Self Sunday: Opening up to Possibilities

Effective living suggestions—evidence-based and actionable

The personal growth sector of the audiobook catalog is alive and well. I started reviewing self-help tapes (yes, tapes) in the 1990s and am blown away at how sophisticated and varied today’s audios have become. A lot of today’s offerings are written by experts such as psychologists, social scientists, and behavioral science journalists, along with a variety of public speaking luminaries. Each with its own mix of insights, inspiration, and advice, these audios are gaining popularity with people who are fascinated with the human condition, fascinated with the possibility that their lives could be better.

Robert Cialdini, read by John Bedford Lloyd

INVISIBLE INFLUENCE and PRE-SUASION are good examples of how a behavioral scientist can put together an enlightening audio lesson on what makes people tick. These authors teach effective living with evidence-based suggestions for improving the way we think, make decisions, and impact our worlds.

Rosamund Stone Zander

I’ve also learned to be more open to the softer messages embodied in an audio like PATHWAYS TO POSSIBILITIES, Rosamund Stone Zander’s touching meditation on how to step out of our isolated comfort zone and explore the joy of connecting with others. Her message alone is powerful enough, but what opened my heart as well as my brain was how the author’s kind voice was an ever-present messenger for her humanitarian worldview.

Bon courage!–Tom Walken

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This post has been edited from its original longer form in the print issue of AudioFile Magazine, October/November 2016.

Self Sunday: Parenting Advice

Who said you have to be a perfect parent?

Though my children are both grown, listening to these audios had the curious effect of taking some pressure off of me, as well as reminding me of a few things I could adjust in my approach to my children and grandchildren.

110467.jpg THE HAPPY KID HANDBOOK: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World
Katie Hurley, read by Kate Rudd
Lessons to help parents become more laid-back and confident.

110529.jpg AMERICAN GIRLS: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers
Nancy Jo Sales, read by Therese Plummer
Frightening research into how digital connections shape our daughters’ lives.

93220.jpg BECOMING THE KIND FATHER: A Son’s Journey
Calvin Sandborn, read by Michael Puttonen
Moving account of how one man broke the cycle of paternal abuse.

103761.jpgHOW TO RUIN YOUR CHILD IN 7 EASY STEPS: Tame Your Vices, Nurture Their Virtues
Patrick M. Quinn, Ken Roach, read by Tom Hatting
Pointed advice based on the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Virtues.

79618.jpg PEACEFUL PARENT, HAPPY KIDS: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
Laura Markham, read by Xe Sands
A message of quiet empowerment.

Good listening and bon courage! – Tom

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This post has been edited from its original longer form in the print issue of AudioFile Magazine, June/July 2016.

Self Sunday: Simplify September

Less is More in the De-Clutter Game

If clutter is the common cold of American life, here are some audiobook ideas for a cure.

MESSMESS: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act
Barry Yourgrau, read by Peter Brook
A personal journey and broad survey of how people tackle clutter.

SPARK JOYSPARK JOY: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying up
Marie Kondo, read by Sumalee Montano
A category system and Zen-like wisdom to keep your home organized. 

Gretchen Rubin, read by Gretchen Rubin
Inspiring memoir on creating space for happiness in your life.

Sarah L. Kaufman, read by Christina Delaine
Sublime reflections on bringing grace and order back into your life.

More Listens To Simplify Your Life

THROW OUT FIFTY THINGS: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life
Gail Blanke, read by Gail Blanke
How all that clutter keeps you from your best life.

Jen Hatmaker, read by Rebecca Gallagher
Bold steps to help you shed the stuff you don’t really need.

LIVE HAPPY: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy
Deborah K. Heisz, read by Karen White
How everyday practices can clear the way for lasting happiness.

LIGHTEN UP: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier With Less
Peter Walsh, read by John Lee
People are happiest when they simplify their lives.

Joyce Meyer, read by Sandra McCollom
Clutter and confusion are conditions that can be fixed.

Want to make be sure your next personal growth listen is credit-worthy?
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