In Praise of Audiobooks

I love audiobooks.

I got into them a little over a year ago after my former roommate convinced me I should give them a try. With work, programming, and now a marriage its hard to find extra time to read. I’m in the car for about 80 minutes a day, making audiobooks an easy and convenient way to get exposed to books I othewise would never have read.

Here’s a list of the books I’ve listened to in order since February 08, which I think is pretty representative of my interests:

The Assault on Reason

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

The Daily Show with John Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook)

A Short History of Nearly Everything (Abridged)

The World is Flat

A Short History of Nearly Everything (Unabridged)

The Kite Runner

The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the New Economy

A Walk in the Woods

I’m a Stranger Here Myself

The Gods of Mars


You Need to Be a Little Crazy

The Innovators Dilemma

Investing for Dummies

The Intelligent Investor

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maitenance

Fooled by Randomness

The Virtue of Selfishness

Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal



The Tipping Point

The Count of Monte Cristo

I am America (And So Can You)

A few things: I did not finish The Hacker Ethic (its terrible), the investing books, or Ayn Rand’s books. Those are too hard to follow at 6am and I found myself constantly zoning out. I’d like to sit down with a highlighter and a pen one day and figure out what’s going on in those books.

How God Poisons Everything is a bitter intellectual rant. The End of Faith is a much better book.

I waited about six months after finishing the Kite Runner to attempt fiction again. If you’ve read the Kite Runner you’ll understand why.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was fascinating, but I don’t think I understood most of it.

I listened to the abridged version of A Short History of Nearly Everything and liked it so much that I bought the unabridged version… and listened to it twice. After reading them I’d like to become a middle school science teacher one day down the line, maybe in thirty of forty years. I think that’d be a great job.

Bill Bryson’s books are among my favorites. He’ll make you laugh and teach you thing or two in the process. After reading A Walk in the Woods, I have a strange desire to hike the Appalachian Trail.

I also listened to eBoys and The World is Flat twice, but mostly because I was too lazy to download new books at the time.

I liked Malcolm Gladwell’s books a lot too, especially Outliers.

You’d think I would have learned a lot after listening to these, but I fear that I’ve only retained a small fraction of the information presented in the books. On the way to work its usually early so I’m tired. On the way home I’m also tired and usually reflecting on the day’s events or whatever I have planned for the evening so I’m not all there then either.

I’ve gotten much better at detecting when I’m zoning out. If I notice myself doing it more than two or three times I just switch to music.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for something new. While searching for audiobook recommendations on HackerNews, I came across VentureVoice, a large collection of interviews with internet entrepreneurs. It includes interviews with Evan Williams, Guy Kawasaki, Jason Fried, Derek Sivers and a whole host of other well known founders.

Also via that HN post, Stanford also has a series of entrepreneurial lectures that you can find here. They include topics like Ten Enduring Success Factors for High Technology Entrepreneurship, Balancing Life and Work, The Evolution of Yahoo!, The Art of Negotiation, and a whole bunch of other goodies.

These should keep me busy for a few months.

If you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

2 thoughts on “In Praise of Audiobooks

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