I have been listening to audiobooks and podcasts for a decade now. While I still buy books when I get the chance, most of the content I consume are on those formats.
What I love about audio content is its portability: it enables me to perform other tasks while listening to it. Between work and responsibilities at home, I often find it difficult to make time to just sit down and read a good book.
Audio, however, is like a life hack for those that seem to have “no free time“. When doing menial tasks such as washing dishes, cleaning, or doing laundry, I put on my earphones and listen to an audiobook. It makes the chore entertaining. At the same time, I learn something new. The chore then becomes an exercise for both the brain and the body.
When I checked my audio library, I found that I have already listened to around 130 books and thousands of podcast episodes. All those seemingly mundane time spent on menial tasks were able to accumulate this vast knowledge from listening to those books and shows.
From my experience, a book should be read at least twice. The first time you encounter its contents, you are still trying to grasp what is the main theme and the overall idea that the author is trying to impart. When you revisit it however, the path becomes clearer. As a result, you glean more on what the author is trying to express in the earlier chapters.
A few of the books I listened to are not really worth listening again. Sometimes they are mostly fluff, but there are times when I feel like I am not ready to fully understand it yet. I intend to listen to them again after a few months or years to see if my opinion has changed.
However, most of the books I listened to are worth every second. Which is why it is my delight to share with you these books in the new Book Recommendations page. You will find that they mostly cover these main topics:
This has always been an interest of mine as it directly improves other aspects of life such as health or finances. While it teaches you how to be productive, the main idea that I gained was on how to use a positive feedback loop to your advantage. I learned that the best way to grow is through small steps, done consistently and with intent.
Your finances power your life goals. While money does not necessarily equate to happiness and fulfillment in life, a lack of it would most definitely bring forth the opposite. I guess that can be achieved by being ascetic, but as I don’t have the inner strength nor the inclination to do that, making sure my finances are in order is a requirement.
Philosophy and Spirituality
Philosophy is the beacon or the lighthouse of our lives. Without it, we are just frail creatures being tossed around in the sea of life. When life inevitably throws a wrench in your schedule and in your plans, you need something to keep you anchored.
What drew me towards Stoicism was the people who practice it throughout history. Famous Stoics include Epictetus, a slave, and Marcus Aurelius, the last good Roman emperor. What would have bound these two people towards the same philosophy? How can Stoicism apply to the vastly different situations these people faced?
The more I read about history, the more I realize that nothing is new. In fact, even the Old Testament recognizes this fact:
What has been will be again,Ecclesiastes 1:9
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
In our arrogance, we humans think that our generation is the most righteous, the most honest, and the most virtuous. The past does not compare. In reality though, our human nature hasn’t changed at all since we started walking the earth. The only thing that changed were the tools that we held in our hands.
This is precisely why studying history is important. We are not disconnected from the past. Nor do we live our lives on a fresh start, with new ideas that render the past as archaic. No, we had just built on top of the things the previous generations have built before. Our ideas are not new, they are but increments of ideas birthed long before. And through history, we can shed this arrogance and live our lives with gratitude for the past and hope for the future.
What about fiction books?
I prefer reading non-fiction books as they contain historical and practical information. I do not close myself to fiction though. For instance, I found Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance a pleasure to listen to.
One of the books that took me by surprise was The Power Broker by Robert Caro. This is a biography of Robert Moses, an American urban planner and public official. Upon reading what the book was about, I was prepared to be bored and planned on stopping it once it became a bit unbearable. Like, who would be interested in a biography of a public official, written in the 1970s about someone I don’t even know?
After 66 hours listening to the audiobook, in the end I was hoping for more.
I hope this piques your interest and encourage you to start your own journey through books. As each of us live different paths and prefer different things, not all of the books in the list would make sense to you. But by exploring different ideas and topics, you will be closer to finding out the truth that you have been seeking all along.
Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash