If you are like me and a diehard fan of audiobooks then here is a short list of my favorites from the past year. Now to be fair, the books listed themselves are already great books. This isn't a list outlining the best quality or best production, simple my favorite audiobooks that played through the headphones this year.
5. How to Change Your Mind (Michael Pollan)
Not only is this a fascinating book but Michael takes the time to narrate his own book adding that extra layer of connection to the ideas and the stories. If you have ever been curious about psychedelic drugs and the stories behind them, then this is the book for you. Michael takes you on a trip through the history of psychedelics to current times all while sharing personal stories of his own journey with psychedelics as he dutifully tries them out. His approach creates a personal connection with the reader that hopefully opens minds and helps destigmatize the use for the betterment of humanity.
4. How Democracies Die (Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt)
This is the type of book that should raise the little hairs on the back of your neck as you listen and try to absorb the important message laid out. Much like the message of Jordan Peterson, we have to be always diligent and alert to how our democracy lives and breathes. When we stop paying attention or allow ourselves to be distracted it can be slowly chipped away from us leaving something despotic and ugly in its place. This book goes back in time and tries to uncover themes on how democracies of the past have unraveled and then lays out the parallels to today's current environment as we watch governments seem to move strongly to the right. As freedoms disappear so does our democracy.
3. Atomic Habits (James Clear)
This is the type of book where you are likely to own multiple copies. The audiobook to lay out those reminders of why habits are so critical to success and a hard copy at home to refresh yourself on the core ideas. James Clear has a great book here and takes the works of people like Charles Duhigg (think The Power of Habit) and builds out the ideas even further with practical advice that you'll be able to implement right away. I listened to this one and immediately added the hardcover to my shopping cart as I knew I'd want to go back through it and take notes.
2. Educated (Tara Westover)
This book was everywhere in 2018 and rightfully so! An incredible memoir as told by someone deeply entrenched in the Mormon faith at a fundamentalist level. Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven tries to delve into the mindset of Mormon fundamentalism however Tara's book gives you the details from being within. The mindset of someone living in that world and what it takes to become an individual and your own person. An incredible story of perseverance and mental toughness.
1. Bad Blood (John Carryrou)
Have you ever watched one of those documentaries that begin like every other documentary in telling the story from a distance and slowly realize that the narrator is actually right in the think of things? The documentary Icarus on Netflix, about the Russian doping scandal, comes to mind. John Carryrou's book is exactly that except with a Silicon Valley startup that begins to turn towards a true-crime novel. A fascinating look at the rise and fall of Theranos and the lengths they would go to in order to keep their own story alive.
There you have it! An incredible year for audiobooks as the platform really starts to take flight. I have to say that audiobooks are a mainstay in my life from listening on the commute to work to listening while getting ready and even while working out. I'd like to give a shoutout to the fine folks at the Penguin Random House Audio for all of their support over the last couple of years in providing audiobooks to listen to and review. They have embraced the form and are putting out some of the highest quality audiobooks around.