In this third post in my recommendations series, here is a list of audio books I’ve loved and revisit occasionally. Audio books are great for when you’re travelling and at other times when your eyes need a rest. Some people recommend increasing the playback speed to 1.2x – 1.5x normal, however unless the content is sparse I find this can detract from the story’s natural cadence. Conversely I like to pause the playback any time the content triggers active thoughts, so I can explore and link up the new ideas without time-pressure or losing track of the narrative… but I digress, here’s the list:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
This is a great book made even more excellent by its style and credible content. For myself as a developer who lived through the births of the PC and the Internet eras, this biography has given me my most credible insights in to the character of a man who helped shape our world today. Additionally because Steve Jobs is so influential in the ethos of Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, it is an excellent reference point for credible information, especially given that so much opinion and third-hand narrative is published in relation to Jobs.
At home by Bill Bryson
Also historical and personal this book by Bill Bryson is a compelling narrative about ordinary lives of people throughout recent history. In contrast to his previous books about travel and the universe, Bryson limits his discussion to more workaday topics, like meal preparation and employment. The audio book is especially pleasant as Bill Bryson narrates the book himself, has a most soothing vocal tone, and is remarkably eloquent and also very funny.
Zero to One by Peter Thiel
Covering the same information presented in a lecture series on startups at Stanford University, Peter Thiel describes his thinking in relation to venture capital investment. As a member of the paypal mafia, the group of successful entrepreneurs turned investors that founded PayPal Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL), Peter Thiel makes a solid case for focusing on a small number of big bets. The book is worthwhile not only for the intellectual rigor brought to the analysis of a startup, and also the insight in to the thinking of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
As an avid collector of information, there are many more books I could recommend, but that is for another post. I hope you enjoy listening to these books on audio, or you might prefer to read them also. Always keen to hear your thoughts, so send me a message or comment below.