A book a day, keeps the stagnation away
Sounds like a utopia? In the conventional format, perhaps. But I have another idea for you 😉
It is not a replacement but an adjunct!
A few years ago, in the midst of my research on leadership, efficiency, business, and productivity I discovered that there are tools where you can listen to books in their entirety or their summaries. In fact, it is one of the current trends in which books are not only available in physical or digital format but also in audiobooks.
Unfortunately, we don’t have options in Portuguese from Portugal (that I know of, so if you know of any cases, please share!) but we ended up winning twice:
1. Train your English (if it’s not your first language!);
2. Listen and learn something new every day!
Of course, listening to books is not a substitute for reading but an adjunct as I said at the beginning. But if you are one of those people who, at the beginning of the year, makes a New Year’s resolution to read x books, this option will help you because it allows you to do things that conventional reading does not allow in such a simple way as:
1 - Velocity — you can put the audio slightly faster so you “save” some time; you certainly have an endless list of books you would like to read but let’s be realistic, sometimes not even a third are read in our lifetime. So, if you have a book that you know is 20 hours of reading, if you do it at a higher speed (and that you understand, of course!) you end up being able to reduce that time substantially.
2 - Test Drive — listening to the audiobook can be a way to help you decide whether to buy it physically or not. Let’s face it, if you listen to the audio version and don’t like it or need it, maybe you’ll decide to save a few bucks and not buy the book digitally or physically.
3 - Multi-tasking — listening to a book allows you to do other things at the same time like eating, packing something at home, optimizing your travel time between home and work and vice versa, at the gym… the options are endless and as long as you have the willingness to listen, you can do something else at the same time.
How to decide which audiobook to listen to?
1 - Intent — Do you want to read an audiobook for fun or to learn? If you’ve never heard any books, you might want to start with something lighter like fiction books and test if it’s a useful format for you. But if you want to focus on learning, let’s move on to the second point.
2 - Selection — How many book suggestions have you already received? I estimate a lot 😃 so start by recording all these suggestions as in Notion, OneNote, or even in your cell phone notes and create a database that ends up reducing a little the spectrum of options you have, in the first instance. Another way of selecting is to indicate, in the tools where you can listen to books, your preferences and if you choose the free version, every day an option is triggered that you can listen to for free and linked to the areas of interest you indicated at the beginning. Note that there is no obligation to listen to a book in its entirety if, in the first 10/20 minutes, you notice that it is not quite what you expected. So you end up optimizing your time again. And try to avoid the guilt of abandonment. Life is too short to force yourself to listen/read a book, podcast, movie, or video to the end just because. Especially if you’re not taking the real value of this activity.
3 - Audiobook consumption — either by daily suggestion or by the effective acquisition of the audiobook, now we only have one thing left — listen 🙃 As I mentioned before, the multi-tasking part is possible, but depending on the type of book, you may want to select the tasks that allow you to pay more attention. For example, if I’m listening to a fictional book, I may be doing other tasks that also require some attention on my part; but if I’m listening to a book to learn, I choose tasks where I can be rationally more focused on what I’m listening to, and sometimes I’m even taking notes at the same time. Also, you can pause the audio if you need/want to! If you are listening to a more complex topic, you can reduce the speed to ensure maximum information retention. All little tricks that you can apply without any problem and tailored to your goals 😉
4 - Processing — As you listen to the book, you can pause and record your notes in any tool that is useful to you. I, personally, suggest Notion because I have an area dedicated to books and I record the learnings I acquire so that I can consult them later. Of course, if you see that the book is, in fact, super useful in the area you want to learn or deepen, you can decide to buy the physical or digital version and take notes, directly. If you want to ensure maximum absorption, apply the ideas you took from the book and/or explain to someone what it is about because, as I wrote in the last article, we have different ways of absorbing information:
And where can I listen to audiobooks?
You have several options.
I will share 3 and the one I personally use, currently:
Audible — https://www.audible.com/
Shortform — https://www.shortform.com/
Blinkist — https://www.blinkist.com/ which is the platform I use. I downloaded the application, registered, and, despite not having subscribed to a paid plan, every day the application tells me the reading for the day based on the interests I indicated at the beginning! You don’t have to subscribe, but if you do, you’ll have access to all the books you want to hear.
Either way, you can start with the one book a day system and explore other platforms to make an informed decision if you ever decide to subscribe.
And you? Do you currently use any audiobook apps? If yes, share which one! If not, will you try it?
It’s always a good way to learn and, who knows, you can apply new ideas in your daily life, personal life, work, or teams.
Good auditions/reads 😄