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8 Seriously Inspiring Audiobooks For People Who Don't Have Time To Read

January 11, 2017
By Rebecca Stump
mbg Contributor
Rebecca Stump is a Portand, Oregon-based registered yoga teacher and former Brand Experience Director at mbg. She received her bachelor's in business administration from Emory University's Goizueta Business School.
Photo by Stocksy
January 11, 2017

Whether you took on a new challenge for 2017, resolved not to make any resolutions, or your current focus is more day-to-day survival than long-term personal growth, finding the time to chisel out the new you that you want to see and the life you want to have can feel impossible. So, whatever you want your next phase to be, dream big—and do little. That means giving yourself permission to think outside the box, to draw the world you want, and then to create it on your terms—one day, one step, one breath at a time.

To inspire you daily and give you manageable benchmarks to create visible progress (without adding more to your to-do list), Penguin Random House Audio has turned some of the most thought-provoking, soul-awakening reads on its roster into a library of audiobooks you can "read" whenever, wherever, without missing a beat.

There are collections for self-care, spirituality, health, and fitness, all of which you can tune into in the car or the train, with five minutes to go on the treadmill, or anytime you need a boost. Here are just a few of the audiobooks on the list that'll help you get wherever you want to go—happier.

The Power of Meaning

In this revolutionary personal growth audiobook, journalist Emily Esfahani Smith (who has her master's in positive psychology) asks if our cultural obsession with happiness is causing us to miss out on something more important: meaning. Synthesizing research from fellow psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, Esfahani Smith paints a picture of what it might look like to create a meaningful life in 21st-century Western culture (and why it's so important). Through the four pillars of meaning, you'll be invited to reflect on how you might create space for the deep, mysterious elements of life that make it worth living.

The Brain Warrior's Way

You might want to lose weight. You might want to gain confidence and poise. You might want to move on from a breakup. Whatever you want, the only thing that can keep you from it is you. Best-selling authors Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen will guide you through a process that allows you to take control of the thought patterns that govern your evolution (or lack thereof), ultimately defining the kind of life you have. If you want to start laying the groundwork for change, this is ground zero.

The Secret Life of Fat

Most Americans contribute to the $60 billion industry that tries to minimize, redistribute, and/or eradicate fat. But do we even really know why? And wouldn't it be liberating to stop thinking of this silent threat as, perhaps, a friend? Well, in this audiobook, biochemist Sylvia Tara introduces fat in a new (less unforgiving, nonfluorescent) light. Turns out, the secret to staying at your happy weight has a lot to do with actually being happy. If you think you're at war with your body, it will react that way. If you're one of the vast majority of people who feels like they've been fighting with fat their whole lives, this audiobook might just change that—for good.

Books for Living

If you're looking for a veritable dim sum platter of books to upgrade your life, think of this Will Schwalbe-penned guide as your menu. An avid reader and writer, Schwalbe exams the logic behind reading itself (Why do we do it? What are the effects, desired and unintended, of a lifelong reading habit?) and singles out books that speak to "the specific challenges of living in our modern world." Even if you never read or listened to one of the books on his list, this celebration of literature will equip you to live each day more fully than the last.

The Case Against Sugar

If fat isn't making you, well, fat, then what is? Gary Taubes posits that it may be sugar. Drawing its history through America, Taubes clears a path that allows all listeners to do something we've all struggled with since the fat-versus-sugar debate first began: He provides the tools necessary to make informed decisions about how we view and utilize sugar, both individually and culturally.

The Book of Joy

So, two Nobel Prize winners walk into a birthday party… No, it's not the beginning of a joke—although the end result is bound to leave a smile on your face; it's the origin story of this audiobook. Archbishop Desmond Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in India to celebrate his 80th birthday. To mark the occasion, they decided to explore a new frontier of the thing they have already spent their lives doing: helping people find joy in the midst of suffering—this time, through an audiobook.

The three-layered masterclass on joy weaves their personal stories of suffering and exile with the daily practices that keep them emotionally and spiritually grounded regardless of their physical surroundings and the latest research on happiness and joy. If nothing else, listening to this audiobook will remind you that light can be found in the darkest of places, if you know where to look.

The Zero-Sugar Diet

If you already know where you stand on the whole "fat versus sugar" thing and you're aiming to cut the white stuff out of your diet entirely, David Zinczenko’s 14-day plan might be just the jump-start you need. The principle is simple: replace empty calories with essential ones, thereby short-circuiting your cravings and the blood-sugar spike that can trigger illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease over time. If not now, when?

Wake Up to the Joy of You

This audiobook takes the guesswork out of building a solid foundation of positive habits and self-care over time. There's no danger of going too far too fast and burning out, because the audiobook is divided into 52 sections—one for each week of the year. In every section, best-selling author and speaker Agapi Stassinopoulos guides you through a meditation and/or practice that helps you open your heart, release the negative, and embrace the positive, step by step.

Want more inspiration? Learn how to boost your metabolism for optimal weight management here, or check out this post to help you build a life full of meaning and purpose.

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