Using Audiobooks

by Aaron on January 21, 2012

Matt Aaron is one of our readers who liked the book and Sebastian’s blog, so he offered to write a post about audiobooks for us. You can find him at¬†Without further ado…

IKIGAI recommends using audiobooks for filling dead time. Common situations can be waiting in line at airport security or any type of transportation that doesn’t allow you to sit and read, like walking. While this sounds easy to do, audio listening is not as accessible as one may think (at least in 2012).

There is a Kindle option to auto-read the text of any regular book, but there are drawbacks. Words get chopped; you are literally being read to by a robot. Also, a Kindle is too big to carry in your pocket.

Only a small fraction of books are available in audio format making it quite difficult to find and select a good listen.

Steps to get started listening to Audiobooks:

  1. If you don’t already have one, buy an iPod or a portable MP3 player (I figure you already own one)
  2. Join Amazon’s Audible
  3. Sign up for a monthly plan. Why?  Because, aside from the occasional sales, most books run between $20-$35. With the subscription of 1, 2, or unlimited, you will save at least 50%. Credits also carry over from month-to-month in case your schedule prevents listening time in a given month.
  4. Buy Brian Tracy’s The Luck Factor, or the E-Myth
  5. Now that you are set up, it is time to get some listening ideas. Start with these two blog posts from Sebastian:

32 Audiobooks for $158
Audible Doing the Awesome $5 Thing Again

Listening Tips:

1. If you acquire audiobooks in a regular MP3 or M4A format, make sure you convert the files to M4B. M4B automatically saves the last listening position, which is everything. Imagine having to search a 2 hour audio track for where you left off. It wastes time. I use MP3 to iPod/iPhone Audio Book Converter

2. You can control the speed. I believe up to 2X. Some books move at a slow pace, and you can cover an audiobook faster by increasing the speed. The downside is that the voice sounds less human.

3. When buying, check if the book is Abridged or Unabridged. I usually listen to unabridged, but that is less of a recommendation and more of my personal habit.

4. Consider listening time. The time range varies quite a bit. There are some books that are under 2 hours, like A Book of Five Rings: The Strategy of Musashi (re-listening value) while some are closer to 30 hours like Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes.

If you have any additions/questions/corrections/recommended books to add, please leave a comment. Happy listening.