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Good, but not without its problems (SPOLIERS)

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-19

This is a very interesting story, but should not be mistaken for a traditional ‘survival’ story. It is most relevant for relating how a person could live without human contact for decades. Although this was no small feat of survival, the fact the so many supplies were stolen from cabins, mitigates that aspect of the story. It is clear that Knight likely has some different mental make-up which ensures that he is fine without human contact, but also very difficult to interact with (as the author found out). And this relationship is where I have my objections...

I was originally going to give this story a higher rating, but the actions of the author near the end I find to be very bothersome. I get that he wants to explore the reasons behind Knight’s unusual lifestyle, but he then seems to forget the some of the main points of Knight’s lifestyle were that he had complete autonomy and privacy. Knight could easily have died any winter day, but the author seems to be completely dismayed by the fact that he may one day make the choice to kill himself by going back outside. Similarly, Knight repeatedly asks to be left alone, and the author just disregards these requests. I will now do what the author seems to have difficulty doing and leave this story (and Knight himself) alone.

Great but, not great format

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-18

I love this book and Fukuyama's ideas and writing, but due to length and the material covered, I do not believe it is well served as an audio book. I recommend getting the paper version for reading.

The neurotic musing of a left-wing pessimist

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-12

I give the review the above tile with only slight jest, as I actually liked the book. But to add context it was good, but definitely not great and the reader should go in being aware what they are getting into. The author is occasionally funny, but frequently pessimistic and always vocal about what he hates about our world (use of fossil fuels, capitalism, and globalization) which I found difficult to constantly hear. His ‘investigation’ of other people who also obsessed with end of the world is not so much of an investigation as he does not try to understand other viewpoints, but more of him looking into these other people / groups to criticize them. It is only near the end of the book that he seems to find some (albeit small) hope that life may not be a horrible experience. I would suggest he read Dan Carlin’s The End is Always Near to get some context on these thoughts, but kind of think that everyone sees what they want with the future and a pessimist will always see how horrible things could be and make the present worse with the anticipation.

Book two

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-02

Another example of great writing as should be expected by Herron, in that this is book two of he series. The story twists and turns in a way the avoids standard spy-story cliches, while at the same time embracing the general established arc. I appreciate how critical the writing is about the employees and everyday functioning of a bureaucracy. However, as with the first book I find that the characters are drawn a bit too harshly to make them all unlikable (i realize that was likely on purpose, but it is seems slightly unnecessary).

great adventure story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-05-05

What really stands out about this book is that it speaks to a time when all of these Peaks were unexplored. A different era when you could not just put down some money and have a guide take you to the top of Mount Everest. It really was Radical exploration. As well the narration of all these failed attempts really brings to light that Tenzing and Hillary could not have done it on their own, that it it was a huge team effort and they gained Advantage from all the people that went before them.

even handed clear account

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-03-03

This is a good informative account of the nuclear tragedy. I decided to read it after watching the TV series and to be honest I was disappointed with how I found the show sensationalized some aspects of the story. I found in audio format names of characters were a bit difficult to keep track of at first. Also the account is a bit clinical and unlike the series seems less focused on emotion than fact, which is good and bad, depending what you are looking for.

decent but aged

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-02-09

This is a good book, but not great. I think part of that is its age showing a bit. Anyone who is familiar with Gladwell will like the content and his way of examining problems. But as to the age of it, I just finished Talking to Strangers before this and they are worlds apart. In that book he has great original audio clips to show material. In Tipping Point there is one part where Gladwell actually reads out for several minutes a list of names from the phonebook, which for the listener is painful. A good book for those hardcore Gladwell fans, but for the casual listener I would look at his other material.

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a culmination of the HH podcasts

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-01-11

This book is classic Dan Carlin which is why it is both awesome and why I only gave four stars. The connect itself is great as Carlin takes the time to do what most in society fail to do, consider the bigger historical picture. Doing this puts into perspective our current problems and explains why societal collapse / destruction is as old as time itself. I am very familiar with hardcore history from the start of the show which is why this only received four stars. Some of the content is taken directly from his previous shows, so if you know them, it won't be all new. That said, fans of the show should still love this book as the material is so engrossing and relevant.

Really enjoyable listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-12-16

It should be no surprise that Gladwell who produces his own podcast, can really do great things when he changes his book into audio form. Everything from narration to the audio samples, to the voice actors is really spot on.


The material itself brings up some really interesting points about human interaction and some of the failings of doing so with strangers. I really liked he showed there was so much more nuance and institutional and cultural behaviour failings as opposed to just saddling one single person with all the blame for poorly interacting with somebody.

good modern spy story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-11-20

this book took a while to put all the pieces together but once it did, it was pretty good. harshly realistic similar to LeCarre. although I think the Jackson Lamb character didn't need to be so unlikable.