I listened to my first audiobook last year. I didn’t know how I would feel about not turning the pages myself or having someone read to me. This isn’t elementary school. I thought I’d start with an easier “read,” something more enjoyable and less technical. The risk of falling asleep was already high, I didn’t want to increase it by listening to someone discussing capital structure.
To start, I chose Ready Player One, a great book. Wil Wheaton narrated it, which sounded natural since the book has a futuristic, sci-fi feel. After I finished listening to the book, I was hooked. Life has become so busy that it was hard to find time to read. I was missing out on learning new things or enjoying a new story. Now, I can listen to a few books a month without having to carve out any time from my schedule.
Reading apps make it even easier. I have the Audible app on my phone, so my audiobooks are available when I am driving to work or around town. My commutes have completely changed. Instead of listening to mindless talk shows or trying to find a radio station playing music and not ads, I can pick up where I left off in my current book. With an average drive of 20 to 30 minutes, I have almost an hour of reading completed on a round trip drive.
If I am pushing for efficiency or listening to a slow narrator, I can increase the speed of the reading. I’ve found that 1.25x the speed is a good compromise. Its only 25 percent faster, so the speed change is hardly noticeable, but I save time without having a book read so fast, the narrator sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Listening to dry content is a drawback to audiobooks. If a book is difficult to read, it is even harder to listen to. I’ve found that listening to books that are technical in nature is hard, especially while driving. Maybe if I could sit down in a quiet room and listen to this type of book it would work out. But at that point, I might as well just open the book and read through the information.
At least with the book I would have the benefit of going back a few pages or reading over complicated formulas multiple times. So far this is the only drawback I have found. I’ll save the technical content for actual books and books without formulas or graphs for audiobooks.
For books that are easy to listen to, I still switch between books on business and pleasure. For example, I’ll listen to a Jules Verne novel like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but the next book will be a biography or business nonfiction. Listening to too much of the same genre seems to diminish the impact of a book’s message. I’ve also enjoyed listening to books that I would have considered outside my comfort zone.
Listening to books by so many diverse authors has given me a new perspective on what I once believed to be immovable opinions. It has also made me think about problems and situations I had never considered before. Overall, having a diverse library helps me keep my imaginative and creative juices flowing
I have enjoyed my transition to audiobooks. I can’t beat the convenience of listening to books that have been on my must-read list for years. I have mowed through more books this year than any year in recent history, and this is only from listening while I’m on the road. I’m going to keep pushing through my list, but if you have a book you think should be on it, drop me a line. I’m always looking for something new to listen to.