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March 22, 2006

Audio Learning is Cheating!

I had a good friend from Minneapolis in town last night. We had a great time catching up and got on the subject of audio books when he was telling me how the parents of a kid who he coaches (he's a tennis pro) but audiobooks for their kid to listen to instead of reading the printed version. He considered it cheating and thinks the parents should have the kid read instead.

I guess I kind of agree with him.

I don't think audio learning should ever be a complete substitute for reading. In today's age it's more important than ever to read and honestly everyone would do themselves a favor by learning to read faster so they could process information quicker. A great program to help with that is EyeQ which is a piece of software that can up your reading spead dramatically. But I digress...

The point is not to look at audio learning, audiobooks and podcasts as a means of replacing reading. Instead it's a great compliment and a tremendous opportunity to crank through books and other stuff you're interested in during times when you can't read.

I love to read. But with my reading time I find myself gravitating increasingly to material that I can't listen to. For example, blogs (I love my Bloglines!), magazines and books that haven't been made into audio. Every time a new book comes out the first thing I do is check to see if an audio version is available. If it is I'll usually go that route. I've done this recently with titles such as The World is Flat and My Life. Books that previously I would have spent many hours over several months reading are now completed in a few weeks during my drive and exercise time, while I'm washing the dishes, etc.

The best part is that I didn't take any additional time out of my day to "read" these books.

What does that equate to? A major time savings. In my case, it's time to work on the business, time to relax a bit and of course time to read.

We live in a society in which, for most people, time is more scarce than money. That's why I love audio learning is that it literally adds time to my life. If I'm committed to lifelong learning and know that there will be books each month that I want to (and perhaps need to) read then I know now that I can listen to them, still get the full impact of and benefit from the material and yet not take up any additional time in my day by doing so.

I've been doing this for so long now that it's ingrained in me that I forget that this idea probably hasn't occured to many people. It hadn't really occured to my buddy but I think by the end of the night I sold him. And if I didn't I'm going to dropping an audiobook or two in the mail for him to seal the deal. :)