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Sixteen Years of Listening: My Audible Favorites

Since I signed up in 2003, Audible.com has been in my short list of top Internet services. In the early days, it was a chore to play Audible files in the car or sync them with a portable MP3 player. Nowadays, with a smartphone and AirPods, I can easily sneak a listen anytime I have dead time between focus tasks, such as walking in-between buildings, taking out the trash, or brushing my teeth.

These small moments add up, and have reopened my life to the magic of books. I regularly promote Audible to others, and to get them hooked, I share a list of my favorite listens. As I set about emailing the list to another friend this weekend, I thought it’d be fun to share it publicly.

I’d love to hear what you think about any of these, and to hear about your favorite listens, too!

All-Time Favorites Across Genres

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “Trilogy”, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, all narrated by the man himself, Douglas Adams. Listening to these books with the author’s own voice is a special treat; I prefer his characterizations to those of the BBC cast. I really miss Douglas Adams. (While writing this up, I just noticed that several of the Douglas Adams narrations are no longer available for purchase — boo!)

History

  • Charlie Wilson’s War covers key events leading up to 9/11 by following the antics of the charismatic Congressman Charlie Wilson. Sex, war, politics… what else could you want?

Author-Narrated Non-Fiction

And speaking of author narration, there’s a whole bunch of audiobooks read by celebrity authors, and I’ve enjoyed many of these.

  • Jerry Weintraub’s When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead. I bought this on a lark but really enjoyed it. Jerry’s a true hustler and it’s interesting to hear about the early phase of his career, like landing a gig as promoter for The King, as well as his work with Old Blue-Eyes.

Religion

I’m tempted to write a lengthy review of each of these; for now, suffice it to say each changed my outlook—especially Going Clear.

  • Going Clear, Lawrence Wright’s landmark exposé of Scientology. You’ll learn about a few scurrilous rascals, but the questions it raises about religion, cults, and human nature are transcendent.

Tech Culture

Growing up in Silicon Valley, my life story intersects with tech on many levels, so I feel a special connection to any book that covers my industry.

  • Even if you think you know Elizabeth Holmes’s story, I guarantee Bad Blood will shock you.

Science and Productivity

  • You’ve probably encountered Dan Ariely’s TED talks; his audiobooks are more of the same, in a good way. I would have preferred to have Dan narrate them himself, but Simon Jones is a great alternative.

Fiction

  • Dune: an audiobook production worthy of one of the best sci-fi novels ever.

Written by

Tech entrepreneur, executive, and investor; octo-dad

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