Audiobooks for me have proven invaluable when it comes to personal development. You probably think I have gone mad listening to so many audiobooks, but trust me I have not. I discovered that I could listen to audiobooks while traveling to and from work and so much more. Furthermore, they proved invaluable in many different aspects of my life. At university, they made preparing for exams and seminars a doddle. Later on, they educated me on how to apply for jobs, and later how to escape the boredom brought about by Covid. I especially liked the ability to leave behind the boredom of mundane tasks by entering the world of ancient Rome or the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Just like that, I have completed 200 audiobooks, it has been no small undertaking, but one that I did not plan to undertake.

I have listened to following qualities of books:

  • 92 History books, all the way from ancient Rome to the modern day
  • 40 Politics and Social Science books
  • 16 Biographies
  • 15 loosely defined self-improvement books
  • 14 Law books
  • 13 Economic books
  • Seven fiction books
  • Five in no particular category

How useful are audiobooks for learning?

a) University

Let us get the obvious out of the way; audiobooks are much cheaper than going to university, as it does not cost £9,000 a year. Furthermore you learn a lot more with audiobooks than you do at university, trust me.

b) Traditional books

Comparing audiobooks to text-based books however is less clear-cut. Yes, you can learn a lot with audiobooks in a short space of time, especial when you speed them up. This can be very useful for passing exams. However not all books are available as audiobooks, and it can be a very limited selection. Furthermore, audiobooks have two further limitations when it comes to completing essays at university. Firstly, the lack of guidance on how to reference audiobooks. To make matters worse all universities’ departments have their own referencing system. Secondly, you do not see the text making it hard to quote, unless you have the kindle book with “Whispersync for Voice” enabled. (For more details see: Furthermore, you do not see the author’s references, so you cannot use secondary referencing.

c) In general

Let us tackle the idea of just googling it, and how it is not the panacea, it seems to be. Unfortunately, you cannot use the internet to find in-depth information on all but a few subjects. Knowledge therefore is still hard to get hold of and its possession is still an advantage. Attempts to find ways around this problem have so far proven unsuccessful. Firstly, anyone can post things on the web, even hoaxes. Secondly, a lot of information is simply not available, as people want to make money out of their hard-earned research. However, audiobooks still suffer from some inaccuracies but to a lesser extent. This can be largely avoided by checking the reviews to avoided bad audiobooks. Conversely, audiobooks are not free and there are a limited number of them in some subjects.

Audiobooks then and now

Audiobooks are much easier to listen to now than they were a couple of decades ago. Especially since, you no longer need to buy a CD for each individual book. To make matters worse you would need a portable CD player to make them usable on the move. Now all you need is a phone with an app on it, to start listening to audiobooks strait away. Before the web, you had to go and buy audio CDs from a store with a very limited number of titles available. Whereas now with widespread access to Wi-Fi and mobile data, you can access new audiobooks from almost anywhere instantly. Furthermore, modern phones can easily store large numbers of audiobooks. For example, I can easily have more than 30 audiobooks downloaded on my phone at any one time.

The consumption of audiobooks In the future should soon mirror Netflix and Amazon Prime. As they offer a sizeable number of TV shows and Movies to watch without limit for a monthly fee. There are a few services attempting to offer this, such as Scribd. (For more details see: However many of their customers complain of limitations being imposed on new releases, if they listen to over a certain number audiobooks.

There is no reason why audiobooks services cannot offer unlimited streaming. Especially when you take into account that movies and TV shows cost more than audiobooks to produce. To demonstrate how absurd this is, let us compare what it takes to produce the different forms of media. Audiobooks take no more than a studio with just one actor following a script combined with some editing to produce an audiobook. Whereas movies and TV shows, in addition require a whole cast of actors doing more than just speaking. Furthermore, behind the camera there is an entire host of people at work operating cameras, using sound equipment, creating sets and so much more.


It would seem that audiobooks are here to stay. Audiobooks will soon replace books for the majority of people, as they fit around daily life better and are more accessible. They are a good way of accessing information when the titles are available, and are at their best for dipping into different subjects. However, the fact remains that many titles are not available as audiobooks so far. Therefore, audiobooks can be limited as a main source of information in any serous research into a topic. Although overtime this may change.

By the way

At the current time of writing, I am using Audible’s 24 credit yearly scheme. As for each credit, you can buy one book or two books from a limited selection in a sale. Therefore, you could buy up to 48 books in a sale. By using the 24-credit scheme, you will cut the cost per credit from £7.99 (monthly prescription fee) to £4.59. (See for more information)

(I was not paid for this review.)

By Arran Wilkins © 2021

Below are the audiobooks I have completed from 2016 to 2020:


Grand narratives


Clements, Jonathan. A Brief History of the Samurai: Brief Histories

Hammond, Kenneth J. From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History

Ravina, Mark J. Understanding Japan: A Cultural History

Europe and America

Churchill, Winston. The Age of Revolution: A History of the English Speaking Peoples, Volume III

Millar, Peter. The Germans and Europe

Reynolds, David. America: Empire of Liberty: The Complete BBC Radio 4 Series

Schama, Simon. A History of Britain: Volume 1

Stoler, Mark A. The Skeptic’s Guide to American History

Tombs, Robert. The English and Their History


Aldrete, Gregory S. History’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

Aldrete, Gregory S. The Decisive Battles of World History


Frankopan, Peter. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Hamburg, Gary. The Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism: A History of 20th-Century Russia

Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel. Turning Points in Modern History

Sixsmith, Martin. Russia: The Wild East: The Complete BBC Radio 4 Series

Nuclear History

Mahaffey, James. Atomic Awakening: A New Look at the History and Future of Nuclear Power

Mahaffey, James. Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima

Moore, Kate. The Radium Girls: They Paid with Their Lives. Their Final Fight Was for Justice

Pearce, Fred. Fallout: Disaster, Lies and the Legacy of the Nuclear Age


Fagan, Garrett G. The History of Ancient Rome

Holland, Tom. Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

18th Century and before

Allison, Robert J. Before 1776: life in the American Colonies

Hadlow, Janice. The Strangest Family: The Private Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and the Hanoverians

Guelzo, Allen C. The American Revolution

Weir, Alison. Lancaster and York: The Wars of the Roses

19th century

Cannadine, David. Victorious Century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906

Gallagher, Gary W. The American Civil War

Gallagher, Gary W. Robert E Lee and His High Command

Zarefsky, David. Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words

First world war

Arthur, Max. Forgotten Voices of the Great War

Best, Nicholas. The Greatest Day in History: How the First World War Finally Came to an End

Ham, Paul. Passchendaele Requiem for Doomed Youth

Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel. World War I: The Great War

Paxman, Jeremy. Great Britain’s Great War: A Sympathetic History of Our Gravest Folly

Pigott-Smith, Tim. The Somme

Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. Somme: Into the Breach

Russian revoltion

Mieville, China. October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

Inter war period

Bryson, Bill. One Summer: America 1927

MacMillan, Margaret. Six Months That Changed the World: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919

Second World War

Bevor, Antony. The Second World War

Churchill, Winston. The Second World War: Alone

Churchill, Winston. The Second World War: The Grand Alliance

Churchill, Winston. The Second World War: Triumph and Tragedy

Hastings, Max. Finest Years

Hastings, Max. All Hell Let Loose

Hastings, Max. Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45

Jenkins, Roy. Churchill

Johns, Boris. The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History

Eastern Front

Alexievich, Svetlana. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II

Craig, William. Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad

Mosier, John. Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin: The Eastern Front, 1941-1945

Kershaw, Ian. The End: Germany, 1944-45

Western Front

Beevor, Antony. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

Bevor, Antony. Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble

Eckhertz, Holger. D DAY Through German Eyes: The Hidden Story of June 6th 1944

Eckhertz, Holger. D Day Through German Eyes Book 2: More Hidden Stories from June 6th 1944

Hastings, Max. Das Reich

Hastings, Max. Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy 1944

Air War

Bishop, Patrick. Air Force Blue: The RAF in World War Two – Spearhead of Victory

Hastings, Max. Bomber Command

McKinstry, Leo. Lancaster: The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber

Covert and Special forces war

Lewis, Damien. SAS Great Escapes: Seven Great Escapes Made by Real Second World War Heroes

Macintyre, Ben. Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II

Mckay, Sinclair. The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

Cold War

Colley, Rupert. The Cold War: History in an Hour

Dobbs, Michael. Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman – from World War to Cold War

Hastings, Max. The Korean War

Hastings, Max. Battle for the Falklands

MacIntyre, Ben. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

McMahon, Robert J. The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

Painter, David. The Modern Scholar: Cold War: On the Brink of Apocalypse

Sandbrook, Dominic. State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974

Sergeant, John. Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy

Westad, Odd Arne. The Cold War

Zubok, Vladimir. A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev

Cuban Missile Crisis

Coleman, David G. The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Dobbs, Michael. One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War

Stern, Sheldon. The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths Versus Reality: Stanford Nuclear Age Series

Stern, Sheldon M. The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis: Stanford Nuclear Age Series


Addington, Larry H. America’s War in Vietnam: A Short Narrative History

Broyles, William. Goodbye, Vietnam

Palmer, Bruce. The 25-Year War: America’s Military Role in Vietnam

Chernobyl nucelar accident

Higginbotham, Adam. Midnight in Chernobyl: The Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Leatherbarrow, Andrew. Chernobyl 01:23:40: The Incredible True Story of the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster

Plokhy, Serhii. Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy

Read, Piers Paul. Ablaze: The Story of Chernobyl

End of the Cold War

Service, Robert. The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991

Wilson, James Graham. The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

After Cold War

Jowett, Adam. No Way Out: The Searing True Story of Men Under Siege

Tootal, Stuart. Danger Close: Commanding 3 Para in Afghanistan

others history

Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything

Tzu, Sun. The Art of War: The Strategy of Sun Tzu


Europe and Russia

Bew, John. Citizen clem: A Biography of Attlee

Browder, Bill. Red Notice

Bryson, Bill. Notes From a Small Island

Bryson, Bill. Neither Here nor There

Button, Jenson. How to Be an F1 Driver

Campion, Phil. Born Fearless: From Kids’ Home to SAS to Pirate Hunter – My Life as a Shadow Warrior


Abagnale, Frank W. Catch Me If You Can

Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the woods

Bryson, Bill. The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: Travels Through my Childhood

Bryson, Bill. Notes From a Big Country

Cranston, Bryan. A Life in Parts

Dallek, Robert. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

Hart, Kevin. And Strauss, Neil. I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

Obama, Barack. Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father


Bryson, Bill. Down under

Joly, Dom. The Dark Tourist: Sightseeing in the World’s Most Unlikely Holiday Destinations


How to be a Lawyer

The Secret Barrister

Ferak, John. WRECKING CREW: Demolishing The Case Against Steven Avery

Geis, George S. Law School for Everyone: Corporate Law

Horton, David. Law School for Everyone: Contracts

Melsheimer, Thomas M. And Smith, Craig. On the Jury Trial: Principles and Practices for Effective Advocacy

Smith, Peter J. Law School for Everyone

Smith, Peter J. Law School for Everyone: Legislation and Regulation

Langford, Sarah. In Your Defence

History of Law

Clegg, William. Under the Wig: A Lawyer’s Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence

Gráda, Cormac Ó, Eating People Is Wrong, and Other Essays on Famine, Its Past, and Its Future

Grant, Thomas. Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain

Grant, Thomas. Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories

Murray, Elizabeth A. Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals

Ognall, Harry. A Life of Crime: Memoirs of a High Court Judge

Politics and Social Science

Trump and America

Bacevich, Andrew. The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory

Black, Conrad. Donald J. Trump: A President like No Other

Giorgione, Michael. Trump’s America: The Truth about Our Nation’s Great Comeback

Hanson, Victor Davis. The Case for Trump

Jarrett, Gregg. The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump

Lasch, Christopher. The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy

Salam, Reihan. Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders

Woodward, Bob. Fear: Trump in the White House

British and European politics


Hume, Mick. Revolting!: How the Establishment are Undermining Democracy and What They’re Afraid Of

Shipman, Tim. All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class


Aitken, Robin. The Noble Liar: How and why the BBC distorts the news to promote a liberal agenda

Goodhart, David. The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics

Murray, Douglas. The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

Murray, Douglas. The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam

Scruton, Roger. Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Sedgwick, David. BBC: Brainwashing Britain?: How and why the BBC controls your mind

The 2017 British General election

Howell, Steve. GAME CHANGER Eight Weeks That Transformed British Politics: Inside Corbyn’s Election Machine

Shipman, Tim. Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem

Political reform and political research

Brand, Russell. Revolution

Hardman, Isabel. Why We Get The Wrong Politicians

Hitchens, Peter. The Abolition of liberty: The Decline of Order and Justice in England

Jones, Owen. The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It

Monbiot, George. Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis

Shrubsole, Guy. Who Owns England?: How We Lost Our Green and Pleasant Land, and How to Take It Back

Varoufakis, Yanis. Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment

Williams, Martin. Parliament Ltd: A journey to the dark heart of British politics

Asia and Middle East

Demick, Barbara. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Frankopan, Peter. The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World

Lankov, Andrei. The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia

General Political ideas

Eagleton, Terry. Why Marx Was Right

Eatwell, Roger. National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy

Scruton, Roger. How to Be a Conservative

Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction: A John Hope Franklin Center Book

Soical Research

Caplan, Bryan. The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money

Graeber, David. Bullshit Jobs

Hari, Johann. Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

Hari, Johann. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

Keeble, Harry. And Hollington, Kris. Baby X: Britain’s Child Abusers Brought to Justice

Keeble, Harry. And Hollington, Kris. Crack House: The Incredible True Story of the Man Who Took On London’s Crack Gangs and Won

Lymbery, Philip. And Oakeshott, Isabel. Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat


Blyth, Mark. Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea

Bregman, Rutger. Utopia for Realists

Bullough, Oliver. Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back

Chang, Ha-Joon. Economics: The User’s Guide: (A Pelican Book)

Chang, Ha-Joon. 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism

Collier, Paul. The Future of Capitalism

Ford, Martin. Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Harreld, Donald J. An Economic History of the World since 1400

Midler, Paul. Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the Tactics Behind China’s Production Game

Lewis, Michael. The Money Culture

Pilling, David. The Growth Delusion: Why Economists Are Getting It Wrong and What We Can Do About It

Spalding, Robert. Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept

Stuart, Edward F. Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems

Self-Improvement books

Aristotle. Rhetoric and Poetics

Blazevich, Richard. Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers

Blazevich, Richard. Interview Prep Playbook: College Student Edition

Blazevich, Richard. Interview Prep Playbook: Job Hunting Guide

Burch, Geoff. Irresistible Persuasion: The Secret Way To Get To Yes Every Time

Duhigg, Charles. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive

Eyal, Nir. And Li, Julie. Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Friedman, Jane. How to Publish Your Book

Goyder, Caroline. Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority

Hoehn, Charlie. FREE Recession Proof Graduate: How to Land the Job You Want by Doing Free Work

Jay, Meg. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now

McKee, Peggy. How to Answer Interview Questions

Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Scott, Kim. Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean

Tetlock, Philip. And Dan, Gardner. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction


Forester, C. S. Lieutenant Hornblower

Forester, C. S. Mr Midshipman Hornblower

Mann, George. And Scott, Cavan. Sherlock Holmes: The Voice of Treason

Moffatt, Steven. Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

Vermes, Timur. Look who back

Weir, Andy. The Martian

Wells, H. G. And Wayne, Jeff. Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds: The Musical Drama: An Audible Original Drama


Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence

Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Other Minds: The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent Life

Lightman, Patrick. How to Analyze People Like Sherlock Holmes: Learn the Trade’s Secret Techniques to Analyze Anyone in Less than Five Minutes with Speed Reading, Body Language and Human Behavior Psychology

Oldstone, Michael B. A. Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present, and Future

Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy (Little Histories)

1 Comment on “What I have learned from completing 200 audio books!

  1. Pingback: “In the Gap” Review – A.W. Book Reviews

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