Audiobooks vs Reading For Business And Self Development In 2020

CEOS read an average of 52 books per year and Employees read an average of 1.

That’s a phrase I’ve heard on many occasions and one that will delight people who read regularly.

Physical books are deeply engaging and can be used as an activity all by themselves. They envelope the reader in a world that they create in their own heads through the words. Audiobooks are excellent for multitaksing, increasing your knowledge and wisdom as you commute to work, lift weights, get fit on a threadmill or enjoy a morning walk. Audiobooks are also enjoying a surge in popularity right now through programs like Audible and Audiobooks.com.

So, what about audiobooks, hardly a new phenomenon but enjoying a huge surge with the convenience of carrying them on your mobile phone and due to audiobook websites like audible.co.uk and auidobooks.com.

Before we compare the pros and cons of each form of learning, I must make clear that I am a big fan of audiobooks and I listen to them to learn about peoples lives in biographies and self development books, usually for business.

That being said, I do occasionally like to read as well, but I am so busy working, I tend to find myself multitasking and taking in the joyous knowledge from audiobooks.

A Closer Look At Reading

Reading has been around for thousands of years and has been the number 1 way of increasing ones knowledge as far back as moden history stretches.

Reading is a highly engaging activity that requires our full attention so if you find yourself looking for something to occupy your time as you lounge by the pool or are sick of watching Netflix, reading a good book is a great way to pass the time.

Reading requires a lot of input from the reader too, you are looking at black and white pages and you will be painting a picture of what is going on with your imagination ie What the characters look like, what their voices sound like a what atmosphere they are in.

That being said, reading is an activity that demands your full attention so you can either make time for it or use it to fill spare time that you have on your hands.

For the vast majority of books, I would say that reading is a better way to get the most out of it nearly all the time with a few exceptions like self development books.

If you want to sink something deep down into your brain, reading is probably the way to go.

My Personal Experience With Reading

Back in 2015, I was at a crossroads. I didn’t know whether to stay in the miserable yet comfortable 9-5 job with the steady, increasing pay check but no promotion opportunities or strike out on my own.

Somehow, I always knew deep down that I would strike out on my own and I put it into action. I did a PT course because I wanted to start my own gym.

Probably the most valuable thing I gained from the course was that the instructors were reading business books like Think And Grow Rich and The Richest Man In Babylon, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

I had gotten what I had come to learn and I knew that I was going to take a trip to the book shop that very weekend.

I bought Rich Dad Poor Dad, Think And Grow Rich and The 50th Law By 50 Cent. I was hooked. I would spend all of my weekends and evenings reading them, forming a plan on how I would achieve financial freedom through business and making money online but I didn’t have any money to get started and I took a 6 month contract with Microsoft.

I was always a reader growing up, reading Harry Potter and other teenage books that filled my imagine and provided endless entertainment and as I grew older, the crime fiction of Michael Connolly.

After deciding to start a business, I knew I had found a new genre and that reading would be a part of my life again.

A Closer Look At Audiobooks

The main reasons I like to listen to audiobooks is because of their convenience and the forms of content I choose to listen to.

My journey into audio books and programs began on my long 1 hour commute to work into the Microsoft office in Dublin everyday, talk about a love hate relationship I had with that job.

You see, I had already decided I was going to quit that job and start my own business, even before I had taken the 6 month contract so I had given myself 6 months to build my funds to start a digital marketing company but also, and more importantly, the knowledge and skills.

I turned my car into a mobile university and I got deep into some classic self development and business books so I could hit the ground running.

I listened to audiobooks like the 4 Hour Work Week By Tim Ferris, the 48 Laws Of Power By Robert Green, The Magic Of Thinking Big, The Richest Man In Babylon, The Art Of War, Who Moved The Cheese and Rich Dad Poor Dad By Robert Kiyosaki.

I couldn’t wait to get done with the meaningless work and listen to these books, podcasts and Youtube shows on the way home again.

I even started to eat lunch on my own in the car and work my way through these programs, I couldn’t get enough and I fell in love with the medium.

I listened to anything I could get my hands on, even Donald Trumps ‘Art Of The Deal’.

I never signed up Audible at the time though as I didn’t know it even existed at that time but Audio learning was to become a big part of my life forever more from that time.

Reading And Audiobooks Head To Head Comparison

Buying and reading the physical books was great but it was time consuming. For reading I would have to set aside time everyday to immerse myself in the books and I worked in Microsoft and needed to train every day, time became at a premium.

I discovered Audible quickly after starting my Digital Marketing company and I loved the fact that I could listen to the audiobooks as I worked, walking to, from and in the gym or driving anywhere it the car.

I didn’t have to make time for the audiobooks they just fit neatly in my schedule.

Anyone that has started a business will know that you need to spend all your time working and finding time for physical books became less of a priority with audiobooks taking their place.

If I want to read fiction, I would definitely choose a physical book and I if am on holiday I like to relax with a book in the sun or the bed in the apartment and it does force your mind to work a little bit harder.

Physical books are a lot better for engaging the brain, increasing memory and development of the imagination. These are crucial benefits for young people and older people.

All of the focus these days is online and I fear that too many kids are missing out on the opportunity to feed their imagine, dream big and develop independent thinking by not reading books.

Reading Vs Audiobooks Immersion And Comprehension

While reading works and engages the brain more, for business and self development, I think I can learn just as much from an audiobook.

When I am interested in the topic, whether its business, biography or self-development, I don’t need to paint too many pictures in my head, I just need to pick out the key points out of the book, understand them and apply them to my own situation.

I think reading is better for fictional books where you create the character, the looks, their voice and you paint the setting. In other words you create the world where the book takes place in your head.

Often times with business and self development, there is no world to be created, I already know how the author is and I just want to get the knowledge dumps which I can get while I’m driving or working out at the gym.

Do I think I would get more out of self development books if I chose to read them? No, I don’t. I can get what I want from self development books through audio but I couldn’t say the same for Fictional books.

A study done by Time magazine that people who listened to Audio, were able to remember just as well as those who had read it, I think it remains to be seen how much they would remember 3 or 6 months down the line, but that is another debate.

Reading vs Audiobooks Speed

I must admit to being a bit of a slow reader but I think most people would say they can read faster than listening to an audiobook.

Pro Tip:

I find a lot of the time with Audiobooks that the author is a bit too slow so I use a trick that a learned from an audiobook called life leverage and that was to turn the speed up to 1.25 or 1.5x, depending on how slow the narrator is.

Sometimes if the book isn’t that good I’ll just speed it up to 1.75x to get through it fast, a lot faster than I can read it but I would say most people can read faster than normal speed on a audiobook.

I have even carried this advice over to Youtube where I frequently watch almost everything except music on 1.25 or 1.5 depending on the waffle to nuggets ratio.

For Biographies

I love Biographies, especially history and business related ones and I think that Audiobooks are the perfect medium for this type of book.

Sure I have devoured many biographies in book form and thoroughly enjoyed them, but there is something about an author reading their own story aloud that is genuinely authentic.

You can hear the passion in their voice as they live through their defining moments.

The best thing about audiobooks, I find is that the book takes on an extra level of authenticity when read by the person who wrote the book.

I have also taken on favourite narrators like Grover Gardner and hope to have my own audiobooks published in the not to distant future.

Audiobooks vs Physical Books Price

Audiobooks are probably the cheaper option again. You can get one credit a month for less than $10, you get free returns and you can buy an extra 3 credits for about $20 which is less than $7 a book.

When you compare with the price of physical books, especially latest releases which can cost upwards of $20, again audiobooks come out much cheaper.

Pros And Cons Of Reading

Pros

  • Develops Imagination
  • Good For Memory
  • Develops Independent Thinking
  • Perfect Hobby To Pass The Time
  • Increase Knowledge And Education

Cons

  • Requires Full Attention
  • More Time Consuming
  • More Expensive Than Audiobooks

Pros And Cons Of Audiobooks

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Can Be Used While Multitasking
  • Can Increase The Speed
  • Cheaper Than Physical Books
  • Not Waiting Time, Instant Download To Your Phone

Cons

  • Less Engaging
  • Can Zone Out Or Stop Paying Attention
  • Might Not Pick Up As Much

Conclusion

Audiobooks and Physical Books both have a lot of the same advantages but are also completely different mediums.

If you are someone that enjoys physical books, there is no reason not to try audiobooks to get more knowledge and books read, especially if you are into personal development and business.

If you are on the go all the time and cram audiobooks into your hectic schedule, there is also no reason not to try a relaxing physical book in the evenings to wind down or to relax on the weekends.

There are only positives to digesting books, whatever the format so get out an increase your knowledge as much as you can.