On Listening

I am now enrolled in the AudioBookWorm ‘book’ club. This fills in the two hours (and occassionally more) of drive time. I used to listen to NPR, Talk Radio channels and WBLM rocking the world. Endlessly punching from one content & context to the next to avoid the revenue producing commercials – yes, NPR has ‘commercials’ too – and sometimes to get away from repetitive context. One of the talking radio heads takes 15 minutes to get five minutes of content.

My first book is On the Wealth of Nations – P.J. O’Rourke. Notice that is only, not the source book.

As one of the first titles in Atlantic Monthly Press’ “Books That Changed the World” series, America’s most provocative satirist, P. J. O’Rourke, reads Adam Smith’s revolutionary “The Wealth of Nations” so you don’t have to.

It is a good listen, although I miss having my pen in hand to capture lifted pithy expressions for further reflection. There is at least one on CD 1 – third selection in.

Just like NetFlix, when done, all I have to do is drop the CDs back in the mail and they will send the next one while I listen to the second selection sent. This will create a revolving library with something always available to listen to. So far, each day, I have been able to listen to a CD a day – coming and going.

Next on deck is Freakonomics by Steven Levitt.

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life — from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing — and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.

Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives — how people get what they want or need especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of … well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to see through all the clutter.

More ideas instead of two hours daily of dormant drive time.


2 thoughts on “On Listening

  1. That would be the only thing I miss about having a commute – my audio library books. Your post has me wondering where I could fit in audio reading time. Hmmm.

  2. Pingback: On Listening – On The Wealth of Nations « Maine Forest Cafe

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