Listens for the Road: Audiobooks & Podcasts

By Monica Hand – June 1, 2021

Long drives, no matter how exciting the destination, can get real boring, real fast. If you’re hoping to switch things up from your usual road trip playlist, we’ve got just what you need. Whether you’re into true crime or self-help, get ready for that summer road trip by queuing up some of these great audiobooks and podcasts. 

For the motivated business professional  


Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

If you’re looking for motivation and wisdom on the startup world, this is the book for you. Thiel’s resume includes co-founder of PayPal, founder of Palantir and ex-Silicon Valley investor. Throughout the book, he takes you through what it really means to be in the startup world. His approach to investing and finding the next big thing is different from most, and he explains why you should be doing the same. 


How I Built This with Guy Raz

This podcast chats with innovators and entrepreneurs on how they got to where they are now. With guests from Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler of SoulCycle to Vlad Tenev of the Robinhood app and everyone in between, this NPR-produced series is sure to inspire and motivate you no matter your field. Great episodes to start with are “Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales (Episode 70)” and “AirBnB: Joe Gebbia (Episode 6).”

For the extra-long drive


Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer

In 1996, Jon Krakauer lived through the worst disaster to ever take place on Mount Everest. That day, eight people lost their lives on the mountain to Mother Nature. There as a journalist, Krakauer managed to be one of the few to survive the storm — and lived to tell the tale. 

This gripping personal memoir takes you to the summit and back with vivid details and facts about the mountain’s history. As Krakauer walks you through the life-changing event, the people he met and his regrets, you won’t be able to turn the story off. 


Up and Vanished”  

This podcast takes you through a different disappearance each season. Season one follows Payne Lindsey as he attempts to uncover the truth to the 15-year-old missing persons case of Tara Grinstead. Learn about the evidence, the suspects and the town itself as you become immersed in the investigation. 

For the avid learner


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari

This best-seller takes you through human history, moving from the Stone Age all the way through the modern era. Learn how we learned and shaped who we are today, for better and for worse. This is a great listen for anyone who is always wanting to know the why and how of modern life. 


Ologies” with Alie Ward

If you like “Armchair Expert” or “Stuff You Should Know” by NPR, this is a great addition to your podcast roster. In each episode, Alie Ward interviews leading experts in topics ranging from volcanoes to marriage. Hear stories about why they chose to study what they study and the interesting, life-changing things they’ve learned along the way. 

Great episodes to start with: “Lupinology” (the study of wolves), “Molecular Scatology” (yes…poop) and “Chronobiology” (learn about circadian rhythms — when we should sleep).

For the Crime Junkie


The Last Juror” by John Grisham 

From the famed legal writer comes a more thrilling novel than usual. The Last Juror, set in the same town as Grisham’s first-ever book, follows Willie Traynor as he becomes a small town’s leading journalist. When a horrid crime rocks the town, Traynor is the one who continues to follow the story, growing close to key players in the case. 

Years after the trial, juror members begin being murdered. As the town grows in terror, the mystery of who is behind the killings grows. If you love to guess whodunit, this audiobook is the perfect travel companion. 


Dr. Death”

For fans of crime podcasts that deep dive into one specific crime or criminal, this one from Wondery is a riveting binge-listen. This two-season podcast takes you through the life and crimes of a shocking serial killer: Christopher Duntsch. 

 A charming neurosurgeon, he took advantage of his access to patients and the system meant to protect the sick and elderly. With his crimes taking place in the Dallas area, it’s a great listen for a Texas-based crime junkie. 

For biography lovers


Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey

Of course, we had to include Matthew McConaughey’s debut as an author. This memoir and self-described “approach book” takes you through his life and ideals with entertaining “bumper stickers” and “greenlights” that led him to where he is today. The best part of listening to the audio version? It’s narrated by McConaughey himself. So, queue it up for a ride accompanied by that famous Texas drawl. 


“The Moth”

The series started in 1997, with events around the country where people stand alone on the stage under a spotlight and share their personal stories to a crowd of strangers. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always a great look into the human experience. Although the podcast started in 2006, you can hear some of the favorite, best-told stories.


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