“I always have enjoyed people to read for me or to have the chance to listen to how they narrate a book.”Deyth Banger
Even for people who love books, finding the opportunity to read can be challenging. Many, then, rely on audiobooks, a convenient alternative to old-fashioned reading. You can listen to the latest bestseller while commuting or cleaning up the house. We can debate whether listening to an audiobook constitutes “reading,” but there’s no doubt that audiobooks have continued to grow in popularity over the last few years.
Since I purchase all of my digital and audiobooks on Amazon, I like the ability to seamlessly jump back and forth between the printed page (to take notes or highlight a section to read again) and the audio version without having to search to find where I left off. I can even use my Alexa device to continue listening to audiobooks in my home office.
So, here are some of my favorite audiobooks from 2023 so far. Note that most are not healthcare related, and many aren’t focused on technology. They just hit my major criteria for selecting an audiobook, and they give me hours of enjoyment. (All hyperlinks are to the audiobook versions on Amazon.)
Look for Me There: Grieving My Father, Finding Myself by Luke Russert. “Look for me there,” news legend Tim Russert would tell his son, Luke, when confirming a pickup spot at an airport, sporting event, or rock concert. After Tim died unexpectedly, Luke kept looking for his father, following in Tim’s footsteps and carving out a highly successful career at NBC News. After eight years covering politics on television, Luke realized he had no good answer as to why he was chasing his father’s legacy. As the son of two accomplished parents—his mother is journalist Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair—Luke felt the pressure of high expectations but suddenly decided to leave the familiar path behind. Tim Russert was one of my favorite news anchors. So, anyone uncertain about the direction of their life or unsure of how to move forward after a loss, Look for Me There is a poignant reflection that offers encouragement to examine our choices, take risks, and discover our truest selves.
Empress of the Nile: The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt’s Ancient Temples from Destruction by Lynne Olsen. I’ve been passionate about ancient Egypt and archaeology since I was young. Growing up in Chicago, a visit to The Oriental Institute was always a highlight of the Summer. And when I finally made it to Egypt in 2019, and visited many of the ancient sites I was fulfilling a longstanding dream. This is the remarkable story of the intrepid French archaeologist who led the international effort to save ancient Egyptian temples from the floodwaters of the Aswan Dam. A willful real-life version of Indiana Jones, Desroches-Noblecourt refused to be cowed by anyone or anything. During World War II she joined the French Resistance and was held by the Nazis; in her fight to save the temples she challenged two of the postwar world’s most daunting leaders, Egypt’s President Nasser and France’s President de Gaulle.
Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke. I decided to revisit this novel primarily because of the narrator, who I’ve enjoyed in other audiobooks. The second reason was because it includes an exclusive introduction by Hugo Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer, who explains why this novel, written in the 1950s, is still relevant today.
Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs by Uri Levine. Unicorns—companies that reach a valuation of more than $1 billion—are rare. Uri Levine has built two. Levine offers an inside look at the creation and sale of Waze and his second unicorn, Moovit, revealing the formula that drove those companies to compete with industry veterans and giants alike. He offers tips on: firing and hiring; disrupting “broken” markets; raising funding; understanding your users; reaching product market fit; making scale-up decisions; going global; and deciding when to sell.
Tech Trends in Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving the 4th Industrial Revolution by Bernard Marr. How will the latest technologies transform your business? The book presents 25 real-world technology trends along with their potential contributions to organizational success. You’ll learn how to integrate existing advancements and plan for those that are on the way. I chose this specifically because there were several technologies that will directly impact healthcare and I wanted a broader opinion on their potential benefits.
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark. The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology – and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues – from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness, and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.
In the Blood: How Two Outsiders Solved a Centuries-Old Medical Mystery and Took On the US Army by Charles Barber. At the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, dramatized by the popular film Black Hawk Down, the majority of soldiers who died were killed instantly or bled to death before they could reach an operating table. This tragedy reinforced the need for a revolutionary treatment that could transform trauma medicine. So, when Frank Hursey and Bart Gullong—who had no medical or military experience—discovered that a cheap, crushed rock called zeolite had blood‑clotting properties, they brought it to the military’s attention. The Marines and the Navy adopted the resulting product, QuikClot, immediately. The Army, however, resisted. It had two products of its own being developed to prevent excessive bleeds, one of which had already cost tens of millions of dollars. The other, “Factor Seven,” had a more dangerous complication: its side effects could be deadly. Unwilling to let its efforts end in failure—and led by the highly influential surgeon Colonel John Holcomb—the Army set out to smear QuikClot’s reputation. In the Blood recounts this little‑known David‑and‑Goliath story of corruption, greed, and power within the military—and the devastating consequences of unchecked institutional arrogance.
The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine by Ricardo Nuila, MD. Where does one go without health insurance, when turned away by hospitals, clinics, and doctors? In The People’s Hospital, we follow the lives of five uninsured Houstonians as their struggle for survival leads them to a hospital where insurance comes second to genuine care. Each patient eventually lands at Ben Taub, the county hospital where Dr. Nuila has worked for over a decade. Nuila delves with empathy into the experiences of his patients, braiding their dramas into a singular narrative that contradicts the established idea that the only way to receive good healthcare is with good insurance.