I love to read, but it is nearly impossible to read as much as I wish. Between professional and personal obligations, there is not enough hours during a day. Unfortunately, the volume of brand new material released every year does not allow me to see my reading list dwindle very far. For every book I knock off the list, it seems like I add two or three new ones to take its place. This does not even account for the material that I want to read a second or third time.
We all have dreaded commutes and repetitious physical activity time such as working out in the gym. I am an advocate for using this time to listen to books. I find driving or working out on cardio equipment is a perfect time to help knock down that reading list. While I certainly enjoy listening to an audio book, I do not do it all the time. I find that if I listen to audio books too frequently that I will usually begin to daydream and let my mind wander off the material. So I cycle between listening to music and listening to audio books. Usually, it is two weeks of listening to books to one week of listening to music.
When I am in a more audio book focused mindset, I knock out an additional 20 books a year by simply using the time in my car or working out in the gym. I do not read in the evenings at anywhere near this rate and typically finish a book a month. Listening to books allows me to expand my annual book consumption by over 100%.
Additionally, I prefer to listen to books that are more personal interest versus reading more business focused material. Only about one in three audio books is related to business or personal development. The other two books tend to be biographical, historical, or educational in nature. I am not one that is fond of listening to works of fiction. I do read fiction, but it is almost always on my Kindle. For me, a talented fiction writer is someone who can take me into the world of the book and leave my sense of reality. I lose all track of time and sense of place while reading and stop seeing the pages. The story exists in only my mind’s eye. I have never experienced this while listening to an audio book…I think it is just something about the process of reading that allows me to join the book’s world so vividly.
For me, listening to nonfiction books is enjoyable and often easier to comprehend as compared to reading a book on my Kindle or in paper form. This may come from the fact that I am an audio learner, so I am able to leverage my natural learning style. I consider myself lucky in this regard. Consuming between 20 and 30 books a year has significantly expanded my personal knowledge, and I believe it a matter of continued education. In the professional world, we cannot just sit back on our past success without continuing to strive and improve ourselves for the future. I leverage books as one of my sources for this purpose and audio books have markedly increased my capacity in my quest for continued learning.