Grain Valley, MO, United States
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-29-11

"Coolest" book I have ever read

Alright. So I was born in 1982. This is absolutely the first review I have ever written in which stating the date of my birth seems to matter immensely. With that revelation from me, I bring a caution. I think that if you were born much after 1982, you will likely miss many of the nostalgic references from the book. You have to be able to look back fondly on a video console with fake wood for a box (Atari) not grey plastic (Nintendo) to get the references. I remember Atari but I'm a Nintendo guy so a few of the references went over my head. That doesn't make it a bad book. In fact, for me, it makes it the "coolest" book I have ever read. If you can relate to the characters of "The Big Bang Theory" in any small way, you probably will too.

So, regardless of your birthdate, about the book: This is an absolutely PLAUSIBLE science fiction AND fantasy book. Everything in this book could happen. That fact makes it exceptional in many ways for me. I love being torn into a different universe or pulled so far into the future that technologies show up like magic. I love it but it asks the reader to take a lot of faith. This book on the other hand, is set 50+ years in the future and although it is very unlikely to happen, everything in the book could happen. The book requires no origin story where the timeline of the universe is shifted completely by a dramatic invention that diverts space and time. It doesn't require you to believe that demons came to inherit the Earth. Everything in the book could easily happen. If you consider that the book has sword fighing, elves, magical powers, rocket ships flying at faster than light speed, epic battles where entire universes of people are destroyed, and an unlikely hero set to save the world, the fact that it is completely plausible is simply amazing. It's a simply brilliant concept for a book done perfectly.

This is a very rare book that makes me want to be part of a book circle so that I could somehow share it's perfection with others. It will never be labeled as "timeless" but it is certainly very timely for me. I am definitely going to have to read it again.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-10

Average and a little pretentious

AVERAGE - There wasn't a lot of "aha" moments in the book where I felt like the author was giving any new insight. In general, the book described some very good examples of how long term thinking will result in new, bigger, and better innovation. It also explained how someone should think in order to overcome short term thinking. The perspective of a neuroscientist explaining the reason why long term thinking was different. Anyone with sufficient experience working with people and setting objectives will already know everything talked about in the book. Understanding the evolutionary reasons why groups behave that way was interesting, but not necessarily useful. From a content perspective I give 3-4 stars.

PRETENTIIOUS - I think my perspective might have been totally different if I read this instead of listened to it. The author of the book is a man with 30 years experience in a vast array of industry after recieving a doctorate. The reader sounds 18 at most. Unfortunately, when an 18 year talks with what might be called prestige in a middle age man, I automatically think: "prick". So the tone of the book starts off bad. In general I felt like the book was a little pompous. The author told many stories of success where the main characters always "intuitively" understood what only the could understand scientifically. It always seemed like everyone else was just lucky in their ventures for long term improvement while Haseltine was making his own luck. 2-3 stars for tone.

Overall 3 stars at best.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-10

Very interesting topic

This is an interesting topic and a well written synopsis of the science of motivation. If you are a leader in a working company who has had to motivate people in the past, this book will mostly confirm what you already know. Monetary and other extrensic incentives don't work and they can be very detrimental. That in itself makes it valuable as a work of literature. There are a lot of people in high levels of leadership who may actually need a book like this to tell them what they should already know by looking at the effects of the systems they have created.

I wouldn't call this book a must read or a game changer however. It is saying what a LOT of literature in the business world is currently saying. What it does do is organize what is very good science behind ideas that are being propogated in many other books. There are a few other books I would recommend ahead of this one but if you are well read in business and leadership texts, this is definitely not one you want to skip.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-09

VERY good story

This is a VERY good fantasy story that I enjoyed so much that I couldn't wait for another credit before starting on the next in the series. I reserve 5 stars for true epics that I will have to read multiple times. If I could give out tenths of stars I would probably give this 4.6 or 4.7. It is really good.

I love the magic structure, the characters, and the class structure built the oppression of one caste of people. It makes for an intriguing story. My only complaint that holds this back from being truly epic is hard to describe. The world feels awefully small in a way. Everything is so homogenous that I don't feel like there are layered cultures to the world created. If it weren't for occasional remarks about the size of this world and the population of cities, I would assume that the "Final Empire" is about the size of a large island.

Great story and I look forward to the next two books.

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20 of 30 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-24-09

Perfect Satire

Maxx Barry is a master of satire. Company is one of my favorite books of light reading so I was ecstatic to find another Barry book on Audible.

I'm a Credit snob and I always feel like I'm getting ripped off if the book is under 18 hours. This book is a classic case of quality over quantity. I found myself alone in the car laughing out loud on multiple occasions.

With simple efficient writing and uncomplicate characters that don't need a lot of development, Barry gets to spend the entire book making fun of big business and (in this case) marketing. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and could relate to them as being the extreme's of people I have met before.

If you are looking for some deep thought provoking literature, this isn't it. If you just got done reading Ayn Rand and need a brain break, this is 5 star perfect.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-08


If you enjoy political fantasy, you might find this exciting. It is a very interesting world that was created but it seemed a little small. As a young writer, I think there is definitely a lot of potential. I'm not sure how big this world is supposed to be but the governence and politics seemed way too simple for a large fantasy world. The author seemed to be setting these characters up for a long series but I don't know that there is enough of interest to flesh out.

If you like fantasy there are some interesting concepts here but nothing all that original.

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9 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-24-08

Great Character's...Great World...No Story

Only David Weber story in my collection that doesn't have 5 stars (and I have them all). I love his writing and thoroughly enjoy the world that he has created in Safehold. Unfortunately, I agree with everyone else that this book didn't exactly progress very much (at least from an action stand point).

There is plenty of character development in this book but it is all political. I can see why some of the reviews were a little poor as a result. It lacks on the intense battles that are generally a staple of Weber. I still enjoyed the book and I can't wait for the next one. This felt a little like a set up book...

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-16-07

Not so good....

Multiple directions, no thought, little excitement. I'd compare it to Planet of the Apes without the great characters (yeah, that's sarcasm). Mostly the book just didn't do anything for me. It started slow and then ended. Maybe the other books in the series get better but I'll never find out.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-04-06

Labyrinth of Torturous Boredom

I listen to audio books all the time and have never had as much trouble keeping my attention focused on one book as I did on this one. I physically would make myself listen to it then realize it was an hour later and I had no idea what had happened. The jumps back into time and back to the present were nonsensical and not very entertaining. The supposedly suspenseful scenes were predictable. I think she was trying to be religiously controversial (another crappy Da'Vinci Code spinoff piece of nonsense) and that even fell on its face and lacked real depth in my opinion. The ending was wrapped up in a little bow and served on a little platter of perfectness. It was like putting happily ever after at the end of a horror flick. Nothing worked for me here and I definately give it a big thumbs down. I give it one star because I couldn't search the book for typographical errors.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-28-05

Maybe a movie

I read some reviews earlier that this would make a great movie and that it would be SO exciting. I think they are probably right. Everything of substance in this book could be set forth in a 2 hour movie. They might even be able to add a few layers. The most interesting part of the whole book occured in the first 30 seconds when Twelve Hawks (synthesized of course) spoke of being "off the grid". A lot of people are questioning wether or not this is a publicity stunt but I think that John Twelve Hawks has to be the real thing. It would take a total shut in who trully believed the machine was watching in order to write this book.

Only someone that absorbed could believe that these characters were even remotely believable. The bad guys (which is what they were, single layered without complexity) in this book had virtually no motivation. I wouldn't necessarily consider this a problem but it left the reader to believe that the "bad guys" truly thought they were helping the world. I love a good thriller but I hate characters without depth.

Maybe Steven Segal could make a good made for DVD movie out of this.

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3 of 5 people found this review helpful