How to read more when you have no time

For a long time I have shunned audiobooks. I considered them a lazy and inefficient way of going through a book. My mom suggested them to me months ago but my mind objected: “it’s inefficient and this is the digital domain, don’t listen Juan”. Then I recently came across another recommendation, this time from a 34 year old US Army four stars general with a love of reading but no time who listened to audiobooks during his workouts and morning routines.

Reluctantly but somewhat more open I replaced my ipod epic songs compilation with audiobooks and gave them a try. Three or four weeks later I’m happy to report that this approach works for me. Since then I’ve gone through:

  • Metamorphosis
  • I, Robot
  • Starship Troopers
  • Speaker of the Dead
  • 7 1-2h long podcasts

I’ve listened to more books than I’ve read in the same period which means that I have effectively doubled my “reading” speed while still working out and still commuting to the office (my total commute + workout time per day is between 60 min and 75min.

Things I have observed:

  • I don’t waste time with details because I can’t, the audio goes on regardless of whether I get lost in thought, car horns or gym distractions.
  • I remember enough to do the analysis I usually do after reading a book and I still am able to jog my imagination with new characters and settings. I don’t observe a significant loss compared to reading.

If you want a good quality free source of audiobooks my recommendation is librivox.org.

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