Narrators voice was quite irritating for the first hour or so, but gradually grew on me. Would have rated this four stars, except I loathe it when anNarrators voice was quite irritating for the first hour or so, but gradually grew on me. Would have rated this four stars, except I loathe it when an author pretends to climb into the head of real historical figures and pretends to know not only what they said in conversation, but what they were thinking when having this made up conversation. And this book is rife with that. Still, though, an interesting story about an interesting period of time....more
The implied left-wing political slant of this work was something of a disappointment. Narrator okay, some interesting things discussed. Still have noThe implied left-wing political slant of this work was something of a disappointment. Narrator okay, some interesting things discussed. Still have no idea why I or anyone else should care if a "cybrarian" (quite the umm, neologism) should give a crap about what goes on on Second Life, which this book spends far too much time discussing.
And why all the "Waaah, poor Darien, CT" at the end? It is one of the wealthiest communities in the US...just about the only reason they COULD afford a state of the art library.
Very good discussion on the NYPL, though and the tension between servicing the general public and writers and scholars. Far less into being judgmental. ...more
If not as entertaining as Michael Lewis's The Big Short it was at least as well researched, and certainly offered more insight into John Paulson, doubIf not as entertaining as Michael Lewis's The Big Short it was at least as well researched, and certainly offered more insight into John Paulson, doubtless the biggest winner from the housing collapse. Overall, though, not much new ground broken, and perhaps a bit too heavy on the descriptives regarding Gulfstreams, exotic dinner menus and other errata I found on the tedious side.
Curiously, I recall no direct statement by Cashman that he had actually interviewed Paulson in the creation of this book. Yet he often presents as though he's inside Paulson's head, watching his synapses fire. Perhaps such a statement was made and I missed it -- such is the curse of listening to audiobooks while driving -- but given Paulson's central role in this tale you'd think such a fact would have been repeated several times. If so, I missed 'em all. ...more
McGee does an excellent job in covering the extent to which government regulation failed, investment banks failed, and especially in discussing the psMcGee does an excellent job in covering the extent to which government regulation failed, investment banks failed, and especially in discussing the psychology that moves the "masters of the universe" to willfully ignore the iceberg directly in front on them as they order their version of the Titanic to go full speed ahead. It is for these reasons that I give a four-star rating. And also her discussion regarding the rise of "Hedge Funds" and the impact these vehicles have had on more traditional banks, mutual funds and investment banks.
Unfortunately, I cannot say I was as impressed with her discussion of the housing "crisis" or of the sermon she offered at the end of the audio as to proposed solutions. And, perhaps rather curiously, the one area that seemed to get short shrift is how Goldman Sachs was simply smarter, has a corporate culture that is far less toxic to those who take "contrarian" views than that of most investment houses or whatever magic potion it was that made them do exactly what everyone else was NOT doing.
Still and all, both an informative and -- dare I say it -- entertaining listen. ...more
Way too shiny, happy a view of the future, even for the next decade. Though his call to cut foreign aid generally, close military foreign bases, and hWay too shiny, happy a view of the future, even for the next decade. Though his call to cut foreign aid generally, close military foreign bases, and his recognition of the US as the "world's policeman" as the crap it is, gave it one more star than maybe it deserved. And he even made some noises about reshaping our relationship with Israel. This gave me a good chuckle, being so conditioned and full of hemming and hawing you'd think he wrote this section looking over his shoulder the entire time. Still, I guess it took a set of brass balls to even bring the topic up, especially since he wants their "aid" to zero....more
It is amazing to me how a truly good writer can take the most banal of topics and make it not only interesting, but downright gripping listening. AndIt is amazing to me how a truly good writer can take the most banal of topics and make it not only interesting, but downright gripping listening. And such is the case here. Following a tuna from catch to dinner table, following accountants as they go through their day, experiencing the beauty and joy of power lines, and on and on.
Curiously, the one area of the audio that struck me as weak and rather rushed was the very brief concluding section. You'd think a professional philosopher would have more to say in the way of conclusions, takeaways, etc., from his adventures about the human condition. But there seemed to be very little of that. ...more
Lonely people are unsuccessful people. People who are alone are unsuccessful people. Gee, I've never heard that one before. Quite frankly, Brooks addsLonely people are unsuccessful people. People who are alone are unsuccessful people. Gee, I've never heard that one before. Quite frankly, Brooks adds nothing of substance to the advancement of relations between people, at least that I could see, but he is a much better writer than most who've trod the same ground, so I must give credit where it is due.
Beyond that, there really isn't much to say about this one, other than that I could not for the life of me figure out whether or not there was an unstated -- and rather cruel -- assumption underlying this work. Namely, I kept getting whiffs that those who are alone are that way because they wish to be, not because they have difficulty in forming and keeping relationships. And that it is all their fault, and dadgumit, they really should just get with the program. He certainly nowhere touches upon any condition from major depression to ADHD to Autism Spectrum Disorders as possibly a very difficult barrier for some to overcome. Perhaps I'm oversensitive on these topics, being blessed with the full trifecta. And, as noted, the exact phrasing noted above does not appear in the book. Admittedly a head-scratcher. But I submit not an unreasonable thought to have.
Oh, yeah. The story. On the fence about it. I suppose it helped Brooks put a face on his points, but I'd say that it was overall a distraction....more
Quite frankly I feel as if I were sold a pig in a poke with this audiobook. Farrell's politics intrude throughout, and this is not mentioned, though IQuite frankly I feel as if I were sold a pig in a poke with this audiobook. Farrell's politics intrude throughout, and this is not mentioned, though I guess it is hinted at, in the book description. I don't particularly agree with his beliefs, but don't particularly disagree either. What bothered me was the hectoring, lecturing, superior tone apparent whenever something political came up...and this was about an every five minute occurrence.
And what sort of advice is offered? I'm embarrassed to say I can't really remember, three days after finishing the audiobook. As best I recall it was the usual bromides about saving, raising your children to be intelligent about money, and so forth. I do believe he contradicted himself, after a fashion, on paying for college. He kept citing his parents in this area, then later mentions something about college costs rising much faster than inflation, but also later compares debt levels of graduates of today vs. those of the past. Dirty pool, in my book.
I suppose the book would have been a bit more tolerable if the rhetoric had been toned down, or if I followed the same line he does in all things, but this is really one you can skip and miss nothing or pickup free from the library. After all, sometimes reminders of general principles can be a good thing. ...more
Too scattershot throughout, and too preachy at the end. The harsh and depressing reality is that the 21st century is going to suck for the average AmeToo scattershot throughout, and too preachy at the end. The harsh and depressing reality is that the 21st century is going to suck for the average American, who will be lucky to enjoy the standard of living enjoyed by his great-grandparents. If you strip away Friedman's verbiage that's the straight-forward conclusion you're left with. (Even though I have no recall of him using terms like, oh, trade-imbalance, dissaving, or national debt. Though it might be interesting to ask why they were missing. They're really not part of globalization?)
Actually "verbiage" is putting it politely. Think hall of funhouse mirrors. Or not stopping with lipstick on the piggy, but adding a wig, high heels an evening gown and matching accessories. For whatever reason, Friedman is desperate to distract the listener from, well, what his eyes show him in his travels and to burble on about the potential wonders and joys of globalization. Thus you ask Miss Piggy if that gown is Dior, not why is it that Miss Piggy looks so porcine.
Whatever. Friedman makes a case about as well as you can for a thesis premised on nonsense. And the trends he's identified may in fact be irreversible, and are as likely to only pick up steam as do anything else. Whether we're fed continuous doses of Friedman's brand of Prozac or not. From him or others.
I just wish he'd been honest. What was that quote from that old but goodie Western, The Outlaw Josie Wales? Something about "Don't piss down my back and tell me its raining," perhaps? Except that in this world we live in the piss is seemingly flowing by the gallon. And Friedman wants us to consider it all Chanel No. 5. And perhaps most even do, well, for as long as they can.
Jarivs makes a fairly strong case for the Internet as an exciting whiz-bang tool for change, with Google as his shining avatar for the changes coming.Jarivs makes a fairly strong case for the Internet as an exciting whiz-bang tool for change, with Google as his shining avatar for the changes coming. Except when it isn't, as with their secrecy about their server farms. Or how the "anti-Google" (I believe that was his term) Apple can break all the rules and still find success. He might be right, he might not be, but his constant honking on advertising driven doo-dads on every site around to pay for all this free content is a concept that, at a minimum, the jury is still out on. And, of course, (shhhh) no mention anywhere of ad-blocking software.
Perhaps a bit of a "straw man" attack to accuse him of utopianism, but there's a whiff of it there, certainly. He also seems to blow through some topics that I'd personally find interesting, like how these companies get their start, their financing and finally how -- to date -- you can say they are profitable or not. Yes, they're briefly mentioned, but measured in sentences not paragraphs....more