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Books / Media, Luxury, Multi-Tasking

Multitasking, Plus Books-On-Servant

This wasn’t going to be a post about multi-tasking, but I got distracted. And then I realized I was…wait for it… multi-tasking!

But before we get to multi-tasking, my original purpose was to review an audible.com book. “Audible” books are a great way to spend your time when you are already spending your time. It’s like a Time Sale. If there were Op-Shops that sold old pieces of time Leslie and I could shop together.

Most readers will be familiar with ‘Books on Tape’ which was pre-multi-tasking. These were ok for their time, but you couldn’t download them (gulp) or listen on an MP3 player. In fact you needed a whole car to sit in and listen, OMG.

If you want to get aristocratic, the original multi-tasker was Pierre-Daniel Huet, who, in the 17th century had his servant read to him out loud while he was eating or otherwise busying himself. I guess we could call this “Books on Servant”. (Full disclosure, I did a post on Pierre way back before this blog became internationally famous.)

Back to our review. “The Billionaire’s Vinegar” by Benjamin Wallace is subtitled The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, but it’s reallya story about very rich people getting taken by the Bernie Madoffs of the wine world.

These People Don't Live Like You and Me

The First Of Many "Jefferson Bottles"

Here’s the blurb from Publisher’s Weekly:

The titular bottle, from a cache of allegedly fine, allegedly French wine, allegedly owned by Thomas Jefferson in the 1780s, set a record price when auctioned in 1985.

The bottle in question was auctioned by Christie’s in 1985. It was a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux, and purchased by Malcolm Forbes for the (at the time) record price of $156,000. But that was only the beginning. From there Wallace gets into the opaque world of pre-phylloxera wines with bidding and secret sales at $200,000 to $300,000 a bottle.

The book also sports Thomas Jefferson anecdotes from the years he spent in Paris. Jefferson was quite the wine collector, became extremely knowledgeable on the subject and later attempted to jump start viticulture in the USA at Monticello!

As a renowned oenophile myself, specializing in $5 to $10 per bottle “Reds“, I could identify with these Big Dogs of the wine world. Even though they really do not live like you and me, the common thread is that they can, and do, get conned just like the rest of us. Which is what the book is about.

After all, how many people know what a 200 year old wine tastes like? And when it turns out that a large percentage of them are counterfeit, the sellers and buyers hold hands, close their eyes, jump up and down; and try to pretend that everything is ok. I would too if I had a cellar full of $100,000+ vintage extraordinaries, wouldn’t you?

Just be careful and don’t open them.

So finally, in our continuing tradition of teaching moments:

  • Do consider using audible books as an excellent addition to reading, and a great way to multi-task.
  • Figure out what kind of audible books you like best. In my case I’ve determined I like non-fiction the best, but your mileage may vary.
  • Billionaire’s Vinegar was a great read. Oops, make that listen, and Dennis Boutsikaris did an outstanding job as the reader.
  • If you are a Wine Nutter like me then  go for Billionaire’s Vinegar, otherwise go for your own personal gusto and do try an audible book. Sans servant.

Here are your links to Amazon and Audible for The Billionaire’s Vinegar.

Oh yeah, multi-tasking. I guess I got sidetracked.

Make that MultiTracked. Multi-Tracked. Multi.Tracked.

I’ll be back.




  1. Pingback: Cheap Knock-Offs Are Giving Fine Counterfeits A Bad Name « Not A Mystery - July 17, 2010

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