February 06, 2010
Audio Learning
Posted by David Zaring

Over at the Faculty Lounge, Jacqueline Lipton asks whether audio books are worth the candle.  Meanwhile, Bainbridge links to a really boring, but usefully concise, audio report on the SEC's proxy rules.  It all is a reminder that one way to manage a bit of knowledge acquisition in the midst of all the rest of the multitasking is through one's iPod.  I can attest that there's nothing quite like a little 3 AM Niall Ferguson or Jean Bethke Elshtain while walking a very small child up and down a corridor.

But as I have noted before, audio really isn't the best way to catch up on the current literature.  For one thing, not much of it is on line, and even if you could get your fancy new Kindle to read it in computerese, audio takes a lot of time.  Still, the uChannel podcasts can keep you broadminded, EconTalk has a great roster of economists, and the occasional Planet Money or Fresh Air interview can be really useful financial crisis coloratura.  As for audiobooks, the classics are crushingly difficult for me to finish, and really, most fiction doesn't work unless it is very abridged, and very action-packed.  I like histories, particularly short histories, and I admit I haven't yet found the perfect law related audiobook.

So that's how I use audio, and between commutes, snow shoveling, and so on, I use it often.  Always looking for more recommendations, though (I even subscribed to AudioFile for a while, where every audiobook is reviewed, and they are all above average).  If you have some, do put them in the comments.

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