“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King

With Larry King’s sage words, here is a recap of the 8 Audiobooks Every Social Entrepreneur Should Hear, originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.

 

Recap: 8 Audiobooks Every Social Entrepreneur Should Hear

1. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This candid, honest memoir is not only well-written, but compelling read by Amanda herself. Based on her 2013 TED Talk, this memoir tells the story of her journey as a musician, artist, an entrepreneur but also her reveals her mindset of creating impact through engagement. Whether wordlessly asking for a donation as a human statue or using social media to find a place to stay, or reaching out to her fans to crowdfund her music, she asks and does so unabashedly. I was struck by her unambiguous message told with honesty, vulnerability, and humor—Ask. often, honestly, and authentically.

2. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

If we’re being honest, I was unexpectedly blown away by this audiobook. Perhaps I was anticipating a formal, even academic, account of a US Supreme Court Justice’s journey to the golden bench. This incredibly well-written, personal, and moving account shifted my course and commitment to pursue my calling. From administering her own insulin shots from the age of 9 as a Type 1 diabetic, Sonia (aka Justice Sotomayor) surprises, enlightens, and inspires with her personal stories of difficult realities at home, her unfettered pursuit of excellent, and her one-of-a-kind journey (as a woman, minority, diabetic, etc.) to the highest court.

3. Walking Papers by Francesco Clark

I hadn’t heard of Francesco before listening his book, and now I find his story and resolve unforgettable in every way. Francesco tells his story of a random pool accident that resulted in paralysis from the neck below, all at the age of 24. His gritty, honest, detailed account of the hours, weeks, and months after the accident not only showcase how precious every moment we have is, but also his innate resolve to persevere amid challenge. It’s this same quality that leads Francesco to find new treatments and ways to improve his health, and to become the founder of Clark’s Botanicals–a skin care line designed especially for individuals with extremely sensitive skin.

4. Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods

This audiobook is a perfect example of the potential of powerful impact storytelling. I knew very little about bonobos, a member of the ape family found only in a particular region of the Congo Basin in Central Africa. However, with Vanessa’s personal stories lined with her unique observations of the goings-on at the sanctuary, her relationship with her now-husband, and the personalities of each of the bonobos with whom she interacted, the Congo and the need to protect the bonobos came to life in a new way. As an animal lover, I appreciated the small details about the rescues and the findings, and may have even blushed when Vanessa so casually described bonobo interactions that are as common as a human handshake.

5. Use What You’ve Got by Barbara Corcoran

This honest, thoughtfully-organized, and entertaining memoir read by the author is a delight, especially for any fellow fans of Shark Tank. We hear Barbara tell stories of growing up as one of fourteen children, to moving to New York City, and taking bold steps to establish herself as an adult and an entrepreneur. Her storytelling is very accessible and direct, and her tales reveal simple but powerful aspects of entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs need to survive as entrepreneurs in order to make sustained impact, and this is a wonderful account of what it takes to make it above all odds.

6. Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

How does a very public person survive very personal challenges—if you are Robin Roberts, you do so with openness, heart, and strength. Former athlete and current Good Morning America co-host, Robin tells the story of her cancer reoccurrence and treatment—all which took place at the same time her beloved mother passed away. As someone who has gone through the loss of my mother to cancer, it was touching and inspiring to see how Robin found strength to persevere and to hear her resounding message to “make your mess your message” in her own voice.

7. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

This engaging book may have creativity in its title, but it is as informative on important aspects of leadership, team-building, entrepreneurship, and scaling as well. Ed tells the story of Pixar–from its early days to its post-Toy Story and post-multi billion dollar acquisition by Disney. What makes this book special is that at its heart, Pixar tells stories for children and adults. Authors Ed and Amy disarm this account by being able to toggle from high-stakes business meetings to how Woody’s character changed from early renderings to be less mean.

8. Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Wouldn’t it be great to have an index to amazing TED Talks along with a review of key aspects on why they were so effective? Talk Like TED is precisely that resource. I only wish the audiobook version would interrupt Carmine’s narrative to insert the aforementioned TED Talks, and then continue so I could catch all of the references. This however definitely led me to look up various TED Talks and examine them more closely for their powerful storytelling features.

And one more thing 

I have written about it more lightly in Svbtle, but one of my absolute favorite genres is humorist audiobooks—and for these to work, I think it pretty much has to be read by the author.
These authors / artists / comedians are masterful storytellers that tell stories through the lens of humor. Even as they elicit a chuckle, they may also be imparting some of their deepest wisdoms or toughest life experiences. The quality of being able to laugh at our own situations is powerful, engaging, inclusive, and well— contagious.
You can take my word for it, or I highly recommend you check out authors including: Sloane Crosley, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, Sarah Silverman, Carol Burnett, and BJ Novak. I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned a great deal from their audiobooks. And perhaps because their narrations were so effective, I might be even walking around with the mistaken belief that we’re actually friends in real life :)

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