Many years ago when I was a young lawyer starting to represent businesses, I started looking for ways to learn more things that I could offer to my clients. Of course, I could read more articles about legal topics. I could also attend seminars and listen to continuing legal education tapes or CDs. However, I wanted to be able to offer my clients more than a legal opinion. I wanted to become a trusted advisor that they could rely on for counsel and support. The challenge with trying to learn more and more is that there is a finite amount of time in which to try to learn more.
As I searched for ways in which to become better versed in areas in addition to the law, I came across the work of Zig Ziglar. Zig was an author, salesman and motivational speaker, who introduced me to the “Automobile University.” Automobile University is not an actual university, but rather a learning experience that can occur every time you step in your vehicle. Rather than listening to talk radio or country music, I started to listen to books on tape about topics such as business marketing, entrepreneurship, creating business excellence, salesmanship, leadership and other topics that interested me. As a result, I learned many more things than I would have otherwise learned if not for Automobile University.
I recently read that a study at USC has shown that if a person drives at least 12,000 miles per year and uses this method of education, in three years he or she would have the equivalent of two years of college education. I have not read this study, nor have I read any literature to support the claim that listening to education materials for three years in your vehicle is the equivalent to two years of college education. However, I can attest to the fact that I have learned a lot of new information without spending hours upon hours sitting down to physically read.
As technology has improved, we can now listen to audiobooks and podcasts that do not require that you purchase and carry around books on tape. I am sure that most of you do not have “extra” time during the day to simply sit and read. In my situation, I am busy keeping up with legal trends, changes in the law and meeting with clients and I have limited time during the day to indulge in reading books or articles on topics that interest me outside of the practice of law. This is why listening to an audiobook or a podcast is so attractive to me.
It has become extremely easy to find audiobooks. Audible.com, for example, contains over 100,000 audiobook titles and the list continues to grow. Whether it’s a “how to” book or a novel, you can probably find it at Audible.com. Audiobooks can be listened to in more places than just your vehicle. I have downloaded the Audible app for my iPhone and now sync audiobooks I have purchased online with my mobile device. Doing it this way allows me to listen to my favorite stories or “how-to” books at any time.
I have also started listening to podcasts. Rather than getting into a long explanation of what a podcast is, consider the word “podcast” itself. The “pod” of podcast is borrowed from Apple’s “iPod” digital media player; and the “cast” portion of podcast is taken from Radio’s “broadcast” term. Think of a podcast as “Internet Radio On-Demand”. Podcasts are “On Demand” and can be listened to on your schedule. Podcasts can be produced by just about anyone wanting to share and communicate with the world.
Some of my favorite podcasts include “The Tim Ferriss Show”, “The Art of Manliness”, “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin, “10% Happier” with Dan Harris and “The Jordan Harbinger Show”. However, you can find virtually anything that interests or inspires you if you conduct a search.
If you want to try to make the most of your commute time or the time that you are simply sitting around doing nothing valuable, I strongly suggest that you consider investing in yourself by purchasing audiobooks or downloading podcasts.