Zoltan Vadkerti is a work-life expert, blogger and co-founder of the WorkLife HUB.
I could only use my old Nokia mobile and listen to the radio, but it didn't take long before I’d get bored and not interested in what the Hungarian radio shows were talking about. By happy chance, I discovered that the library near my flat had a large collection of audiobooks and I immediately started taking full advantage.
These books on tape (oldschool, right?) granted me to escape inwardly from the noisy and totally cramped bus rides while making progress on my studies and learning more about my hobbies. The daily commutes would whoosh by and I would enter my home energized and more relaxed.
Cassette audiobooks are long gone but podcasts and audibles can still transport you to another dimension, teach you novelties, or help you improve your skills. It doesn’t matter if you commute 2 hours or 20 minutes you can totally make the time well spent.
Ever since my lengthy commutes from one of the corners of Budapest to the other one, I am in love with audiobooks and consume them on a daily basis. There are a great amount of fantastic - narrated by some pretty amazing people - audiobooks devoted to management, leadership or self-development. And, because we are constantly looking for new ways to extend our horizons on work-life integration we decided to round up the best work-life audiobooks of all time. Here are our picks:
How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb (author, reader)
At the WorkLife HUB, we love author narrated audiobooks! Outstanding author narrations can help increase authenticity and provide following to a new book. Caroline Webb, former McKinsey partner, has done a wonderful job in reciting her own book, which was praised by no other than the youngest tenured and highest rated Wharton professor, Adam Grant. To provide a glimpse into the audiobook we recommend you listening to our podcast with her first.
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (author, reader)
Another fantastic author narration. Steven Pressfield, one of the most recognized American writers on the creative process, narrates this masterpiece almost perfectly. The audiobook provides listeners with pragmatic tools that will help them take action and ship (work-life) projects out the door.
Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson (author), Tony Roberts (reader)
Few books remain on the New York Times business bestseller list for close to 5 years and sell more than 26 million copies worldwide in 37 different languages. Even today, Johnson’s incredible (audio)book is being disseminated by many line managers and startup CEOs as a motivational tool, but its universal lessons can benefit anyone searching for less stress and success in every aspect of work and life. Listen to this motivational business fantasy for free here.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (author), Mark Chamberlain (reader)
If you happen to struggle atrocious habits or wish to become someone who develops good ones, Charles Duhigg’s bestseller audiobook is for you. Narrated by brilliant actor and voiceover artist, Mark Chamberlain, the book will give away insight, key takeaways and an overall understanding of how habits influence one’s life. Through the 10 hours and 29 minutes long audiobook you will discover how proper habits were crucial to the success of civil-rights idol Martin Luther King, Jr, and to Michael Phelps in winning and unimaginable number of Olympic medals, 28 to be accurate. In short, pick this (audio)book up as soon as you can, or listen to it on Youtube for free.
Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life by Ron Clark (author, reader)
Following the footsteps of classics, such as Who Moved My Cheese or Fish! by Stephen Lundin, Move Your Bus is a down-to-earth and inspiring business parable that demonstrates Clark’s leadership principles, and provides the listeners with an accessible guidebook. The audiobook is an incredibly powerful mix of management, thought-provocation, and anecdotes that will make you laugh. Ron Clark narrates the book himself; not only he does have a unique and familiar voice, he animates every sentence with passion.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington (author), Agapi Stassinopoulos (reader)
We surely don’t need to explain you much about this book, or Arianna Huffington herself. In case you have been living under a rock for the past decades, Arianna’s personal “work-life-wake-up” call came, after a serious accident caused by exhaustion and lack of sleep, in the form of Thrive. Narrated by her sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, listening to this book will make you feel like you are part of the Greek-American family, having lunch and afternoon tea over discussing meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving.
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer (author, introduction), Charles Fishman (author), Norbert Leo Butz (reader)
Two-time winner of the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, Norbert Leo Butz elegantly narrates this audiobook written by Award-winning television and film producer Grazer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind ..) about the role of curiosity in his career and life. Listeners, and Broadway theatre visitors, accustomed with the tone and potential transformation of Butz’s voice will not be surprised at his polished narration, performing as he was Grazer himself passionately explaining about the power of “curiosity conversations”. Intriguing and super descriptive, the typical audiobook we love to listen and get lost into.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (author, reader)
This is another audiobook we are sure doesn’t need lengthy introduction; David Allen’s self-help classic, Getting Things Done (GTD), about work-organisation, time management and work-life balance in the twenty-first century. Why should you listen to the second edition of this audiobook? It is just David Allen! Allen, himself, reads an all-new edition of his prominent book which he has rewritten from the first page to the last one. The book is tweaked with new perspectives on the workplace, and information that will make influence work-life enthusiasts, such as us, for many decades. It is incredibly dense, so you may need to pause and take notes!
The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins (author, reader)
Your experience of this audiobook narrated by an outstanding motivational speaker and CNN commentator is going to be exceptional. Mel Robbins’ effortless delivery makes this truly a life changing audiobook; the kind you can’t stop listening to. Mel’s writing is effortless, natural but provocative just like how she reads the book. It is almost like sitting down for a cup of hot chocolate in the best neighbourhood of Paris with your really expressive friend revealing you swear-by-God-this-will-change-your-life stories.
Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organizations by Tracy Brower (author), Cyndee Maxwell (reader)
This is a classic you may have already come across in our blog posts or podcast that would be wonderful to revisit in audio form. Cyndee Maxwell proficient narration evokes both the substantial and everyday elements of the book. Simply put: a work-life integration number-one, in audiobook form as well.
Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life by Michael Strahan (author, reader)
This audiobook narrated by media personality and NFL legend Strahan himself is really the motivational-energizer one you will need to flip into your vehicle’s CD player if you’d like to drive all night without falling asleep. The book has been nominated for the Year’s Best (“Oscars”) Audiobooks in 2016 in the category of business, so one more reason for you to listen to it. Being Ice Age fans we were already hooked into Strahan’s voice (Teddy, the 338 years old fitness obsessed bunny in Collision Course), and were drawn in from the beginning till the very end by the audiobook.
Do you have a favourite work-life audiobook which we did not include in this list? Let us know!