Satoshi’s explanations are so simple crystal clear it feels as if the invention is obvious, we are all left feeling like we could have invented it, that we are all Satoshi.

 

It is hard for me to understand the type of mind that could have produced what Satoshi did, the only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that Satoshi was an academic or state sponsored team of computer scientists. Any normal human would have released the ideas but not the code, or the code but have been unable to explain it as clearly. All evidence is that Satoshi was just a man who spoke British English, had an academic career and lived in the Western hemisphere. But how one man could be such an intellectual giant as to have invented Bitcoin AND have the foresight to understand the importance of staying anonymous. It is just too much to comprehend.

 

One man started a revolution, one that no one know where or how it will end. In the end, it may be that this one may will be responsible for the downfall of the internationally banking cartel that has ruthlessly run the world for 100’s of years. Satoshi was the hero we all needed right when we needed him. It is only a testament to his greatness that Satoshi and his invention was immediately and continuously attacked by trolls like Greg Maxwell, the legacy banking industry through funding anti-Bitcoin corporations like Blockstream, and funding anti-Bitcoin legislation.




Username: Anonymous

Great, thank you so much!

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   -2

Username: Anonymous

Can we get the white paper too?

   +4

   0

Username: Anonymous

Loved this, Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin!!!!

   +3

   -56

Username: usernew

What is bitcoin anyway?

   +0

   -1





American Carnage

Trump’s Carnage



Author: Tim Alberta
Narrator: Jason Culp
Publisher: HarperAudio
Length: 26 h 23 m
Genre: History & Politics
Published: 2019
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +40

   -5

A sad thing about the alt-right movement is that so many of the Trump attendees are simply being taken for a proverbial ride. For many they are only looking for what Obama supporters wanted a decade ago, hope. They are guilty only of being desperate for a better tomorrow and it is the number one reason they were so easily duped by this horrible con man.

 

American Carnage” is a Steve Bannon phrase taken from Trump’s inaugural address as well  as the title of this great book all about how Donald Trump became president. This books is just barely about Trump, the focus is the Republican party 2016-2017 and its complete and utter destruction. The reasons Trump became president turn out to be relatively straightforward and simple, foremost Hillary was without question the worst candidate ever put forward by the Democratic party. With her long history of corruption and abuse of power it is no wonder she was so well hated. Second was the ability of the Republican party and more than anyone Republican strategists like Frank Luntz and Karl Rove who were able to boil down exactly where and when Trump needed to spend his time campaigning. Along with the decades long perverse work of The GOP all over the country in gerrymandering their districts in order to maximize the poll of each Republican voter while minimizing Democrats influence.

 

Republicans are the party of do anything, say anything to win, in this case all they had to do was pledge loyalty to Donald Trump, one of the most repugnant men in American History. More than anything what put Donald over the top was middle class voters who's number one issue in this last election was reportedly the nomination of Supreme Court Justices. His first nomination was only possible because of Mitch McConnell's blocking of Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a completely insane and unheard of manner. The lesson of American Carnage is that luck favors the prepared and the Republicans had been preparing for well over 8 years. The bad news is, it worked they were exceedingly successful in mobilizing their base on the most important issues for them, Mitch McConnell’s Supreme Court nominee and forcing women to have babies they don’t want. 










The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World

The Invention of Nature: A Hero of Science I Had Never Heard of



Author: Andrea Wulf
Narrator: David Drummond
Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
Length: 14 h 3 m
Genre: Science & Technology
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +34

   0

Have you seen that episode of Rick and Morty where our duo are trapped in an alien virtual reality that is so good that they can’t tell they are in the real world or the virtual one? Rick figures it out and finally they make a daring escape from the VR, they remove the interface helmets and start to run away from the evil alien facility. As they run the camera zooms out and we see that our heroes are actually still in a now larger virtual world, designed in a way that makes them only think they have escaped into the real world. The deception is layered and everything the protagonists see, hear and feel is controlled by a higher power. 

 

The feeling Rick and Morty must have had when they realized there was no way out and they had been intellectually out matched is how I felt upon finishing this amazing book, The Invention of Nature by profound author Andrea Wulf

 

I had never heard of Alexander von Humboldt, the man who invented nature, and I now feel that is like saying you never heard of Darwin, Einstein or Newton, men so integral to our everyday way of understanding the world around us that their names are synonymous with genius. von Humboldt arguably has had an even greater influence over society than any of these other historical individuals and whats crazy is that most people have never heard his name. Except, they have, because his name is everywhere. All over the world there are mountains, rivers, currents, cities, streets, schools, libraries and more that carry the name, and for very good reason.  

 

This review should be just long enough to get this book on your reading list and no longer. I hope I have piqued your interest in Humboldt at least enough that you will check his Wikipedia page if not get the book as well. The fact that we have culturally forgotten such an influential giant has stolen a hero from our children, has withheld a better vision of the future from our elders and made this world a little less natural. Bring von Humboldt back to the forefront of the American mind and 90% of our problems will be solved, put this book in the hands of every teenager and half our issues would disappear overnight. I’m calling for it now, Humboldt needs to be the hero of generation Z, he needs to be, as he deserves, a name synonymous with genius. 




Username: Anonymous

Gonna pick this one up for sure.

   +3

   -1

Username: Anonymous

https://mega.nz/#F!rTA1ASJI!daIekgenmicDt2CdE7xIyw

   +0

   0





Our Revolution, A Future to Believe In

Our Revolution: A Review to Believe In



Author: Bernie Sanders
Narrator: Mr Mark Ruffalo
Publisher:
Length: 18 h 34 m
Genre: History & Politics
Published: 2017
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +32

   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.






Snow Crash

Snow Crashed



Author: Neal Stephenson
Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 17 h 3 m
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 1992
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +29

   -1

Did you ever have a kid at school who tried to appear smart and as the font of all knowledge by catching on to the tail-ends of things while listening to adults, absorbing some of it, and then spouting forth in front of an assembly of kids, his (or her, --let's be fair here) own regurgitation of what he had heard in the adult quarter, which would often make most of the other kids hang on to his/her every word simply because they themselves didn't have a clue what he was talking about?

Well, with Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson is that kid grown up. Stephenson latches on to all kinds of ideas and then regurgitates his reductionist, lopsided version of them in 'novel' form. The effect it had on this reader, is similar to what the screeching of chalk on a board does to most people; it set my teeth on edge.

There are so many lopsided, half-developed ideas with huge holes in logic in them, in this novel, that I cannot mention them all and remain as brief as I am sure that you, dear reader, would prefer me to be. Most of them pertain to Stephenson's lopsided extrapolation of how a virtual reality world would work, and his (to me loopy) ideas on neurolinguistics, ancient history and religions. 

I was ambivalent about his snarky depiction of capitalism taken to the extreme. In the Snow Crash world, everything is privatised to the point that civil services such as police and prisons are privatised, and 'burbclaves' (small city states) have their own laws and services to the point that America doesn't have federal law anymore--yet there are still Feds! The latter institution is highly satirised by Stephenson, with regard to the typical bureaucratic yards of red tape and the tech and intel gathering overkill and so on. I admit that I found these bits humorous. I reckon Stephenson is, by their inclusion into a state that has no laws, and where the federal government seems merely a token from days gone by, saying that the FBI was superfluous to start with in any case, hah. But the overall effect of the Snow Crash background setting is that of an almost schizophrenic collage of bits and pieces stuck together to create a highly disjunctive world.

I enjoyed the action sequences and I very much enjoyed his two female protagonists; slightly less so the male one. 

In this early novel, Stephenson shows faint glimmerings of promise. His clumsy explanations of the tech aspects of the world is jarring and often nonsensical, so the main little points of light lie with the action sequences and the characterization, the latter which I found not too bad since many of his stereotypes were slightly more rounded than actually stereotypical and many of the characters were relatively believable and even likeable in spite of the clumsiness. The hero Hiro, (or shall I say, Hiro Protagonist, the protagonist) did feel paper-thin however, like just a another piece of deus ex machina.

So, four stars for the fact that the novel passes the Bechdel test, and for having created the eminently likeable character Y.T. 
But minus a star for the jarring racism and lack of cultural and ethnic sensitivity, and minus another star for setting my teeth on edge with his loopy ideas and his lopsided, cartoony projections into a future consisting of what feels like a world constructed of cardboard cutouts.
(And minus a virtual star for positing that patriarchal religions are more rational than matriarchal ones. )
Oh, and pretty important to me is to mention the subtraction of another virtual star for the sex with a fifteen year old girl, and her 'relationship' with a mass murderer more than twice her age.
Add half a star back for the humor.

Many people credit Stephenson with being the first person to think of a cyberverse in which humans could participate represented by avatars, but by his own admission, Lucasfilm with Habitat was there before him. ;)

In fact, it might not be an overstatement to say that Stephenson had pretty much gypped his idea off of developers Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar. (Please be my guest and Google them.)








Capital in the Twenty First Century

Capital in the Last Century



Author: Thomas Piketty
Narrator: L. J. Ganser
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 24 h 58 m
Genre: Business & Economics
Published: 2014
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +27

   0

It is a bad habit of mine to review good books with hyperbole, where I describe a merely good book as a fearsome work of art or a divinely revealed look at the nature of humanity. For here, I'll tone it down a bit: whether you agree with it or not, Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a profoundly important book and will continue to dominate economic and policy discussions for years.

The very title is a provocation. The use of the word 'Capital' calls to mind Karl Marx's major investigation on the nature of money, Das Kapital. Piketty is anything but an orthodox Marxist, or anything orthodox at all. His dismissal of the concept of the labor theory of value would upset traditional Marxists, and his conclusions on the natures of capitalist free market systems would anger the neo-Classicals and Austrians.

The second thing you'll notice is that Piketty heavily relies on statistical analysis. Many of his citations lead to an external database, which can be found here. One of the chief struggles in economics is the split between developing theoretical models and statistical analysis. Piketty refuses to build the theory first, and much of the book is structure around the data. The primary focus of his study is France. This is not from national chauvinism, but from the wealth of well-maintained data which dates back to the revolutionary era in the 1790s. He does also refer to other developed countries in Western Europe and the United States. The scale and nature of his methods indicate the scale of his topic - inequality.

The first part of the book is a framing of how markets and national economies work. He begins with a historical examination of other theories, start with the early classical economist David Ricardo and ending with the modern development theories of Simon Kuznets. Piketty focuses on a re-examination of the role between assets and income, and how much capital growth increases faster than the growth of the rest of the economy. If capital incomes are more concentrated than those from labor, then those who get income from stored capital instead of their labor will have their income increase faster than the national growth rate. 

This leads to a reinterpretation of the past two centuries of economic history. The most stunning conclusion is that the nature of industrial capitalism will necessarily contribute to further income inequality. The only exception to this rule has been the 30 years after the end of WWII and ending with the oil shock and end of the gold standard.








Starship Troopers

Starship Super Troopers



Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Narrator:
Publisher: Ace
Length:
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 1959
Reviewer: Anonymous

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When I say that Starship Troppers is a novel that has had a profound influence on me, most people look at me like I'm crazy. If they haven't read it themselves, I can see why it might not seem too promising, especially if one isn't a SF fan to start with. Nevertheless, I must stand my ground here. I’ve read this novel a number of times now and one doesn’t reread a novel that many times for no reason. This novel functions wonderfully on many levels. In my opinion that is what makes it so great. It works well both as a YA and SF novel. There are many great SF elements in it, for example the ingenious usage of power suit. Heinlein was not considered a master of science fiction without a reason and I’m sure SF fans will find a lot to like in this one. 

Rico, the protagonist of our novel, is a Filipino growing up in a world set in future. I shall not describe this world in detail just yet but let’s just say it seems pretty believable and it creates some interesting moral dilemmas. The characters in this novel are surprisingly racially diverse considering the time period the novel was published in. Women being deemed superior pilots because of their better reflexes was, if I’m not mistaken, quite bold for that time. So, bonus points for that. The story is easy to follow and the protagonist himself is very likeable (I would say pretty adorable). We feel for the characters and we get engaged as readers. As far as the narrative is concerned, everything worked out perfectly. Nevertheless, there is another layer to this novel.

What layer would that be? The one that deals with individual responsibility and morals, the one that questions the way any society is organized, the one that asks important questions. Yes, that layer. The philosophical aspect of this novel was what I enjoyed the most. Remember those essays Rico had to write? I remember one instant where he had to prove with scientific arguments what causes wars and it turns out to be population pressure. Yes, increase in population (and hence reduced resources) is that triggers wars. I mean there is an intellectual aspect of this novel that often (for whatever reason) gets ignored, but it exists nevertheless. In other words, this novel asks questions that deserve to be asked. Moreover, it provides answers that are quite logical.




Username: Mike Smith

Three files are missing in mega link.

   +2

   0

Username: Anonymous

Thank you, it is now fixed :)

   +0

   0





12 Rules for Life An Antidote to Chaos

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Being a Loser



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

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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.









Borne

Borne: A really good Sci-Fi novel



Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Length: 12 h 12 m
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2016
Reviewer: Anonymous

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   +26

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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.


Username: daringdeeds

boring as shit book but thanks for the download!

   +6

   -2

Username: NewView

A great book but not scifi. Vandermeer is fucking nuts guy must be high as a kite when he writes this shit.

   +2

   -3





Brokeback Mountain

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



Author: Annie Proulx
Narrator: Campbell Scott
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Length: 1 h 3 m
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2019
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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 is 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).






Bad Blood

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



Author: John Carreyrou
Narrator: Will Damron
Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio
Length: 11 h 36 m
Genre: True Crime
Published: 2018
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.






The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon is a Great Book



Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Narrator:
Publisher: Orb Books
Length:
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 1966
Reviewer: Anonymous

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There is almost no use trying to rank the top 10 novels of all time, but this book is without a doubt in that elite club of “Best Books of All Time”.

 

The magic an author has is the ability to imagine and build new worlds, then live in them. Heinlein is master of this and I would argue this (not, Stranger in a Strange Land) is his masterpiece. The hero is a future moon colony inhabitant that works with an artificially intelligent computer to rebel against the evil imperialists from Earth who exploit the Moon workers. Plot wise, that is all you need to know as this books is all about world building at its best. The character development of the computer AI is genius, as our hero needs to teach the computer to be more human we learn about what that means and how much is often taken for granted. Heinlein explores what humor would be like for a machine, what love means and what it is to be free in a world where we are all a slave to circumstances, its fucking amazing. 

 

Heinlein succeeded in writing the best AI we have ever seen. So many authors are lazy as hell with “AI” character development and give us just a hyper intelligent humanoid, only Heinlein took the time to think though what real AI would be like, kind of dumb and useless at most stuff but amzing at a few things. What a lot of authors miss is that an AI can not understand MOST of the human experience. The majority of what makes people people is off limits to a disembodied consciousness and so it would be very hard if not impossible to even communicate with. As an example, even small changes in commands could produce radically different results and a machine will never develop emotions only reproducible results of statistical tests and a set of rules. The nature of man and machine is so radically different that any common ground would be difficult to maintain. The simple idea that AI can be switched off, stored and later switched back on means there is a default immortality to any AI, how would an immortal decorporate hyper intelligence be different than our own? We have no idea but we can say it would be completely unrecognizable, Heinlein does the best of any author I’ve seen in accepting this fact and I loved the exploration it allowed. 









Author: Leslie Becker-Phelps
Narrator: Susan Boyce
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Length: 6 h 19 m
Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology
Published: 2014
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.






The Whole Brain Child

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



Author: Dan Siegle
Narrator:
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 6 h 16 m
Genre: Parenting
Published: 2005
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.




Username: Bookviewer

Stop polluting the planet with humans!

   +22

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Username: anonymous

aaaa

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

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



Author: Brian Kwong
Narrator:
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 9 h 15 m
Genre: Business & Economics
Published: 2016
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.






Uglies

An Ugly, Easy Read



Author: Scott Westerfeld
Narrator: Emily Tremaine
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 10 h 12 m
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Bo Ridley

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For my audio books I prefer something simple. Short words and simple thoughts so that if I get distracted for a m while waiting for a stop light I can come back to the book and still know what's going on. Uglies delivers. Based in a future of crumbling, abandoned cities and a tightly controlled population of survivors controlled by an elite group of surgically enhanced super humans, this book is easy to follow and easier to understand. You can listen to this book while driving, working g in the woodshop or cleaning the house and not be distracted from your task. 

There are some cool ideas that keep your interest, this book is poppin' with hover boards, genitcally modified orchids and brain damaged slaves. There are some brief periods of puke-in-my-mouth teenager romance, but I made it through those with minimal disruptions. The perfect listen for busy adults looking for a little distraction from the real world. 


Username: Anonymous

Where can I find this for free?

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The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book



Author: Neil Strauss
Narrator: Lone Skye (seriously)
Publisher: Harper
Length: 6 h 30 m
Genre: Self-Help & Popular Psychology
Published: 2012
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.







Author: Steven Levy
Narrator: Mike Chamberlain
Publisher: Novel Audio
Length: 20 h 23 m
Genre: Biography & Memoir
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.








The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism



Author: Calum Chace
Narrator: Joe Hempel
Publisher: Three Cs
Length: 7 h 11 m
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2016
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.






The Postman

The Postman: A post-apocalyptic review



Author: David Brin
Narrator:
Publisher: Bantam Spectra;
Length:
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 1985
Reviewer: Anonymous

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I had never seen the Kevin Costner movie about the post apocalyptic postman that saved a town by delivering letters because it sounded stupid, but I sure as shit ran down to my closest Blockbuster and rented it the second I finished the last page of this incredible book.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>The Postman is great, it is more than a story it is an archetype for a genre, it should be a sci-fi standard and required reading for every adult. Our main character, Gordon, was alive during normal times but it has been 20 years since the "Big War" that ended civilization. After being pushed around by a bunch of bandits and having his camp raided,&nbsp;<i>again</i>, he is ready to finally stop being Mr. Nice Guy and start kicking ass and taking names. Gordon is just a lonely traveler, making his way west across the decimated United Sates, on foot. He meets all kinds of characters and eventually finds an old Postman's uniform, so he starts telling people he <i>is</i> a postman and he travels from town to down picking up and delivering letters in exchange for room and board. The author takes the opportunity this setting allows to show us many vignettes of different types of possible societies in this new world, some good and trying to rebuild, others have turned vicious and cruel.</div><div><br /></div><div>It is great fun seeing our Hero (Gordon) fight and talk his way across the Western US with only what he carries and his acting skills (he is also an actor (I know its weird)). It is really cringy though when Brin talks about feminism and where it "goes" in a post apocalypse, I won't get into it but you'll need to be able to forgive some of his old misconceptions and just plain sexiest opinions in places. But all in all, a great novel, some fun ideas, a great story but a horrible movie.






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

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



Author: Don Yaeger
Narrator: Brian Kilmeade
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 4 h 52 m
Genre: History & Politics
Published: 2015
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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!






I, Spy; How to Be Your Own Private Investigator

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



Author: Daniel Ribacoff
Narrator: Fred Berman
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Length:
Genre: Non-Fiction
Published: 2012
Reviewer: Anonymous

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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.