Welcome to the world of stories where every word comes alive! Audible books have revolutionized reading in our fast-paced, multi-tasking world, making it accessible anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re on a long commute, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or simply relaxing at home, Audible books turn these moments into an immersive storytelling experience.
In this post, we’re diving into the most popular Audible books that have captivated listeners around the globe. These are not just books; they’re journeys narrated by voices that bring each character and story to life. From gripping thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat to heartfelt tales that stay with you long after the final word, these Audible books are the crème de la crème of audio entertainment. So, plug in your headphones and prepare to be transported to worlds beyond your imagination!
10 Most Popular Audible Books
Audible books are extremely convenient, allowing you to enjoy literature while multitasking or on the go. This makes it easier to fit reading into a busy schedule. For some, listening to a book is a more engaging and enjoyable experience than reading text. It can also be a great alternative for people with visual impairments or reading difficulties. Here are the ten most popular Audible Books you will love. Let’s listen and enjoy!
1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is a novel that has captured the hearts of many readers worldwide. The book was published in August 2018 and quickly became a bestseller, beloved for its lyrical prose, intricate plot, and deep character development.
Synopsis: The story is set in the 1950s and 60s and centers on Kya Clark, a young girl who grows up isolated in the marshlands of the North Carolina coast. Dubbed “Marsh Girl” by the local community, Kya lived alone from a young age after being abandoned by her family. Despite her loneliness and the scorn of the townspeople, she finds solace and a sense of belonging in the natural world surrounding her.
As Kya grows older, the novel intertwines a coming-of-age tale with a compelling murder mystery. When a local man, Chase Andrews, is found dead, the community immediately suspects Kya, leading to a gripping courtroom drama.
The story explores themes of nature, loneliness, love, prejudice, survival, and resilience. Owens, a wildlife scientist, enriches the narrative with vivid descriptions of the marsh and its wildlife, making the setting an integral part of the story.
Audiobook: The Audible version of “Where the Crawdads Sing” is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, who brings the story to life with her emotive and engaging storytelling. Her ability to capture the nuances of each character’s voice and the ambiance of the North Carolina marsh adds an immersive layer to the experience of the story.
The staying power of “Where the Crawdads Sing” in book clubs, reading lists, and bestseller charts is a testament to its impact on readers and listeners alike. For those interested in richly woven tales of mystery and human connection to nature, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a highly recommended pick, and its Audible version provides an easy way to experience the story, especially for those who may prefer listening over reading.
2. Atomic Habits by James Clear
Atomic Habits is a self-help book that delves into the intricacies of habit formation and provides practical strategies for making positive changes in one’s life. Published in October 2018, it has gained a reputation for being exceptionally well-researched and actionable, leading to its status as a bestseller.
Synopsis: In “Atomic Habits,” James Clear argues that the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits. He presents an easy-to-understand framework for building good habits and breaking bad ones. Clear emphasizes that small changes, compounded over time, lead to remarkable results—a concept he encapsulates with the term “atomic habits.”
The core idea is that tiny adjustments lead to significant improvements over time. Clear breaks down the complexity of behavior change into four fundamental laws:
- Make it obvious.
- Make it attractive.
- Make it easy.
- Make it satisfying.
By inverting these laws, you can break bad habits by making them invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unsatisfying. The book is filled with practical insights and real-life examples, equipping readers/listeners with strategies to transform their habits and, by extension, their lives.
Audiobook: The audiobook version is narrated by James Clear himself, which adds a personal touch to the listening experience. Having the author narrate the book allows listeners to hear the material exactly as intended, with proper emphasis and a conversational tone that enhances comprehension and retention.
Clear’s blend of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and actionable advice has made the book a go-to recommendation for anyone looking to develop better habits, improve their productivity, or change their behavior for the better. Whether read in print or listened to as an audiobook, “Atomic Habits” provides a valuable toolkit for those aiming to make lasting changes in their personal and professional lives.
3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
The Midnight Library is a novel that has captivated readers across the globe with its profound exploration of life’s possibilities and the infinite choices that comprise existence. It was published in 2020 and has recently become one of the most beloved and recommended books.
Synopsis: The story revolves around Nora Seed, a woman filled with regret and sorrow, who finds herself in a magical library after a life-altering decision. This library, open only at midnight, is no ordinary library—each book on its endless shelves represents a different version of her life had she made different choices along the way.
Guided by the librarian, Mrs. Elm, Nora can experience these alternative lives, undo her regrets, and answer the question, “What is the best way to live?” Through her journey, she explores various careers, relationships, and paths not taken, confronting her perceptions of success, happiness, and fulfillment.
Themes: The novel mediates the meaning of life, the importance of our choices, and the notion that it’s never too late to change. It touches on mental health, existential dread, and the human tendency to dwell on life’s “what ifs.” Haig’s narrative is both a comfort and a revelation to anyone who has ever wondered about the roads not taken.
Audiobook: The audiobook version of “The Midnight Library” is narrated by Carey Mulligan, whose performance is highly praised for bringing depth and emotion to Nora’s character, enhancing the experience of the story’s magical realism and philosophical inquiries.
4. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Greenlights is an autobiography by Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, released in October 2020. The book offers an introspective look at his life, philosophy, and career, combining memoir with personal philosophy and lessons that McConaughey calls “catching greenlights.”
Synopsis: In “Greenlights,” McConaughey shares stories from his life, starting from his upbringing in Texas, his breakout role in “Dazed and Confused,” and leading up to his stardom in Hollywood. He delves into his personal and professional experiences, including his foray into romantic comedies and his later “McConaissance,” where he took on more serious, challenging roles that eventually led to winning an Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
The term “greenlights” is a metaphor for the signals in life that allow us to move forward, and McConaughey uses it to discuss how he has faced successes and challenges. He reflects on the idea that even the red and yellow lights—obstacles and challenges—eventually turn green or teach us something that helps us move forward.
Themes: McConaughey’s book is not just a memoir; it’s a guide on how to live a fulfilled life. He shares his insights and personal philosophies, punctuated with catchy sayings and aphorisms that reflect his laid-back yet purposeful approach to life. The book explores resilience, adventure, and the importance of staying true to oneself.
Audiobook: The audiobook version of “Greenlights” is narrated by McConaughey, adding a unique and personal touch to the listening experience. His voice brings authenticity and charisma to the stories, and his well-known Southern drawl helps to immerse the listener in his world. The audiobook has been particularly praised because it feels like McConaughey is having a personal conversation with the listener.
As a work that crosses the boundary between celebrity memoir and self-help book, “Greenlights” provides an insightful look at the life of one of Hollywood’s most intriguing actors while also offering inspiration for listeners to approach life’s challenges with a positive, “just keep livin'” attitude.
5. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements is a New York Times bestseller self-help book by Don Miguel Ruiz, first published in 1997. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the book offers a code of conduct to lead to personal freedom and inner peace.
Synopsis: Ruiz presents four principles to practice to create love and happiness in one’s life. Embracing and adhering to these agreements is supposed to help one break free from limiting beliefs that cause suffering and limit one’s progress in life. The four agreements are:
Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak honestly and say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their reality, their dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and express what you want. Communicate with others as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Always Do Your Best: Your best will change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy instead of sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Themes: The book focuses on the significance of personal understanding and wisdom, emphasizing the impact of self-limiting beliefs on one’s life. Ruiz uses the agreements to address the psychological traps that prevent us from living lives filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.
Audiobook: The audiobook version is narrated by Peter Coyote, whose clear and calm delivery complements the book’s reflective and inspirational content. His narration helps convey the profound yet simple wisdom in a way that engages listeners.
This book has sold millions of copies and is recommended for anyone interested in spiritual or personal growth, making it a staple in the genre. The book’s lasting appeal is partly due to its simplicity and the universal nature of its teachings. The agreements are straightforward and applicable in everyday life, providing a framework that many find transformational in pursuing personal change and happiness.
6. Becoming by Michelle Obama
Becoming is a memoir by Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, published in November 2018. It is an intimate, powerful, and inspiring autobiography that offers a rare, behind-the-scenes look at her life before and during her time in the White House.
Synopsis: In “Becoming,” Michelle Obama chronicles the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. She describes her triumphs and disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it — in her own words and on her terms.
The book is divided into three sections:
Becoming Me – Covers her early life, her family roots, her education, and her career trajectory.
Becoming Us – Delves into her romance with Barack Obama, their marriage, the onset of his political career, and its impact on their family life.
Becoming More – Reflects on her role as First Lady, the campaigns, her public health initiatives, and her role as a mother, mentor, and international icon.
“Becoming” is more than a straightforward memoir; it’s a powerful testament to the importance of striving for a more just and equitable society, reflecting on what it means to break the mold, and a rallying cry for the empowerment of girls and women everywhere.
Audiobook: The audiobook version of “Becoming” is narrated by Michelle Obama, adding a deeply personal element to the listening experience. Her familiar voice and emotional delivery bring authenticity and warmth to her story, offering listeners the feeling of a personal dialogue with the former First Lady.
The memoir was met with overwhelming massive commercial success. It sold more copies than any other book published in the United States in 2018, breaking sales records and remaining on bestseller lists for months.
Michelle Obama’s candid recounting of her life’s journey resonated with a wide audience, inspiring readers and listeners with her message of perseverance, strength, and hope. Her reflections on race, womanhood, and American society contribute to the book’s significance and role in sparking important cultural conversations. The memoir and its audiobook version continue to inspire and influence countless readers and listeners who find motivation in her story of becoming.
7. Educated by Tara Westover
“Educated” is a memoir by Tara Westover, published in February 2018. It’s a gripping and poignant account of her life growing up in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho and her journey toward education and self-discovery.
Synopsis: Born to survivalist parents opposed to public education, Tara never attended school. Instead, she spent her childhood working in the family’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. Her father, distrustful of the government, medical establishment, and public education, suffered from radical beliefs that bordered on the paranoid.
Despite this isolated and violent home life, Tara had a desire to learn. This led her to educate herself enough to gain acceptance into Brigham Young University, dramatically expanding her world and mind. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge. However, her education came at a cost, creating an insurmountable divide between her and her family.
Themes: “Educated” explores various complex themes, including the power of education, the resilience of the human spirit, the ties of family, and the pain of severing those ties. Westover’s story is a testament to the desire for knowledge and the struggles accompanying the pursuit of education under unconventional circumstances.
Audiobook: The audiobook version of “Educated” is narrated by Julia Whelan, whose narration is praised for its clarity, emotion, and the way it complements the narrative’s intense and powerful storytelling. Whelan’s delivery enhances the memoir’s impact, bringing to life Westover’s emotional journey from a life of isolation to enlightenment and self-realization.
Upon its release, “Educated” quickly became a critical and commercial success. It has been a New York Times bestseller, was named among the best books of the year by multiple publications, and has been translated into numerous languages.
8. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
This is a memoir by David Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. Published in December 2018, the book tells the story of Goggins’ extraordinary life and the incredible feats of physical and mental endurance he has achieved.
Synopsis: The memoir chronicles Goggins’ journey from a childhood marked by poverty and abuse to his struggles with prejudice, obesity, and a congenital heart condition that nearly prevented him from joining the military. Despite these challenges, he transformed himself into an elite athlete and Navy SEAL through sheer willpower.
Goggins shares his philosophy of “The 40% Rule,” which posits that most people only tap into 40% of their capabilities. He advocates pushing past pain, dismantling the limitations we set for ourselves, and mastering the mind to achieve what seems impossible. The book is a recounting of Goggins’ remarkable life and a call to action, challenging readers to pursue their personal bests.
Audiobook: The audiobook version is notably different from the print version because it includes additional commentary not found in the text, making it a unique experience. Goggins and the audiobook’s co-author, Adam Skolnick, include podcast-style discussions at the end of each chapter, adding further insight into Goggins’ mindset and the lessons he has learned.
The book has become a bestseller, resonating with readers inspired by Goggins’ life story and his unrelenting approach to self-improvement. His intense, no-excuses attitude toward personal development and his mantra that “You are in charge of your own life” has motivated many to adopt a tougher, more disciplined approach to their challenges.
Goggins’ status as a motivational speaker and his significant social media following have also helped promote the book’s message. His powerful narrative of self-transformation emphasizes that people can exceed their expectations through mental fortitude and relentless effort, which continues to inspire a broad audience seeking to unlock their full potential.
9. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale or Stephen Fry
The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling is one of the most beloved and best-selling book series in history. The series consists of seven books, starting with “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (released as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the United States) and concluding with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
These books follow the journey of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry’s struggle against the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who aims to become immortal and conquer the wizarding world.
The books have been phenomenally successful, captivating readers of all ages worldwide, and have been adapted into a popular film series.
Audiobooks: The “Harry Potter” audiobooks have been narrated by two different narrators for separate audiences:
Jim Dale: He narrates the series for the North American market. Dale’s performances are well received, and he has won several awards for narration, including Grammy Awards. His distinct voices for each character have been praised for their liveliness and consistency throughout the series.
Stephen Fry: He narrates the series for the UK and the rest of the world. Fry’s rendition is also highly praised, with many fans enjoying his calm, clear, and engaging narration style. He brings a classic storytelling approach to the books, creating a warm and inviting narrative experience.
The “Harry Potter” audiobooks are incredibly popular and have significantly impacted the audiobook industry, drawing in listeners who do not otherwise choose to consume books in audio form. The engaging performances by both Dale and Fry have contributed to the increasing acceptance and enjoyment of audiobooks as a medium. Fans debate their preference between the two narrators, with some enjoying Dale’s distinct character voices and others preferring the subtlety and nuance of Fry’s storytelling.
Regardless of the listener’s preference for a narrator, the “Harry Potter” audiobook series has played a crucial role in the rise of audiobooks’ popularity and remains a staple in the libraries of audiobook enthusiasts around the world.
10. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The Sandman is a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. Its original run spans from 1989 to 1996 and encapsulates a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy, in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven. The Sandman is the story of Dream (also known as Morpheus), one of the seven Endless, a powerful group of siblings that includes Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction, and Destiny.
In 2020, “The Sandman” was adapted into a multi-part audio drama for Audible, produced by Dirk Maggs, known for his work on audio adaptations of graphic novels. Neil Gaiman serves as the narrator of this series, guiding listeners through his complex universe.
Synopsis of the Audiobook: The audio adaptation brings “The Sandman” comic book series to life with an ensemble cast led by James McAvoy as Morpheus. It starts with Dream’s capture by a mortal wizard, his eventual escape after decades of imprisonment, and his journey to reclaim his lost objects of power and rebuild his kingdom, The Dreaming. The narrative traverses various mythological and fictional realms, drawing in various characters from diverse backgrounds and stories.
The adaptation has been met with critical acclaim and is celebrated for its faithful recreation of the original comic’s tone and atmosphere. The sound design and performances—particularly McAvoy’s portrayal of Dream—have been highlighted for their quality and depth, providing a new way to experience the story without the visual element of the comics.
“The Sandman” audio drama stands out for its cinematic sound production and the use of an extensive cast to represent the wide array of characters from the series. It offers a new dimension to the “Sandman” world for fans of the original comics and serves as an accessible entry point for new listeners to engage with Gaiman’s creation.
As an Audible Original, it has broadened the reach of audio drama adaptations and has become a landmark production for Audible, contributing to the growing popularity of high-quality, immersive audio storytelling.
5 Best Selling Audiobooks of All Time
“Becoming” by Michelle Obama – Narrated by the author herself, this deeply personal memoir from the former First Lady of the United States shares the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
“Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling – Narrated by Jim Dale (in the US) and Stephen Fry (in the UK), this beloved series has enchanted listeners of all ages around the globe. The magical journey of Harry Potter, a young wizard discovering his heritage and destiny, has become a staple in the audiobook world, with millions of fans revisiting the series through its engaging audio rendition.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson – With its straightforward, no-nonsense approach to self-help, this book, narrated by Roger Wayne, challenges conventional wisdom and encourages listeners to focus on what truly matters to them. Its popularity reflects a wide appeal for practical advice on living a contented and grounded life.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens – Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, this novel combines mystery, romance, and a coming-of-age story set in the marshes of the North Carolina coast. The audiobook has captivated listeners with its exquisite narrative and has been a top seller, propelled further by the success of the print version and the adaptation into a major motion picture.
“Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds” by David Goggins – Narrated by David Goggins and Adam Skolnick, this memoir/self-help book shares the astonishing life story of David Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner. Through his journey, Goggins inspires listeners to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.
5 Most Expensive Audible Books
“Ulysses” by James Joyce, narrated by Jim Norton, tops the list with its intricate exploration of a single day in Dublin. This novel is renowned for its stream-of-consciousness style and deep literary significance.
“Truman” by David McCullough, narrated by Nelson Runger, provides an extensive biography of the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, offering insight into his political and personal life.
“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, narrated by Sean Pratt, is another high-priced audiobook known for its complex narrative structure and exploration of themes like entertainment and addiction.
“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, narrated by William Hootkins, is a classic piece of American literature that tells the epic tale of Captain Ahab’s obsession with capturing the great white whale, Moby-Dick.
“President Carter: The White House Years” by Stuart E. Eizenstat offers a detailed story of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, drawing on extensive notes and interviews.
These books represent the best of what Audible has to offer – stories that resonate, voices that captivate, and experiences that enrich. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, entertainment, education, or just a good old-fashioned story, they offer something for everyone.
So, as you download your next listen, remember that each book is a doorway to a new adventure, perspective, and experience. Until we meet again in the vast universe of audiobooks, happy listening.
More Books: 10 Most Expensive Audible Books Of All Time
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