Recommendations for good audio books?

post by jsteinhardt · 2012-09-16T23:43:31.596Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 20 comments

Audio books have been discussed a bit before, but I never saw a list of recommendations. What books are good in an audio format (especially ones that can be listened to while driving)? I commute 45 minutes a day and would like to put that time to good use.

ETA: I'm mostly interested in non-fiction (goal here is to learn useful stuff, as opposed to entertainment).


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by lukeprog · 2012-09-17T03:01:32.156Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fiction or non-fiction?

Several courses from The Great Courses (formerly "The Teaching Company") are as good as the best audiobook you can find in the field.

Replies from: palladias, diegocaleiro, jsteinhardt
comment by palladias · 2012-09-17T13:57:27.623Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you're doing courses, you may want to speed up the playback and shift down the pitch.

Replies from: matt, matt
comment by matt · 2012-12-06T23:59:04.104Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you're doing anything else, you may also want to speed up the playback and shift down the pitch. To achieve that you may use a tool like Audacity (open source, many platforms, Effect > Change Tempo…) or SoundStretch. I use this to automate podcast shifting on my mac.

comment by matt · 2012-12-04T10:37:20.333Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

(duplicate comment removed)

comment by diegocaleiro · 2012-09-21T20:19:45.622Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Go for biological anthropology, evolutionary psychology game theory, particle physics for non-physicists and general biology. All from TTC. Don't take economics from universities (UCSD) too many mentions to stuff in the blackboard. Dennett's kinds of minds Pinker's how the mind works Diamonds guns germs and steel and collapse. Maybe Gladwell outliers, but missing the graphs will be sad.

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2012-09-21T20:39:51.027Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

commas please. If those were on different lines in the markdown source, precede the lines with + - or * like so:

+    a list item
+    another

or put two spaces at the end of the line you want to be actually rendered as a

EDIT: I notice the formatter is still eating source whitespace in

 stuff (BUG)

Replies from: wedrifid
comment by wedrifid · 2012-09-22T10:13:44.151Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

commas please.

Capital letters at the start of each sentence are also recommended.

comment by jsteinhardt · 2012-09-17T20:02:55.596Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


comment by EvelynM · 2012-09-17T23:58:21.150Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've learned a lot from EconTalk (, about economics, psychology and public choice. The recordings are about a hour long, and the website has references for further reading and a transcript.

Replies from: wedrifid
comment by wedrifid · 2012-12-30T10:00:12.260Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've learned a lot from EconTalk (, about economics, psychology and public choice. The recordings are about a hour long, and the website has references for further reading and a transcript.

Thankyou! I'm going to download a bunch now.

comment by acephalus · 2012-09-17T02:20:11.344Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This may fit better in an Open Thread, since you're not even asking for a specific kind of book.

Edit: since I'm posting here, might as well recommend Confessions of a Conjuror by Derren Brown, narrated by the author. excerpt

comment by DanielLC · 2012-09-17T00:03:59.185Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I suggest How to Succeed in Evil. The chapters can be downloaded here.

comment by atorm · 2012-09-18T13:15:18.962Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I know you said non-fiction, but the Discworld novels, especially those narrated by Stephen Briggs, are really quite good.

comment by Jabberslythe · 2012-09-17T20:50:34.473Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Audiobooks for learning languages and for appreciating music benefit immensely from the audio format when they are designed for it.

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2012-09-17T00:57:07.181Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you are going the Audible route (it was well worth it for me) you can pretty much start with "what book would I like to hear". My hit rate has been very high for certain categories, e.g. popular non-fiction, investing books, much sci-fi.

Replies from: Document
comment by Document · 2012-09-22T19:58:51.600Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the other hand, some audio books are only available through services like the NLS or Learning Ally that you need proof of disability to use. Occasionally people share them online, but there are several LW-relevant ones I've never been able to find.

comment by Pablo (Pablo_Stafforini) · 2014-07-30T22:43:32.896Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

See also Nick Beckstead's audiobook recommendations.

Replies from: Jayson_Virissimo
comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2014-07-31T01:40:10.680Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks. I found this a valuable source for my to read list (including deletions).

comment by scott_from_castify · 2012-12-30T09:49:07.714Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We're doing LessWrong content as audio. There are currently several commutes worth of audio from the sequences, with more coming soon.

comment by palladias · 2012-09-17T00:42:46.735Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The Poisonwood Bible is a great novel, but I enjoy it much more in audio. The story has five first person narrators, and the voice acting of the reader is very strong and makes it easy to know who you are listening to. My family ended up with two copies, since we lent it out so much.