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The line of thought is often interesting - but the low quality of the sound with whisperings and chairs ruminating in the background as well as inaudible questions makes it difficult to recommend. Also we listeners do not have at hand or on-line the many handout that are used ad referenced throughout. All-in-all its a lecture recording "on the cheap" that needs to be updated and applied for tape/digital to make real sense.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful
I was looking forward to this book, (as I thought), but it turned out to be a recording of lectures to a group of students and other academics, who made comments, often inaudible, in the background. Dr Shermer rattled on, losing his notes from time to time, making asides, stopping for a drink, adjusting the recording device, referring to what he had written on a board, to slides that he was showing, to printed handouts, and talking about the time of the next lecture etc. Essentially, I felt that he was wasting my time.
The material would have been much better if presented in a professionally edited book, and read from a book by a professional reader. I believe that I did not get what I expected - an audiobook, and am disappointed that Audible represented it as such.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
This is in 3 parts and spans about 24 hours. These are Shermer's lectures recorded in the classroom (it does not seem to be a lecture theater as there is an intimacy with the class. He sometimes makes mistakes (due to the virtue of a live recording) on values and data but these are just verbal trips and are not intended. They are however enjoyable, but the listener will not have access to his pictoral material which he uses. I e-mailed Shermer about this and he does not have the images to give, he also said I was the first reviewer to get in touch as the lectures had only been just released. If anything you will learn the inter-connectedness between known and unknown scientists throughout the last few centuries. His lectures on Einstein are very revealing. I would strongly recommend this title to those interested in science and how it works.
27 of 29 people found this review helpful
When buying this book I expected something akin to Bill Bryson's "Short History of Everything" - perhaps more detail and less humourous but, given the length and cost, something well-researched and well-presented. In fact this is a series of lectures given by Schermer, the structure, clarity and editing of which is significantly inferior to the standards set by the "Modern Scholar" series. Structurally the lectures are full of digressions and, at times, Schermer shows he has little grasp of some of the topics being discussed. The clarity of the recordings is awful and I lost count of the times when discussions were taking place with the audience and it was impossible to hear the questions being asked or the contributions being made. However, it is perhaps in the editing that this series is at it's weakest. "Chapter" breaks are often made when Schermer is in full flow, digressions and barely decipherable audience discussions - completely off-topic - could, and should, have been edit out.
Finally the title of the book is misleading as, given it's poor structure, it tries to span philosophy and religion as well as science and does poor justice to all three subjects. As an alternative I would recommend any potential purchaser to buy the following:
"A Short History of Everything" - Bill Bryson
"The Story of Philosophy" - Will Durrant
"The God Delusion" - Richard Dawkins
8 of 12 people found this review helpful