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Published on August 4, 2020

25 Best Audiobooks to Make the Most of Your Commute

25 Best Audiobooks to Make the Most of Your Commute

Reading has been on the decline for years. All you have to do is think back to the last time you have stepped into a library to see my point.

One of the biggest reasons for the decline in book sales and going to libraries is the leaps and bounds in technology. Why buy a book when you can conveniently buy audiobooks instead?

I can see your point in thinking this way, however, I’d argue that it’s still worth picking up books.

First, I personally read every day. I read about productivity, entrepreneurship, leadership, and anything related to personal growth. Reading has inspired/helped me a lot in my work and personal life.

Second, many successful people credit reading as a factor in their success, and there are many examples of this.[1]

Only when I’m driving, commuting, or doing exercises do I listen to audiobooks. In light of that, I recommend you to listen to audiobooks too as a start. If you love it, buy a physical copy of the books, too.

Here are 25 of the best audiobooks you can find.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook

    One of the best audiobooks around for self-improvement is Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’. It is one of the best modern self-improvement books you can pick up.

    I say modern, even though it was published in 2004. The reason I make that claim is due to Covey’s overall approach. He doesn’t indulge in pop psychology or common trends. He doesn’t say what so many people in this industry talk about.

    The latest version has a foreword and afterword where Covey explains the relevance of these habits in the modern world and answers questions he’s been asked over the years since.

    Get this audiobook! 

    2. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

      Another one of the books to listen to is ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind’. Written by Shunryu Suzuki, this 2011 book is one of the most beloved American Zen books.

      To give you a taste here is the first line of the book: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” It is an immensely powerful line and it is filled to the brim with these particular nuggets of wisdom.

      Get this audiobook!

      3. The Power of Now

        Published in 2000, ‘The Power of Now’  explains a journey—a journey that encourages you to dismiss your analytical mind and set aside your ego as well. Already, you can tell that journey is difficult, but the author, Eckhart Tolle, guides you through these transitions with easy to understand words and phrases.

        The purpose of this book is to help you through living in the current moment—the “now.”

        Get this audiobook!

        4. Daring Greatly

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          Over one million copies sold, Daring Greatly by Dr. Brené Brown is among the list of best and most famous audiobooks. The premise of the book is the idea that we all experience vulnerability in our lives and Brown argues that it’s alright that these happen.

          The book also stresses that it’s not always about winning or losing these battles of vulnerability. Instead, it’s about courage, willingness to accept vulnerability, and throwing ourselves into further risk.

          Get this audiobook!

          5. Good Morning, I Love You

            One of the Amazon audiobooks you’ll want to pick up is ‘Good Morning, I Love You’ by Shauna Shapiro. Another zen-related book, Shapiro’s approach is a bit different from other zen books.

            Most people encourage meditation, but Shapiro pushes for something different. Instead, she brings up the science and explains why we feel what we feel instead rather than trying to “empty your mind with mindful meditation.”

            Get this audiobook!

            6. The Four Agreements

              Written by don Miguel Ruiz, ‘The Four Agreements’ covers the sources of limiting beliefs. Using Toltec wisdom, this is one of the audiobooks that uses ‘the four agreements’ as a powerful code of conduct to transform your life and thrive.

              Get this audiobook!

              7. Practicing Mindfulness

                For those looking for mindful meditations, ‘Practicing Mindfulness’ by Matthew Sokolov is one of the best audio novels to pick up. The book provides 75 exercises that are backed by science to help you bring calmness and compassion into your daily life.

                Get this audiobook!

                8. The Alchemist

                  From the title alone, you’d think that you won’t find this in the audio self-help books section. The reality is that it’s one of the most powerful audiobooks around.

                  Written by Paulo Coelho, this book has inspired a following all across the world. It presents a simple—and yet dazzling—story. It is one of the best audio stories you’ll hear.

                  In short, it talks about the journey of a boy named Santiago who travels from Spain to Egypt in search of riches. Along the way, he meets three characters, a gypsy woman, a man who thinks he’s a king, and the alchemist. These characters help guide Santiago to his goal, but over time that goal changes. It moves away from worldly riches to something deeper and more profound. I’ll let you figure out what that is.

                  Get this audiobook!

                  9. The Power of Habit

                    Written by Charles Duhigg, ‘The Power of Habit’ talks all about the power behind habits using various cases and scenarios to present Duhigg’s points. In the book, Duhigg distills complex systems and methods into easily digestible stories that people and businesses can relate to.

                    These stories bring us to what goes on behind the doors at Proctor & Gambles and bring us to the sidelines of NFL team tactics. All in all, it presents valid arguments when it comes to habit building and explains it in a way you have never seen before.

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                    Get this audiobook!

                    10. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

                      As the title suggests, ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ talks about seven natural laws of success. Written by Deepak Chopra, Chopra uses all his years of teaching and distills them into seven simple principles or laws that you can apply to see success.

                      Beyond that, the book aims to shatter the myths surrounding success and gives the reader a peek at what it’s really all about.

                      Get this audiobook!

                      11. Outliers

                        Written by Malcolm Gladwell, this book is, well, an outlier amongst self-improvement books. It is the book that popularized the idea that practicing 10,000 hours total will make you an expert in that area.

                        There is that factoid, but it also covers other aspects that many of today’s billionaires and successful people use—things that stretch beyond traditional methods.

                        Get this audiobook!

                        12. The Seven Most Effective Methods of Self-Hypnosis

                          One of the easiest ways to make drastic changes in your life is the idea of self-hypnosis. Over the years, many great books have pushed the importance of this, from Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’  to Tony Robbins ‘Awaken the Giant Within’. The idea behind this book is to expand on those ideas and give you seven of the best methods that you can use and how to use them. 

                          Get this audiobook!

                          13. Becoming

                            Written by the former First Lady of the 34th US President, Michelle Obama’s book is one of the many powerful audio autobiographical books you can get this year. In short, it’s a powerful and inspiring memoir from her that explains in vivid detail the events that helped shape who she is today.

                            Get this audiobook!

                            14. Close Your Eyes, Get Free

                              Another self-hypnotism book to consider, this one drives home three main points: 

                              1. What hypnosis is and isn’t
                              2. How powerful your subconscious mind really is
                              3. Simple practices you can use to improve various emotional aspects—things like boosting confidence, self-esteem, and calming anxiety, amongst others.

                              The book is simple in its direction, but you know precisely what you are getting into with this book, and I love it.

                              Get this audiobook!

                              15. I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years

                                One of the biggest problems in life is that it’s relatively short. While we have made leaps and bounds to prolong life, the average life expectancy of someone is about 79 years old. It’s still good considering how far we’ve come, but clearly, people have lived longer.

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                                In this book, the author Ilchi Lee challenges us to radically think differently about life, longevity, and other ideologies. It’s also been praised by several famous authors, some of whom I’ve mentioned in this list already.

                                Get this audiobook!

                                16. Real Love

                                  ‘Real Love’ provides you with a creative tool kit for mindfulness exercises and meditation techniques to help you engage in the current moment in your life. The goal is to help you have a deeper appreciation of yourself, those around you, and the events that occur in your life.

                                  The book argues that to obtain those aspects, you need to shed the layers of negative habits and obstacles and help ourselves to experience authentic love.

                                  Get this audiobook!

                                  17. Mindfulness in Action

                                    There are so many kinds of mindfulness books out there and you can see why. Time and again, the benefits of this practice have proven themselves—a better sense of well being, lower stress, and high concentration, to list a few.

                                    The purpose of this book is to help guide you through meditation on the surface level. It’s amazing for those who want to start. However, it also dives into deeper questions that many veterans of this practice have been asking themselves as well.

                                    Get this audiobook!

                                    18. 12 Rules of Life

                                      Humorous, surprising, and informative are three words that aptly describe this book. To summarize, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson explains in great detail the rules of life from easily relatable scenarios—from why we should pet the cat that’s been walking down the street to why we the skateboarding boys and girls ought to be left alone.

                                      This book brings in unusual examples to explain fundamental principles that we could all use in our lives. It is both comical and truly insightful.

                                      Get this audiobook!

                                      19. The ONE Thing

                                        For the extremely busy folks, this book is for you. If you want less on your plate and more for your life and career, this is the book to pick up.

                                        ‘The ONE Thing’ is a book that’s written to bring your life and work into focus. It teaches you how to cut through the clutter, achieve better results in less time, master what matters most to you, and ease yourself from stress all at the same time.

                                        Get this audiobook!

                                        20. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

                                          Similar to other list-based books that establish laws, this particular book focuses on the overall guiding principles of growth. According to John C. Maxwell, there is such a thing as laws of growth. For over 50 years, he’s built up his knowledge of growth and has written a book to share what those particular laws he has established are.

                                          Get this audiobook!

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                                          21. Mindset

                                            Written by a university psychology professor, this is another profound book that has shaken the industry. Carol Dweck PhD. explains in detail how success in everything that we do can be dramatically enhanced by how we view our own abilities and talents. In short, the book explains the major differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset—a topic that I’ve talked about many times before.

                                            Get this audiobook!

                                            22. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

                                              While it is a little unusual this book made it to the list, I swear it’s for a very good reason. While we think of organizing and cleaning to be a chore, there is a certain way to go about it to make your life easier. In this book, you’ll learn how the Japanese declutter and clean up their surroundings and establish a system that saves you time and energy for years to come.

                                              Get this audiobook!

                                              23. Blink

                                                Another great book written by Malcolm Gladwell, Blink is a book that gets you to be thinking about all kinds of things. From our rapid-fire choices to even something as meta as thinking itself, this book brings people from all manners of life and how they can use unique abilities in an instant.

                                                From a psychologist who can predict if a couple is doomed or not to a tennis coach who can tell whether a player will double-fault before the racket hits the ball, this book will challenge a lot of aspects of people and our thought process.

                                                Get this audiobook!

                                                24. Thinking Fast and Slow

                                                  Written by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, this book is based on his seminars revolving around behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, and happiness studies. This book provides a convenient summary of all of these aspects in his first-ever public book.

                                                  This is a big deal as the discoveries that Kahneman uncovered revolutionized the cognitive psychology world and sprung several industries from these concepts.

                                                  Get this audiobook!

                                                  25. Switch

                                                    The last of our long list of audiobooks is Switch. This book talks about the struggles to make long-lasting changes in various environments. From companies and communities to our very own lives, ‘Switch’ provides some insight into what are the leading causes and help us to “make the switch”.

                                                    The solutions presented are based on something that psychologists have uncovered. It presents two types of mindsets: the rational mind and the emotional mind. The premise of the book establishes these things and how we can use them to our advantage.

                                                    Get this audiobook!

                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                    With new authors emerging every single day and multiple books coming out and shaping industries, it’s easy to find many influential books that challenge the way many of us see the world. Authors provide a glimpse into their own thought process and through that, we all grow together.

                                                    This is the beauty of books and audiobooks alike. It’s a chance for us to grow and develop ourselves. So don’t dismiss books so readily as they are the treasure trove to your own growth.

                                                    More Audiobooks You Should Check Out

                                                    Featured photo credit: Henry Be via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

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                                                    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

                                                    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                                    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

                                                    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

                                                    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

                                                    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

                                                    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

                                                    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

                                                    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

                                                    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

                                                    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

                                                    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

                                                    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

                                                    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

                                                    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

                                                    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

                                                    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

                                                    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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                                                    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

                                                    3. Create a System

                                                    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

                                                    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

                                                    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

                                                    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

                                                    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

                                                    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

                                                    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

                                                    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

                                                    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

                                                    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

                                                    5. Use a Ratings Scale

                                                    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

                                                    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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                                                    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

                                                    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

                                                    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

                                                    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

                                                    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

                                                    7. Offer Feedback Forms

                                                    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

                                                    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

                                                    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

                                                    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                                    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

                                                    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

                                                    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

                                                    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

                                                    9. Use Self-Evaluations

                                                    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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                                                    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

                                                    10. Monitor Time Management

                                                    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

                                                    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

                                                      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

                                                      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

                                                      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

                                                      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

                                                      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

                                                      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

                                                      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

                                                      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

                                                      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

                                                      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

                                                      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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                                                      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

                                                      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

                                                      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

                                                      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

                                                      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

                                                      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

                                                      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

                                                      14. Use an External Evaluator

                                                      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

                                                      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

                                                      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

                                                      Final Thoughts

                                                      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

                                                      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

                                                      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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                                                      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

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