Recommended Listening

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts and here are some of my favorites. If you have any you think I might like, please let me know.

Recommended Audiobooks:


Under the Banner of Heaven:

A great book that Scott Brick was born to narrate.  It follows two stories: one about the history of the Mormon church and the other about a murder in modern-day America.   


His Dark Materials:

It's hard to find a book reading done by a full cast that isn't awkward to listen to, but this one is brilliantly done.  And the narrator  who I only discovered after listing to it is the author, has the perfect voice to set the mood for this fantasy novel.  


On Writing:

Never has an author's voice mattered more in the telling of his story.  Stephen King talks about his life and work in away that's mesmerizing.  I first read this book before listening to it and the audio version is far superior for the way King emphasizes parts. 


John Adams:

One reason I love audiobooks is they let me get through books I would never otherwise have the patience to read in text form.  I think that John Adams by David McCullough is the best example of this in my life.  An incredibly interesting and touching history of the United States' second president that I would never have guessed I'd be interested in.


BBC Lord of the Rings Radio Drama

This is less a full cast reading than a re-working of Tolkien's tale for the radio.  It's the first version of The Lord of the Rings I was exposed to.


Debt The First 5,000 Years:

The problem of 'what is money?' has been vexing me for years, and this is the best book I've found so far that comes close to answering this question.  


In a Sunburned Country:

Bill Bryson recalls several of his trips across Australia in his typical manner of under-stated humor.  I'd also recommend A Brief History of Nearly Everything as narrated by Bryson.


What Would Machiavelli Do?

The perfect example of the narrator making the book.  While the content is mildly amusing (if somewhat inconsistent) Philip Bosco's reading makes you feel like you're in a gentleman's club, sharing a bottle of brandy with an old New York tycoon who is passing on his wisdom to the new generation.  


Recommended Podcasts:


Planet Money:

Economics made interesting.  You may have heard butchered versions of their stories on This American Life -- you should come here for the real deal.


99% Invisible:

An audio-podcast about architecture and design sounds like a terrible idea but the delightfully named Roman Mars makes it work.  


Decode DC:

My kind of political show.  Not about the events of the day but the system in general.  


The Memory Palace:

Similar in tone to 99% invisible -- usually 5 to 10 minute stories from history.


Accidental Tech Podcast:

Born from the death of my two previous favorite podcasts, Marco and John Siracusa talk about tech topics.


Seminars About Long-Term Thinking:

A great series of lectures dealing with (usually) solutions to very long term problems.  


Intelligence Squared Debates:

Debates on a wide variety of topics, usually with interesting and prominent speakers for both sides.


More or Less:

A closer look at the number and statistics that are carelessly thrown about by the news.



A great mix of science and storytelling.  



The podcast from the same guys behind the great book.


In Our Time:

Hour-long discussions on every topic imaginable.  



One of my all-time favorite podcasts though, sadly, no longer active.  However, the archives are still worth a listen with many timeless shows.  Start from the beginning to avoid confusion.