Now many people don't want to re-read a book because they could be reading a new book with that time, and many people say the world (even driving) is too distracting for full concentration on an audiobook. Let me propose that you try "re-reading" your favorite books by listening to them on audiobook. I have been doing this on my commute and it is 95% as good as giving the book a textual re-read.
You are already familiar with all of the material, so spacing out for a minute here and there is no big deal. I don't want to descend into wacky hyperbole, but I really super strongly recommend listening to audiobooks that you have already read. Try it!
Specifically when reading fiction for pleasure, an audiobook can provide too much "color" not indented by the author. This, alone, makes it hard to recommend an audiobook as a solo source. However, having that second voice can force you to rethink your readings of specific situations. It can challenge you to really dig in when your understanding does line up with the reader's tone.
The first example that comes to mind is the English translation of "100 Years of Solitude" on Audible. All the voices have a comedian's intonation, especially Melquíades, who is supposed to be an Armenian gypsy, but instead comes across like a poor man's Count Dracula. That said, the temporal complexity of the novel is really clarified with a second voice, regardless how over the top it is.
An additional re-reading tool I had forgotten about for a while is by clicking my history button to remind me what caught my fancy on the 1st round and probably will be worth re-reading again.
That, plus adding a star to certain articles.
Re-read for enjoyment!
For learning/memory - You have to learn to encode what you want to learn into something you can remember. Some people use a "places" trick - where they remember a familiar house/place or commute to work and they can place things along this imaginary route for recollection. The idea is that we humans remember through images and association by evolutionary survival traits. You have to encode / chunk what you want to learn, you have to recall it and work on saving this to long-term memory by recollecting it at intervals that may be hours on day one, multiple hours day 2 and randomly as time goes on.
For the most part, re-read because you enjoy it, but don't convince yourself its the optimal way to improve your memory of what you have read :)
I've listened to Kenneth Brannagh's reading of it about 40 times, and get something new and wonderful from it every time.
That could work well as an argument against reading newspapers.
Thoreau in Life Without Principle:
"We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities. Conventionalities are at length as bad as impurities. Even the facts of science may dust the mind by their dryness, unless they are in a sense effaced each morning, or rather rendered fertile by the dews of fresh and living truth. Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven. Yes, every thought that passes through the mind helps to wear and tear it, and to deepen the ruts, which, as in the streets of Pompeii, evince how much it has been used. How many things there are concerning which we might well deliberate, whether we had better know them,—had better let their peddling-carts be driven, even at the slowest trot or walk, over that bridge of glorious span by which we trust to pass at last from the farthest brink of time to the nearest shore of eternity! Have we no culture, no refinement,—but skill only to live coarsely and serve the Devil?—to acquire a little worldly wealth, or fame, or liberty, and make a false show with it, as if we were all husk and shell, with no tender and living kernel to us?"
Different book every time.
I can't do anything else while I'm driving. I'm constantly looking at where people are; who's around me; and where I think other people are going.
Maybe it's just me but I couldn't possibly keep my concentration on a story being read to me while I drive.
I guess that is why so many people try to do things like texting while driving. Not saying that's a good thing, just that I think many people feel the same way and their minds want to occupy themselves with other, more interesting things.
In case you can't relate, I guess it would be similar to taking laundry out of a washing machine. It's hard to automate in the sense that you still have to operate that five-fingered hand and think about whether you grabbed something, whether something you're half-holding might fall between the basket and the washing machine (if you have such a gap, that's something to watch out for), so there is definitely some thought to it, but it's also definitely mind-numbing (imagine doing this half an hour without interruption). If this really took half an hour, I bet many people would try to use their free hand to text or scroll past news.
People read and comprehend differently. For example, when reading it is very easy to skim, even when you don't intend to. In other words, reading too fast, such that you speed through parts you consider boring to get to parts you find more interesting. With an audio book, you cannot do this.
Also, distraction is not necessarily more of a problem in audio books than with printed material. Some people, myself included, can actually continue to read while their thoughts are in some other place. I often find myself reading one thing, while thinking of something else entirely, and having to go back and re-read what I just read. This is the mental equivalent of hitting the "30 second back" button on an audio book.
In general, I find myself absorbing audio books better than printed books, particularly when it comes to fiction. It forces me to take the book at an even pace, and thus I often come away with more detail and remember it better.
But the subject matter also makes a difference. I prefer audio books hands down for fiction, unless the narrator is Ben-Stein-boring or difficult to listen to. For non-fiction, audio books may or may not have the edge. For a non-technical subject such as history, audio books have the edge. For all math, unfamiliar science, or anything that requires a slower, more detailed examination of a subject, printed books win every time.
I read real books on the kindle. Academic and interesting books that I want to completely get absorbed into.
It isn’t said enough but I think that the kindle paper white is one of the best e readers. It does hurt the eyes, it has very connection to the internet so u won’t get distracted. At the end of the day it just works great. (The OS/UX/UI is an little weird)
If it's something new and requires some thought, then nooo lol you're not going to be able to take in any of that audio book, it's just going to be distracting.
One of those makes just no sense at all.
Dan Carlin’s podcasts, I could listen to him all day.
Sadly I find Audible heavily over represent the poorest readers and quit my subscription over it years ago.
Author and narrator are equally important when I'm deciding whether to buy. The best narrators have me seeking out what they've narrated and see if there's anything else that appeals.
I find it's just another tool for getting information, one that's replaced skimming since it's less mental effort and higher retention. A lot of text doesn't need anything more to be understood, some I listen to multiple times, some I slow down to understand better, some I have to read to see in context of diagrams/maths/code and some I need to go through with pen and paper (or keyboard and computer).
An unexpected benefit for my own writing is that it highlights spelling errors and odd grammar much better than anything.
In general literary writing, like the article, is perfectly suited for listening to rather than reading. And at my current listening speed of ~750 wpm it frees up a lot of time.
I live in Bangalore where a 2-3 hr daily commute is quite normal and audiobooks are very easy to adapt to.
Similar to reading, I feel audiobooks have the same issues related to adoption ... whatsapp, facebook, HN, disturbance from people and email. These distractors are pretty much eliminated while driving .. so the car is really a good place to listen!
I finished Skin in Game, Option-B, Growth Mindset so far and actually quite happy with the results. I must confess, the level of distractions in today's world is unfathomable and my resilience is quite sad.
I cant tell what the podcast is about. If its something boring as 'course material' then the outcome is predictiable, its easy to get distracted and let your mind wander if you are listening to something boring.
But if you are listening to something captivating like the serial podcast then podcast is actually superior, audible cues by the narrator add another dimension to the experience.
My favourite book on Audible is The Green Mile by Stephen King read by Frank Muller. It's an experience that can't be matched by a physical book. The narration is top notch and you feel really invested in the story.
Frankly ebooks (kindle) have my preference now for almost everything except books containing code or mathematics. Paper books are better to me in that domain.
If something is "good" for your specific use case will depend on many things. Convenience being a factor as well as personal preference.
It makes sense that audiobooks have less comprehension because people tend to listen to audio books when they are engaged in other activities at the same time. With written books people are usually more focused.
And yet, interestingly, their study didn't find any significant difference in comprehension.
My enjoyment really depends on the narrator. An appropriate to the material narrator is a joy, but some are just awful. The authors reads 1776 and he is awesome. I do love the radio dramas with a full cast.
I find retention and understanding to be greatly increased when I don't get bored or distracted in between words and phrases.
I typically listen while driving. Anything past 1.25x was an illusion of productivity trap. I could hear the words and understand the concepts, but there wasn't any time to digest what I'd heard.
I've read all of them for what it's worth
On the other hand, I have access to a wealth of audiobooks in Russian, ranging from free-as-in-beer recordings from Vlad Kopp, Serguey Kirsanov and Igor Knyazev to literally hundreds of $2-4$ offers on litres.ru.
Interpreting audiobooks is an art. Some audiobooks are great performances that influence popular culture, like "Hard to be a god", starring Leonid Yarmolnik. Vlad Kopp gathers concert halls for his live reading performances. Igor Knyazev has a cult following.
If there is an example of copyright stifling culture, this is it. Russians had laxist copyright rules for a while, and the art of producing audiobooks flourished.
I used to have a few cassette tapes with famous poets reading their own poems, they were amazing.