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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

The 10 Best Career Books to Listen to (Because Science Says It's Just as Good as Reading)

As a big fan of physical, paper books, I always do my best to avoid audiobooks and e-readers as much as possible. This, I’ve also found, is extremely difficult on a day-to-day basis. Paperbacks are clunky, and it’s practically impossible to simultaneously turn the page and cling to a subway pole without falling on someone. And, they’re heavy to carry around—now, I’m no 1,000 page kind of person, but I don’t read light picture books, either.

So, I’m basically at a loss—unless I choose to listen to my books. But that’s not the same thing as reading, right?

Well, actually, it is! (Sigh of relief.)

According to Science of Us, and a recent blog post by University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham, you get the same mental benefits from audiobooks than you do from reading, even if it doesn’t “feel” like you do:

“There are two basic processes happening when you’re reading: There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words that mean something. And then there is language processing, or comprehension…Listeners and readers retain about equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed...Decoding, by contrast, is specific to reading, Willingham said; this is indeed one more step your mind has to take when reading a print book as compared to listening to the audiobook version. But by about late elementary school, decoding becomes so second-nature that it isn’t any additional “work” for your brain. It happens automatically.”

There you have it, two processes covered by both strategies. The Science of Us article also phrases the argument that while yes, it’s easier for us to get distracted listening to a book than reading it, it’s really no different than skimming. And just like putting down or flipping through a book, you have the option to rewind, pause, or fast-forward to better take in the information.

And, because I’m constantly looking for new ways to examine my life and career, I decided to round up some of the best and most popular career books on the market online, just for your viewing—sorry, I mean listening—pleasure!

1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, $28

If you struggle with bad habits, or want to get better at developing good ones, this one is for you—you’ll learn exactly why we choose certain patterns, and how to break the cycle.

2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, $25

Even this title is enough of a confidence boost! Speaker and coach Jen Sincero will motivate you to become your best you with funny stories, insights, and exercises (and some great chapter titles).

3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss, $23

Working less hours doesn’t come with age—now, with this advice, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to being successful and earning a steady income at any stage, without sacrificing your life to your job.

4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, $28

A healthy work-life balance is every employee’s dream, and it’s especially hard to accomplish in our ever-changing world. This all-new edition will be your guide to reaching inbox zero and tackling all those to-dos.

5. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury, $21

Practice your negotiating skills with this read and kill it in any professional or personal agreement with grace and poise.

6. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, $25

Attention all outsiders: Sophia Amoruso is your gal. As the founder and CEO of a major fashion retailer, she knows a thing or two about finding your way to success, and her story will inspire just about anyone to make it big.

7. Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy, $21

TED speaker Amy Cuddy (famous for her “power poses”) will help you overcome all that social anxiety by helping you harness your most confident self in any high-stress situation.

8. I Could Do Anything if Only I Knew What it Was by Barbara Sher, $18

If you have no idea what your passion is, you might want to check this out. It’ll help you identify all those inner dreams, goals, and feelings that will eventually lead you to outward success and fulfillment.

9. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink, $18

Can’t seem to get your team to do their best work? This book will teach you what motivates people, and how to better instill drive in others.

10. The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha, $21

If you want to reach total and complete happiness, this book is a great start. Pasricha’s equation is easy to follow, fun to read, and will completely change how you see your life and career.

While physical books are still my go-to, I’m now more excited to pick up an audiobook when it’s more practical—whether on my way to and from work or travelling.

Have a favorite career book (and do you listen to it)? Tweet me!

Photo of woman with headphones courtesy of Paul Bradbury/Getty Images.

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