How to learn something new everyday on the train
Seriously, audiobooks are underrated
Do you fancy to reclaim your precious time lost in commuting? Not long ago, I was one among many of you who allow commute time to be lost in vain.
Fortunately, I have discovered some activities that could turn these times into value. The last time I talked about how a 10 minutes commute meditation could transform your professional life. Today, I’ll be reviewing Amazon’s audiobook company Audible.
One month down using their service, despite some minor nuisances, I find that listening to audiobooks on the train is simply fascinating. About the nuisances, I have one tip to share: book choice is important
Does listening work? The confession of a bookworm
I love books. I love reading. When the idea of devouring a “book” with my ears struck me — it just didn’t sound right.
I thought the eerie synthesised voice would not give me the warmth of printed text on a paper; Let alone to be able to understand the content.
Anyway, on a tired day that I didn’t feel like reading, I gave it a shot.
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I was right, at least for the first few minutes. I chose “The Righteous Mind” by Johnathan Haidt. At the moment I hit play, it felt very different compared to reading a printed book.
However, soon I was no longer focusing how the experience was different, but immersing myself into the insights narrated by a brilliant story-teller. Much credits to the author of this mindblowing book. The witty illustrations of how humans’ moral mind work soon captivated me. By the way, I strongly recommend this book if morality, politics or human nature sound like your cup of tea.
Audiobook: Effortless, and memorable
Surprisingly, the contents the audiobooks are easily memorable. I remember at least as much as reading a physical book.
Partly so is that the book was an excellent one. However, what also plays an important role is that this audiobook that runs for 11 hours was ingested in small chunks. It became a commute habit- 20 minutes of audiobook slides smoothly into my mind without much effort. Also, listening just consume less mental stamina than reading. It is almost like a wise, old friend is standing by your side and sharing his life stories to you.
Book choice is important: Let audiobook takes you to the next level
I get the most out of audiobooks from choosing books that are lengthy informational ones that I am intrested, but am too lazy to read. Also they better be fairly sophisticated but not too esoteric to understand.
This is true for serval reasons. First, many ideas and concepts revolve around a lengthy book. Learning them with space in between makes you absorb the information better. The intervals in between also let the ideas to settle in and mingle with the existing knowledge base I already have.
Second, a 10-hour audiobook, which is approximately equivalent to a 500-page book, can be finished in a mouth if I listen to it in my 30-minute commute every day. It doesn’t feel like a chore and fit into my daily schedule nicely.
But audiobooks still have its drawbacks. I once tried to “read” Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, which is a philosophical classic that I always wanted to conquer. I thought it would be as painless as other audiobooks but I turned out I didn’t understand every sentence that the narrator uttered. I retired with a printed book, it then became comprehensible with serious effort.
It is also way harder to reference to a particular part of the audiobook. Each chapter is an hour long and there’s no text search. So all I can do is painfully hitting the 30s back button and this process is always a tedious one.
Verdict: Probably not for all, but definitely a bliss for my learning
I don’t know if everyone would like audiobooks. Perhaps some die-hard fan would find the scent of paper irreplaceable.
It is neither a replacement for the book, too. Listening to audiobooks doesn’t make me ditch paper books altogether. I would still devote the time to devour a lively written novel, or a wise philosophical piece that needs some mental energy.
In a nutshell, though, audiobooks help me expand my knowledge base quickly and recycle my wasted commute time. As far as that, I am happy to write a non-paid advertisement for Amazon’s Audible, and link everyone to their one-month free trial.