In my 20s, I refused to listen to audiobooks. For starters, to me, it didn’t count as actual reading. I also loved, and still love, paper books. To experience an audiobook felt like a betrayal to this admiration.
On top of all of that, I also thought it’d be incredibly slow, and I wouldn’t be able to skip around the book as I like to. I’d have to listen to it front to back.
Plus, I couldn’t take notes in it. What would I do with all the marginalia? On top of that, even if I wanted to write things down, I’d probably be doing something else—commuting, washing dishes, and so on and so forth.
So, I never tried audiobooks until a couple of months ago. One thing I did realize a couple of years ago was the power in doing the opposite, and how much good luck (“unexpected positive outcomes”) I experienced from trying new things. I also was falling behind on my reading, I had a couple of free audiobook credits, and I decided to just give it a shot.
And here I am, writing it:
I really wished I tried audiobooks sooner.
I bought one audiobook and got two for free, and I’m really enjoying the couple that I’m listening to. Here are some things I didn’t expect:
- I’d already prepared to re-listen to audiobooks, so I’m not too worried or stressed about extracting the most important insights. If I missed it this time, it’ll come back around to me next time. If I didn’t take it in, it probably wasn’t really that important. I must’ve listened to The Business of Expertise three times by now, and Secrets of Closing the Sale four times. It’s a really great way to, in the near-term, listen to someone else talk me through or around my self-limiting beliefs; the same way hip-hop lyrics pop in my head, a narrator’s voice often finds its way into my head, with a motivational aphorism or insight.
- Just like books and ebooks, audiobooks are a transference of energy. I find audiobooks are even more persuasive than books are; you can really tell when an author believes in what they’re saying, and you can hear the conviction in their voice. By contrast, I’ve often put down books that I don’t find that compelling. I listened to Zig Ziglar say that the brain learns by seeing, but the heart learns by hearing, and it’s something that has lingered in my mind very often; many of my blocks aren’t intellectual, but emotional.
- The books are really tightly written, which means the narrator or author isn’t just winging it through a stream of consciousness. It’s the best of both worlds to me; by comparison, now, I find podcasts are fun and conversational, but not as jam-packed with insights as I’d previously thought.
I know there are other blocks I face—ones I thought I was stuck with, just from the way I grew up. As it turns out, books, articles, and lectures aren’t the only way to get through it; audiobooks, courses, and actual consultations can just as—if not even more—effective. As I type that out, I realize how obvious it sounds, but I really didn’t put it into action until this year.
I just use Audible, but I’ve heard great things about Overdrive.
To cultivate the habit, usually I commit to listening to a minute of an audiobook I want to listen to, before an entertaining podcast.