In the past 28 hours I consumed the entirety of Chuck Klosterman’s Eating the Dinosaur, a 2009 collection of pop culture essays. I did this via Spotify’s audiobooks section which I did not know existed until yesterday (it’s been available for two months).
The book is 256 pages. I am a slow, methodical reader, meaning I get distracted often and have to reread pages after my eyes glaze over for 30 seconds despite them continuing to move back and forth. If I had to guess, this book would’ve taken me a month to read, give or take a week.
Audiobooks, on the other hand, lend themselves to consumption much more efficiently. As I’ve said before, I listen to podcasts for probably ~12 hours a week, which at an average of 1.25x is 15 hours of literal content. This audio book was about 7 hours which was more like 5 at 1.5x.
“But Sam, are you really digesting the content of the book by blazing through it? Some ideas or concepts take time to mull over!“
This is 100% legitimate. 1.5x is a bit too fast to really get it unless it’s intentionally mindless like a sports podcast. But still, 1.2x and no time wasted zoning out is a game changer. I usually read 3-5 books in a given year which makes choosing a given book a real commitment. Although I love Klosterman, I probably wouldn’t have chosen a pop culture book published while I was still in high school. But this makes the commitment way less because the consumption is so much faster. I think I may become a huge audiobook guy in 2024, so give me your recs.
This also begs the question of if I lose anything by simply listening as opposed to the actual act of reading. I will leave it to the scientists to determine what I’m missing out on (or gaining) by converting to audio instead of actually reading.
“But Sam, what will you be NOT listening to in order to listen to books?”
My podcast rotation has been on my mind a lot lately. I feel I’m at a tipping point, as ~50% of my podcast consumption is sports related. I’m not becoming the ‘I’m too cool for sports‘ guy (or more appropriately ‘sports are too cool for me‘), but I’ve been really questioning WHY I listen to NFL weekly recaps. I don’t really care about it other than the Eagles. This morning for example, I decided to skip my normal podcast which would’ve had a 15 minute segment on why Lamar is now the MVP and is Brock Purdy actually bad, and just listen to Klosterman instead.
Is Klosterman’s chapter on why Ralph Sampson was not actually a bust more compelling than that segment? Undoubtedly yes. I’m thrilled I chose the book this morning. The day-to-day sports cycle is so short lived that I’ve just become… better than it. I will 100% tune in to episodes and guests that I still care about, but I’m giving up the daily need to keep up with things, teams, and people that I don’t really care about.
Soon I will be the most cultured person you know.