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
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
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
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
I don't think I can do justice to this book in a review, as I am too unfamiliar with the history, the ideas presented, and the cast of characters discI don't think I can do justice to this book in a review, as I am too unfamiliar with the history, the ideas presented, and the cast of characters discussed. I found it very technical and darn near incomprehensible in spots. So let's just do a rough outline should I ever be quizzed on its contents:
American and European universities have gone through three phases since about the mid-18th century: (1) As training grounds for ministers, for making gentlemen, and with no thought at all given to the practicality of the cirriculum. This lasted until approximately the end of the American Civil War. (2) After that time colleges and universities became increasingly secular, and at some point or other began espousing "secular humanism" (in the humanities) and the "research ideal" in the natural and "hard" social sciences. (3) Somewhere around the end of World War I "secular humanism" was gradually replaced with "constructivism" and that is the situation of the humanities today.
The research ideal ignores "purpose of life" type discussion in favor of increasingly narrow specialization, constructivism defines just about everything in terms of power relationships and/or racial, gender, ethnic blocs, also hardly conducive to thinking about the meaning of life.
Kronman bemoans this present state of things, and hopes something close to secular humanism is allowed someday back into the Humanities departments. Though he is able to offer only the slenderest of reeds that this might happen, he thinks it will because constructivism is "bankrupt," in his term.
Dunno about that, but he certainly impressed upon me that the current state of the Humanities is (a) a loony bin, (b) Stalinist in what is acceptable and unacceptable discourse, and (c) split into packs of wolves fighting over the same territory. And pack disloyality is the greatest of all crimes, certainly far ahead of silly things like telling the truth, should it conflict with one's group.
Maybe that last bit is wrong, but that's what I took away. Depressing listening. Also: the narrator was about as annoying as it is possible to be. Monotone, breathy, etc. Didn't help matters in terms of keeping my interest. a ...more
Big egos, big money, arrogance, the stupidity of dinosaurs in a tar pit, yep, its all here. In almost overwhelming detail. Not my normal cup of tea, bBig egos, big money, arrogance, the stupidity of dinosaurs in a tar pit, yep, its all here. In almost overwhelming detail. Not my normal cup of tea, but still interesting.
As a sidenote: copying the audiobook to my Ipod produced a nightmare of something like 900 "tracks," since each disc had a new track every 30 or so seconds. Thought that was a bit ironic, each time I hit the view by "song" button and this audiobook seemingling seemingly overwhelmed everything else. Plus, I think I may have missed part of at least one disc, since I put all nine discs in one playlist, and could never remember if I left off at track 438 or 483 or 384, you get the idea. The recording industry's revenge?
And to any high sheriffs who read this, I deleted the sucker the minute I finished with it, scout's honor. Illegal copying is actually not my bag, I've never done it and never will....more
Pluses: Interesting and accessible, makes some rather difficult material (esp. in Kant and Heidegger) understandable to the average listener, presumabPluses: Interesting and accessible, makes some rather difficult material (esp. in Kant and Heidegger) understandable to the average listener, presumably without distorting their messages too much. The section on Freud was also something of an eye-opener, as I'd never imagined his system worked quite the way Erickson says it did.
Minuses: Erickson can be extremely patronizing at times, though I doubt he even realizes it. He also seems to overdo the Midwest cornpone a bit for my tastes; if he was raised like that doubtless he's moved far beyond it. He also has a collection of stock phrases that grew quite tiresome after a while "let us meditate on," "we have reached a point in our journey," and a few others that seemed to crop up about every five minutes.
As to substance, I don't think his presentation of Marx was very well done, as best I recall he never explains why his starting point was Kant, and I found the last few sections, on existentialism (Sartre, Foucault, Habermas, etc.) close to impossible to follow...which may say more about the material than the one trying to explain it in laymman's terms.
I did enjoy it, I liked most of the survey, but I just can't bring myself to click on that 4th star....more
The hyperbole in this book was so over the top I ultimately found myself unable to take Milloy seriously. Still, the examples he cites of "Greens" onThe hyperbole in this book was so over the top I ultimately found myself unable to take Milloy seriously. Still, the examples he cites of "Greens" on the loose was rather frightening. Essentially a gang of thugs who will use any means necessary to advance their agenda, unless Milloy is being a bit less that truthful. (And since Regenery Publishing is somehow involved in this work...can't rule that out.)
Oh, and this is just about 100% politics, 0% science. He obviously believes global warming is garbage every bit as fervently as Al Gore believes the opposite. As in self-evident, so there's no need to talk about that part of things. Which annoyed me.
I guess I'd give 2 1/2 stars if such a thing existed, but since I always round up, he gets 3....more
I suppose if there was a 2 1/2 star rating I could've seen my way to giving it to this one, but the author's approach seemed to come straight out of aI suppose if there was a 2 1/2 star rating I could've seen my way to giving it to this one, but the author's approach seemed to come straight out of a tabloid. Irritating as hell. Everything was a personality conflict, everyone scheming against one another, no one having any clue what was going on in their CDO/MBS Hedge Fund. And damned litttle about how Ber Sterns got to where it was when the knives came out.
What this book needed was a whole helluva lot more analysis, financial, macroeconomic, whatever, and a whole lot less discussion of the sometimes bizarre behavior of the people leading Bear Sterns....And what was all that material about Lehman shoved onto the end of the book? It was almost as though he needed to puff the work up by 50 pages, was out of things to say about Bear Sterns, so let's chuck in something that is beyond a summary but is nowhere near long enough to tell the whole story.
Forgettable, unless watching re-runs of Dallas and Falcon Crest are what floats your boat. (Though I"m not so sure such a thing exists.)...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.