Posts Tagged ‘consumer’

Book Review—The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm

September 12, 2009

The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm, by Kenneth Gronbach, came highly recommended as a must-hear (or must-read) and is a book for any players in the corporate world, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and even parents.

The Age Curve

The Age Curve

Having listened to The Age Curve, I never will look at a news story, business decision or politics in the same way. This book has added to my ability to think critically about trends shaping our country and about business models that exist today. It is one of the best business books I’ve heard or read.  Start to finish, this book is so informative that I have found myself re-listening to some of the sections.

And I wish to give a hand of applause to the author, Kenneth Gronbach.  He actually made a book about demographics that not only is informative, but also is entertaining! I especially appreciate his concise style.

I have a confession to make. When listening to the audio book, I found the subject matter so valuable for considering  long-term career goals  (the next 20 years at least) that I went out and bought the hard cover version for my book shelf. I know I will refer back to it from time to time. And although this is a blog about audio books and exercising the brain and body, I promise to read this hard cover version on a stationary bicycle!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Length : 6 hours, 6 minutes (Unabridged)
Narrator:  Max Bloomquist
Release Date: June 2008
Publisher : 2008 Brilliance Audio Inc

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¿Habla Español?: Learn à la AudioBookFitness

May 14, 2009

I was lucky to meet a neighbor, Teresa, who speaks fluent Spanish. She worked in a contract position at Yahoo until last year.  Since I have always wanted to practice the Spanish I worked so hard at learning as a college student and review Spanish for an upcoming trip to Spain, we worked out an agreement that I would help her with her resume and she would help me with my Spanish.  I am fortunate to work at home (company  lap top and cell phone), and I would run over to her place, read for 20 minutes, converse for about 10 minutes and then come back  home, have a quick  lunch and get back to work.  It worked well until her mother had a stroke and she had to return home to Mexico to help her mom for a month.

Not wanting to loose the language skills I have been gaining, I bought a new Garmin nüvi GPS (to be reviewed at a later date) that plays MP3 files and I am dedicating it to reviewing and learning Spanish while I drive.  I downloaded the highest rated Spanish audio book series from AudiblePimsleur, Spanish I, Second Revised Edition: Lessons 6 to 10. This was only for review, and after listening to it, I realized it was a bit on the simple side. ‘Vamos a bebir una Cervesa in al resturante Colon.’  or ‘¿Cuanto Cuesta dos Cervesas?’ are not sentences I will use daily (well, I could change cervesa to vino…) yet this has proved to be a good brain exercise while I am driving. Actually, audio language books are IDEAL for puttering around town, because if you are using a GPS with an MP3, the interruptions of GPS instructions (‘In 500 feet, turn left.’) are best interlaced with the short verbal exercises and sentences of a language (‘Repeta: ¿A donde va Carlos’?) rather than a long narrative of a book.

The biggest challenge for me has been finding the right level of Spanish instruction to start at since I am familiar with the language. There was no assessment to help determine what audio book to start with. So if you have tried any of the Spanish audio books, let me know what you like and didn’t like about them along with some commentary about their difficulty level. I’d love to hear from you.

Italian and French are next…then Chinese. And of course, I will be starting with Level 1 on these languages when the time comes (Yo! I could be in my nineties by then!).

I keep thinking about a study that I read years ago about elderly nuns learning French and how it kept them mentally agile into old age. Yes, that is one of my goals, brain fitness and agility, and I want to speak decent Spanish as I meander the cities of España.

Why Amazon Is Missing the Mark

April 25, 2009

I love tech toys and am always in the market for devices that are ‘unitaskers’, or multiple function devices. My new GPS plays a Spanish Language Instruction audio book, while I navigate the roads in Silicon Valley and in the Bay Area. My digital recorder records my band mate and myself (The Hope Street Band) AND plays audiobooks. The next mobile phone I purchase will also play audiobooks . . . and I’ll be able to use it as an eReader, GPS, appointment calendar. You get the idea.

I had assumed that Amazon’s Kindle did not play MP3 files or audio books. Recently, however, I was surprised to learn that Kindle is compatible with audio books purchased from Audible.com. These files can be transferred to the Kindle via a USB connection. What puzzles me is that because Audible is owned by Amazon, I think both businesses are missing a great cross-marketing opportunity—selling an audio book file packaged with a hard copy book of the same title.

How can Amazon capture the cross-over audience. Better yet, what changes would I need to see before purchasing a Kindle?

1. Package Deals. When Amazon starts offering the Kindle reader hard-copy books with the audiobook of the same title, I’ll buy one. I personally like owning both the audio format and the visual format (usually paperbacks) if it is a book I value highly. I know I could listen to the built-in robot voice read, but I will enjoy a book more if the narrator is good, as it usually is on an audio book.

2. Website usability.  Since Amazon owns Audible, downloading both audio books and ebooks could be made a seamless task.  Since I am a member of Audible, why would I pay full price for the audio book through Amazon, when it’s less expensive through my Audible membership? They don’t make it easy for us!

3.  Kindle book club. I really like a bargain.

How about you? Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?