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7.22.2010

How to Make a Long Commute More Productive and More Enjoyable

To keep my one-hour Los Angeles commute from feeling like a monotonous or frustrating routine, I occasionally take a longer, scenic route and I always listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, satellite radio or NPR. Sometimes I cannot wait to get back into the car and hear the rest of something that I am really enjoying. Below is a roundup of my favorite commute listening material.

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Podcastsfree


Design Matters (about 1 hour)
Debbie Millman (President of AIGA, etc, etc, etc.) interviews big names in graphic design. I love getting a glimpse into the personalities behind the work I have been studying and admiring for years. I fiendishly episode-binged Design Matters and was sad when I ran out of new episodes. I feel like they were an important part of my design education and I am forever grateful for them. Debbie has taken a short sabbatical from Design Matters but will return in the Fall of 2010 with her SVA Masters of Branding students (I know one of them, I feel so connected). I can't wait!
2005–2009
[ iTunes ] [ Design Observer ]
2009–2010
[ iTunes ] [ Design Observer ]



This American Life (approx. 1 hour)
Hosted by Ira Glass, This American Life delivers "Stories that are like movies for radio." It is not surprising that this podcast wins all of the major broadcasting awards. I am happy to be sucked in to one of these gems every week.
[ iTunes ] [ thisamericanlife.org ]



Savage Love ( about 30–45 minutes)
Sex advice columnist, Dan Savage answers sex and relationship questions from callers. The show is funny, sexual, blunt and vulgar. The opening tune is "If you’re stuck in a relationship quandary or if you’re looking for sexual harmony, well, there’s nothing you can’t ask on the Savage Lovecast." It took a few episodes before I started to really love this podcast, but now I am hooked. If I ever had a bad day, I listen to this podcast because it often makes me laugh-out-loud.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



The World in Words (usually less than 30 minutes)
The World in Words covers language and linguistics with a global perspective.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



The Moth (about 15 minutes)
The Moth features "stories told live without notes." Sometimes the stories are funny, sometimes sad and sometimes thought-provoking.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



Stuff You Should Know (under 1 hour)
Stuff You Should Know is published by HowStuffWorks.com that features quick overviews on topics you might wonder about or learned in grade school and forgot. A few recent topics were: "How do butterfly wings get their color?," "How Food Cravings Work?" and "President Obama's Health Care Plan: Soup to Nuts."
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



A Prairie Home Companion's News From Lake Wobegon (15–20 minutes)
Garrison Keillor makes me laugh. Enough said.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



Radiolab (about 1 hour)
Brilliantly edited, Radiolab features excellent music entwined with thought-provoking ideas, stories, and information.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]



Onion Radio News (about 1 minute)
I love these sarcastic-funny episodes. Unfortunately, my iPod/car dock setup does not allow me to cycle through episodes without undocking. These episodes are so short that it is rather inconvenient (and probably dangerous) for me to be docking/selecting/redocking/etc. I listen to this at a computer. If your set up allows you to shift through episodes, I highly recommend this one for a good laugh.
[ iTunes ] [ RSS ]


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Audiobooks$$ varies

1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

My father-in-law generously added me as the second user on his audible.com account. This allows me to download any of his archives and use any of his built up credits for new books. Lucky me! I love listening to audiobooks, especially when I find a good one. When I get a really good one, I cannot wait to get in my car each day to listen.

I usually read nonfiction, but I have found myself enjoying humor, fiction, and chick-lit in audiobook format. I have also found that the voice delivering the audiobook is almost as important as the content. A monotonous or whiney voice can kill a good book. I particularly enjoy listening to author-read unabridged books. Below are a selection of audiobooks that I have enjoyed.



Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia (12 hours and 49 minutes)
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrated by: Elizabeth Gilbert

I am happy that I listened to this book in audiobook format, but it is likely a good book in written form as well. Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles her post-divorce journey of self discovery as "she eats (in Italy), prays (in India), and finds love (in Indonesia)." (© AudioFile, 2006) This was the first audiobook I listened to and I was so completely hooked.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ] [ amazon(CD) ]



When You Are Engulfed in Flames (9 hours and 3 minutes)
By David Sedaris
Narrated by: David Sedaris

I find David Sedaris to be hilarious both in written and audiobook form. When You Are Engulfed in Flames is the first author-read audiobook I have listened to by Sedaris, and I found it so funny that I will go back and listen to all of his books that I have previously enjoyed reading.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ] [ amazon(CD) ]



The Devil Wears Prada (14 hours and 4 minutes)
By Lauren Weisberger
Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

This is totally indulgent chick-lit at its finest. It made my commute seem so short.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ]



The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee (5 hours and 42 minutes)
By Sarah Silverman
Narrated by: Sarah Silverman

I think this book is best delivered in audiobook format. It was full of snarky, self-deprecating humor. It is not as funny as Sarah's on-air comedy, but I still had a few lol moments so it was totally worth it.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ] [ amazon ]



Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 (6 hours and 28 minutes)
By Garrison Keillor
Narrated by Garrison Kielor

If you enjoy Garrison Kielor's podcast, there are plenty of his books to listen to. Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 is a good/funny one.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ]



Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (8 hours and 27 minutes)
By Seth Goodin
Narrated by Seth Godin

Seth Godin talks about how to become a Linchpin—someone who is an indispensable, proactive leader/connector/inventor. Someone who draws their own map from any level within an organization.
[ audible ] [ iTunes ]



Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (8 hours)
By Anthony Bourdain
Narrated by Anthony Bourdain

Humorous and full of interesting foodie info.
[ audible ] [ Tunes ]


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Audiobooksfree

There are also free audiobooks sites like Podiobooks and LibriVox. I have not listened to anything from these sites, but I may someday and will report back with the best of what I find.


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SIRIUS Satellite Radioabout $13 per month

My car came with a 3-month free SIRIUS membership and I listened primarily to news and to Howard Stern. I enjoyed Howard Stern so much that I often sat in my car at home to finish listening. I intend on renewing if I ever run out of podcasts and audiobooks that interest me.
[ sirius subscription packages ] [ hardware ]


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Thoughts?

What are your favorite podcasts and audiobooks?

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1 Comments:

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