Best Audiobooks for Learning Something New

Resolve to learn something new this year, and you might just change your life.

By Jessica Dukes

It’s not too late to take advantage of the new year and resolve to learn skills that can change your life. Whether you want to improve your relationships, feel better about yourself, be more productive, or simplify things, these audiobooks will get you on the right path.

You're Not Listening Audiobook

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy, narrated by the author (6 hours, 31 minutes)

It’s amazing what you can learn about a person when you listen to them. Unfortunately, most people are not good listeners. The good news is that listening is a skill, one that you can improve with practice, and Murphy breaks it down into easy-to-understand pieces: Pay attention to the speaker, don’t shift the attention to yourself, and always ask the speaker relevant questions. You don’t have to agree with everything you hear, and allowing others to explain themselves has huge benefits. You’ll understand them, they’ll feel appreciated by you, and your relationship will improve.

Permission to Feel Audiobook

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett, Ph.D., narrated by the author (7 hours, 55 minutes)

Brackett, founder and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is on a mission to help people become aware of their feelings — what they are, why they’re happening, how to react to them, and how to recognize these emotions in others. His methods, which you can apply to your life starting today, have been translated into a system now used by thousands of schools (and even more families), helping children control their emotions before they become controlled by them. The goal is nothing less than the long-term, emotional well-being of ourselves and our society.

Politics is for Power Audiobook

Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change by Eitan Hersh, narrated by Jonathan Todd Ross (8 hours, 46 minutes)

Watching the nightly news, signing petitions, and posting on social media may make you feel like you’re in touch with current events, but this “political hobbyism” is essentially a powerless position, despite your best intentions. If you want to make real change, you need to get involved, and Hersh shows you how to start. Even an hour of your spare time given to a local community organization every week will have an impact. As you live your values, meet others, and influence voters, you become a genuine and powerful force for change.

Talk Like TED Audiobook

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo, narrated by the author (7 hours, 42 minutes)

Regardless of how intelligent or prepared we are, when it’s time to stand in front of a room full of people and speak, many of us freeze. Why are your hands trembling when every TED talk presenter makes it look so easy? Thankfully, Gallo has studied hundreds of TED talks and discovered the secret recipe for a successful presentation. See why it’s important to be yourself, use humor, and have images or video that help you tell the story. In the end, your ideas will get the attention they deserve.

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg, narrated by Chloe Cannon (4 hours, 38 minutes) 

The words “zero waste” don’t have to imply a radical change of lifestyle. By adopting some of Kellogg’s minimalist tips, you can start reducing the amount of garbage your household produces — an easy way to be gentler with the environment. You may already be doing some of these things if you use metal straws, bring your own shopping bags to the market, or carry a reusable water bottle. But if you’re ready to do more, this book will also inspire you to think about how you shop for everything from food to furniture. It even includes recipes for chemical-free beauty and cleaning products that you can easily make at home. It won’t take long to see why living with less is better for the planet and your wallet.

Read the Face Audiobook

Read the Face: Face Reading for Success in Your Career, Relationships, and Health by Eric Standop with Elisa Petrini, narrated by Standop and Rick Adamson (8 hours, 49 minutes)

Before we learn to talk, we learn to read facial cues. As we age, we lose the ability, but Standop’s process will help you relearn this primary, valuable skill. It turns out, we humans are incapable of completely hiding our emotions. How we’re feeling about relationships, work, and even our own health is revealed through microexpressions on our face. The audiobook comes with a PDF file, illustrating all of the facial signals you’ll learn. With your new awareness of others, you may even think that you’ve gained a superpower.

Fair Play Audiobook

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky, narrated by the author (7 hours, 54 minutes)

Be honest. Does one person in your home bear more than their fair share of the household responsibilities? It’s important to know that this type of invisible, unequal labor can lead to resentment over time. Rodsky’s solution: Identify every task your home requires, prioritize, and start assigning them. This means having conversations about what’s important and taking ownership of a task (no matter the size) through its completion. It’s a simple plan designed to get things done, but you may also find that you both have a new-found appreciation for each other’s time.

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