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 →

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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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