I love to read—a lot. But sometimes reading just isn’t possible, like when I’m driving, going for a walk, or taking a bath (because the last thing I need is to drop my Kindle in the tub).
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to use that time productively. I do! So whenever I can’t read, I listen to something instead.
Because even if you spend just 30 minutes a day listening to a podcast, audiobook, or online course, that adds up to more than 180 hours per year. Imagine what you could accomplish in that amount of time! You could read all of the classics. You could learn a new language. You could learn everything there is to know about American history.
And that’s exactly what I love to do. Because I want to spend my time learning and growing as much as I possibly can—and make myself a more interesting conversationalist as a result. Here are a few of my favorite (super educational) things to listen to:
1.To Get Inspired: Skimm’d From the Couch by theSkimm
theSkimm is a daily newsletter that sends a brief of the news each morning. I’m kinda addicted, and well, now they have a podcast, and it’s perfect for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper into the lives of the women we always see making the headlines—including the CEO of Bumble and the Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair.
2. For Solid Career Advice: Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano
Mireille Guiliano was the CEO and president of Veuve Clicquot Champagne House for more than 20 years before she retired to write her best-selling books French Women Don’t Get Fat and French Women for All Seasons. In this audiobook, Mireille discusses the secrets to her career success—in her beautiful French accent, bien sûr.
3.To Pick Up Some Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Tai Lopez Show
Tai Lopez is truly an American success story. After graduating high school, he was searching for the meaning of life when his grandfather sent him a package of old classic books. He spent the next two years reading every book he could get his hands on.
His mentors include several influential entrepreneurs, including Joel Salatin and Jeff Bezos, so it’s no surprise he went on to become an investor, partner, and advisor to more than 20 multi-million dollar businesses. He still reads one book a day and distills everything he has learned into this podcast.
4. To Hear it From the Experts: The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss is perhaps best known for writing the best-selling The 4-Hour Workweek, but his obsession with life-hacking didn’t stop there. He now hosts a podcast that interviews experts at the top of their game. From hedge fund managers to Olympic athletes, there’s a lot that can be learned from some of the most successful people on earth.
5. To Learn Absolutely Anything: The Great Courses
These are absolutely the best way to learn anything ever. Instead of going back to graduate school (and costing yourself a lot of money), you can actually listen to a complete lecture series taught by an Ivy League professor.
With topics as wide ranging as journalism, science, photography, mathematics, religion, and philosophy (to name only a few), you can learn from Notre Dame historians, National Geographic photographers, or Smithsonian professors. Outside of getting your master’s degree, the Great Courses are the next best thing.
6. To Master Your Finances: MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
If you want to learn more about how to manage and invest your money, this is the only book you’ll ever need. It’s dense, but that’s what makes it so great as an audiobook. I listened to this one twice through to really get a grasp on the ideas—and as a result, I now have an investment portfolio I’m proud of.
7. To Keep Up Your Foreign Language Skills: Spotify Language Lessons
Did you know there are more than 200 hours of language lessons available on Spotify? Simply go to the “word” section and look around. You’ll find playlists that’ll teach you how to learn French, German, Greek, Arabic, Portuguese, and so many more.
8. To Keep Moving: Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland is the first black woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater in New York City. She found ballet when she was 13 years old, and never let go. This book is her story, and it just might inspire you to follow your dreams, too.
What’s your favorite thing to listen to (podcast, audiobook, or playlist) in your free time? Let me know on Twitter @msellegriffin!
Photo of person listening to podcast courtesy of Westend61/Getty Images.
Elle Griffin is a freelance writer and editor for lifestyle publications. She adores Paris, Vince sweaters, and beautiful cathedrals and spends her spare time studying fashion, french, & the Virgin Mary. Follow Elle on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or visit her website at ellegriffin.com.More from this Author