New Year, New You: The Best Audiobooks for Self Improvement

No matter what your New Year’s resolution is, audiobooks can help you reach your goals. Check out these inspiring listens to make 2019 your best year yet!

clean & declutter

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders, narrated by Cait Flanders

After working her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, Cait Flanders challenged herself to consume less. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt. Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life-and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less. Read more and sample the audio →

advance your career

Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do To Win At Life by Dave Asprey, narrated by Rick AdamsonDave Asprey

The bestselling author of Head Strong and The Bulletproof Diet answers the question, “How can I kick more ass at life?” by culling the wisdom of world-class thought leaders, maverick scientists, and disruptive entrepreneurs to provide proven techniques for becoming happier, healthier, and smarter.

With anecdotes from game changers like Dr. Daniel Amen, Gabby Bernstein, Dr. David Perlmutter, Arianna Huffington, Esther Perel, and Tim Ferris as well as examples from Dave’s own life, Game Changers offers readers advice they can put into action to reap immediate rewards. From taming fear and anxiety to making better decisions, establishing high-performance habits, and practicing gratitude and mindfulness, Dave brings together the wisdom of today’s game-changers to help everyone kick more ass at life. Read more and sample the audio →

healthy active living

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight by Dr. Lucy Aphramor, Dr. Linda Bacon, narrated by Celeste Oliva

You’ve heard it before: there’s a global health crisis, and, unless we make some changes, we’re in trouble. That much is true—but the epidemic is NOT obesity. The real crisis lies in the toxic stigma placed on certain bodies and the impact of living with inequality—not the numbers on a scale. 

Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Lucy Aphramor’s Body Respect debunks common myths about weight, including the misconceptions that BMI can accurately measure health, that fatness necessarily leads to disease, and that dieting will improve health. They also help make sense of how poverty and oppression—such as racism, homophobia, and classism—affect life opportunity, self-worth, and even influence metabolism.

Body insecurity is rampant, and it doesn’t have to be. It’s time to overcome our culture’s shame and distress about weight, to get real about inequalities and health, and to show every body respect. Read more and sample the audio →

Learn Something new

Faerie Knitting: 14 Tales of Love and Magic by Lisa HoffmanAlice Hoffman, narrated by January Lavoy

Featuring fourteen original fairy tales, Faerie Knitting is an entrancing collection of stories of love and loss, trust and perseverance. Seamlessly woven into the plot of each tale is a magical garment or accessory inspired by the bravery and self-reliance of the tale’s heroine and brought to life through an imaginative and bespoke knit pattern.

From the Blue Heron Shawl and the Love Never Ending Cowl, to the Three Wishes Mittens and Amulet Necklace, each project is as wearable as it is magical. Lush, atmospheric photography captures the enchanted faerie domain while beautifully rendered charts and instructions are well suited for beginner and advanced knitters alike. Includes a PDF with knitting patterns. Read more and sample the audio →

mental health & mindfulness

The Healthy Mind Toolkit: Simple Strategies to Get Out of Your Own Way and Enjoy Your Life by Alice Boyes, Ph.D, narrated by Teri Schnaubelt

Whether we’re aware of it or not, most of us are guilty of self-sabotage. These behaviors can manifest in seemingly innocuous ways, but if left unchecked can create stress and cause problems in all areas of your life. In The Healthy Mind Toolkit, Dr. Alice Boyes provides easy, practical solutions that will help you identify how you’re holding yourself back and how to reverse your self-sabotaging behaviors. Blending scientific research with techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy, this engaging book will take you through the steps to address this overarching problem. The Healthy Mind Toolkit is the essential guide to get out of your own way and get on the path to success. Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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STAFF PICK: Locked In by Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen

Post by Pam Campbell

Title: Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live
Author: Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Victoria Arlen
Narrator: Victoria Arlen

Imagine being 10 years old, and suddenly losing your ability to move your arms and legs. Imagine also losing your ability to eat at the same time. Now imagine being told that there is nothing wrong with you, that it’s all in your head.

In Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live, Victoria Arlen recounts her extraordinary story of living through the most unimaginable circumstances and then moving forward to accomplish old dreams, and live out fantastic new realities.

At 10 years old, Victoria’s health quickly deteriorated, to the point where she was suffering from multitudes of seizures a day and was unable to move. She became unable to communicate or even eat. She became locked in.

While she was locked inside herself, Victoria was able to hear, see and understand everything that was going on around her. Her memories remained intact and she was fully aware of her surroundings. She was aware of the abuse being imposed on her, both mentally and physically, by some of her doctors and nurses. And yet she fought to survive and never gave up.

It would be four years before Victoria would be able to move or communicate. And as soon as she could communicate with her family, she was even more determined to achieve her very own miracle. She recovered. She thrived. She beat the odds, so far out of the water that she went on to achieve great success. She still has great success ahead of her and she is very aware that she will always have to work to maintain her movement and mobility.

Victoria reads her own story for the audiobook and to hear her speak of the struggles and triumphs herself, definitely enhanced the book. Her story is inspiring in these turbulent times, and her message is clear: never give up on second chances, work for what you want, and miracles happen every day. But perhaps the message that stood out most to me was her thoughts on unkindness. While she was experiencing cruelty and horrible methods of treatment, she knew that unkindness never improves a situation. Inflicting pain or giving hatred is not the answer; kindness and love are.

After all, it was the love and kindness of her family that saw her thrive. It was through her love for her family that she was able to endure being locked in for years. It is with love and kindness in her heart that Victoria was able to beat the odds and live out her dreams and make new ones.

Locked In

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more and sample the audio.

 

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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7 Books That Prove Wasting Time isn’t a Waste of Time

Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done?

Living in a frenetic, connected world has pushed us to fill every waking second of our days with work for fear that wasted time will mean wasted potential. But, this isn’t healthy, and we must find a way to cope with the overwhelming stress fueled by our addiction to speed.

These seven books will help you do just that. Take a step back, relax, and discover why wasting time may just be the best way to use your time.

 

1. In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan Lightman, narrated by Alan Lightman

In this timely and essential book that offers a fresh take on the qualms of modern day life, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks. Break free from the idea that we must not waste a single second, and discover how sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

2. The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl, narrated by Patricia Hampl

The Art of the Wasted Day is a picaresque travelogue of leisure written from a lifelong enchantment with solitude. Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who made repose a goal, even an art form. The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

3. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, narrated by Adam Sims

Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done—but they are never done. Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. “Deliberate rest,” as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

4. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, narrated by Manoush Zomorodi

Has your smartphone become your BFF? Do you feel bored when you’re not checking Facebook or Instagram? Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out explains the connection between boredom and original thinking and explores how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive selves. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

5. In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honre, narrated by Carl Honore

We live in the age of speed. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded that the pace of life is spinning out of control. Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time—and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives. A Slow revolution is taking place. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

6. An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life by Marilyn Paul, narrated by Vanessa Daniels

Now, more than ever, people are seeking a reprieve from the constant pressure to achieve, produce, and consume. While many turn to mindfulness and meditation, organizational change expert Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. offers a complementary solution that is as radical as it is ancient.  Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

7. The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer, narrated by Pico Iyer

In this age of constant movement and connectedness, when so many of us are all over the place, perhaps staying in one place and locating everything we need for peace and happiness there is a more exciting prospect and a greater necessity than ever before. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

 

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

 

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STAFF PICK: Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Title: Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them
Author: Jennifer Wright
Narrator: Gabra Zackman

Disease isn’t funny. But this book made me laugh. If you listen to Get Well Soon, you’ll understand. Jennifer Wright takes us on a journey through some of history’s worst plagues, descriptively noting their symptoms, causes and cures, but more importantly noting the reaction of society and of medical professionals.

She talks about pustules and lobotomies, of death and corpses. She talks about cultures that created an atmosphere conducive to healing as well as those that made the situation far worse. She draws parallels to modern society and hints at ways we’re susceptible if another plague was afoot. That doesn’t sound amusing at all, but the ridiculousness of “cures” and “expert opinions” truly are. Wright’s matter-of-fact tone, laced with dark humor, makes it all the better. Some of the images conjured by her explanations really made me laugh aloud on my drive. Here’s one such excerpt :

‘The dancing plague of 1347 was supposedly halted by a priest holding open the mouth of each suffering person and shouting into their mouths, “praise the true God, praise the Holy Ghost, get thee hence, thou damned and foredoomed spirit.” (When your boss suggests you try new ideas and think outside the box, you could consider yelling into your coworkers mouths.)’

My entertainment was amplified by Gabra Zackman’s narration, which was both straightforward and sassy, breathing extra hilarity into the remedies of yore. Her voice is steady and very enjoyable, even when I sped her up to 1.25x.

We learn history so we don’t repeat its mistakes. This audiobook lends a hand toward that goal, describing how societal reactions to disease have not grown much since the 1600’s, despite medicine’s leaps and bounds. It will benefit any listener by spreading awareness of what helps and what harms. Even if you have a firm grasp of plague best-practices, this book will lend perspective from history. I promise it’s worth it if just for the laughs… but maybe don’t listen during lunch.

Get Well Soon Audiobook Cover

 

Listen to a sample (and then the full title) here: Get Well Soon

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5 Audiobooks to Keep You Inspired in the Kitchen

It’s a fresh new year and with the Holiday rush behind us we have time for all the things we didn’t get to try in 2017. One of those things for me is upping my food game. From eating healthier to making more elaborate meals, I found a few titles that will keep me inspired. Better yet, I’ll be listening while I cook to make the most of my time in the kitchen. If you’d like to join me on this journey, channel your inner-chef and give these audiobooks a listen!

 

1. Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition by Kate Hudson, narrated by the author

Celebrate all of the special moments in your life, big and small, with this warm and welcoming, lifestyle and entertaining guide, complete with delicious, healthy recipes, from actress, fashion icon, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Happy Kate Hudson.

Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

2. My Life in France by Alex Prud’homme and Julia Child, narrated by Flo Salant Greenberg

From the moment the ship docked in Le Havre, en route to Paris, in the fall of 1948, Julia had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken gal from Pasadena, California, who didn’t speak a word of French and knew nothing about the country, was steeped in the language, chatting with purveyors in the local markets, and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu.

Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

3. Cork Dork: A Wine Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker, narrated by the author

Amateur drinker and professional tech reporter Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she stumbled on an alternate universe where taste reigned supreme, a world of master sommeliers who could, after a single sip, identify the grape a bottle was made from, in what year, and where it was produced, within acres. Where she tasted “wine,” they detected not only complex flavor profiles, but entire histories and geographies. 

Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

 

4. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro, narrated by Kimberly Farr and Laura Shapiro

Everyone eats, and food touches on every aspect of our lives-social and cultural, personal and political. Yet most biographers pay little attention to people’s attitudes toward food, as if the great and notable never bothered to think about what was on the plate in front of them. Once we ask how somebody relates to food, we find a whole world of different and provocative ways to understand her. Food stories can be as intimate and revealing as stories of love, work, or coming-of-age. 

Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

5. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan, narrated by Scott Brick

We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore’s Dilemma (brings) a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as “What shall we have for dinner?”

Read more and sample the audio.

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STAFF PICK: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Narrator: Jeremy Irons

It is my shared Brazilian heritage with author, Paulo Coelho, which led me to his highly acclaimed novel, The Alchemist. This audiobook clocks in at just over four hours and despite its short listening time, I would not classify it as a light read. This novel took me longer than usual to finish, because unlike other audiobooks which I can listen to while multi-tasking, I had to devote my undivided attention to The Alchemist in order to fully appreciate it.

The protagonist in this novel is a young Spanish shepherd by the name of Santiago. Early on in the novel, he has a reoccurring dream about hidden treasure buried beneath the Egyptian pyramids.  Determined to find it, he sets out on a long voyage across the Mediterranean and Sahara. Along the way, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery; Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “life is a journey, not a destination” holds especially true throughout the trek. On his quest, he becomes rich in more ways than one as he acquires a plethora of knowledge from those he meets along the way.

The narration of this book was an adventure in and of itself, as Jeremy Irons brought each character to life using distinctive voices.  He used a confidant voice to portray the alchemist as powerful and intelligent, whereas Santiago came across as a free spirit due to the whimsical narration of his character.  Jeremy Irons achieved a perfect harmony between enriching the story and maintaining integrity throughout the narration.

I’ve wracked my brain trying to determine the most influential lesson from The Alchemist; however, it was impossible to choose just one, so I’ve narrowed it down to the top three:

  1. We are all on a journey; some of us know where we’re going and others have yet to figure it out – and that’s okay! As Coelho said “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation”. This discovery is not to be rushed; everyone works at their own pace. For some, this might only take a year, for others, it could take a lifetime. But one thing is for sure, once you’ve figured it out “…all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
  2. Fear is your biggest opponent. Coelho put it best when he said “tell your heart the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” When tackling any new challenge for the first time, it is inevitable that you will face uncertainty. This element of unknown can be frightening. However, sometimes it is necessary to step outside of your comfort zone to obtain worthwhile results.
  3. Never give up on your dreams. As cliché as it may sound, if Santiago had given up on his quest to find treasure, he may never have met his wife, or the alchemist.  Instead he learned “the secret of life… is to fall seven times and to get up eight times”. I think we can all demonstrate this resilience in various facets of our lives. Whether that be applying feedback to improve a poor grade in school, never giving up when the opposing team has the lead in a sports game or not letting career setbacks hold you back from achieving your dream job.

Both moving and thought provoking, it’s easy to see why The Alchemist is regarded as one of Coelho’s best literary works.  Not only is the novel is filled with powerful life lessons, but there is also an abundance of allusions, metaphors and symbols.  Can you spot them all?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, share your favorite quote or takeaway from The Alchemist below!

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