Our busy lives limit the time we can spend with a book; so, why not turn to the alternative?
March 1, 2019 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
A lot has been written about how much millionaires and billionaires read, including here on Entrepreneur, and the numbers are pretty daunting. From Warren Buffet reading 500 pages a day to Mark Zuckerberg’s 2015 book-reading pledge to Bill Gates’s 50-books-a-year habit, the rich and famous (or at least, 88 percent of them, according to author Tom Corley) read voraciously.
Now, I’m an avid reader myself and there are few things I love more than a trip to the local bookstore. As a learning and organization development coach at Farmers Insurance, I also know how important it is for professionals to continue learning, to develop their skills and talents in a competitive marketplace.
But no matter how much I may want to read every book on this year’s “Best of” lists, my life just isn’t set up to spend hours every day curled up with the most recent cool title. And the same probably holds true for most entrepreneurs and small business owners.
That’s why I rely on podcasts, and why you should, too.
So, why podcasts?
For these reasons, podcasts have moved to the very top of my list of the best life hacks of recent years. Whenever and wherever I have my phone, earbuds and a little time, I listen to programs that can broaden my perspective and grow my understanding of my job, my life and the world. Podcasts are entertainment and education rolled into one and tailor-made for my multi-tasking life.
Podcasts are also evolving; they’ve come a long way isince their humble beginnings in 2003. Technological advances and the ubiquity of broadband connections have enabled mobile apps to easily integrate players and stream podcasts almost anywhere.
With smartphones ranked as the top medium for podcast consumption, 44 percent of Americans, or approximately 143 million people, have now listened to at least one podcast, according to Edison Research. Here are the top four reasons why you should join them — if you haven’t already.
1. To your brain, listening is the same as reading.
Like many people, you may feel that listening is somehow “cheating,” when compared to reading. This is an especially common concern among people who listen to audiobooks: that, somehow, you’re getting too much reward for too little effort. But research reported by Sage Publications shows there’s no difference in comprehension between listening and reading content. You aren’t cheating — you’re just adding to your store of knowledge and understanding through a different medium.
2. You can probably find the information you need.
Regardless of the topic you’re hoping to learn more about, it seems there’s now a podcast for that. In fact, with 550,00 active podcasts on Apple’s app alone, and over 18.5 million episodes available, you’d be hard pressed not to find what you’re looking for.
3. Multi-tasking much?
The ability to listen to high-quality content no matter where you are or what you’re doing is a big reason for the growth of podcasting over the past 15 years. And this medium is especially attractive for entrepreneurs, who are busy building a company, often with their own two hands.
Not only can you listen during your commute, while waiting in line or on a plane, but you can also listen while you’re doing all those activities of daily living that eat up so much time, from laundry to home maintenance and repairs. And 11 percent of podcast listeners turn on programs while they’re working, which can be great for entrepreneurs taking care of their routine business tasks.
4. The quality of the experience can be extraordinary.
Long before human beings first carved figures on cave walls, people were gathering together to share stories that taught, inspired and entertained. We seem to be wired to absorb what we hear, so when we listen to a podcast, we tend to listen intently. We don’t skim or scan the way we might do with a news article or a blog post. We create images in our minds of the scenes being described. We connect to the story, and we learn.
Of course, listening to podcasts isn’t going to instantly catapult you into the ranks of the ultra-successful: people like Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs et al. They had to do a lot of work to translate all their reading into the bottom line. But podcasts will definitely put you in the company of the more-successful: 51 percent of monthly podcast listeners have incomes of $75,000 and over, as compared to only 38 percent of the general population, according to The Podcast Consumer 2018 report.
Wondering how to get started? Here’s one recommended list of podcasts for every entrepreneur to consider.