Podcasts and Audio Books

It was my new year’s resolution to start listening to more audio books and podcasts instead of my regular radio while commuting to work and at other times when free. My commute to work is only 15 minutes but I was also counting on other times at work when I go for a walk or listen to music when I need a break. I thought of starting to listen to something educational. Before jumping into listening, I needed some good content. I love reviews and research like crazy on anything I want to buy or use. So started researching on 10 best non-fiction books, 10 best biographies, bestsellers in every category, 10 best podcasts, etc. Also looked through Quora for additional information and material on which I need to be spending my time on. I got an audible subscription and started using iTunes for podcasts. This post is to describe what I’ve read so far and my experience with this new found way to absorb knowledge.

Podcasts:

I never really fell in love with listening to podcasts because the voices and constant chatter irritated me. And the ‘best reviewed’ ones I felt left a lot to be desired. What I realized now was that, since I was more focussed on the best of best lists instead of the topics which I was truly interested in, I was left uninspired. For reference, I started listening to This American Life, some political podcasts, something about finance, etc. I did that because I wanted to learn about these areas and was hoping that somebody narrating it to me would make me get interested in it. Didn’t really work — either the episode was not good, or it was too long or I was just bored. But this time around, I changed went for topics I am really passionate about — food, health, fitness and some other random things. This really changed my mind about podcasts and I started loving to listen to them. Some episodes are still boring but I was picky and read gists about everything before I started listening to them. These are my current favorites:

  • Bulletproof Radio
  • The Nerdist
  • How I Built This
  • Planet Money

Audiobooks:

I subscribed to the gold membership plan of audible ($15/month) to begin with. With audible, you get one credit to use on any book every month which is included with the membership and then you get 30% off of any book in addition to that. Since I was an amazon prime member (who audible is owned by), I received a free 15 day trial plus an extra credit. So the platform was set. Now, as I started reading audiobooks, I immediately fell in love it. I listened to it at all times — commute to work, gym and every time I got a chance. And I preferred audiobooks to podcasts which because:

  • the content is obviously better when you are paying for it
  • there is usually a storyline and it is more engaging and keeps you interested throughout (again, depending on the book you choose but I have had good luck with all so far)
  • you know what to expect, there reviews and gist gives you a pretty good sense of what the book is about rather than a podcast where individual episodes so not have reviews. I really think that podcasts should have ratings per episode — i was struggling to get a good list of episodes from popular podcasts which have been running for a long time.
  • I also like the small badges which audible has tried to built in for some gamification and completing a book gives me a sense of satisfaction.
  • There is usually one person talking and narrating and is a monologue which is the type I usually prefer.

I especially like is when narraters narrate books since I feel like they are directly telling me their thoughts when they were writing the book, they are better able to give you a sense of what the book is about, also i found them to do amazing impressions of accents etc in dialogues within the book.

These are the books I have listened to in order of my liking:

  1. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (Narration by author)
  2. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest or a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  3. Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari (Narration by author)
  4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

So overall, pretty happy with the progress I’ve made so far and am eager to grow my list very soon.