Feed Your Brain: The Easy Way

The old adage, “so many books, so little time,” is more true now than ever. With almost 200,000 new titles published every year, we have a cornucopia of literary options. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping up.

iPod Shuffle

Yet I know that “leaders are readers” and “readers are leaders.” If you are going to lead in today’s environment, you have to be a thought leader, and that only comes from reading. If you don’t keep up, you’ll fall behind. Before long, someone else will be doing the leading.

Last November, when I began running, I also started listening to audiobooks. I discovered I could “kill two birds with one stone.” I could run with my body and listen with my mind. I found that this was a great way to feed my brain while doing something else.

So, I joined Audible.com and began listening to recorded books. Audible has nearly everything I want to read—thousands of books in nearly every major category. It is fully compatible with my iPod. Best of all, it uses a “bookmarkable” format (.aa format for you geeks), so that my position is saved when I turn off my iPod. When I’m ready to listen again, I pick up right where I left off.

I joined Audible’s Platinum program for $22.95 a month—about the cost of a single hardback book. This gives me two credits. (One credit equals one unabridged audiobook.) Since the average recorded book is 6–12 hours long, I can usually get through two books a month. Honestly, this enables me to read way more than I was able to do conventionally.

In the last six months, I’ve listened to:

  • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
  • The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
  • Focus: Achieving Your Highest Priorities by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni
  • Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
  • How to Think Like a CEO by D.A. Benton
  • It’s Your Ship by D. Michael Abrashoff
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Next by Michael Crichton
  • The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, M.D.
  • Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina
  • Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes
  • What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
  • Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
  • Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

For the last six months, I have used a standard video iPod. I have a 80 GB model, which holds a mind-boggling 20,000 songs. But for just running and listening to books, it’s overkill. Plus, it’s a little bulky and expensive—about $350. I used a “fanny pack” for running, but it always seemed a little awkward.

So, last night, I bought an iPod Shuffle. It’s so small and light, it’s scary. It weighs just a half an ounce and is about as big as my thumb—only thinner. It has a 1GB flash drive, which will hold 240 songs or about 4–6 audio books. It comes with a docking station and earphones. The sound is great, and it costs only $79.95.

Audible is also running a special offer on their Gold program. The program normally costs $14.95 a month. You get one credit (or one audiobook) a month. But, if you sign up now, you get the first three months for half price—$7.49 a month.

Most of us know we should read more. Intuitively, we believe it will make us more creative, more engaging, more educated, and more well-rounded. But many of us have difficultly making time. Well, here’s a simple, relatively inexpensive way to get your body and your mind into shape.

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