A Thousand Splendid Reasons For Audiobooks

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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How many books do you read per month nowadays?

Two? One? Half a book?

If you’re a busy professional, perhaps not even that?

I’ve always found reading to be an essential part of personal development. Not blogs – I mean the normal, in-depth, catch every word – not just the headlines – reading ;).

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed how my shelves started getting full of books I had no idea when I’d come around to read. Business books, fiction, language books, you name it …

Looming over me like a very pronounced shadow of outdated aspirations.

But why do I read less?

I suppose partly due to the standard reasons that we all face – apart from the apparent busyness, it’s ever-shifting interests and professional pressures that are making it increasingly hard to sit down and dive into one of the classics that you’ve always felt bad about not having read.

Like War And Peace, or Crime and Punishment, Bhagavad Gita, the Qu’ran, or even Cryptonomicon.

Another undisputable factor is the change in the way we read. This article captures it well.

We’re far less experiencing but rather processing written content – one of the tools our minds use to help us survive the information overdose.

But let’s back to the initial problem – sitting down, opening a book, focusing and doing nothing else for about 10 hours.

Quite rare in my current life.

So – about 2 years ago, I switched to audio books. I got one of those subscriptions at Audible and since then, not one month has passed without an epic story, historical drama, marketing advice or similar.

I run about every other day for 20-40 minutes, which makes a bit less than 8 hours per month, and I’m in the car at least 8 hours per month.

About a thousand hours per year that could potentially be wasted.

The dramatized version of War And Peace is about 9 hours long (the unabridged version is 65 hours :)), so this is just about right for 1 audio book per month without any significant change to my daily routine.

This means min. 1 book in the busiest months and about 2-3 on average – not perfect but more than satisfactory for the current pace of life.

What about recommendations?

I’ve recommended business books before, so here are two magnificent works of fiction, both about young girls in dire circumstances.

A Thousand Splendid Suns – a stunningly tragic and epic account of a young girl‘s life in Afghanistan during the recent wars

The Diamond AgeNeal Stephenson’s epic sci-fi drama about a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer – a great read or listen, almost as good as Snow Crash ;)

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Comments (3)

  • Ivan Brezak Brkan July 1, 2008 

    Agreed, audiobooks are awesome, as well as podcasts. However, I just can’t “read” business books in audio format or anything practical for that reason. Audiobooks for me end up being practical mostly either for fiction or inspiration reads such as for example Godin’s The Dip.

  • Tadej Gregorcic July 1, 2008 

    Unless it’s a book where the visuals (e.g. graphs) are a significant part of the content, I’m quite comfortable with audio.

    The iPod “double speed” setting helps a lot.

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