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Our top audiobooks and podcasts for when you don’t have time to sit and read

Some days it doesn’t seem as though there are enough hours left for relaxing with a book. Which is why we love a good podcast or an audio book. They make commuting so much more entertaining or educational (depending on the genre you like). 

We have had a dig around the internet and have made a list of the top trending audiobooks and podcasts that we know you’ll really enjoy, in fact many are on high rotation for us. If you have any others that you recommend, be sure to either comment below or jump onto instagram or facebook and let us know.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival. 

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive – not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances. 

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story. 

How to be a Champion by Sarah Millican

Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce. If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is your book. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, this is your book. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, this is your book.

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan Peterson’s work as a clinical psychologist has reshaped the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world’s most popular public thinkers, with his lectures on topics ranging from the Bible to romantic relationships drawing tens of millions of viewers. In an era of polarising politics, echo chambers and trigger warnings, his startling message about the value of personal responsibility and the dangers of ideology has resonated around the world. In this book, well actually this is the audiobook version, he combines ancient wisdom with decades of experience to provide twelve profound and challenging principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. Gripping, thought-provoking and deeply rewarding, 12 Rules for Life offers an antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.

Our current fav podcasts…

How to Curate Your Life with Lizzie Evans

SMUG founder Lizzie Evans launches her podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’. After 10 years working as a creative entrepreneur in the design world, Lizzie has learnt a thing or two about setting up and running a creative business and managing a portfolio career. She has found that, if you’re in it for the long game, staying inspired and taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is crucial. Lizzie has of course met lots of inspiring people along the way trying to do the same. This podcast aims to celebrate the creativity and entrepreneurial endeavours of inspiring individuals and get down into the nitty gritty of how people ‘Curate Their Lives’ so that work and other elements of their lives that are important to them, can all feel prioritised, nourishing and ultimately a success. We really enjoy this podcast…so much so that we are currently one of its sponsors.

The High Low with Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes 

The High Low is a weekly news, pop-culture and current affairs podcast which launched in February 2017.

Inspired by Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, (a guest on the podcast, in fact) who coined the term ‘high low journalism’ in the 80s to denote an amalgamation of water-cooler gossip and hard-hitting cultural happenings, The High Low covers both the trivial and the political, from errant chin hair to Trumpian politics. The founding mantra is that there is no shame in asking questions – but reading (a lot) can help inform you.

How To Fail with Elizabeth Day

How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.

It is also a book. A book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone. Part memoir, part manifesto, and including chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It’s a book about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid. Uplifting, inspiring and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. And everyone needs a bit of that.

Table Manners with Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware hosts a podcast about food, family, and the beautiful art of having a chat, direct from her very own dinner table. With a little bit of help from her chef extraordinaire mum Lennie, each week guests from the worlds of music, culture and politics drop by for a bite and a bit of a natter. Usually Jessie’s mum cooks up a storm and while the guest is wined and dined, they share amusing and inspiring moments about food in their lives. They have cooked and chatted to Yotam Ottolenghi, Nigella Lawson and Sandi Toksvig…their line up of guests never fails to entertain. 

Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young

The format is simple, a guest is invited to choose eight discs, a book and a luxury to take with them as they’re castaway on a mythical desert island. During the interview they explain their choices and discuss key moments in their lives, people and events that have influenced and inspired them and brought them to where they are today.

Journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Young opened her tenure as presenter by interviewing the illustrator Quentin Blake on 1st October 2006. Among her guests have been musicians Morrissey, Sir Tom Jones, Alice Cooper, and Barry Manilow, politicians Nick Clegg, Alex Salmond and Alan Johnson, actors Sir Michael Caine, Kathy Burke and June Spencer.

How I Built This with Guy Raz

Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists and the movements they built. It’s one of the most inspiring and interesting podcasts and is on high rotation in our office. Interviewees include James Dyson, Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield (the masters behind Ben and Jerry’s), Joe Gebbia from Airbnb fame and Whitney Wolf from Bumble. 

Enjoy! 

Sinking into the world of podcasts

Podcasts can be a tricky medium. There is a fine line between feeling like you are part of a conversation and those speaking are including you and care about your views (even if they can’t hear you)…and then there’s the awkward ones where it feels as if you are listening in on a conversation that you really shouldn’t be.

Great podcasts make us think about something in a new light, or make us experience the wonderful joy of the belly laugh. Here are a few of our favourites that help us do just that.

 

Wilosophy

We’re big fans of Wil Anderson and his comedy…and our marketing team loves him on ABC’s Gruen. In his podcast, Wilosophy, Wil Anderson asks smart people stupid questions and tries to find out the meaning of life. Or something like that.

 

 

The Weekly Planet 

The Weekly Planet covers all things movies, TV shows and comics as well as news, reviews and general nonsense related to comic book movies.

 

 

Revisionist History

Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past, be it an event, a person, an idea, even a song and then asks whether we got it right the first time.

Malcom Gladwell is an international best seller who has written enough books to fill  bookshelf (click here for a list of his titles). David and Goliath is his latest one which poses the question: What if everything we thought about power was wrong?

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he?
Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means endure any number of  setbacks.

 

Probably Science

Professional comedians with so-so STEM pedigrees take you through ideas in science…incompetently. Featuring Matt Kirshen, Andy Wood and a variety of great guests – last week they spoke with Dean Burnett who is a neuroscientist, comedian, blogger and author of the new book Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why.

The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain?

Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we’re in a cheery state.

 

The Dollop 

The Dollop is a bi-weekly American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about…and they have just launched a new book: The United States of Absurdity: Untold stories from American history.

The United States of Absurdity presents short, informative, and hilarious stories of the most outlandish (but true) people, events, and more from United States history. Comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds cover the weird stories you didn’t learn in history class, such as 10-Cent Beer Night, the Jackson Cheese, and the Kentucky Meat Shower, accompanied by full-page illustrations that bring each historical “milestone” to life in full colour.

 

 

Ted Radio Hour

The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centred on a common theme such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.

 

Hip Hop Saved My Life

Romesh Ranganathan is an award winning comedian who has a gift for making interviewees spill personal stories and share their recollections of hip-hop. This podcast consistently makes us laugh by delivering great stories.

 

 

You can head to our Facebook page for further podcast recommendations by the Booko community. Enjoy!