Your next great audiobook

AudioFile Recommends

Mind, Body, Spirit

Mike Chamberlain engagingly narrates the author's look at productivity and how people get things done. While Duhigg does examine eight ideas that increase productivity, this is really more of an exploration of the topic itself than a guidebook for how to achieve greater productivity. As the text winds through different areas, including neuroscience, probabilistic thinking, goal setting, and decision-making, Chamberlain provides a straightforward and evenly paced delivery. His consistent narration style adds continuity as Duhigg's examples intertwine and are revisited. E.N. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

Lee Eisenberg performs his exploration of literature, philosophy, history, and his own personal stories to find the meaning of life through all its phases. Eisenberg develops the metaphor of a "scribbler" who lives in our heads, writing our life stories as we go along--so this is a writer writing about writing while frequently referencing other writing. This could come off as navel-gazing (which Eisenberg acknowledges), but while his thoughts are carefully reasoned, his performance glows with the sense of spontaneity, curiosity, and discovery he must have felt while doing his research. His excitement combined with flashes of humor is infectious, creating forward momentum and persuading listeners to consider the stories they're making of their own lives. A.F. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

Finally, Joseph Campbell's first (most iconic) work is available in a complete unabridged recording! Campbell captured the imagination of the postwar generation with his exploration of universal themes in mythology. His mythological imagery provided the foundation for generations of fantasy writing. The early Star Wars movies follow this book almost chapter for chapter. Today, Campbell's unquestioned reliance on Jungian and Freudian concepts may seem dated. The power of the audiobook is in the carefully chosen excerpts of tales from mythology. Arthur Morey, John Lee, and Susan Denaker are an adept and experienced performance team. The way they trade voices adds texture to the complex compendium of stories. Although few people could perfectly pronounce the names of all the mythological characters in this global survey, they do an excellent job. F.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

Lisa Damour's sweet reading voice seems at first to be in conflict with the power of this accessible parenting advice. But her performance avoids the exaggerated phrasing and pitch-spikes one hears from some narrators and quickly engages with the scholarship and insights that abound in every chapter of this book. With phrasing that is as clear as it is spontaneous sounding, she delivers her spare writing with consistency, confidence, and charm. The hard-working author (and mother of her own daughters) offers finely tuned observations that will help make sense of the chaos and volatility most parents experience with teenage daughters. Illustrated with enlightening case studies, this is an easy-to-hear and clarifying resource for all moms and dads who are pulling out their hair while raising their teenage daughters. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

With this fast-moving collection of entrepreneur success stories and practical advice, the author shows how creative people can keep from being shut down by conventional wisdom or initial failure. As narrator, Rottenberg sounds remarkably polished. With quiet confidence and enthusiasm for her message, she shares stories about innovators whose enterprises broke through barriers to offer game-changing products or serve constituencies in creative ways. She sounds like a beguiling combination of a trusted family attorney and a veteran business school professor. Also compelling is the story of how she founded Endeavor, a leading supporter of creative people and fast-growing enterprises around the world. Her account of Endeavor's growth and the stories of other passionate change-makers give this inspiring audio enormous energy and credibility. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

Reading this pointed advice based on the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Virtues, Tom Hatting performs with exceptional skill and a notable degree of friendliness. He's so pleasing to hear that he makes the message in this audiobook irresistible, even to listeners who may not identify with fundamentalist Christian views. Prayers and interpretations of God’s wishes aside, the authors offer easy-to-follow lists of parental practices associated with each vice, any of which can lead children down the wrong path. Hatting’s vocal charm makes these admonitions sound surprisingly fresh and appealing—like part of a joyous adventure in managing our bad selves. His beguiling performance works even better with the latter part of the audiobook, which focuses on the right and wrong ways to teach our children the Seven Virtues. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

Author and narrator Jason Gay highlights the bright side of life in this collection of vignettes. Gay shares his observations on jobs, bosses, society's reliance on technology, marriage, and kids--among other things--with a down-to-earth charm. His lessons learned and tips on how to come out ahead are endearing and funny. Even in recounting stories focused on his father's cancer and his own stressful IVF efforts, Gay balances the sober, touching moments with a loving, positive spin--even pointing out some of the humor in various situations. With the impeccable timing and delivery of a stand-up comedian, Gay punctuates his narration with chuckles, snorts, and sighs, while his self-deprecating tone maximizes his likability as narrator and protagonist. M.F. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Disrupter and entrepreneur Jay Samit, with a serious but thoroughly enjoyable narration style, combines his compelling personal history and many fresh-sounding stories and insights to show us how to flip the innovation switch in ourselves. Part of the audiobook details how his determination and creativity gained him access to the inner circles of giant media companies and how he revamped a number of struggling or entrenched corporations. With riveting intensity in his delivery, he describes how accepting or dismissing just one disruptive idea changed the fortunes of companies such as Apple, Sony, and many others. Though his examples are from the business world, the core of this lesson is how to train ourselves to think expansively, recognize the Luddite features of our personalities, and learn the habit of becoming persistent disrupters with our own ideas. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

The author's jaunty pace makes her book sound like a stream-of-consciousness monologue that occasionally becomes unhinged. But there's such a huge vein of wisdom running through it that it works as an audio, not just because of her endearing drive to sound dramatic but also because of her bountiful compassion for timid people everywhere. Rhimes is an acclaimed TV producer and screenwriter ("Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal") who describes her recent effort to break out of her shell by doing everything offered to her that she fears. What makes this such a powerful audiobook is that, behind her colloquial language and assertive style, you can appreciate the work it took for someone this shy to begin making public appearances and to perform this excellent inspirational audio. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Sumalee Montano’s soothing narration beautifully complements Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo’s Zen-like approach to decluttering homes. This sequel to her global blockbuster, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, offers detailed steps on how to tidy and organize one’s home, including instructions on how to fold and store clothes and other items—one of the author’s signature skills. Montano’s calm voice exudes the peaceful and contemplative mood that is necessary for successful decluttering. Her purposeful pacing and pauses convey the typical participant’s’ hesitation or bewilderment as he or she decides which items to keep and which to discard. A subsequent lightness in Montano’s tone marks the participant’s eventual sense of relief at saying goodbye to items that do not—as Kondo says—“spark joy.” M.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

[More]

The "Francis effect" is the catchphrase used often in this audiobook to characterize the response to Pope Francis. Narrator James Langton is kept on his toes with the many priests, bishops and cardinals who are quoted and described herein. His fluency with Latin, Italian, Spanish, and other quoted languages is extraordinary. The world has taken to Pope Francis's messages of mercy for the millions of Catholics everywhere who have been disenchanted by the Church's recent scandals. In a voice filled with enthusiasm and charm, Langton expresses the author's fervent hope that this pontiff will bring a breath of fresh air into a troubled church. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFIle Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Michael Paterniti's evocative writing style is showcased in this collection of 17 essays. In delivering them, Richard Poe takes on the tone of a seasoned observer of humanity. Poe's contemplative and nuanced voicing helps the listener appreciate the depth of Paterniti's commentary on topics ranging from the trials and tribulations of a modern-day giant in rural Ukraine to the story of a tsunami survivor in Japan. With thoughtful and practiced pacing, Poe gives additional impact to a work that ponders the human condition in far-flung places around the globe. S.E.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Low-key urgency flows steadily beneath Kirsten Potter's appealing interpretation of this important audiobook about our diminishing ability to connect with people in intimate ways. Her clear phrasing, full of texture and sonority, makes listeners want to hear every syllable and comprehend every idea. She helps the author make the point that in this digital age too many of us have lost our ability to sense how others feel by indulging in the soothing but profoundly numbing addictions we have to our devices. Potter's attention to the flow of these ideas compels listeners to really think about Turkle's heartfelt invitation to stop our slide into emotional isolation by having the frequent eyeball-to-eyeball conversations we need to really understand each other. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Sy Montgomery is fascinated by octopuses, and why wouldn't she be? With the ability to change colors at a whim to camouflage itself, expand and contract its body to fit in tight spaces, and taste through the many suckers on its tentacles, the octopus has many mysterious qualities that have intrigued, enraptured, and even frightened people for centuries. As she narrates her experiences meeting and learning about different octopuses, she sounds palpably excited; her enthusiasm for the octopus and her fellow octopus enthusiasts shines. Given that Montgomery is a layperson, what the book lacks in terms of in-depth scientific exploration is made up for by her evident eagerness to understand the octopuses she encounters at her local aquarium and on scuba expeditions. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

A good performer makes you feel like you're privy to something memorable--a great one beckons you into his world and welcomes you as a necessary part of the work's success. Ta-Nehisi Coates's delivery of his own book is so memorable because the material is charged with emotion and a tone of self-disclosure. There's also a highly personal sense of connection between himself and his audience because of his frequent use of "you." The book may be directed to Coates's son, but the conviction of Coates's delivery underscores the importance of the race relations examined within its pages. N.J.B. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Jonathan Todd Ross’s can-do tone adds positive energy to the practical, down-to-earth advice in this career development audio. His personal flair and perfect phrasing are highlights of the production; furthermore, his clear and boyish speaking voice stays humble and supportive of the author’s altruistic intentions. Author Shipp’s own humility also figures in the overall effectiveness of this audiobook. A longtime personal development trainer, he’s a kind messenger whose thoughtful tips on how to do the work you really desire are very accessible. His inspirational stories—as deftly performed as they are perfectly crafted—make this audio program sneak up on you and challenge you to go to the next level. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Listeners looking for permission or encouragement to pursue their creative endeavors will find writer Elizabeth Gilbert (EAT, PRAY, LOVE; THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS) to be a confident cheerleader and guide. With a conversational delivery and warm, confiding tone, Gilbert exhorts listeners to respect inspiration and to put in the time and hard work to bring those ideas to fruition. Building on the themes of her popular TED Talks, Gilbert assures us that anyone can be creative, and that that creativity can take many forms. For Gilbert, the act of creating is a joyful one, and she cheerfully urges listeners to dig deep and reap the rewards of a creative life. J.M.D. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Harold Kushner’s subtle, refined voice remains consistent as he seeks to change contemporary attitudes toward forgiveness, revenge, and life in general through his audiobook. He documents his words of wisdom with biblical passages, historical references, and Judeo-Christian thought. Gently challenging the current acceptance of revenge as a means to personal satisfaction, he asks the vengeance seeker to forgive as a way to root sadness from his or her own soul. He speaks with emotion about his own experience with the tragic death of his son from progeria. With his slight accent, he exhorts his audience to become more attuned to what it means to have faith in God. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

This audiobook adds to the body of work that asserts that atheism could not exist without Christian theology. Narrator John McLain uses his sonorous voice splendidly to dissect the many points discussed. His delivery helps the listener develop a basic understanding of how atheists use Christian precepts to create their own philosophy. Though not an easy task, he moves through complicated discussions with ease. In addition, McLain does a fine job with the personal interviews by varying his inflection to create a distinctive voice for each speaker. His meticulous attention to these enhancements gives listeners a better understanding of the material. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Derek Rydall uses the arc of his own growth and some memorable imagery to craft a powerful lesson on the value of becoming yourself. Though his professional voice skills are obvious in this performance, the sound of his voice is authentic, and his ideas will ring true for anyone frustrated with the state of his or her life. His relaxed delivery keeps the tone spiritual and personal, though his seven steps are fairly detailed and have an unmistakable proactive vibe. The emphasis is on taking the steps needed to discover our innate gifts and intentions and move them into productive life patterns. This is a helpful collection of specific ideas on how to let your authentic talents blossom—how to become who you are. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Articulately written and precisely voiced by Laural Merlington, this is a delight and a wonderful treat for the ears. Westheimer offers a memoir that is entertaining, touching, positive, and sensitive despite her many life challenges. Best of all, it offers frequent flashes of tasteful humor. Although the introduction is voiced by Westheimer herself, the rest of the audiobook is narrated by Merlington. Her mature, appropriately paced narration provides context by nature of its sensitivity. Few may know of Westheimer’s losing her entire family in the Holocaust and her serious injuries in a bombing at the time of modern Israel’s creation. Thankfully, Merlington doesn’t attempt to imitate the inimitable Westheimer—yet she quite skillfully weaves the words into rhythms that are unmistakably Westheimer. W.A.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Norbert Butz’s performance, full of clarity and assertive interest in his material, makes him sound a lot like the fast-talking, quick-thinking author, a powerful Hollywood producer who’s achieved a lot and wants to share his insights. Glazer uses entertaining stories to make the case that curiosity is a habit that can be cultivated, though it’s often stifled in our culture and in many of our institutions. He says that while curiosity opens doors, it can also be disruptive because it challenges authority and upends bureaucratic silos. More of a memoir than a how-to, this is a fascinating portrait of a colorful man and his approach to the world—a book with a unique type of energy that Butz captures fully. T.W. 2016 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Dan Woren’s vocal calmness and smooth phrasing create a compelling performance of this thoughtful book, translated from French, about how to become a better human being. Woren’s pacing has the distinctive quality of being slow and determined without sounding labored or overdramatic. The life quest of the author, a long-serving French translator for the Dalai Lama, is to use the traditions of Buddhism, science, and Western philosophy to balance the contemplative life with serving others effectively. His colorful international stories embody the wisdom of many spiritual leaders and tell us that compassion without action is hypocritical. Advocating that we cultivate an appreciation for the future of our planet as well as for each passing moment, he says we need to make the combination of compassion and altruism a continuing part of our culture. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Dan Woren adopts a conversational style to deliver Nhat Hanh's philosophy that happiness, peace, and well-being, favored by Buddhist monks, are found in the practice of silence—not silence as the absence of sound but as targeted listening that leads to the quieting of the mind. In a firm, evenly modulated tone, Woren guides listeners through Nhat Hanh's breathing techniques and mindfulness exercises into the "stillness" that the author considers a necessary aspect of silence. Nhat Hanh explores other characteristics of inner calm such as learning to listen for the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind, the wondrous sounds of birds chirping, and other sounds found in nature. Woren captures Nhat Hanh's practical and simple-to-implement guide, which teaches listeners the power of quiet and how to live in the present moment. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrating this effective combination of practical steps and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” principles, Sandra Burr creates a satisfying tone that gives weight to the author’s discussion of why accumulating money is a challenge for so many women. Her performance adds dignity to the production without making it sound stiff or academic. Sharon Lechter’s empowering message is that women can network and seek guidance from others but don’t have to depend on them to take certain steps that will move them toward financial independence. In this production, she offers the memorable stories of financially successful women along with 13 steps that sound right—not only because these suggestions target some important obstacles women face in society and in themselves, but also because of the steady confidence in Burr’s excellent performance. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Actress Glenn Close’s younger sister, Jessie, was diagnosed late in life with bipolar disorder. Here her sincere, no-holds-barred narration describing her struggle with mental illness is mesmerizing. Fully honest, Jessie describes wildly erratic behavior through her childhood into adult years, including five marriages, numerous affairs, numerous career paths, and coping with her schizophrenic son. Never hesitating to recount embarrassing behavior, unusual family history, and, most significantly, the stigma of mental illness, Jessie’s riveting autobiographical account of life with this disease provides a long overdue advocacy for its social awareness. Sister Glenn, in a cameo format, provides her own account of various periods in Jessie’s life. This compelling performance by both sisters brings attention to the living with, and treatment of, mental illness. B.J.P. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrating a most engaging lesson on being productive and influencing others at work, Alan Winter communicates a natural enthusiasm that makes you like him right away and trust his understanding of the authors’ message. His vocal personality, pacing, and articulation draw listeners in and make them want to stay connected. The two authors are executives at the famed Second City improv theater. They describe how people in any type of work group can be more authentic and how they can use their creativity and emotional intelligence to energize a work team and move them forward with a project. The seven steps offered are focused on staying loose, taking the initiative, and, above all, learning to not be afraid to express your spontaneous, productive self. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

In this audiobook on human desires, the author intersperses extensive doses of Christian logic with autobiographical anecdotes of her own experiences with errant desires. Her thesis that desires are God given and, therefore, have the potential for good is expertly handled by narrator Karyn O’Bryant. As the mother of five children, Michel has had her share of errant desires. O’Bryant injects the right amount of sincerity into Michel’s imagery to give listeners a clear picture of her life choices and brushes with wrong-thinking desire. Her inflections and dramatic pauses help strengthen Michel’s arguments for inviting God into the process of handling desires. To interpret religious-based apologies is difficult, and O’Bryant’s energy and enthusiasm enhance this production. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Along with his beautiful sonority, Grover Gardner’s artistry with pitch and tone variations makes this excellent book a melodic kaleidoscope of big ideas, fascinating biographical tidbits, and startling insights. And though this narrator’s talent with creative phrasing and subtle mood shifts is occasionally hard to ignore, it's a talent that always serves the author’s illuminating thought process. Da Vinci’s brain, with an unusually strong integration of the right brain’s visual and musical creativity and the left brain’s logical processing capabilities, may have given him remote viewing capacities that would explain the accuracy of his large-scale maps. Shlain’s forays into anthropology, the arts, and even quantum physics (Da Vinci may have been a time traveler!) make this a most engaging neuroscience book and a touching portrait of one of history’s creative giants. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Mike Hodge’s performance of celebrity Harvey’s roadmap to success illustrates what happens when an adept narrator captures the style and delivery of a well-known author. Hodge sounds like Harvey, and that’s crucial for this book, in which the author explains how others can analyze their lives and use his methods to achieve success in whatever career they choose. At the most basic level, Harvey explains how the power of positive thinking, accompanied by a strong dose of determination, can focus those needing direction. While such a message may seem trivial, it works because of the way Hodge conveys Harvey’s intensity. For those inspired by Harvey’s achievements, the audiobook will provide additional inspiration. D.J.S. 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Grover Gardner, a familiar voice for works on theology, narrates this audiobook with a clear awareness of the weight of its subject matter. What’s more, he offers a delivery of this layman's work with a conversational style that enables the listener to actively engage with it. At the same time, he empowers the listener to meditate on the doctrines discussed. With more 60 chapters, the listener can choose to treat this work as a daily devotional. To listen to Sproul’s work is to feel as though you’re sitting at the feet of a godly man, soaking in all of his wisdom. T.D. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

This audiobook is surprisingly upbeat, considering that the topic—dealing with relatives with Alzheimer’s—can be so depressing. Using a technique called “habilitation,” which is designed to improve communication between patients and those assisting them, the author offers practical advice about how to cope as the patient’s condition progressively worsens. Listeners will quickly appreciate narrator Pam Ward’s delivery, which remains optimistic regardless of the topic being discussed. Ward’s empathetic, loving tone is ideal and allows the listener to focus on Coste’s methods, which are designed to ease the pain and feelings of helplessness that overwhelm the families and friends of those with Alzheimer’s. D.J.S. 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Though her memoir is written with the classy precision of a veteran editor and author, Abigail Thomas reads to listeners with the unrehearsed emotion of a chance meeting with an old friend. This latest of her superb books is mostly about friends—boyfriends, new friends, husbands, friends who are dogs, and a particular man-friend whose relationship with the author has spanned almost her entire life. But what lingers in the heart, even more than the ring of truth in her speaking voice, is her artist’s sensibilities as she shares with beautifully textured language her observations about life’s pleasures and tragedies. Hearing her talk about joy, loss, love, and the unavoidable pain of human frailty is an experience that will make listeners feel less afraid to engage with life as it really is. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Microbiologist Rob Knight provides an unabashed and entertaining narration of his study of microbes—focusing on those in the large intestine. He narrates in a smooth and flowing style as he details the role of microbes in the health and diseases of all animals. His familiarity with the subject matter allows a narration that is serious but enthusiastic. He’s persuasive about the importance of the microbes in the gut but also injects humor into the sometimes-gross-sounding sampling procedures. Overall, this is a surprisingly fascinating look at the microscopic life in your gut. M.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

If you listen to this audiobook on a smartphone, consider yourself under government surveillance. That's because, as the author explains, corporate and government interests have access to your GPS tracking devices, as well as your Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts (not to mention every audio bookmark you make in your Audible account). Dan John Miller narrates this mind-blowing exposé with an engaging tone, delivering the author's message that government spying is simplified now that we "voluntarily" provide personal information in exchange for so-called "free" services like Gmail and Facebook. Ironically, the dehumanizing effect of surveillance--billed as a protection against terrorism--appears to have little to do with preserving security. R.W.S. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

In simple language, this audiobook provides listeners with practical, Christian-based ways to bring friends or family members to awareness of a problem and provide some direction in getting it resolved. Narrator Arthur Morey’s smooth and gentle tone demonstrates how to create an atmosphere of warmth and calm that will invite a troubled person to confide his or her difficulty, regardless of the cause. The book implies that through God’s love and a friend’s help, each person needing help can achieve an understanding of his or her difficulty and work toward a solution. Listeners will be pleased to have found this little gem of Christian charity and glad Arthur Morey is their guide. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

As a newspaper obituary writer in the small and rugged town of Haines, Alaska, Heather Lende is called upon to "find the good" as she writes the final words describing the lives of those who have died. In both the tone of her voice and her positive message, she radiates warmth and caring for others, whatever their background or how they found themselves at the end of their days in this small town. While the circumstances of those deaths are sometimes tragic, she always manages to glean bits of happiness and wisdom from the lives of those who have passed. Her narration is down-to-earth—she sounds like a woman you might know in your own everyday life—and her message of positivity is both heartfelt and inspirational. S.E.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Recent years have witnessed a great deal of news coverage of alarming viruses that originated in animal populations and have made the jump—the so-called spillover—to human beings. Jonathan Yen narrates this chronicle of viruses such as Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and HIV, presenting research and speculation on their origins and spread to and within the human population. Yen is clear and adopts a deliberate pace that is useful for communicating the extensive amount of information contained in this comprehensively researched book. The combination of his thoughtful tone and the author’s accessible writing style enables the listener to absorb the scientific information and makes this an engaging and thought-provoking listen. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Five unique narrators share the personal experiences of various O MAGAZINE contributors relating to the topic of happiness. An ensemble of narrators who have varying tones and narrative techniques adds authenticity to this audio collection of short articles. Listeners who are eager to find their own ways to achieve bliss will find that the narrators’ individual deliveries add to the inspiration of each take-away idea. Hearing each sunny morsel brings the intent home. The stories are real eye-openers on aspects of life, miniscule and extravagant, that lead us to joy. D.Z. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Fans of Tim Gunn and his television programs, "Project Runway" and "Under the Gunn," are sure to enjoy listening to this audiobook, read by the author himself. Any other narrator would be entirely gauche! Gunn isn't a performer, and his narrating style isn't conversational--he's definitely reading from his written material. Yet he's authentic with his well-known, distinct voice and speaking mannerisms. His candid reminiscences about his experiences as a teacher are interspersed with quotes from various people about their favorite teachers. He also dishes out behind-the-scenes details on his TV shows and various fashion celebrities. M.M.G. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Johnny Heller is the perfect choice to narrate this story of the Wall Street drama of the 1960s. This is a new audio release of a book that was originally published in 1973, which focuses on the bull market of that period. Heller's deep voice adds gravity to Brooks's words, and his straightforward narration allows the listener to focus on the history of the markets during a time of high growth and wealth creation, which led, of course, to the inevitable declines. Heller also narrates Brooks's other books, including ONCE IN GOLCONDA, which is the author's take on the stock market of the 1920s, so listeners following Brooks's work will appreciate the consistency. E.N. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Down-to-earth advice and a first-class performance make this an audiobook that will help a lot of people reconsider the way they take care of their bodies and spirit. With a vocal presence that commands attention without diminishing the power of the author’s own personality, Jodi Carlisle delivers every sentence with perfect phrasing and a wake-up tone that is both compelling and satisfying to hear. The advice itself, which comes with printable checklists and guides, comes in the form of 12 easy-to-digest steps that incorporate every aspect of good health and every dynamic of personal change. One of Joyce Meyer’s most accessible works, this is an effective combination of clear health guidance and a charming reminder of how spiritual fitness fits into the process of living healthier lives. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

The optimism that overflows from Raun Kaufman’s inspiring autobiography is infectious. Kaufman’s parents were told that their son had autism and an IQ of 30, and would never function in society. Instead, they defied the experts by focusing on freeing the gifted boy who was trapped by his diagnoses. Kaufman’s parents’ technique, called the “Son-Rise Program,” converted their son into an educator with a biomedical ethics degree from Brown University with no symptoms of his former condition. The audiobook highlights the Kaufmans’ efforts, which approach autism as a “social-relational” disorder, not a behavioral one. Raun explains how his parents’ program freed him and countless others and allowed them to live normal lives. Kaufman’s story is inspiring, and his performance adds an exclamation point to it. D.J.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Johnny Heller narrates 12 detailed essays on the history of business, written between 1959 and 1968 for THE NEW YORKER. In measured tones, Heller covers such topics as the 1962 stock market crash, IRS code codification, Texas Gulf oil, the Xerox machine, the creation and failure of the Edsel, the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, General Electric, the New York Stock Exchange, Tennessee Valley Authority administrator David Lilienthal, BFGoodrich, the Federal Exchange versus the pound sterling, and more. Affecting a newscaster’s matter-of-fact tone, Heller reports the events as if they occurred yesterday. This audiobook is the perfect gift for listeners who love the history of business and want to understand how technology evolved to what we know today.  M.B.K.

[More]

Narrating his comprehensive public-speaking lesson, former CNN newscaster Carmine Gallo too often drifts into his TV speaking style—a repetitive pattern of standard-sounding phrasing that makes his voice, at least, sound disengaged. But with this sort of speaking so ubiquitous in teleprompter broadcasting today, most listeners will quickly adapt, be moved by his earnest desire to be useful, and soak in the many good ideas he offers. The nine influential features of successful talks he describes were abstracted from speaking-impact research and his own analysis of successful TED talks over the years. Full of memorable stories and insights, these features come across as an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative that has emotional impact as well as offering some specific tips and tools. T.W. 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Seventy-year-old Catmull’s fascinating career in computer animation is the cornerstone of this engaging audio on how to help corporations support their creative people. To perform the fabulous storytelling that makes his advice come alive, the producers scored big by signing Peter Altschuler, a powerhouse of an actor and narrator who makes every concept clear, every sentence immensely entertaining. Being of a certain age, his mature timbre and relaxed cadence are perfect expressions of the perspective and wisdom that the author, a Disney-Pixar veteran, brings to this exceptional book. With graceful writing the author explains how creativity is nourished when leaders provide security, a trusting environment, and a clear bridge between the creative process and corporate interests. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker (1909-2005) wrote a lot about how executives and ordinary people can prepare themselves for the future, influence how it takes shape, and find satisfaction in thinking ahead. As Tom Parks delivers this accessible summary of Drucker’s future-oriented writings, his friendly vocal personality adds an element of youthful energy to this collection of insights generated during Drucker’s long career. The author of more than 40 books had a knack for articulating the basic principles that operate in a changing world—in good and bad economies and for individuals as well as for business leaders. Parks shines as he highlights Drucker’s optimism without diminishing his sharp perspective on the challenges that lie ahead. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Sara Jes Austell conveys all the hip and rough-edged savvy you’d expect to hear from the founder of Nasty Girl, the vintage women’s wear Internet seller the author started on a shoestring and grew into a major fashion company. Austell’s performance is seamless, free of glitches of any kind, and remarkable for her infectious confidence, off-key likability, and spontaneous phrasing. She’s a big part of the effectiveness of this energetic discussion of how women can succeed as leaders without being sucked into corporate stereotypes of how they should behave or how businesses should operate. With its candid personal stories and down-to-earth strategies for handling a variety of start-up challenges, this is an audio that’s as useful as it is fun to hear. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

The enthusiasm in narrator Jon Gauger’s performance adds optimism to this updated edition of the author’s HOPE FOR THE SEPARATED. Conversational pacing and never-miss phrasing are part of his magic, and he keeps his message friendly by not overdramatizing Bible quotations and by understating Chapman’s authority in these matters. The author has always been a kind and inviting teacher. Here, he frames the distress of a seemingly failed marriage as an opportunity to fight back—not against your spouse but against the anger, frustration, and loneliness that arise within ourselves when a relationship fragments. Addressing a realistic array of reasons for marriage failure, Gauger presents the clear steps Chapman recommends to take. His hope for his audience makes this audiobook a powerful, listenable resource. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

More than just delivering their sentences, Kory Kogon and Adam Merrill (with brief segments read by the third author) use their performances to sell themselves and their solid commitment to their thinking. They sound like experienced teachers--serious about their research, proud of their careers in the Franklin-Covey organization, and always clear and inviting. Their suggestions are sophisticated updates of Steven Covey's time-management writing. Illustrating their words with motivating examples from their consulting work, they describe accessible strategies for managing one's decision making, attention, and energy--the three ingredients of productivity that we can control in the face of today's unprecedented distractions. Anchored in the familiar framework of the four-part "important/urgent" grid, this compelling lesson has everything you'll need to help you spend more time on what's really important. T.W. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

A take-no-prisoners consultant and star of a business makeover TV show delivers hard-hitting advice on how to own who you are, manage yourself, and speak up when other people fail to work or don’t act like grown-ups. With her Australian accent and salty language, Coffey’s authentic confidence is perfect for this type of advice—an audible example of the assertiveness, style, and work ethic she encourages listeners to adopt. She says people get more out of themselves and others when they stop fearing disapproval, stop protecting others from their screwups, and stop being inhibited about what they want to do. With inspiring case histories and many specific strategies for beginning entrepreneurs, this is a high-impact invitation to demand the results you want from your life. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Bestselling author Anne Lamott narrates her collection of new and selected essays with a serene and convincing voice that supports each teachable moment on grace. She shares her personal stories on spirituality, relationships, and sobriety in a tender, appealing tone that aims to help others through her lessons learned. Her honesty and self-deprecating wit add character that charms the listener. Lamott gently incorporates scripture and political views when necessary without being judgmental or pushy, making for a refreshing activist stance that the listener is sure to appreciate. The wise points in each autobiographical essay radiate hope that listeners can triumph over the pain and disappointment that are part of the human condition. D.Z.

[More]

Get off the couch and do something is the message in this charming interpretation of what THE WIZARD OF OZ teaches us about personal responsibility. Roger Connors and Tom Smith narrate their second “Oz" book about business accountability with boyish, low-key enthusiasm that projects their generous personalities as well as their principles and suggestions. They’re fans of these ideas, which gives their audio credibility and a bit of magic. See it, own it, solve it, and do it are the four steps you need to stop waiting, start acting. More personal than their previous book, this is a fresh reminder that if you’re looking for the brains, heart, or courage to achieve something, the place to start is within yourself. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller captures the voice of author Marie Kondo so perfectly that it’s as if the Japanese de-cluttering guru is speaking in person. Zeller uses delightful character voices during quotes from Kondo’s clients, conveys the wry humor in how tidying can actually change your life, and evokes a Zen-like quality to the advice on letting clutter go with gratitude. Zeller expertly conveys the author’s obsession with tidying, along with her self-effacing humor and nonjudgmental outlook. With advice such as allowing your handbag to rest at night, making a place for every possession (from your stockings to your kimono), and saying thank you to the items you discard, this audiobook is perfect for listeners looking for inspiration as well as those who enjoy Japanese culture. M.M.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine

[More]

Atwood explores the Christian themes present throughout the award-winning TV show “Breaking Bad.” Alex Hyde-White proves a perfect choice to narrate. Not only does he share the same last name as the show’s protagonist, he also captures Walter White’s tone and delivery perfectly when he delivers quotes. He proves a competent narrator on the whole as well, deliberately articulating the deeper points that Atwood identifies. However, as good as he is with Walter’s voice, his other character impressions fall short. Atwood delves deeply into the show to identify the ways the show’s writers have been influenced by Christian tradition and theology, from the significance of names and colors to the questions of redemption, forgiveness, and punishment. L.E. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Amanda Palmer’s resonant yet intimate reading is captivating—but in a way that keeps listeners wondering whether it’s her wisdom about emotional connections or her outspoken self-promotion that makes this audio so powerful. She turned the skills she developed as a street busker and nightclub stripper into crowdfunding her indie rock career and sharing her ideals about human exchanges in a TED talk that garnered six million views. Bringing authenticity to her audiobook performance, she sells herself as a new millennium woman who knows something about inviting people to understand her and enter into productive exchanges with her. Her dramatic and seductive vocal style makes her message unforgettable: Asking for what you want and need will make you a more genuine participant in the human experience. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2016 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

A serial-entrepreneur and one-of-a-kind character uses his streetwise personality to narrate this captivating rise-from-the-ashes memoir/business book. With his steely vocal tone and colorful urban speech (complete with F-bombs), he ad-libs much of the book’s content, which makes him and his message sound totally authentic. Pithy stories chronicle how today’s markets—wildly unpredictable and more competitive than ever—require that we stop waiting for others’ goodwill and start acting with independence and boldness on the ideas that are important to us. Though his smart-aleck, don’t-trust-anyone vibe is never far from the surface, his message is seductive: Survive any failure and achieve your wildest dreams by being yourself and not worrying about other people’s opinions and reactions to what you’re doing. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Daniel Maté sounds spontaneous and impish as he narrates this stimulating guide to staying married, which uses interviews with an entertaining group of divorced men and women to illustrate its lessons. Maté is wonderful with these quotes, mimicking ethnic and gender stereotypes, enjoying the explicit language and sexual vignettes, and deftly propelling the author’s skillful storytelling. The immediacy of his performance takes listeners into the hearts of the interviewees and the wisdom of the author’s advice. The fast-moving program revolves around “the golden triangle of relationship advice”—be yourself as soon as possible in a new relationship, be honest about sexual tastes and appetites, and learn how to talk about conflicts. Married or not, this enlightening, funny audio will light a fire under your relationship frustrations and romantic ideals. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Derek Perkins gives a flawless performance in this fascinating examination of global topophilia (a sense of place) and biophilia (the bond between human beings and other living systems). Perkins’s articulate and unrushed narration allows the listener to assimilate the plethora of geographical, political, cultural, and historical facts offered in this study of 47 extraordinary, and mostly unknown, locations. Perkins’s credible command of numerous accents, in addition to deft modulations to introduce each new location and bring out various local voices, keeps many parts of the book, with their extensive information, from being too dry. While all these aspects of his narration are engaging, it’s Perkins’s warmth that truly reveals his understanding of the book and that effectively conveys its message about the significance of place. M.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Christopher Lane delivers a splendid performance of this fascinating audiobook about optimal decision making. His resonant voice and interesting phrasing make every sentence express its full meaning. The author, using the paradigm of thinking fast and slow, explains two broad insights: First, bad decisions made by our primitive brains—usually based on emotionally driven and often illogical views of our abilities, our competitors, or external facts—can be tempered by left-brain logic that we can develop and apply. Second, when left-brain logical analysis is primary, it works best when propelled by primitive psychic forces like confidence, determination, and positive expectations. Though the author’s writing is as powerful as it is meticulously organized, it’s given even more energy by Lane's vibrant interpretation and obvious affection for the material. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Great storytelling and an appealing, perky performance by author-narrator Ellenberg make this an enormously engaging audio. Ellenberg’s diction is reasonably clear, and he reads quickly—like someone very confident about his thinking. His performance conveys the type of measured enthusiasm that invites listeners into his world and seduces them into looking at math in a way they never have before. With convincing clarity, he shows how math is just an abstract way to talk about common-sense relationships—relationships that we deal with every day but that can be more manageable when using the specialized language and processes that math provides. This production is remarkable for the compassionate way Ellenberg speaks to what we presume is a mathematically naïve audience. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Hillary Huber narrates with tastefully moderated emotional intensity—exaggerating important points, using arresting pauses, and quieting her volume when she needs the listener’s full attention. She’s an excellent choice to read a helpful psychological guide like this. The author, a hypnotherapist, says you can fulfill your reasons for being alive by paying attention to your nighttime dreams, even programming them to offer guidance in areas you declare are important to you. She offers believable explanations of how the energy in your dreams can be embodied in your conscious identity and turned into actions that can change your life. Though this is a short audio program, it offers smoothly delivered, memorable advice on how people can listen to their subconscious better and challenge themselves more. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Grover Gardner’s precise diction sounds effortless and never interrupts the smoothness of his phrasing or the melodic flow of his rich voice. The resulting seamlessness of his performance works well with this big-picture essay on how to achieve a business’s highest purpose. This is a philosophical point of view that is inextricably linked to the authors’ personal journeys as well as the transformations occurring in how we understand a for-profit company’s social responsibility. Humanism and social idealism infuse much of this book, especially in the thoughtful writing of John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods Market. With practical suggestions for leaders of any business, the audio is a stirring invitation to businesses to look beyond numbers when interacting with investors, business partners, employees, customers, and the physical environment. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Oprah Winfrey’s distinctive voice adds sincerity and intimacy to her accounts of “ah-ha” moments in her personal and professional lives. Each inspirational message is presented calmly and expressively, making listeners ponder how it can be applied to their own lives. Winfrey’s warm, familiar voice makes each personal story powerful and entertaining. Her narration adds authenticity to the underlying teachings on the importance of spirit and love. Every lesson is presented with affection and touches the listener with its significance. D.Z. 2015 Audies Winner © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Two journalists who founded an online advocacy group for professional women (TheLi.st) offer career advice in the form of essays by an assortment of accomplished women. These biographical sketches sound both poignant and hard-hitting in the hands of narrator Laural Merlington, who reads with a deftly modulated combination of chutzpa and serenity. Her tone is assertive, sometimes hard-edged, but it works to hold attention and provoke listeners to hear these ideas with courage and openness to change. Each woman’s story involves some struggle, but the emphasis is on being proactive, disciplined, and positive. These emotional and behavioral skills can be immensely helpful to any success-minded woman who needs help overcoming the restrictive stereotypes and infantilizing they still find in many of today’s workplaces. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Husband-and-wife team Kristof and WuDunn send out a call to action, with stories and ideas that will inspire listeners to act in small and big ways to create a positive impact in their own communities or further afield. Narrator Olivia Wilde's calm and measured narration complements the authors' positive message that giving back to others can be not only extremely accessible to just about anyone who has the desire, but also hard to resist since making a contribution to society does not have to be complicated or even costly. Wilde's low and gentle tones send a message of compassion that befits the authors’ message. And what a refreshing message it is in these strife-filled times at home and abroad. S.E.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

There comes a time in every adult’s life when one realizes one’s parents are not invincible. In her delicate, cultured Trinidadian accent, author/narrator Elizabeth Nunez unpacks the emotions that her upbringing taught her to hide meticulously as she copes with her mother’s death. Her deep voice becomes tremulous at times, as if the force of her own words is threatening to swallow her. But it rises again, steady and sure, when she recounts the strength of her parents and the challenges of raising 11 children amid the social restrictions of 1950s Trinidad. Nunez manifests the grief that comes from losing a parent but tempers her depth of emotion with wry tones when recounting the humorous dramas that arise amid island life. Self-effacing and honest, Nunez gives listeners a unique window onto a foreign world. E.E. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Evan Osnos, Beijing correspondent for THE NEW YORKER (2005-2010), has written an outstanding book covering the political, economic, and cultural aspects of China. Narrating his own work is a wonderful addition as his command of Mandarin and in-depth knowledge of the country are apparent. Observations and interviews are crisp and timely whether the subject is a billionaire online matchmaker or the dissident Ai Wei Wei, who has many critical and pithy comments. Osnos's apt delivery of humor—both his own and Chinese—adds authenticity and fun. Most revealing are his observations during a European tour with a Chinese group. (He was the only non-Chinese person.) Osnos excels at getting people to open up; he then adds luster with his spirited delivery of their thoughts. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Dan Millman and Sierra Prasada take turns narrating their work on how to be a writer. With practical advice regarding their five stages of writing—dream, draft, develop, refine, and share—the authors present a logical and orderly approach to entering the field of writing, or, for those who are already in the field, more successfully navigating its ups and downs. The alternating narration by the two authors helps to keep the listening experience fresh and varied. The collaboration provides the listener with a sense of having a coaching team that offers personalized advice. This straightforward and well-organized work is likely to provide inspiration and helpful guidance to the aspiring writer. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Reading alternate segments filled with understated humor, two engaging broadcast celebrities deliver well-written, wry accounts of their lives together as father and son. The younger Geist, Willie, the smooth and secure “Morning Joe” cohost, performs his part of the book flawlessly as he shares his youthful adventures, his lifelong appreciation of his father, and some fascinating stories about his current family life and television career. The elder Geist, Bill, an equally funny writer, gives a performance that is just as spontaneous and genuine in his sections of the book. His delivery will remind many of the late Andy Rooney. The audio is a satisfying, entertaining look at a great father-son connection, and a refreshing reminder that TV stars can be warm and generous human beings. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

In 2013, award-winning writer George Saunders delivered a speech to graduates at Syracuse University, where he teaches creative writing. The speech went viral on the Internet in short order. Saunders’s message was to encourage the graduates to emphasize kindness in their lives. As he reminisces briefly about the regrets of his own life, he wistfully references incidents when he wishes he had shown greater kindness. As narrator, Saunders has a conversational tone that is intimate, self-effacing, and encouraging. He makes note that he has limited time and moves along at a brisk pace to make the most of it. Saunders delivers this positive message clearly and simply, with no diversions. J.E.M. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

This instructional audiobook, the sports psychologist's first, offers familiar advice on how disciplined practice, pre-performance routines, managing expectations, and a good team perspective impact what we get from ourselves when it counts. Narrator Eric Summerer’s pleasing tone and straightforward clarity contribute to a delivery that is without fussiness, but his performance does little to help the inspirational energy and wisdom the author tries to communicate. It’s a good narration, but one that focuses on vocal mechanics at the expense of color and personality. At least in audio format, the slurry of directives and principles comes across in scattershot fashion, rather than being organized around a limited number of powerful, memorable ideas. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Shepherding children in the new digital world is complex and challenging. Hofmann provides a range of ideas, approaches, and protocols to help parents and children find what’s right, safe, and smart. Carrington MacDuffie narrates this book well, using tone and emphasis to convey Hofmann’s purpose: to elicit family conversations, not deliver commandments. MacDuffie captures the conversations presented in a way that conveys the challenges and concerns of all parties from mutually respective vantage points. Hofmann’s intelligent prose coupled with MacDuffie’s gentle but clear tone makes the audiobook an engaging listen for anyone grappling with how to deal with childrearing in the age of social media. L.E. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Some listeners may be reluctant to listen to this audiobook because it’s recommended for addicts and alcoholics in recovery. However, listening to David Drummond’s interpretation of the text transforms it into a life-affirming experience for everyone who listens. In addition, those seeking to define a higher power or to put more spirituality into their lives will be happy with this fine selection, filled with stories from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Drummond nimbly winds his way through these myriad tales with various accents and humor and helps listeners hear the moral in every tale. His energy and enthusiasm throughout keep listeners connected to the authors’ theme: how to live successfully with failures in one’s life. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

This enlightening audiobook offers fresh insights on how to avoid mistakes when making judgments about what's going on in another person's mind. The author, an engaging writer and teacher, says these misperceptions are due to human tendencies like excessive egocentrism, relying on unexamined stereotypes, and assuming that people's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are always consistent with their words and actions. As narrator of his book, Dr. Epley scores big with his sincerity and pleasant voice. His phrasing is reasonably clear, and he's enthusiastic about sharing his views without sounding solicitous or self-conscious. This is a fun book to hear, more documentary than instruction manual, and a useful reminder that paying attention to the subtleties of our day-to-day interactions can give us satisfying insights into a wide range of people in our lives. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

This book's spunky writing and popular topic should have made transforming it into an appealing audio an easy proposition. But David Drummond's repetitive tonal patterns give the production a flat quality that falls short of making this title the "joyous exploration of the mind" that the publisher claims it to be. Drummond's phrasing is always clear, but he repeats the same pitch sequences again and again. However, the author's boyish enthusiasm for this kind of psychological inquiry saves the production and helps it deliver a stirring look at how today's scientists are parsing the experience of being conscious. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Listeners familiar with the worldview, language, and raw energy of hip-hop culture will feel right at home with this inspirational advice from formerly homeless entrepreneur, preacher, and motivational speaker Eric Thomas. A calmer-sounding Charles Arrington introduces the chapters, and the production is notable for the skillful placement of sound effects and music. But Thomas, with his urban, in-your-face style, reads the bulk of his book with the intensity of a true believer. His delivery and the grit embodied in his personal journey give his principles enormous credibility. His message is that all forms of success begin with a no-excuses faith that once we get out of our own way, our motivation is all we need to begin living the life we want. T.W. 2014 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

The genius of this useful audiobook by a savvy New York tech executive is how her one-behavior-at-a-time method stops the cycle of self-criticism we feel when we’re failing at major resolutions we’ve committed to. The resolute tone of Soneela Nankani’s delivery makes this advice sound important and worthy of consideration. But it’s her sweetness that softens listeners and helps them stay connected to the power of these simple ideas. With solid science and engaging personal stories, the author shows how changing one habit (keep track of car keys) works better than broader goals (stop being late for work). By succeeding with discrete changes, we put them on automatic pilot, which stops energy-draining daily struggles and allows us to enjoy little successes as we move toward the larger shifts we desire. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

The author’s laid-back tone of enthusiasm is fitting for his fresh-sounding audiobook on a popular topic, happiness. He sounds confident and is nimble with phrasing, but he’s humble enough to keep his personality from competing with his message. With many practical suggestions, he shows how we can change our thoughts, words, and actions to raise our ambient level of happiness—the level of satisfaction we habitually return to after the thrill or sting of a life event subsides. In the kindest, most comforting way, he reminds us that happiness starts from the inside and that the kind of happiness worth working on is less about transient joy or bliss than it is about feeling consistently contented—satisfied with our lives and optimistic about our destiny. T.W. 2014 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

In this intelligent guide, a child psychiatrist explains what mothers can do to help their sons become confident, kind, and responsible adults. Marguerite Gavin’s firm voice and flawless understanding of these ideas give this production enormous appeal and validity. Her empathy for her audience is palpable and will encourage mothers to learn about their awesome power without provoking guilt or overwhelming them. An update of the author’s 2009 book on the same topic, this volume covers the practical ways mothers can impact a son’s development through sensitive listening, nuanced interventions, and the example of their own lives. It explains the limitations of what moms can do and outlines intuitive approaches to male challenges like self-expression, emotional literacy, empathy, work ethic, respect for women, healthy connections, competition, sex, and a well-developed spiritual life. T.W. 2015 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

This is a fast-moving, accessible analysis of artists in a variety of fields who were prodigious early achievers. Narrating this thoughtful book, Jeff Crawford embodies the perfect blend of fresh-sounding tonal variations and a relaxed engagement with the author's observations. He brings flair and enthusiasm to the production but always sounds more like a fan of these ideas than a performer. Most of the audiobook uses the lives of three well-known artists--a writer, a painter, and a composer--to question how creativity emerges in the young and how it develops. But the insights offered go well beyond the people he references; they offer guidance to artists of all stripes who are stirred by their talent but unclear about how to express it. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Jane Pauley, best known for her popularity as an NBC anchorwoman, candidly opens up to listeners. In a warm style reminiscent of her on-camera persona, Pauley briefly looks back at her professional success. Now, as a Baby Boomer retired from her first career, she looks at other Boomers near and far, aging folks around the world and her own friends and colleagues. Recounting their discussions on retirement, she describes what they worry about, look forward to, and plan for their futures. With her main interest being the phenomenon of finding a second act, Pauley provides a fascinating perspective on Baby Boomer dilemmas, dreams, and fervor to pave unprecedented paths in their later years. She provides a thoughtful chronicle, tracking the progress of millions of aging Boomers as they reinvent themselves. B.J.P. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Robert Petkoff’s flawless performance captures the essence of every phrase and idea of the author’s “new science”—made possible by the easy tracking of phone and social media communication. Pentland upends the cherished belief that we individually control what we believe and do. According to his meticulous research, groupthink and social pressure, especially when we’re interacting positively with familiar people, are much more powerful. With relaxed and confident vocal clarity, Petkoff is exceptional at dialing up the intensity of important ideas or conclusions. Listeners get game-changing insights on the power of collective intelligence to address societal challenges like improving health habits, reducing violence, changing consumer habits, and influencing political direction. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Roz Savage had all the trappings of a conventionally successful life in England, but she felt unfulfilled. She quit her job, got a divorce, and became an environmental activist, all of which she describes in this chronicle of her quest to row solo across the Pacific. Her British accent adds a personal touch to her account of the joys and challenges of undertaking such a big trip. This first-person account displays her intimate maritime knowledge, as conveyed in the technical details of her trip. Her aim is ostensibly to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean, but because of the inconsistent standards she applies to herself and others regarding the use of plastics, one questions whether her personal goals aren't a bit more self-serving than she claims. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

This audiobook, deftly performed by Arthur Morey, gives people of all religious persuasions a comprehensive look at a celebrated couple who dedicated their lives to God and evangelism. The author defines Ruth and Billy’s complex temperaments through anecdotes from family and friends. Morey’s pitch-perfect renditions of these stories and the intimate tone of his voice capture this story of the powerhouse for faith they would become. The development of this amazing partnership coexists with the development of their influence on followers the world over. With great success Morey reveals these fascinating evangelists as a humble couple with a talent for fostering loyalty and faith and an unerring ability to affect the lives of millions of believers. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Rob Shapiro delivers these anecdotal explorations of how business industry giants came to be. His gentle, pensive tone creates a sense of intimacy with the listener. Shapiro's measured pace, enunciation, and pitch lend warmth to these behind-the-scenes details of a wide range of companies. Life at Facebook, the design firm IDEO, and the Web browser Mozilla, among other companies, comes to life in vivid detail. Shapiro’s storytelling style suits this business volume's exploration of how to build successful organizations. The emphasis on the uniqueness of individuals in successful companies is a theme of this well-research book. M.R. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Sharon Salzberg, one of the world’s leading meditation teachers, lends her clear, comforting voice in her follow-up to REAL HAPPINESS: THE POWER OF MEDITATION. Here, Salzberg applies meditation principles to the workplace and elaborates on eight helpful points to achieve workplace bliss. Every guided meditation is relaxing and calming, and allows time for silent contemplation. The Buddhist mind-set is strategically applied to encourage dedication, competition, and effective time management while avoiding a workaholic mind-set, competitive aggressiveness, and stress. Salzberg explains meditation principles in a way that is warm and welcoming to those who have never practiced meditation before. There’s a technique or soothing meditation for every job stressor, offering something for everyone. D.Z. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

What makes this how-to audio such an exciting learning experience is not just Mike Chamberlain’s crisp diction and natural enthusiasm. He also makes listeners curious about each new idea with his remarkable ability to use energy modulations and strategic pauses to create suspense and rivet attention. In this digital-age guide, the author says that employees in today’s business environment can succeed only when they move beyond minimum expectations and expand their roles into areas where their passion and skills are strong. Chamberlain’s captivating performance adds to a high-impact lesson on how networking skills, emotional intelligence, self-promotion, and attention to relationships are critical to creating the job you love. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Barbara Ehrenreich is smart, forceful, and wryly entertaining, both in her writing and her narration. Best known for her social activism, Ehrenreich gives a peek into her personal life in this memoir. And what a life it is! She grew up with alcoholic, bickering parents, maternal mean-spiritedness, and an affinity for math and science despite being a girl—but the stridency of her tone dares the listener to even think about feeling sorry for her. Despite coming from several generations of working-class atheists, Ehrenreich has a mystical experience as a teenager that she records in her diary. In middle age, she rediscovers the diary, and it sets her on a spiritual and philosophical quest. The quest may wander a bit, but Ehrenreich’s performance is so honest and appealing that it demands attention. A.B. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

No one but the author could have delivered his ideas with the sincerity and subdued pathos you hear in every word of this moving audiobook. An excellent nonprofessional narrator with a clear baritone voice, Richard Evans sounds at once relaxed and confident—but also humbled by the power of the insights he seems to be offering from a higher source. To have more joy and fulfillment in life, (1) believe you have a purpose, (2) know your self-imposed limitations, (3) magnify your life by exploring unseen possibilities, and (4) make love the center of your plans. This is not groundbreaking guidance by any means, but with his moving backstory and emotional connection with his listeners, Evans makes this audio one of the most inspiring personal growth experiences in recent memory. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Sarah Lewis narrates with a combination of intellectual confidence and emotional connection to her ideas. Her appealing speaking voice and good phrasing invite listeners to hear examples of artists and achievers from all walks of life who found hidden lessons in failure that led to groundbreaking achievements. Though she’s a highly educated art-world insider, she writes and speaks so effortlessly and unpretentiously that her subject matter rivets attention early and remains fascinating and accessible. Her insights, especially about the relationship between worthy ideas and the social and financial interests needed to bring them to life, are stunning. They will remind listeners that one idea can lead to another, and that perseverance can turn any of them into viable, even transformational, achievements. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

In this fast-moving, pithy audio lesson, narrator Sandra McCollom channels the author’s well-known flinty and deliberate speaking style—a speech quality that sounds at once compassionate, determined, and mildly impatient with anyone who might resist the truth in her teaching. McCollom’s phrasing is natural and spot-on. Her confidence with her craft makes this book sound powerful and inviting. With her connection with God as a foundation, Meyer's latest book offers common-sense strategies for such goals as staying healthy, being generous with others, choosing faith over fear, relaxing impossible expectations, and being engaged and disciplined when it counts. With its new-age emphasis on the power of words and thoughts, this is an energizing audio lesson with ideas that can be put into practice right away. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Early in her book, Jill Kelly says she wants her book to be a comfortable mother-to-mother conversation, and she achieves this, not just with candid writing but also with an exceptionally warm reading. Minor phrasing glitches aside, her performance is as good as it gets with author-narrated memoirs. The author describes how her Christian faith, strengthened during her young son’s eight-year battle with a fatal illness, guides how she is raising his two older sisters. Chapters devoted to themes like surviving and faithfulness are richly illustrated with anecdotes of the author’s life and conversations she has with her daughters. Her poignant reflections, along with a natural, heartfelt reading, give this audio a ring of truth that will impact anyone’s approach to parenting. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

McKibben’s environmental classic, written 25 years ago and just released as an audiobook, is now more history than current reporting. Narrator Jeff Woodman does an excellent job of conveying McKibben’s manner of open inquiry and personal reflection. The predictions about climate change, based on 1980s science, have either come true or been established beyond reasonable dispute. McKibben’s musings about the meaning of it all remain anchored in the aesthetic environmentalism of the mid-twentieth century. Woodman’s slight Midwestern accent suits McKibben’s all-American pragmatism, and his delivery is always clear and perfectly paced. In a rapidly changing world, it’s both impressive and depressing to realize how little McKibben got wrong 25 years ago. F.C. 2014 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrating this sequel to the author’s 2007 book on Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s phenomenal success, Jonathan Yen unfolds his syllables more slowly than in the typical business audio. It’s a feature of his performance that relaxes his message and provokes reflection without taking energy away from the author’s powerful ideas. With many references to Enterprise’s history and current practices, Kazanjian’s broad list of suggestions draws from the company’s many customer service initiatives, its relentless efforts to keep employees engaged, and many other aspects of the company’s success. The book is packed with one exciting idea after another, all easy to absorb because of Yen’s thoughtful reading. More than a strategy lesson, the audio is an inspiring story of how devotion to core principles can lead to outstanding results. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Important cultural commentary like this needs exactly the kind of voice personality that Marguerite Gavin brings to this audio production. She sounds like a mature adult—thoughtful, intelligent, no personal agenda—and in this performance she’s found a way to make her assertive diction sound appealingly authoritative. She’s a perfect vehicle for the authors’ positive message: A career-minded mother can get back to work without shortchanging her children if she’s willing to confront the way that fathers typically do less child care and housework, even when both parents work full time. With persuasive narratives, myth-busting research, and many practical suggestions, the book shows a path for a fairer division of labor in which everyone’s ambitions and potentials are served. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

With near perfect elocution, Jeff Cummings’s optimistic narration communicates excitement that pulls listeners into the author’s story and makes them curious about his message. At once mature and energetic, Cummings’s voice presence sounds expertly crafted to make this sales and marketing book sound like it’s something unique and special. To help any business stand out from the competition, the author, a career salesman and marketing consultant, offers an intuitive collection of strategies such as staying focused on customer needs and always looking for opportunities to do something your competition isn’t doing. To be sure, these sales and marketing strategies are far from new. But they sound full of life because of the fresh way the author has packaged them and because the narrator delivers them with world-class charm and believable enthusiasm. T.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

The author of the popular THE WORLD WITHOUT US takes on more practical environmental concerns. His vivid stories and interviews emphasize the human population aspect of our planetary crisis, an aspect often avoided for political reasons. Narrator Adam Grupper’s deep, precise voice does justice to Weisman’s powerful material. Together they present the horrors of crowded cities, depleted ecosystems, and willful religious ignorance around the world with clarity but without hyperbole. Weisman, great journalist that he is, makes his points through memorable stories. Grupper, better known as an actor, has a compelling voice and a gift for narrating. Watch for him in the future. I certainly will. F.C. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

If you’re thinking about listening to this heart-wrenching story, you’re not one of the billions of people it’s about. However, you probably are one of the people with the power to do something about the common violence that plagues the everyday lives of much of the world’s desperately poor. Narrator Arthur Morey uses a low-wattage passion to suffuse the telling of this tragic story in a way that touches the listener’s heart. His perfect pacing and timing drive home the message and pathos of the narrative, energizing listeners to help solve the problem. The author leaves us with hope, tools, and a path forward. A stunning message, narrated to inspire. M.C. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Johnny Heller narrates this down-to-earth advice with the magnetic appeal of the veteran storyteller he is. His phrasing is fresh and creative, always in the moment, and he’s especially good at attending to the tone and shifts in topic in the author’s writing. This is one of the more accessible books on how to help children with excessive anxiety. The author, always speaking warmly to parents, explains in conversational terms the dynamics of stress and anxiety, and the restorative value of connection, trust, playfulness, and joy. He offers practical approaches to help children navigate the four stages of stress response: alert, alarm, assess, all clear. With its lyrical writing, engaging stories, and Heller’s connection to the material, this is a terrific audio. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

[More]

Narrator Jeff Cummings expertly presents a new way to think about negotiation, going beyond win-win scenarios and BATNAs (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). Wheeler’s new interpretation of negotiation requires the negotiator to be more flexible and to adapt to real-world complexities. Cummings delivers Wheeler's principles of negotiation in a conversational tone that works well with the stories and examples used to illustrate the main points. Cummings is adept at providing just the right pacing and pauses, and varies his pitch and tone for quotations. The exposition on negotiation is even and engaging. Several exercises are built into the audiobook; Cummings reads the directions and allows time for their completion, or recommends pausing the audio if more time is needed. E.N. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Jon Gauger’s magnetic presentation immerses the listener in a reflective look at C.S. Lewis the person. It chronicles his journey down the pockmarked road of his atheism to the reclaiming of his Christian faith. Known as “Jack” to his friends and family, Lewis wrote many letters to his brother and his literary friends, including J.R.R. Tolkien. Gauger’s dramatic reading of these letters creates vignettes that capture the essence of Lewis at his most personal. Gauger’s voice creates a calm resonance that reflects the peace that Lewis sought throughout his prodigious life. The seamless delivery creates a pleasurable listening experience for the many fans of this master of fantasy. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Spiers, a principal in a nonprofit adult learning foundation, says that living optimally is the result of developing healthy habits in four key life areas: socializing, moving, thinking, and creating. Spiers uses a judicious mix of life-change testimonials from Baby Boomers and a structured set of goals and measuring protocols. Once committed to adding certain activities to their lives, participants move in stages toward becoming “Life Masters” by rating how much their weekly activities meet needs in each life area. Feodor Chin narrates this energizing guide with a companionable blend of authentic optimism and relaxed elocution. He’s firmly engaged with the spirit and structure of the book but never sounds like he’s selling the author’s ideas too assertively or being too authoritarian about the prescriptions. T.W. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]

In the middle of her wonderfully hectic life as a wife, mother of three, and successful journalist, Susan Spencer-Wendel was handed the terminal diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and given a year to live. Her decision to live that time in joy gave rise to this uplifting memoir celebrating life's small miracles, precious relationships, and joyous memories. With upbeat pacing and wry humor, narrator Karen White reflects the author's unbroken spirit and ever present wit while her wistful tone conveys all the pathos of the situation without ever becoming maudlin. White's moving presentation helps realize Spencer-Wendel's ultimate wish for her incredible book "to make people laugh and cry, and hug their children, and joke with their friends, and dwell on how wonderful it is to be alive." M.O.B. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

There’s a wealth of accessible information and prescriptions in Kathy Freston’s latest healthy-eating book. She’s a writer with a talent for supporting her recommendations with chatty data and personal stories. The book’s formula, which suggests that people add only one new eating or lifestyle habit per day, makes getting started less daunting, allows early success, and provides time for people to warm up to the more radical diet suggestions. While Karen White’s pacing is initially too slow and deliberate, her flawless theatrical enunciation finds its rhythm quickly. Her performance never loses its dramatic quality, but she still sounds right at home with this author’s casual writing style. It’s a tribute to White’s talent that she can produce such a polished performance without taking the focus away from the material. T.W. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]

Two marriage experts alternate reading this fresh-sounding update of Hendrix’s classic advice that people tend to form romantic partnerships that replay the dynamics they had as children with their parents. As narrators, both authors speak with natural clarity and sound happily engaged with their audience and their ideas. As writers, they use memorable examples, as well as their own marriage struggles, to show how anyone can learn to be more constructive when confronting a challenging partner. Exercises and communication scripts are central to this advice, and some of their directives will sound contrived to couples who believe they’ve tried everything. But these authors persuade one that such devices are necessary to reduce destructive communication and create a safe place for love and respect to grow. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Submitting to the order God has in mind for us figures heavily in this sweetly narrated lesson on how to handle interruptions in the ideal life we make for ourselves. The author, who has written other spiritual guides, is a wife, mother, broadcaster, and minister who uses biblical stories, especially that of the prophet Jonah, to show how unexpected setbacks are God’s way of redirecting us toward a destiny that is more suited to our true nature—and His will. Though many of these parables and lessons could drift into sentimentality, Robin Ray Eller’s narration elevates them into the realm of memorable inspiration. Even with her youthful speaking voice, she makes a mature and appealing case for the author’s message. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Listeners will warm up quickly to the appealing way Nick Podehl narrates this exceptional lesson. With elocution that sounds both relaxed and focused, he delivers a magnetic listening experience. He is especially effective at using strategic pauses to emphasize points and to make long sentences clear. The conversational book, by a social philosopher and counselor, uses the author’s own journey into late life, fascinating research, and poignant anecdotes from his practice to show how we can embrace the challenges of moving into our sixties, seventies, and beyond. The holistic paradigm behind his recommendations is impressively sensible. This is well-written step-by-step guidance for letting go of our middle years, embracing our realities, and discovering what we can do for ourselves and others as we grow older. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Listeners, don't miss this one! By itself, Hadfield's account of his quest to become an astronaut and his ensuing adventures in space is totally entertaining and inspiring. And the promise of the title is realized in the life lessons he shares and the advice he offers for becoming successful and happy. But the real treat is Hadfield's presentation. His familiar and natural demeanor draws the listener in from the opening lines. All the joy and wonder he feels about space travel and life are conveyed through a masterful use of pace and tone, while flawless transitions lead to an equally effective delivery of the reflective passages. This appealing audiobook certainly allows Hadfield to add "narrator" to his impressive list of accomplishments. M.O.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

In her introduction, Patchett explains that this essay collection “bears the stamp of a writer who got her start in women’s magazines: It is full of example and advice.” Blending astute observation with humor, Patchett’s performance is skilled; her sometimes droll and always friendly sounding voice is the perfect medium for her message. Here, Patchett shares her views on marriage but also on writing, friendship, opening a bookstore, and the joys and sorrows of dog ownership—all challenging but fulfilling endeavors. There’s something so down to earth, so unsentimental about her approach that listeners will feel as though they are sitting and reflecting on life’s for-better-or-for worse moments with a particularly perceptive and entertaining friend. J.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Dick Hill’s reportorial tone is perfect for these performance tips from a reputed bad boy of college basketball. Hill’s upbeat enunciation is highly entertaining. With his spot-on phrasing and uncanny ability to tap into Coach K’s smart-aleck personality, he makes this an audio that never gets old. The book is full of stories and strategies for winning any type of competition. Among many memorable analogies, Knight says preparing for success is like carving a sculpture —removing the mistakes and weaknesses so that what’s left is the winning figure (or skills) you’re striving for. His insights and writing have a satisfying humanitarian tone, which seems at odds with his hot-head reputation, but it serves to remind us that the best leaders care about their team members’ growth as much as they care about winning. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Lloyd James’s delivery of Stanley’s entertaining parable about public speaking is hard to turn off. In it, a preacher learns from a trucker how to deliver creative messages in powerful, life-changing ways. James fully captures Stanley’s seven concepts of effective communication—from knowing where you’re headed, the premise of your message, to using “turn signals,” transition sentences, to indicate shifts in direction for your audience. He unspools the meaning of the five questions that will equip you to inform, motivate, and inspire listeners. Besides providing useful information, James’s narration is creative and entertaining. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

This highly practical guide by a terrific social issues writer and women’s advocate has a delightful spunkiness that keeps the action going and promotes engagement. Narrator Pam Ward captures Pogrebin’s delightful confidence by adding a smart-aleck vibe that entertains listeners but never diminishes the book’s intentions. Pogrebin, self-assured at age 74, writes with assertiveness that gives her suggestions credibility. People with all kinds of illnesses—minor, fatal, chronic, disfiguring, unexpected—were interviewed about the way they were treated by friends. The suggestions culled from these interviews apply to every conceivable type of friendship, every level of involvement in a friend’s illness. Ward’s mature vocal tone is perfect for the veteran writer, yet her performance always sounds fresh and energetically phrased, especially in quotes and dialogue. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Mike Chamberlain’s crisp articulation works well with this scientific look at creating happiness. Part of his skill is the perfect phrasing and tonal modulation that help these ideas flow seamlessly. Especially impressive is the authentic way he conveys the author’s boyish humor and enthusiasm. He makes the entire production sound fresh. The book uses accessible summaries of recent neuroscience and behavioral studies to show how we can adjust our perception, circumstances, and energy to get what we want from life. The bulk of this research, along with the five skills the author formulates, fit well into the power-of-intention paradigm. They’re successfully brought together through the author’s personable writing and Chamberlain’s outstanding performance. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

[Editor's Note: The following is a combined review of HOW TO CREATE CHEMISTRY WITH ANYONE: SPARK IT FAST and HOW TO RE-SPARK AND KEEP CHEMISTRY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP FOREVER: MAKE IT LAST.]--The author’s vocal energy comes across as colorful and endearing. Her genuine-sounding performance fits her amiable writing. These two audios offer 75 “chemistry sparks”—50 in the first audio to help men and women put their best foot forward when courting and 25 in the second audio for people who want to re-create positive energy in an existing relationship. Lowndes’s technique-dominated advice on courting is kept from sounding manipulative by her wisdom and thoughtful explanations of what makes people receptive. Her advice on re-sparking tired relationships includes useful insights on how to counteract the ennui and irritation that threaten long-term connections. Covering a wide range of topics, these must-hear primers are for anyone wanting to snag a great partner and keep that relationship vibrant forever. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

This collection of research, personal stories, and advice couldn’t be more smoothly organized and accessible. With Emily Durante’s sunny performance making it sound even more appealing, it’s an audio message that will help parents open up to new possibilities for helping their kids—and themselves. Durante’s gentle performance softens the denseness of the content and makes the author’s recommendations sound inviting. There are references to an astounding number of developmental and social psychology studies and a lot of prescriptions at the end of each chapter, but her reading makes them all sound clear and down-to-earth. One of the most thoughtful parenting audios available, this is less about making kids happy than about giving them the security and mental tools they need to make themselves happy. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Mature-sounding Pam Ward and 20-something Emily Durante were astute choices to read this thoughtful study by an excellent science writer and her daughter. Ward’s precise enunciation and assertive phrasing are a good fit for the research findings, which show that young people today live in a vastly different world from the one their parents lived in. Ward handles the storytelling and dramatic bits with a bit of awkwardness, but the foil provided by the lithe- and innocent-sounding Durante balances the production and makes it satisfying to hear. Though the authors don’t provide parenting or policy suggestions, their intelligent overview tells us a lot about the slow-to-launch millennials we all know. Their compassionate writing takes the judgment out of watching these young people slowly find their places in life. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

David Aaron Baker narrates this charming book with the ease of a storyteller whose pacing may be leisurely but whose listeners hang on every word. He sounds to be the right age to represent the beloved North Carolina author, who is 68 and the father of four, ages 6 to 31. Edgerton’s latest book is mostly captivating stories—about pregnancy, birth, being a good husband during a child’s early years, and learning what a good dad does with young children. All written in buttery prose, these stories are a satisfying combination of Edgerton’s effortless humor, wry observations, and hard-earned wisdom about fatherhood. World-class storytelling and fresh-sounding advice will captivate almost any man who is about to become a father. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

After being diagnosed with cancer and beginning treatment, novelist Alice Hoffman found she was not able to find the type of guidebook offering the balm for the soul that she was seeking—so she set off to write her own guide to dealing with trauma. Narrator Xe Sands provides a heartfelt reading with vocal variation that at times incorporates just a bit of roughness in her voice to convey the strong emotions that are an integral part of dealing with life-and-death situations such as serious disease and loss. Tender, reflective, and approachable, Sands sounds like she’s speaking with a close friend or relative. For Hoffman's most personal work, Sands's personable tone complements the message of compassion. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

An authority on nutrition says that Western disease-based medical paradigms don’t improve health as well as a diet based on plant-based whole foods. Recommending a diet of 10% protein, 10% fat, and 80% carbohydrates, he shows how this kind of eating promotes health and prevents common diseases, especially cancer. Campbell is very articulate in explaining the philosophical and cultural reasons that medical science is so resistant to the overwhelming research he references. Yet his arguments are worded in practical language that shows no hint of petulance. Don Hagen is an excellent narrator to deliver this persuasive health audio, which was written in the first person by the 79-year-old principal author. With his intelligent phrasing, clear enunciation, and mature-sounding sonority, Hagen’s performance promotes engagement and thoughtful reflection. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

After two of the authors read the introduction, Dan Woren performs this book as if he’s been connected to it all his life. From careful research, the authors spell out the actual behavior that makes people trust others and group these behaviors into four categories: ability—demonstrated competence, believability—honesty and integrity, connectedness—caring about others, and dependability—doing what you say you’re going to do. A delightful parable anchors the material, which includes downloadable self-assessments and some of the clearest and most helpful writing in all of personal development. Woren’s familiar voice and authentic interpretations create a relaxed ambiance for absorbing the how-to part of the book as well as the inspiring humanity that comes across in everything Ken Blanchard touches. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Even parents who roll their eyes at parenting advice will appreciate this excellent communication lesson from two friendly parenting experts. Voice pro Susan Bennett speaks at a wonderful pace and makes the parent-child dialogues sound understandable, emotionally authentic, and engaging. The urgency heard on and off throughout her performance will resonate with the parent who is at the end of his or her rope. Bennett’s seriousness is nicely balanced by her accessible voice and congruent emotional tone. The book, an updated international bestseller from 1980, is a concise summary of classic parenting advice that we can’t hear too often. With down-to-earth scripts and inviting rationales, it’s an outstanding collection of communication tools for dealing with children of all ages, as well as with adults. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

A savvy parenting expert explains the common-sense approaches moms need to prepare their sons for life and preserve themselves along the way. Dean Gallagher narrates this outstanding guide with friendly urgency. His youthful voice and optimistic tone help make the advice sound reasonable and easy to put into practice. He brings home the message that in spite of their protests, boys need acceptance from their moms and a steady diet of clear expectations and consistent consequences. With vivid, confidence-inspiring scenarios that range from the toddler to late-teen years, Leman shows how moms can use their authority without being authoritarian and how they can be more loving and empathetic without enabling irresponsible behavior. With a performance that fits this material perfectly, this is a stress-reducing, empowering message that every mom should hear. T.W. © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]

With his delicious British accent, Simon Vance is the perfect choice for this beguiling gem. His crisp diction offers clarity while maintaining a warmth that invites the listener to settle back and enjoy another—albeit grown-up—adventure with friends from A.A. Milne's Hundred Acre Wood. But don't dismiss this as a children's story. Hoff's text is ingenious as he uses these childhood icons and their tales to present Tao's message of simplicity, tolerance, and peace. With his unerring sense of pacing, Vance delivers instructive passages in a conversational tone, then seamlessly becomes Pooh, Eeyore, Owl, and Rabbit. Hoff and Vance have created an audio classic, offering a unique and delightful experience that gently instructs as it entertains. M.O.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2013 Audies Winner © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Starting in 1989 with the runaway success of THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE, Stephen Covey became a personal growth giant who inspired millions and paved the way for many authors who followed. Jesse Boggs narrates this collection of Covey’s wisdom with apt reverence and an impressive grasp of his sensibilities and contribution to the human-potential movement. Boggs deftly underplays the illustrative student-teacher dialogues and sounds equally smooth and effective delivering Covey’s didactic explanations of principles like accountability, synergy, and vision. Boggs is never too dramatic or self-conscious, even when working with the aphoristic segments of this seminal work. With musical interludes introducing the 17 principles selected for the program, this is a marvelous production that personal growth fans will never tire of hearing. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Melvin Miller’s heartfelt candor and earnest desire to help are the key ingredients in this perfectly balanced lesson. Along with briefer segments narrated by his coauthor, what you mostly hear is a resonant Miller explaining the basics of the seven practices and, in live recordings, interacting with engaged seminar attendees. In the seminar recordings, his voice is kind, and he listens sincerely, frequently affirming and empathizing. His seven-practice approach to growth is grounded in identity—our deepest, if often unconscious, beliefs about who we are, how we fit in the world, and what possibilities are available to us. With ersatz inspirational music used liberally, if not always successfully, the production is otherwise a seamless, moving blend of sparse teaching, engaging seminar interactions, and easy-to-use exercises. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Fred Sullivan is an enthusiastic and conversational-sounding narrator. Delivering the author’s many anecdotes of his personal experiences, friends, and people he knows or has worked with, Sullivan energizes the message on how to age gracefully. He is equally at home with the discourse on Buddhist teachings about the nature of life as change, the review of scientific and other studies of aging, and the exploration of the joys, rewards, and challenges of aging. Encouraging flexibility, adaptability, and the embracing of change, the author presents a vision of growing older that is accessible and worth contemplating. With Sullivan’s narration, it’s easy to become engaged. J.E.M. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Finally, an audiobook that delivers on its promise! More than 150 scientists, technologists, and philosophers offer their answers to one question: “What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive tool kit?” While John Allen Nelson and Khristine Hvam deliver solid narrations, the dual format provides two challenges. First, the narration is split by gender, with Nelson voicing all of the male contributors and Hvam, the females. Second, the production proceeds quickly—with the end of an essay leading immediately to the title of the next. Because the contributors are predominantly male, listeners have to play close attention for these transitions. Those who do, however, will be rewarded with a diversity of thought. Fans of TED Talks will find much to appreciate in this collection. A.S. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

Alexandra Stoddard's emotional groundedness along with the quotations from a wide selection of literary giants give her latest "living well" book an appealing, timeless foundation. It’s full of practical wisdom that sounds like it has been shared for eons by mothers and daughters throughout the world. A lot of her thoughtfulness appears as pointed advice—”Put your life in order” and “Avoid unnecessary distractions”—and it’s with these passages that narrator Laural Merlington sounds most at home. She’s not stern, but her mature voice and assertive tone alert listeners to pay attention and give some thought to the way they manage things like their health, finances, relationships, and intellectual growth. Her urbane performance is a wonderful vehicle for this satisfying reminder of what is beautiful and important in life. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

A plethora of tips and strategies to help you organize your daily work life are organized around four memorable themes: building a daily routine, managing distractions, using technology, and sharpening your creative mind. To personalize this powerful collection of ideas from many sources, the editor interviews contemporary creative giants such as Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield and offers quotes or anecdotes from many others, including historical figures. Narrators Fred Stella and Laural Merlington alternate chapters and interview passages. Communicating mature and believable enthusiasm for the book’s message, they deliver an appealing and fitting performance. The production captures their textured, melodic tones—though there are timing and phrasing glitches that should have been reworked in the studio. T.W. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

This work, drawn from several sources, including speeches, interviews, and articles, has a personal feel. And Sean Runnette delivers it in a personal, conversational way. He clearly captures the “gee-whiz” nature of a scientist who was forever curious. The pauses, changes in emotion, even the asides and digressions, sound perfectly natural. Perhaps the most illuminating and interesting part—for non-physicists, anyway—is the behind-the-scenes discussion of life at Los Alamos, New Mexico, during the WWII atomic bomb project. The account shows Feynman’s impish side and humanizes this episode in the history of the war. Some of the entries are highly technical, but Runnette carries them off without hesitating or stereotyping the speaker with a pedantic tone. R.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

The futurist and computer pioneer Ray Kurzweil says that understanding how human brains process information will allow powerful computers to think like we do and address some of humankind's greatest challenges. He explains higher-level thinking as being organized in pattern-recognizing neuron clusters that are wired together in hierarchical layers in the cortex. These layers use broad categories to sort diverse data and thus create a system for perceiving the world, sorting through priorities, and directing action. Along with the author's snappy writing and colorful imagery, narrator Christopher Lane's sonority and silky-smooth phrasing provide the artistic touch needed to offset this book's intellectual weightiness. Delivered with understated power, this work is an intimate performance that also embodies the perfect amount of professorial distance. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

[More]

It’s difficult to imagine a better narrator for this collection of letters from the "Dear Sugar" advice column than Sugar herself. Cheryl Strayed's delivery is as unaffected as the home truths she dispenses online to her "Sweet Peas." Their letters, ranging from humorous to heartbreaking, are unique in detail, yet each contains a nugget of common human experience or emotion. The author’s beautifully crafted answers are thorough and thoughtful. The fact that much of her counsel springs from reflection on her own life strengthens the feeling of intimacy. The audio version offers the advantage of conveying her warmth and caring even more effectively than print. Listeners looking for the unusual will find many tiny, beautiful things to enjoy in this offering. M.O.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]

Grover Gardner brings a level of athletic confidence to this compact audiobook on how to get maximum results from the effort we put into improving any skill or performance. Enhanced by production values that capture the full richness of his lower-register tones, he hits every syllable and phrasing challenge and yet sounds totally relaxed. His steadiness and clarity work well in delivering the author's message that people of all ages learn better when they practice in specific ways and with specific kinds of coaching and mental paradigms. Based on his research on top athletic, arts, and business-training facilities around the world, Coyle's 52 rules will help people stop wasting time and move quickly toward levels of performance they only dreamed were possible. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]

More than doing good deeds or having smooth social skills, being a worthy leader demands that one stand back from conflicts and challenges and take full responsibility for one’s frustrations or disappointments. The parable delivering this lesson involves a likable attorney who, with help from his new boss/mentor, discovers his self-deception in these matters and reconnects with his desire to be kinder and more responsible with people at work and at home. The dialogue and narrative couldn’t be more captivating and enlightening as delivered by Peter Berkrot. With his dramatic talent and delight with the material in high gear, he sounds fully committed to the core principles of the parable. This is a gem of an audiobook for those wanting to reconnect with their highest values. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2012, Portland, Maine

[More]