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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-07-18

A lengthy, but rewarding listen.

I came to this with slight trepidation partly due to its length, and partly because of Evan's well known feud with one of my favorite historians, Niall Ferguson. I'm glad I made the effort though. As with every historian, Evan's brings his own perspectives and biases to the table, but I didn't find his views became hectoring, or were ever less than well argued.

I won't pretend it was easy to get to the end of this 42 hour marathon, but you certainly can't say you don't get your money's worth. Evan's manages to cover a truly astounding array of aspects of 19th century European existence: everything from diplomacy, to the to the rise of organized sports, to the development of psychoanalysis and even what it was like to take a journey along Europe's roads of the period. Every subject seems well researched and cogently written, and Evans has a good eye for the absurdity and farces of history, which help to lighten a heavy-weight historical work. I came away feeling I had a much better understanding of the human beings who lived through this extraordinary time of change, what moved them to make the decisions they made, and support the causes they supported.

I know a lot of reviewers disliked the narrator - but I found his rich, fruity voice a pleasure to listen to.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-18

"It was quite simply a very bad plan"

There has been a long debate over whether the disaster at Arnhem was the result of a bold plan that didn't come off, or a foolish plan that was unlikely to ever work. Beevor nails his colours firmly to the latter position, and lays the blame squarely at the feet of the British senior commanders, who came up with a plan that ignored basic problems of geography and supply: and seems to have been dictated as much by political as military concerns.

I came away from this dreary story full of admiration for two groups. The British paras who showed astonishing resilience and tenacity in the face of vastly superior German forces: and the Dutch civilian population who displayed unstinting humanity and generosity in spite of the hardships they themselves were enduring. The Poles also deserve an honorable mention, despite having been unfairly blamed by some for the failure.

I expect high quality history from Antony Beevor, and high quality narration from Sean Barrett, neither disappoints here. Beevor taps non-British sources to give a wider and more complete picture of events, and combines traditional operational history with a sympathetic, but never mawkish sensitivity for the very ordinary people caught up in the vast calamity that was world war two.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-06-18

OK, but covers too much ground too quickly.

This is another book that zips over the whole landscape of finance, from debt reduction, to personal investing to macro-economics in just a few hours. A lot of the material is solid (although it can all be found more fully elsewhere) but nothing is really covered in enough depth to give real understanding.

Narrator is a bit dull IMO.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-18

Tons of great info, could be shorter.

There is a *lot* of really great psychological info here and practical advice on how to get you selling better but my goodness does it take a long time to get into the real business book. One of the author's contentions is we're all "selling" someway or other, and that it is becoming a more, not less, necessary skill for more and more people. Which is true, but he labored the point over the first third of the books length, which was far too much given it's reasonable to assume if you've bought a book on selling, you don't need to be convinced of its continued relevance.

Once it gets to the main meat however - there is a lot of awesome stuff here. The author obviously shares my interest in psychology and offers an approach to selling that is much smarter, more cooperative, and less confrontational than the stereotype of a salesman most of us have been brought up with.

Narrator is fine.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-06-18

Just read it.

I can't think of what to say that doesn't trivialize this brilliant work. It is an attempt to answer some of the most fundamental questions about human existence. The true story of a man who lost literally *everything*, from everyone who he cared about, to the last rags on his back, to any hope of a future life: and endured the worst physical and mental torment imaginable - but who managed to find reasons to go on living, find meaning in his experiences, and retain his essential humanity.

I cannot think of anyone in any circumstances or from any background who would not benefit from hearing what Frankl has to say. If he can find purpose in the living hell of Auschwitz, then anyone who has ever experienced any kind of suffering can hope to do so as well.

The narrator does a good job with the difficult subject matter.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-05-18

Strange little book this.

Whoever said Americans don't understand sarcasm, clearly never met the authors of this book.

There's quite a bit of good advice on a wide variety of subjects from value investing, to which college subject to pick, to "don't do drugs". It's all good advise, but it's an unfocused mess which switches from one subject to another without any apparent reason.

The narrator seems oddly comatose.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-05-18

Well, I laughed.

I feared the basic premise for this show might wear thin after the first episode, but I have to admit the series kept me amused for all of its roughly 6 hours. It's very well voiced by the cast, and despite occasionally trying a little too hard to "educate" you, it manages to make the main characters more than simple stereotypes.

This is *not* for the squeamish! It's not at all shy about discussing various kinks in quite explicit detail. Some of them frankly made me cringe, but for Miranda - it's all just another day at the orifice. . . . . .

Wouldn't mind a second series Audible.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-05-18

Great book about a short lived star of the biz.

I'm a casual rather than dedicated wrestling fan, and wasn't around for the ECW when it was on air. But I still thoroughly enjoyed this. William's has an obvious passion for the subject, has done his research, and manages to articulately convey the promotions history, why it was popular, and its context in the broader industry and cultural landscape. I particularly enjoyed the chapters concerning ECWs weird afterlife as part of Vince McMahon's empire, and his complex relationship with founder Paul Heyman.

It's a well-written history of the company, and a warm tribute to those who made it happen. It really conveys just how dedicated wrestlers have to be, (especially the a"hardcore" variety), and how difficult it is to consistently make money in the wrestling business.

The narrator is good too.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-05-18

Good fun for fans of the show.

I enjoyed this a lot. It's a great "behind the scenes" book that will interest and amuse fans of the show, and explores many of the on and off screen issues that affected the series over the years. Including its complex relationship with the BBC and the media.

It's written by a guy who was at the heart of it from beginning to end, who isn't afraid to admit the show's failings, and who obviously "gets" that for so many of us, it was more than just a hour of silly television. It was a little respite from reality.

Narrator is fine.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Absorbing history of the financial crisis.

This is not a "casual" listen, but if you're a finance nerd like me - it's a great book. It's a sober, detailed and well outlined account of the "super-bubble" of the early 21st century, and explanation of the factors that caused so many previously uncorrelated markets to all move together. Such as perverse incentives for money managers punished caution and rewarded recklessness, and blindingly complex risk-assessment models based on pure fantasy.

I enjoyed it very much. The narrator is fine.

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