I started listening to Audiobooks while commuting, which lets me get in at least 45 minutes of audio listening a day during my round trip commute, which is wonderful.
My most recent favorites are
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know. Malcolm Gladwell. 2019. Just as I have loved Blink, Outliers and The Tipping Point, I really like this book. Gladwell makes his discussion so vivid with lots of concrete examples. I have actually been enjoying the free Audiobook version, which is free to you if you have not yet downloaded the Audible app. The audiobook has recordings from actual police stops and court proceedings that make it incredibly interesting. Along the way you will appreciate differences by race, sex, foreigners, law officials, liars, cheaters, and above all understand people and make better decisions. 10/10
So you want to talk about race. Ijeaoma Oluo. 2018. I was inspired to read this book on systematic racism in the US by Austin Frakt’s Incidental Economist blogs about it. I was delighted with the Audiobook reading of it which was both deep and easy to follow. It will make you feel uncomfortable, particularly if like me you are a white, high-income male of privilege. I feel like I learned a lot, even if it is hard to change even a little. The image of blacks walking around and getting a constant series of “punch in the arms” from systemic racism is something that will stick with me and perhaps help me pause to try to recognize and minimize the many “mini-aggressions” that she documents so well. Low-cost paper copies are here. I rate it 9.5/10
The Silent Patient. Alex Michaelides. This bestseller is a psychological thriller about art, psychology, and murder. It is rich in details about love, betrayal, evil, and the ills of psychiatric hospitals. You will be both happy and sad as you listen. I think the book is probably almost as good as the audiobook, although I really liked the voices and emotions of the audiobook. The audio is 8 hours long, but it flies by. I rate it 9/10, leaving me room to have other books above it.
Break Shot, James Taylor. 2019, is only available as an audible book, is an autobiography of his first 21 years of this folk/rock singer’s life, which features stories about his struggle with addictions and depression, six months in McLean psychiatric hospital, the origins and meanings of favorite songs, and how the Beatles and Apple records befriended him to give him the Break Shot of his life, giving him a wonderful opportunity after a childhood of challenges. At only 1:30, it is a quick listen. It is a wonderful audiobook with his singing and his own voice. I rate it 8/10.
Caffeine: How coffee and tea created the modern world. Michael Pollan. 2019. This fascinating overview of the history and uses of coffee and tea is light listening. I learned a lot from it, including that England was once more addicted to coffee than tea, and made the switch to tea because it was less expensive. More importantly, it highlights the role of caffeine in furthering the industrial revolution! Only on audiobook, and only 2 hours long. 7.5/10.
My reading recommendations from last summer were located here.
I also list my favorite reads on my favorites page here.