I have been using Amazon’s Audible for more than two months, and I would like to share my thoughts about this service. I tried quite a few podcast services, such as Overcast and Apple’s Podcast, to improve my English listening skill. However, none of them last. Most of the time, I just didn’t get the point or the story of the podcast. One of the reason is that the speaking speed is a little bit too fast for me to understand. If you can’t follow the story, it is really hard for you to stay interested in that cast. And that was exactly my case.
Yet, when it comes to Audible, things become differently. I have listened to about 3 ~ 4 different books (not all finished though), and I found that the average speaking speed is pretty acceptable for my level. Moreover, once I got the main story and felt comfortable with the speed, I can even listen to 1.25x ~ 1.5x speed. Plus, the story flow is often more clear and consistent for a book than for a random topics podcast. Once you get the story flow, there is no need to understand every word the narrator said. Even missing one or two words (or even sentences), we can still stay on the right course of the story. And that is really crucial for listening a book with 10+ hours length because it is easier to focus on the main idea instead of the details. However, it is not saying that listening to Audible requires no efforts. There are still some tricks I felt important to be able to keep listening and prevent from distraction:
- Focus on the main idea. It’s OK to miss some details as long as you stay on the main story flow. At the end, you’d find that missing these details does no harm for understanding the whole book.
- Choose the narrator carefully. Some narrators have the voice that can help you focus. This is just personal preference though.
- Listen to a small part of the book each time. The books on Audible are generally divided into several chapters, and each chapter is further divided into smaller sections. The length of each small section is probably around 30 minutes. It’s a comforting length for your brain to focus on the story.
- Choose the book that you’re familiar with or very interested in. This can help you focus on the main idea as suggested in the first point.
One book I’d recommend for the beginner is “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”. The narrator spoke clearly, and the information contained in this book is very helpful and thus it is easily for listener to focus.