How Podcasts and Audiobooks Can Change Your Life

By now many of you have heard of podcasts, but some of you have no idea how to access them with ease and make them a part of your life.  I thought I would offer a quick tutorial for those of you that are missing out, and some insight on why you may want to incorporate them into your routine.

The App

Depending on whether you have an iPhone or an Android, you will want to first download an app.

Do you have an iPhone?  Click Overcast, and download this podcast app from iTunes.

Maybe you have an Android like I do? Click Stitcher, and download this from the Google Play Store.

For audio books, I like Audible and Hoopla. There is Audible for iPhones, and there is Audible for Androids.  While downloading podcasts on the podcast apps are free, audio books will cost money.  Erin and I have a membership, so we can download a book each month.

Hoopla for Android (or for iPhone) allows you to borrow audio books from you local library (as long as you have a library card).  The app isn’t as nice to work with as Audible, but you are trading in the utility of the app for the cost of the books (free).

Now What?

Now you’ll want to search for some podcasts that you are interested in.  Here are a few that I recommend:

I have several others on my phone as well that I listen to because of my likes and hobbies.  I’ll list a few not as recommendations, but to give you an idea of the wide range of podcasts that are out there.

  • BeerSmith Home Brewing
  • The Grappling Central Podcast
  • Learn Norwegian |

In terms of books, I hope there are a few on your list already.  If not, here are some gems to listen to.

  • Linchpin by Seth Godin
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan Heath and Chip Heath
  • Made to Stick by Dan Heath and Chip Heath
  • Give and Take by Adam M. Grant
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
  • Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation by Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback.
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  • Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Who Has Time For This?

Before I started listening to podcasts and audio books, I had this same question.  I had no time for this, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to make time for it either.  I was busy enough with my own activities, hobbies, and work life.  Also, listening to podcasts and audio books was likely to put me to sleep.

Until I realized something.

I could be reading a book or listening to a podcast while I was doing any of the following things:

  • Brewing Beer
  • Going to Work
  • Coming home from work
  • On a walk or a run
  • Doing Chores (dishes, laundry, trash, etc).

What a revelation!  How cool is it that you don’t have to make time for further personal improvement?  What a way to kill a couple birds with one stone!

How Does it Change My Life?

As you begin listening to some podcasts, you will hopefully find enjoyment out of them and will look forward to listening to another.  Once you find one you really like, that podcast can make a significant impact on your life by creating a rule for yourself.

Erin absolutely loves The Tim Ferriss Show.  When we’re on trips, I will sometimes want to Bluetooth an episode into our vehicle to listen, but she stops me.  She has a rule.

She can only listen to The Tim Ferriss Show when she is running.  Although she likes running, it is harder to get yourself to go running than it is to listen to an awesome podcast.  So, if she wants to listen to an episode, she has to carve out the time to do so… by carving out the time to run.  It is a pretty genius move. I’m very proud of her.

My walk to work time is for audio books. Not all of us walk to work, I get that.  But, many of you have vehicles now that can connect to your phone. You can play these in your car.  When I drive the truck, which doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities, I just turn the speaker  up on my phone and that suffices.

I, too, now listen to The Tim Ferriss Show while running.

TED Radio Hour, Freakonomics, and other shows I listen to while doing chores around the house.  In fact, that motivates me to do the chores I didn’t really want (or absolutely need) to get to.  I can also listen to these while I brew beer and roast coffee, or while on a trip somewhere other than work.

If you still have the box that your smartphone came in, you will probably find a set of headphones in there.  Use those if you don’t want to disturb those around you.


5 thoughts on “How Podcasts and Audiobooks Can Change Your Life

  1. Never underestimate the value of laying down the basics. Thanks! And hi to Erin, the Tim Ferriss fan. I’ll be lookin’ that up.


  2. Great points, Jason! I love Erin’s rule about only listening to Tim’s show while she’s running. I’ll be training for a 10K later this year, and I’ll have to co-opt that rule to increase the likelihood I stick to my training regimen.

    You’re so right, overall, about the potential for life change from audiobooks and podcasts. They allow you to wring extra value out of the day, as I see it, and all that time adds up! I’m finishing up Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens right now, and most of my listening has taken place while I was walking the dog or doing the dishes.


  3. You may find yourself thinking, “What!?!… my run is already over?” when incorporating such a plan. You may find yourself taking an extra long cool down.

    I look forward to any thoughts and assessment of Sapiens.


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