Please recommend some audiobooks

post by Delta · 2014-10-10T13:34:35.953Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 26 comments

Hi All,

I've got into audiobooks lately and have been enjoying listening to David Fitzgerald's Nailed! and his Heretics Guide to mormonism, along with Greta Christina's "Why Are You Atheists So Angry?" and Laura Bates's "Everyday Sexism" which were all very good. I was wondering what other illuminating and engaging books might be recommended, ideally ones available as audiobooks on audible.

I've already read The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion and God Is Not Great in book form as well, so it might be time for something not specifically religion-related, unless it has some interesting new angle.

After Nailed and Everyday Sexism were really illuminating I'm now thinking there must be lots of other must-read books out there and wondered what people here might recommend. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks for your time.

26 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by lukeprog · 2014-10-10T17:23:27.892Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

My own recommendations are here. I haven't updated that list for a while, but I've been listing the books I've read each month over here instead, nearly all of which are audiobooks.

comment by Delta · 2014-10-13T09:52:14.890Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Blimey that's extensive, thanks a lot, I'll take a look.

comment by James_Miller · 2014-10-10T13:46:37.744Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: The Podcast and on iTunes. It's free.

comment by Delta · 2014-10-10T14:04:19.561Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I've already read HPMOR but might think about the spoken version. Might help clarify some of the examples I never quite understood to hear someone else speaking them. It's kind of odd how different the same work can feel when you read it the first time compare to when you read it again or hear it read by someone else.

Speaking of re-reading I really must re-read Worm one of these days, that was great, and maybe try Wildbow's new Pact story.

comment by Roxolan · 2014-10-14T08:28:16.409Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The work-in-progress Worm audiobook might be of use then.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-10-10T17:13:14.997Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Librivox has a very large assortment of free audio books. The catch is they are all in public domain, so they are mostly older works and they are all recorded by volunteers. However, I can say that I've found them an extremely excellent resource (I'm listening through Hobbes' Leviathan now).

So, if you'd like some older thinkers or scientists (Kant, Hume, Locke, Newton, Faraday, Mills, etc), they're a great resource.

comment by Delta · 2014-10-13T09:33:43.644Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, thanks for the recommendation. I've been thinking I should look what other services are available and come across some streaming and rental services too, though as I like listening while walking out and about streaming may not be as great an option.

comment by hyporational · 2014-10-11T03:21:03.611Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You could also listen to ebooks via a text-to-speech app. While the inflection isn't lively, you get the advantages of being able to listen to almost any book and speeding it up so it doesn't take much more time than actual reading. I've found my brain is learning to process speech faster and faster as time goes by. Of course you can speed up a normal audiobook too, but inflection and varying voices will make it more difficult.

ETA: Repligo Reader lets you tts pdf files on Android. Universal Book Reader lets you tts other formats. Google Play Books allows tts for their ebooks.

comment by torekp · 2014-10-14T00:02:48.305Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, I needed that. If you get e-books on Kindle, and you didn't know how to text-to-speech them, here's the For Dummies. It works for "the second-generation Kindle and the Kindle DX." Luckily I have one of those. This website says it also works with Kindle Keyboard or Kindle Touch, but not Paperwhite.

comment by hyporational · 2014-10-14T06:05:07.540Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Repligo Reader lets you tts pdf files on Android. Universal Book Reader lets you tts other formats. Google Play Books allows tts for their ebooks.

comment by Roxolan · 2014-10-14T08:33:24.183Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded. On Android I'm using FBReader with an Ivona voice (free, with the drawback that I have to re-download Ivona every couple of months). It works really well for non-fiction, even the Sequences with all its long made-up words.

It doesn't work so well with fantasy/sci-fi though. Made-up words without an English root trip it up.

comment by drethelin · 2014-10-10T17:03:49.149Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh

As far as fiction, Discworld has a lot of good audiobooks, and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrrell is awesome.

comment by CronoDAS · 2014-10-12T00:16:39.737Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

Take this one with a grain of salt. From what I hear, Taubes gets quite a bit of his physiology wrong, although whether or not his conclusions are correct just isn't known.

comment by Torello · 2014-10-11T15:44:03.213Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I second Checklist Manifesto due to content.

I second Gang Leader not only for interesting content, but because I found the voice acting to add to the content (I sometimes give up on interesting content because I can't stand the voice acting)

comment by geeky · 2014-10-19T02:42:53.687Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Religion and Science by Bertrand Russell was interesting and informative. As a bonus, it's not that long.

A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell.

(To speed through books, I use VLC player, and then adjust the speed to 1.2X)

comment by PuyaSharif · 2014-10-23T02:05:15.970Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Wonderful recommendation. I am listening to 'A History of western philosophy' at the moment and I enjoy every single minute of it. Its my clean and cook book. Not only is it a literary masterpiece, it is a well researched account of exactly what the name says. As a bonus you get the whole story commented by one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.

comment by gjm · 2014-10-23T15:27:11.439Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I have heard it claimed by people who know more about the history of philosophy than I do that it's less than perfectly reliable, and in particular that if Russell's account makes someone look silly then you should consider seriously the possibility that they were distinctly less silly than Russell makes them look.

(But I agree that it's a lovely book, and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it.)

comment by PuyaSharif · 2014-10-24T01:02:51.875Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I guess the bottom line is that, when it comes to fields like philosophy and history, the literature will be heavily biased by the authors, and if one really wants to reduce this bias the one must consult multiple sources.

comment by gjm · 2014-10-24T07:39:02.193Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. There's another single-volume history of philosophy, by Anthony Kenny, that's alleged to be good. I would expect Kenny to have a quite different set of biases from Russell's (and for what it's worth less like my own than Russell's). I have it on my shelves but it's one of the hundreds I haven't read yet so I can't endorse it (or the reverse) independently. I've no idea whether there's an audiobook of it.

comment by Nick_Beckstead · 2014-10-16T23:24:42.184Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have audiobook recommendations here.

comment by 2ZctE · 2014-10-11T19:28:14.664Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Books (edited to include reasons)

Perfect Health Diet (dense, persuasive, hundreds of citations)

How to Fail at Almost Everything And Still Win Big (its very rational seeming for a self help book, his systems approach is interesting, the book includes some counter arguments to common memes (like questioning the direction of causality in the whole passion/success thing), he mentions other research and memes that will sound familiar to anyone who reads lukeprog self help posts, he assumes he and the readers are moist robots, it's self skeptical and cautious about naively assuming he knows why something seems to work)

Podcasts:

Zen Habits, Tim Ferriss Experiment, Conversations From the Pale Blue Dot

You might also find it worthwhile to search youtube for Ted Talks, lectures, interviews etc, and rip out their audio. If there is a popular book there is often a shorter free video of the author explaining and summarizing its basic gist.

comment by Kaninchen · 2014-10-10T13:47:35.889Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I listened to the audiobook of Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics" over the summer and would recommend it. (That said, I got it while it was on offer and it appears to be rather more expensive now).

I don't know if you are also interested in podcasts, but in case you are I would recommend The Sequences (via Castify) in general, and possibly other things depending upon your personal interests.

comment by Delta · 2014-10-10T14:05:49.814Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, I'll have a look at that one and maybe add it to the wishlist if it's a bit pricey.

Yeah, it would be good to go over some of the sequences again, it's been a while since I read them and I know I missed a few.

I listen to the odd podcast if an interesting-sounding one pops up in the Dawkins foundation facebook feed but I don't listen to any on a regular basis. Should probably look into them.

Thanks for the suggestions.

comment by Capla · 2014-11-03T21:30:51.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Not mine, but a good set of recommendations:

http://www.cgpgrey.com/recommended-listening/

comment by Delta · 2014-10-10T14:00:09.822Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, I've already read HPMOR but might think about the spoken version. Might help clarify some of the examples I never quite understood to hear someone else speaking them. It's kind of odd how different the same work can feel when you read it the first time compare to when you read it again or hear it read by someone else.

Speaking of re-reading I really must re-read Worm one of these days, that was great, and maybe try Wildbow's new Pact story.

I listen to the odd podcast if an interesting-sounding one pops up in the Dawkins foundation facebook feed but I don't listen to any on a regular basis. Should probably look into them.