How I Learn and How to Hack the Audio Book and Speed Reading Game


life hacks

Thursday March 14, 2024

life hacks

I’ve been overdosing slightly on learning lately.

Ever since I got off social media, I got into writing (A Knife to a Gun Fight: Why I’m off Social Media), and listening to audio books.

Podcasts are fine, but they’re about as quality as top-of-mind thinking. Books are usually far more instructive because each sentence is reviewed at least a few times if not a hundred times during the editing process.

I noticed that once I started binging books instead of posts, my happiness and satisfaction increased.

Here’s a strategy I’m using for learning.

  1. Get Audible and Spotify subscriptions. It has books that aren’t available on Libby (which I also use).
  2. Stock up on free books using Libby. Hold times vary, but can be a few weeks or months for popular titles. Note: you can supply multiple library accounts.
  3. For short books not on Libby, check Audible free catalog. If it’s not in the Audible free catalog, check Spotify Premium listening, which is 15 hours per month. If you listen to short books on Spotify, you can get 2-3 books in 15 hours. (It’s 15 book hours, not listening hours.) Also, if your phone is locked, you can go beyond the 15 hours (don’t report this…). But once you re open the app the 15 hour limit will halt you. 2-3 books would otherwise be $20-45 dollars depending on the cost of the audio book. $12 for Spotify premium is a deal.
  4. Use Audible credits for books you can’t find on Libby or Spotify. Remember, Audible is $15 per month. So don’t waste it on a $4 book. Buy the expensive books or >15 hour books with the credits.
  5. With all the cash savings, and if you still have time, now you can buy the remaining books you want on either Audible and Spotify.

Most books are on Libby. Domain specific books and cutting edge releases books are on Audible. Lots of great in between books on Spotify Premium.

I don’t know why but after 50 books you get a sense for what books are going to be available where.

Lastly, on Chrome I use the SwiftRead extension for speed reading and on iOS the Outread app.


Bryan lives somewhere at the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and futurism and writes about tech, books, Christianity, gratitude, and whatever’s on his mind. If you liked reading, perhaps you’ll also like subscribing: