Tell Us What You Want To Learn & We’ll Tell You Which Audiobook To Listen To

Originally Published: 

Syllabus week is coming for college students, but for everyone else, life ticks on with too few real-world opportunities to engross oneself in a new subject. If you want to explore new topics this fall, I've picked out the perfect audiobook to listen to, based on the subject you're interested in. Pop in some headphones and get a dose of quality, pertinent information as you trek across campus this semester.

If you've tired of the ubiquitous lofi hip hop playlist, you may want to give audiobooks a shot. Although I wouldn't recommend listening to them when you're supposed to be studying, replacing your idle-time tunes with a great work of nonfiction related to your major can help make you one of the most outstanding young students in your department.

Whether you're about to sit in a college classroom for the very first time, or you're returning for your sophomore, junior, or even senior year, there's a nonfiction audiobook on the list below that will help you succeed. Pick out one or two to listen to this semester, and be sure to download or check out a few more before your next break, because you'll want to stay on top of your game to avoid the slump.

If you're interested in African-American studies, listen to 'A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind' by Harriet A. Washington, read by Ron Butler

From Medical Apartheid author Harriet A. Washington comes this examination of communities kept sick by air and water pollution, poor waste management, and hazardous housing, and how those factors affect school and work performance.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in anthropology, listen to 'Superior: The Return of Race Science' by Angela Saini, read by Hannah Melbourn

At one time, prominent (white) thinkers claimed that the shapes of the head, face, and features were related to intrinsic behaviors and traits, including intelligence and criminal predilections. Today, the concept of "biological race" should be a thing of the past, but, as Angela Saini shows, it is anything but lost to time.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in art history, listen to 'Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art' by Mary Gabriel, read by Lisa Stathoplos

Revisiting the lives of five painters who brought modern art to the masses, Mary Gabriel's Ninth Street Women is a must-read for any art history major who is tired of seeing creative women overlooked in favor of canonical men.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in biology, listen to 'Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us' by Ruth Kassinger, read by Xe Sands

A fascinating look at a much-maligned group of organisms, Ruth Kassinger's Slime explores the legacy and importance of algae to human existence.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in business administration, listen to 'Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy' by Magdalena Yesil and Sara Grace, read by Magdalena Yesil

A short, ultra-digestible book you can fit into any busy schedule, Magdalena Yesil's Power Up will give any woman the inspiration and insight she needs to make tough, smart decisions in the world of business.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in chemistry, listen to 'Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom' by Katherine Eban, read by the author

Have a pharmacology interest? You should listen to Katherine Eban's Bottle of Lies, which exposes the troubling risks associated with generic prescription drugs.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in communications and journalism, listen to 'There's No Crying in Newsrooms: What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead' by Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace, read by Teri Schnaubelt

Collecting the stories of women who have spent the last four decades in media, There's No Crying in Newsrooms is an essential read for any aspiring journalist or reporter.

Click here to buy.

If you're interested in computer science, listen to 'Kingdom of Lies: Unnerving Adventures in the World of Cybercrime' by Kate Fazzini, read by Khristine Hvam

Weaving together stories of cyber-criminals, Kate Fazzini's Kingdom of Lies guides readers through a dark and dirty world of extortion, intellectual property theft, and international scandal.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in creative writing, listen to 'Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark' by Cecelia Watson, read by Pam Ward

No punctuation mark has ever been as vilified as the semicolon. Often misused and left by the wayside, the semicolon may find its vindication this microstudy from Cecelia Watson.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in criminal justice, listen to 'Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair' by Danielle Sered, read by Emily Durante

From the director of Common Justice comes this compelling argument for prison reform that focuses on the rehabilitation of violent offenders and the healing that a different approach to criminal justice can offer victims and their families.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in economics, listen to 'Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men' by Caroline Criado Perez, read by the author

A No. 1 bestseller on Amazon, Caroline Criado Perez's Invisible Women examines the ways in which data — the supposedly neutral products of research — have an inherent gender bias that negatively impacts women.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in elementary education, listen to 'The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System — and How to Fix It' by Natalie Wexler, read by the author

Focusing on the problem with elementary education's emphasis on honing students' reading-comprehension skills, Natalie Wexler calls for a rehaul of compulsory education in the U.S. in The Knowledge Gap.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in engineering, listen to 'The Future of Design: Global Product Innovation for a Complex World' by Lorraine Justice, read by Katherine Fenton

Engineers are in high demand today, but if you're majoring in the field, you should know that you're expected to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing world. Enter Lorraine Justice's The Future of Design, which will provide current engineering majors with a roadmap to future success.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in English, listen to 'Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language' by Gretchen McCulloch, read by the author

Is the way we speak on the Internet wrong? Not according to Gretchen McCulloch. In Because Internet, McCulloch explores the exciting ways in which Internet correspondence is changing the English language.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in environmental science, listen to 'Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects' by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, read by Kristin Millward

A great read for anyone who has ever wondered why we really need mosquitoes, anyway, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson's Buzz, Sting, Bite is the perfect book to remind environmental science majors why studying the best ways to protect the world's ecosystems is so, so important.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in film studies, listen to 'I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy' by Erin Carlson, read by Pippa Armstrong

We lost a real gem upon Nora Ephron's death in 2012, but her books and films live on. For film studies majors who are tired of watching high-brow cinema, Erin Carlson's exploration of Ephron's rom-coms will be a fantastic palate cleanser.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in history, listen to 'The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation' by Brenda Wineapple, read by Gabra Zackman

Only tenuously reunified in the wake of the Civil War, the U.S. was left on the brink of disaster again with the election of Andrew Johnson. In this microhistory focusing on Johnson's impeachment trial, Brenda Wineapple exposes how American lawmakers reacted to the "president who acted like a king."

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in marketing, listen to 'Platform: The Art and Science of Personal Branding' by Cynthia Johnson, read by the author

Being a marketing major means learning how to promote others' intellectual properties, but what about your own? In the must-read Platform, Cynthia Johnson offers a crash course in personal branding.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in mathematics, listen to 'Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics' by Eugenia Cheng, read by Moira Quirk

In the vein of Charles Seife's Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Eugenia Cheng's Beyond Infinity tackles the other end of the numbers spectrum, attempting to encompass the concept and limits of "infinity."

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in Middle-Eastern studies, listen to 'Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World,' edited by Zahra Hankir, read by Soneela Nankani

A collection that's also perfect for journalism majors, Our Women on the Ground compiles 19 Arab journalists' reportings on life, love, and politics in their Middle Eastern home states.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in nursing, listen to 'Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution' by Jennifer Block, read by Suehyla El-Attar

The quality of women's health care is on the decline in the U.S. Jennifer Block attempts to get to the bottom of why women don't have equal access to medical care in Everything Below the Waist — a must-read book for any aspiring medical professional.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in performing arts, listen to 'The Drama of Celebrity' by Sharon Marcus, read by Olivia Vinall

What makes a celebrity? In Sharon Marcus' The Drama of Celebrity, readers learn that fame for fame's sake is a myth, and discover how a multitude of factors work together to determine who becomes a star in the digital age.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in political science, listen to 'How to Read the Constitution — and Why' by Kim Wehle, read by the author

If you're a new political science major, or just thinking of auditing a few poli-sci courses, Kim Wehle's How to Read the Constitution and Why should be at the top of your reading list this fall.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in psychology, listen to 'I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying' by Bassey Ikpi, read by the author

Written by Nigerian-American slam poet Bassey Ikpi, I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying delves deep into the author's experiences with bipolar II and anxiety, making it an essential text for anyone hoping to understand and treat mental illness.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in studio art, listen to 'Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist' by Lisa Congdon, read by the author

Studying art means fielding endless questions about how you will afford to eat and maintain a roof over your head. In Art, Inc., Lisa Congdon lays out how artists support themselves by doing what they love.

Click here to buy.

If you're majoring in women's and gender studies, listen to 'Transgressive: A Trans Woman on Gender, Feminism, and Politics' by Rachel Anne Williams, read by Lisa Rost-Welling

With the prominence of trans-exclusionary voices in "feminist" circles, it's important to center trans feminism in women's and gender studies. Check out Rachel Anne Williams' Transgressive for one woman's take on trans life and politics.

Click here to buy.

If you can't decide what you're interested in, listen to 'Everything Is Figureoutable' by Marie Forleo, read by the author (Sep. 10)

Don't fret if you haven't declared a major yet. You still have plenty of time, and, as Marie Forleo will show you, Everything is Figureoutable.

Click here to pre-order.

This article was originally published on