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The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class Hardcover – October 3, 2006
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About the Author
DAVID S. KIDDER is an entrepreneur with a wide range of technology and marketing experience. Kidder and his companies have appeared in articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other publications. He lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife Johanna, their new baby, Jack, and Bella, their charismatic dog.
NOAH D. OPPENHEIM, a producer of NBC's Today show, has extensive experience in television and print journalism. He has produced and reported for Scarborough Country and Hardball with Chris Matthews, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, Men's Health, and the Weekly Standard. He lives in New York City with his wife Allison.
Two voices--one male, one female--read short essays on 365 topics in seven fields of learning. Both narrators are competent, but the contrast between them is too great. Helen Litchfield's voice is sharper and louder than Oliver Wyman's. Further, the information is superficial and untrustworthy; there are frequent errors of fact and interpretation. The book's "daily" format is an uncomfortable match for audio. Audiobook consumers rarely listen for just a few minutes, the length of one of these entries. As a result, this is like listening to a substandard encyclopedia. Like the writers, the narrators can't be experts on every subject--as their pronunciation of many foreign and classical terms, or even "difficult" words, shows--they are off, or simply wrong, often enough to chafe. Both book and recording exhibit a lack of seriousness and care. W.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I'm pleasantly surprised by how the good this book is. Having only one page per topic is of course still a serious limitation, but the authors make efficient use of each page and do about as good a job as anyone could. The range of topics is broad and interesting, the information is (almost always) accurate, the insights are useful and sometimes impressive, and the overall writing quality is consistently high.
As other reviewers have noted, one flaw of the book is that the font size is too small, and I'm surprised that the editors let that go through. It wasn't really a problem for me, but it may be a fatal flaw for readers with vision problems.
Another semi-criticism is that it's not clear that this book is ideally suited for any particular audience. For readers who aren't already well read, the fragmented and jumping-around format of the book may inhibit understanding and retention (but of course the book can be read more than once to help remedy that). And for readers who are already well read, the book will be more of a review, so they may not learn much, although I did manage to pick up some useful new tidbits despite extensive prior reading on many topics.
Even with the caveats noted above, I still definitely recommend this book to readers who are oriented towards broad generalist learning. The book is a quality resource for that purpose, and there aren't many alternatives to choose from (The Bedside Baccalaureate: A Handy Daily Cerebral Primer to Fill in the Gaps, Refresh Your Knowledge & Impress Yourself & Other Intellectuals is another good choice).