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My greatest personal productivity discovery has been audiobooks.

I've obtained some from people and the net but I tend to consume audio books, listening everywhere I go.

My particular interest in audiobooks lies within the genre of self development. I visited but you're only allowed one book per month at around R90 here is South Africa.

This is expensive when considering the monthly quantity I go through. Any other enthusiasts with better, possibly cheaper solutions?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm not sure what the available collection on self development looks like, but for many classic works (literature, fiction and non-fiction) LibriVox is terrific. The price is great (free) and many of the readers are very, very good.

The material available is almost all older material that is out of copyright, so you aren't going to find current best sellers on any topic here. I've had the best success finding particular works by author, although there are other search options, and a genre page that lets you browse by topic. You'll learn quickly enough in your area(s) of interest which readers you like and which to avoid.

And you can't beat the price!

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R90 is about 10 USD right?

If so, that's probably too cheap. See the thing is, it's very easy to get caught up listening to audiobook after audiobook without really taking the time to reflect upon them. Your mind needs quiet time, devoid of sensory input to assimilate that information. Brian Tracy's very strong on this and it took me a long time to understand its importance.

Similar how we tend to fall in love in the breaks between dating someone, you get the most from audiobooks after listening to them, not during. I purposely restrain myself to listening audiobooks about 50% of my idle-brain time while cleaning, driving or walking the dog. It's when I'm not listening to them have I had my biggest breakthroughs in my work or being.

The cost of the audiobook ensures you give it a chance, rather than just moving onto a new one that sounds more exciting. I think it was Jim Rohn who, when younger, was annoyed that he had to pay expensive tuition fees up front, but then realised later the brilliance of such a system because it made him stick to it. If it were free or trivially cheap, it'd be too easy to drop out.

And of course, as Confuscius said, "Knowledge without practice is useless, practice without knowledge is dangerous." Audiobooks can be addictive because it's much easier to listen than to do something, and they're easy to justify because you're actually working on your self. Don't let the motivation that audiobooks give lure you into a false sense of security that you're actually doing something, or even developing.

All that said, YouTube has heaps of seminars that you can listen to on the run if you have a decent mobile broadband connection or ability to dump them locally. Also remember that if you do run your own business, their cost will be a tax deduction.

Overall the cost of audiobooks is a pittance for what they offer in the long run. Borrow if you have to. They train you for business that you must sometimes invest up front rather than avoiding expenses at all cost.

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Wonderful answer! +1 – Joe Oct 16 '12 at 10:21
Although your answer is elaborate, it doesn't answer the question as it was asked. Quiet time is most times an inevitability giving me the chance to digest information. I also don't think that paying more for something is a justification if something cheaper is available. I also judge the material by the quality of the material itself, not the price tag. Please attempt to provide an answer with a bit more relevance to the question. – Warren van Rooyen Oct 16 '12 at 10:38
You asked for cheaper solutions. Buying less often is cheaper. It may not be what you are after, but please don't assume the answers to questions on SE sites are solely for the asker's benefit. – jontyc Oct 16 '12 at 12:38
The answers to the questions aren't to anyone's benefit if they're irrelevant Jonty. I sense that what you're really asking me to do is ignore when someone like yourself is more prepared to build an elaborate argument around the wrong point than in fact simply do the work to answer the question that was asked. Dennis made an effort to provide links, method and reference to back his argument with more relevance than yours did and so I'll be giving him my vote. – Warren van Rooyen Oct 16 '12 at 18:17
I answer for the community and my own reinforcement, not for you or your green tick. That's why you haven't the power to delete answers you don't like. IMO it is counter-productive to give you and others links to cheap audiobooks, akin to giving a crazy person a loaded gun because he asked for it. If you asked this question on an entertainment site, I would give you links, just not on a productivity site. – jontyc Oct 17 '12 at 9:28

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