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The book itself is very interesting. Simon Singh has a deep understand of maths and The Simpsons. Mathematical concepts are put across in an easy to understand and fun way. I learned a great deal about maths and The Simpsons from it.
But there are a couple of things that spoil it as an audiobook.
The biggest problem with the audiobook is William Neenan's flat and lifeless narration. He makes no attempt to convey the humour in the book. He reads the jokes with the same drone he uses to read through umpteen decimal places of pi. Also, beware if you're the sort of nitpicking Simpsons fan annoyed by the mispronunciation of "kwyjibo". It's a shame the book isn't narrated by Singh himself.
The other, more minor, problem is the need for a PDF. When I'm listening to an audiobook it's not usually convenient for me to read a PDF. Sometimes you don't lose anything by looking up a reference later. But other times the diagrams are completely necessary for understanding the book (such as the diagrams in the explanation of Archimedes' method of approximating pi).
By the way, for those of you who came here to the product page to download the PDF as the book told you: it's not here. It's on your "Library" page.
Overall, I'd recommend giving the audiobook a miss and reading the book instead.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
The narrator - the monotone was very off putting and made it a struggle to listen - even though I am very interested in the subject matter.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets in three words, what would they be?
If you like mathematics, The Simpsons, and Futurama, you will likely enjoy this book -- but mathematics is not a good topic to convey through audio.
If you’ve listened to books by Simon Singh before, how does this one compare?
I have not listened to or read any other books by Simon Singh.
What three words best describe William Neenan’s performance?
British. Accented. Disconnected. I have written very few audible reviews, but I was motivated to do so mostly because I disliked aspects of the performance. I am not a nationalist or chauvinist, but I was taken aback by a book on American cultural products (The Simpsons and Futurama) being delivered in a British accent and by someone who apparently is not familiar with this source material. (I realize that the author is British, so it is questionable for me to object in this way.) It bothered me to hear Edna Krabappel's last name mispronounced. No fan of the show would do so. The author is a fan of the show, but the performer apparently is not. In addition, Euler and Knuth were mispronounced, so the performer is apparently not familiar with mathematics, either.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
My main reaction to this book was that it was a terrible idea to listen to (rather than read) a book with so much mathematics.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
A fine book, but any book that relies so heavily on the PDF should not be made into an audio book.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful