A pair of white headphone pods against a white background.

Audiobooks (And Their Role In Helping Me Read One Book A Week)

I finished 66% more books because of them.

As soon as you saw audiobooks, you started judging. Because well… they have a connotation to them. A feeling that they are “lesser” than physical books, alongside those annoying individuals who “read” them.

You’ve probably said these exact words when talking to your friends about audiobooks in the past:

  • That doesn’t count as actually reading…
  • There’s no way I’d be able to focus on an audiobook. I get too distracted.
  • I like to hold physical books. Audiobooks just don’t give me that same experience.

Those too were my complaints for a long time.

In fact, whenever I’d hear someone say that they recently “read” an audiobook, I’d scoff, call them a fake-intellectual in my head, and then go back to slugging my way through Moby Dick or whatever pretentious novel I could find.


Opportunities abound with audiobooks

But consider this for a moment – why do you want to read? I do it because I love to learn. So if learning is my objective, who cares if it’s a physical book, an audiobook, or a napkin with wisdom hidden underneath a mustard stain?

Learning is learning. So I put aside my old man schtick and was pleasantly surprised!

Audiobooks are actually awesome. 

Not only did I have no problem maintaining focus and comprehension, but listening to audiobooks opened up an entire realm of learning possibilities. For example, you can’t read a physical book while doing the dishes. But you can listen to an audiobook.

You can’t drive your car and read a physical book. But you can listen to an audiobook.

Suddenly, the world of chores that I used to hate became an opportunity for me to learn – which I love.


Audiobooks are the perfect addition to a long drive.


Follow your interests

And I’m not talking about easy-to-follow fiction either. I’m talking about in-depth, detailed, medical journal-style types of books (like Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes). Books that when you’re finished with them, your view of the world has changed.

Powerful stuff.

The key to making audiobooks work, or really any type of book or content for that matter, is choosing something that interests you. Not listening to the mediocrity that your boss recommends. Not selecting something that you have no desire to learn about.

In fact, my first audiobook experience was poor for that latter reason…


When I gave up

I was about to start training for a marathon and wanted to give audiobooks a try since I would be running for so many hours. Both turned out to be flops.

The marathon was just a bad idea. Who starts training for a marathon when their wife is nine months pregnant with your first child?


Furthermore, the book I chose was brutal; it was a dense, dry, monotonous history book on philosophy. So I didn’t stick with it for long either and figured that was the end of that. No more running, no more audiobooks.

But the concept of audiobooks still resonated with me. I loved the idea of learning while on a walk, unloading the dishwasher, or dusting.



Let’s try audiobooks again

So earlier this year I gave it another go.

I purchased Getting Things Done by David Allen and loved it. Not only did I enjoy the book, but I had no trouble following along even though it was an audiobook. If you’re not familiar with Getting Things Done, there are a lot of lists involved which could easily cause you to zone out.

But, again, I had no issues.

Which I hope proves my point that the book you choose to learn from matters a great deal more than the medium upon which you choose to consume it.


66% is an impressive figure

When it comes to semantics, I normally say completed when talking about any finished audiobook. Because, ya, saying read does make you sound rather annoying.

So when someone asks how many books I’ve read this month (which never happens, by the way, but I’m riffing so go along with it), I say that I’ve completed four books or five books or however many audio and physical books I managed to complete for that month.

Which, since you brought it up, I currently complete about four books per month on average. 66% of which are audiobooks. *See every book that I’ve read in 2020 here.

Meaning that for every one physical book I complete in a month, I complete an additional two audiobooks on top of it. It makes sense if you think about it… I only have, at the very most, 90 minutes to read a physical book each day. But I have a seemingly endless quantity of chores to do.

And that is prime time for audiobooks.


Blue and white cups hanging on a drying rack.


One book per week is possible, take it from me

To put it another way, in 2020 alone – which, granted, is the most I’ve ever read in a year (more on that here) – I’ve completed over 52 books. That’s over one book a week. A feat that I could not have accomplished without the help of audiobooks.

The more you read, the more you will learn, grow, and improve. Which I personally find tremendously fun.

So set aside the stigma and try out an audiobook for your next read. If you like sci-fi, check out Dune by Frank Herbert. Or if you’re into finance, I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi is fantastic. You can see more books that I recommend here.

*Audible is my go-to for audiobooks, but I’m sure there are other platforms you can sign up for. Libby is something else I use because you can get books for free through it (but I admittedly don’t use it enough).

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