Over the last 12 months I’ve consumed a lot of audiobooks – an average of 2 a month. I still prefer reading books for learning, but I’ve realized that audiobooks are also great for that purpose and much more. If you aren’t sure if audiobooks are for you, here are seven reasons why you should start incorporating audiobooks into your life.
Some people prefer audio over text for learning and maybe you’re one of them. If you don’t like reading, experiment with audiobooks and see if this helps you with learning.
2. Better Retention
I haven’t found any conclusive evidence that reading is better than listening (I do know that reading is an ineffective way of processing information), but what I do know is that if you combine the two that you’ll get the best of both. Audiobooks are great to supplement previous knowledge to solidify information.
If you have read a book before and then listen to the audiobook version, you’ll retain and reinforce much more information. I’ve noticed this myself with a lot of books that I’ve read and reviewed in the past.
For example, I’ve read and reviewed Getting Things Done a couple times but some of the concepts really stuck with me for the first time when I finished listening to the audiobook version. I’ve noticed this with other books too such as Think and Grow Rich, Switch (review) and Delivering Happiness.
3. Faster Learning
One of the main advantages of audiobooks is that you can pace the information you consume. I like to play my audiobooks at 1.5x or 2x speed and it doesn’t affect my comprehension. If you want to go through a lot of information, this is a great way to do that.
4. Save Time
As much as we discourage multitasking, sometimes it can be useful and effective. Audiobooks are great for that. You can listen while you’re cleaning the house, folding clothes, shaving (yes I’m weird like that) or anything else that doesn’t require much focus.
It’s especially effective when you’re commuting. I used to listen to tons of Anthony Robbins audiobooks on my way to work and I learned a lot of things while I was stuck in traffic. Plus it was really uplifting and made me more engaged at work.
Speaking of, just like listening to good music can uplift your spirits – so can audiobooks.
Reading inspirational quotes and passages are great, but it doesn’t beat listening to a person that motivates you to do great things while you’re learning at the same time.
Some books are better to consume over audio than over text. I find that conceptual books and biographies are better off consumed over audio than text.
Books like Good to Great cover big concepts that are best consumed over audio. You don’t need to know the exact details of the research as long as you understand the major concepts. The same goes for biographies – I usually don’t care about where the person ate breakfast every Sunday or where he/she went to work, as long as I grasp the major events of that person’s life and grasp the sequences leading to major breakthroughs of that person.
On the flipside, I would avoid listen to audiobooks that cover a lot of detail and require you to take a lot of notes, e.g., books about neuroscience or how to books.
Once a while you’ll buy a book, read it and find yourself really bored reading it. Sometimes it’s hard to get through a “dry” book but I’ve found that usually they are great to listen to. If you ever find yourself in such a situation where you know the book content is great but it’s hard to read, grab the audiobook version and go from there.
Audiobooks are really convenient. You can have them on your phone, iPod, computer and in the car. This makes the content accessible and you can easily continue where you left off from last time.
Whenever I’m reading a book, I need to find myself a quiet place and almost force myself to be fully present. With audiobooks I find it much easier to pick it up and start consuming – regardless of location, noise level or time of day. It’s just so convenient.
If you’re new to audiobooks, here’s a quick guide.
I would recommend using Audible as your resource (I use it myself and love it). They have a wide range of audiobooks, it’s integrated with Amazon and syncing content across different platforms and devices is easy with them.
For audiobook recommendations, here are some of my favorites (some are non-productivity related). In no specific order:
- Eat That Frog
- The Power of Full Engagement
- Getting Things Done
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
- Delivering Happiness
- Good to Great
- Motivational Legends
There was a big discussion in The Dojo, our online productivity community, on favorite audiobooks so that is a great resource too.
If you have a great audiobook to share, let us know in the comments below!