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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-26-06

Great book

This book is great. Sure it's not a textbook so don't expect to use it to pass your biology exams. It's a pop science book that will be interesting to a wide range of people, in particular anyone interested in gardening and plants.

It's basically four stories, each one about a different plant and the authors experience with them and musing on them and their history. The four plants are apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes.

The book is well written and in some places quite funny. It kept me entertained, I picked up a few factoids on the history of these plants, and it made me think about how plants and humans depend on each other.

The narrators reading was a bit overdramatic in the introductory parts, either he settled down or I got used to it, because I enjoyed the narration through most of the stories. This narrator also did "The Traveler" (fiction), which I also enjoyed about 6 months ago.

Overall, this is one of the best books I've downloaded in the last few months.

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27 of 30 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-19-06

Interesting

I hadn't really heard of Zodiac, perhaps it's not living in the US, or perhaps being younger than 30, but when I think of well-known serial killers this isn't a name I think of. So in that sense, the details in this book were all new to me.

I thought this book was well written and well-read. I liked how the chapters alternated between chapters about victims, chapters about zodiac, and chapters about law enforcement. It made it very easy to follow the progression of the story.

The book is well narrated and easy to listen to. Although this audio version is new, I think the actual book is relatively old, however this doesn't really matter, since I don't think there would have been any new developments since it was published.

I can't speak for the accuracy of facts in this book, since I wouldn't know, but it seems plausible enough.

Overall enjoyable if you have an interest in true-crime stories. I didn't find it particularly graphic (it's certainly not for kids) so you probably won't have nightmares for weeks after listening. The murder scenarios were described in some detail, but it wasn't gratuitous. But your mileage may vary.

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45 of 50 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-06

This is a toilet book

I guess the title should have been a giveaway, but this book is one of those 100 section books with 1-2 pages on each job. It's not really great for audio and is really a book for a waiting room, coffee table or toilet.

It's averagely funny, the content is not too bad, but it's not something you can sit back and get into. I guess it may be ok for a short commute so you can drop in and out at virtually any point.

Overall a bit disappointing.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-16-06

Outstanding

This is a fantastic book. It will be enjoyable for anyone with some interest in medicine, and most likely will be thoroughly enjoyed even by those with no interest in medicine.

It's not really heavily focussed on technical aspects of medicine, though there is some detail about medical procedures but it's generally just part of setting the scene of the story.

The book is mainly a collection of stories with a common theme - that doctors are human and sometimes make mistakes. There are some stories about negligent doctors, but primarily it's about good doctors who aren't always right. There is a kind of running ethical dilemma about the balance between training and giving practice to new doctors and giving patients the best care.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-27-05

Great Book

This is a great book. It tells the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. The story centres around two characters primarily, Minor (the madman) and Murray(the professor).

It gives bit of a life story of Minor, and tells how he came to be locked up in an asylum. It also gives some information about the history of English dictionaries, and about the process by which the OED was compiled.

Minor, obviously bored living in isolation, and besides his madness very intelligent, took to indexing and providing quotations of the words in all his books. As the dicitonary team progress through the alphabet, Minor would ask which words they were working on, and look up in his home made rolodex, the book titles and page numbers in his vast collection of books, then copy out the required quotations and send them to the dictionary team for inclusion.

He is said to have been one of the most prolific contributors. There's nothing particularly exciting in this audio book, but it is a fascinating historical story.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-23-05

Outstanding book

This is a fantastic book for anyone interested in marketing. The format is 22 rules, alternately spoken by each of the authors.

Full of great insights and interesting stories about marketing campaigns of various companies that succeeded and failed. It does however show it's age a bit in some of the examples, being nearly ten years old, but that doesn't take away from the value of the book.

Highly recommend for anyone thinking in business or thinking of starting one. Even if you're not in business, the anectdotes and stories will be interesting to most people none the less.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-20-05

It's OK

There's some good stuff in this audiobook... but it didn't keep my interest consistently. I think this would probably be better on paper.

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this kind of book at the time, but I found it fairly average.

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3 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-11-05

Interesting stories, but not what I expected.

I'm not sure what I expected when I got this audio book, but it wasn't what I got. I guess I thought there would be some more solid data about how the whole nobel prize sperm bank experiment all turned out, or more about the genetic factors in intelligence.

However, now I've heard it, it's understandable why there wasn't more about this aspect. It's because no-one really knows how the nobel sperm experiment turned out, and if the stories in the book are anything to go by, many of the donors weren't really genius's anyway, and only one nobel prize winner is actually known to have donated.

The stories are interesting, and relate to donors finding children, children finding donors, children finding half siblings, and the interactions and relationships that ensue between them. It raises thinking points about what impact the donors had on the intelligence of the children as well as the impact finding out they were nobel sperm babies had on them. But it doesn't so much answer these questions as leave them for you to ponder yourself.

There is a smattering of the authors opinions on various topics surrounding the nobel sperm bank, sperm banking in general, eugenics and alike, but it's more passing thoughts and general opinions than concerted research. However the author always presents it as such, and never tries to pass off his musings as factual.

Overall it was an entertaining book, and the authors style is quite funny. There's one particular story that really stands out, when one of the children finally meets his "nobel" donor, and he is not quite what you would expect.

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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-05

My favourite audio book so far

This is my favourite audio book from audible so far. At first the narrator was slightly irritating, he sounds like the kind of "crazy professor" types they get to host pop science shows for kids, but after a while he grew on me, and in the end I think it was very well narrated.

The actual content is far too wide ranging to cover specifically in a short review. But it follows a coherent path about all those little tidbits of the history of our planet, our species and our universe, that everyone should know, but most of us never bothered to investigate.

Even though this is probably one of the longest audio books on this site, you'll still be wanting more when it's over. If you're interested in the general topics I mentioned, and just want a nice, "for the average person with an interest in science" presentation of this material, you'll thoroughly enjoy this audio book.

It rarely strays into the extremely technical or detailed, but still conveys the main thrust of the ideas. I highly rate this book, the writing is good, and there were times I laughed out loud, at the authors humour which kind of sneaks up on you.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-05

An interesting listen

I really enjoyed this audio book. I've heard Malcolm Gladwell speak before and had been interested to "read" The Tipping Point for a while. It's a mixture of anectdotes, psychology, economics, marketing, epidemiology and more.

The principle focus of The Tipping Point is how small changes, can bring about large effects. With examples such as marketing of Hush Puppies shoes, the broken windows theory, Airwalk shoes, Paul Reveres midnight ride, word of mouth, mass hysteria and more.

The only disappointing thing about this audio book is that it is abridged. If you like short 3 hour "quick listen"'s, you may not mind, but it felt to me, like a reasonable amount of material was cut out. This was even more apparent at the end during the afterword, when it references several things that did not appear in this audio book.

But overall, it was enjoyable, fairly "light reading", and kept my interest throughout.

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34 of 34 people found this review helpful