If you have not heard of the audiobook website Librivox.org, then you are seriously missing out. Their goal is to make every public domain book available on audiobook for free. This means most of their material is older, pre-1923 that is, but there are some really precious jems in their collection. All the readers are volunteer, and you’ll get to hear some interesting accents if you listen to enough books. My new job is extremely boring and monotonous, but Librivox is providing the mental stimulation that helps keep me sharp.
- An Autobiography, by Theodore Roosevelt – If you have any interest in becoming a civil servant, a politician, or a man/woman of courage, you must listen to this book. Theodore Roosevelt arose as a shining example of leadership and moral fortitude during his presidency, and he tells his story as only a “live by example” man could.
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – If you aren’t familiar with this historic, eclectic individual, his autobiography is a perfect place to start. Written as a letter to his son, Frankie tells the tale of his rise in political and social arenas during his life. I thought it was especially interesting to notice his involvement in various clubs and social events. I don’t think he would have been nearly as successful if it wasn’t for his consistent participation in groups like the local Masonic Lodge and the Junto, a group which he created.
- The Art of War, by Sun Tzu – Strategies and tactics from this definitive book have been adapted into other areas such as management and business.
- The Book of Tea, by Okakura Kakuzo – Kakuzo was a novelty during his time, as he was well educated in both Japanese and English languages. This book is written to Western readers and describes the artistic simplicity of making tea.
- Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius – Stoic philosophies from the Roman Emperor. 161-180AD
- Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau – Thoreau was a radical, often dissident, forward thinking individual of the nineteenth century. Always willing to challenge the status quo, Thoreau lived solo in a house built by his own hands next to Walden pond for more than a year.
- What Prohibition Has Done to America, by Fabian Franklin – My reasons for listening to this book were twofold: first I wanted to gain a historical perspective on prohibition, and second I wanted to compare prohibition with the current “legalization of marijuana” dilemma. After some analysis, I have decided that I’m for legalization of marijuana, but that’s another discussion entirely.
- A Practical Guide to Self Hypnosis, by Melvin Powers – In the past I was wholly incredulous of hypnosis and thought it was a sensational, mystic practice. After reading this book, I am quite convinced of the opposite. One story stuck out in my mind about the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov. It’s my personal opinion that Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto is the most beautiful piece of music ever composed, and he apparently composed this piece after overcoming a state of deep depression by submitting himself to hypnotherapy. He even dedicated his 2nd Concerto to his psychologist Dr. Nikolai Dahl. It’s funny to think that my favorite piece of music would have never existed without hypnotherapy.
- As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen – A testament to the power of positive thinking. I highly recommend this book if you are consistently thinking negative thoughts.
- The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx – I was surprised how sensational this manifesto was. It seems to me that any person with half an education can see multiple problems with the ideas it presents, and yet, it’s influence is so widespread.
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen – Does it need a description?
- The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky – Dostoevsky’s last book, completed only one year before his death in 1881. The Brothers Karamazov is considered to be his greatest masterpiece, and definitely his most complex novel. He examines the deepest elements of human existence, most especially faith and doubt. Thanks to Librivox I was able to finish this 800+ page book in 5 days!
Other Librivox books I’d like to read in the future:
- A Short History of The United States, by Edward Channing
- A Short History of England, by G. K. Chesterton
- Walking, by Henry David Thoreau
- Beyond Good and Evil and The Joyful Wisdom, by Friedrich Nietzsche
- Spirits in Bondage, by C.S. Lewis
- Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
- The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Kingdom of God is Within You and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
And you? What (audio)books have you come to love?
Share them with me, so we can share them together.