Speed Listening Audiobooks

I posted last July that I like to listen to AudioBooks and how the iPhone Audible apps is oh so spectacular.

My preference is to listen to non-fiction books – business, personal development, etc – and read fiction.  One of the reasons for this is that non-fiction can be delivered in a scientific or somewhat unexciting way.  It takes a great deal of commitment to sit down and read something when most of your energy is being spent on trying not to drift off.  With an audiobook, you can do other things – walk, run, drive, chores.   I’ve found this the most effective way of absorbing some amazing content.

The problem is that some audiobooks are just as dry – if not more so – than the material they are written about.  It sounds like this is such a chore and that I don’t enjoy it – the opposite is true actually.  But here’s this book containing all this information and knowledge that I would like to learn and understand and it then gets delivered by a voice actor with a calm, relaxing, soothing, regular, …. zzzzzzzzz.

So there are two ways to get the most out audiobooks and extract this awesome information in the most effective, least coma-inducing way.

The first is what I mentioned above – do something else while you are listening.  Walk the dog.  Listen on your commute to work.  Riding the bike. etc.

The second is… speed it up.

The Audible app has an option to change the speed of the recording.  You just tap on the cover design and a sub-menu appears.

If you then tap on the “Speed” icon, you get another submenu which allows you to change the speed.

You can select from 1/2x (slower than recorded), 1x, 1.5x, 2x and 3x.

Here’s the thing, the speeds faster than 1x naturally sound faster, of course they do.  But once your ear adjusts, you won’t notice the difference.  Do you know someone who talks really fast?  At first, you don’t understand a word they are saying – but then you adjust, and you don’t notice it any more.

Here’s a sample from a book I am currently listening to (by the way – just in case the author reads this, it is a great book and not one that I would consider “dry” at all).

This is normal speed (press play and listen):


This is 1.5X speed:


This is 2x speed:


This is 3x speed:


Now for me, 3x speed sounds way too fast.. and it pretty much always is.  But 1.5x and 2x are now my standard settings for most books.  They don’t affect the content in anyway and but it eliminates the pauses and makes the who thing more interesting (almost forcing me to concentrate at times).  And interestingly, once you get used to listening at the faster speed, the slower versions sound almost too slow.

Listen to 3x speed again.


And now listen to 2x speed


Listening at 1.5x speed reduces a 6 hour recording to 4 hours and listening at 2x speed reduces a 6 hour recording to 3 hours.  So you can get more information, faster.

There have been books that I just couldn’t speed up, it ruined the content.  But the next time you are listening to an audiobook and it feels a bit slow to you, speed it up – you may never go slow again.




, ,

Comments are closed.