On Listening – On The Wealth of Nations

by P. J. O’Rourke.

This is the first book listened to from my membership in audiobookworm.com. The idea for this was presented recently in my blog titled On Listening. Now that I’ve gotten through the first book, and am two CDs into the second – Freakonomics, how well did this work for me?

The ‘book’ first – 5 CDs. The way my drive time goes, I got through one CD a day. Starting in the morning, finishing on the way home. That is about 58 miles per CD.

The first thing I missed was the ability to capture quotes for further reflection. Kind of annoying and certainly a dangerous activity at 65 MPH. (Yes, that’s me, that guy in the right lane, ambling and meandering onward and maybe in your way). First thought, buy the book anyways! Per Amazon.com, the list price is $24.99, sale price is $18.24, with used ones available from $4.82. This extends the economic impact to my bottom line. Renting the book, then buying it. Pick one? This defeats the purpose of one or the other.

The firsthing I learned was I really need to work on my listening skills. I heard the whole book, but didn’t listen to the whole book. Some distractions were caused by the voices in my head tangenting down a mental path influenced by an idea presented. No longer listening, only hearing was occuring.

Then there are the disruptions caused by having to pay cognizant attentions to the dangers of the road. I.E. TRAFFIC.

However the CD is divided into segments. So it was possible to repeat missed segments.

O’Rourke is a solid writer in the gonzo journalistic style. While good for hilarity, at times his three example style of good, better, then absurd became predictably tedious.

PJO does Adam Smith justice and provides bonus material from Smith’s earlier work on Moral Sentiments.

Other things missed. Foreword. Jacket blurbs of endorsement. A table of contents. Perhaps even illustrations that lend visual support. Can’t scan through a CD. And my personal model of the three levels of reading to learn is moot.
Level I: Scan the paragraph and section headers, read the introduction, any author notes and any blurbs of endorsement
Level II: Scan all RTF emphasized words and chapter titles when provided
Level III: Read the book – word for word.

That all being fussed about. The excercise of Listening to Learn will continue. I already sense an improvement in my listening skills. Let it continue.


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