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Audiobook Reviews in Five Minutes

87 EpisodesProduced by JannaWebsite

Looking for your next Audiobook listen, but not sure where to start? The Audiobook Reviews in Five Minutes podcast covers highlights of my latest non-fiction audiobook recommendations; topics include culture, ideas, history, and communication.

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Review of Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland, read by Tom Parks

September 21st, 2021


Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Philosophy Edward Slingerland makes a bold claim in his new book in that overall and over the …

Review of Things I Learned from Falling by Claire Nelson

September 14th, 2021


Things I learned from Falling is promoted as a memoir by Claire Nelson, who shares how she fell over 25 feet after wandering off the trail in a deserted corner of Joshua Tree Park. The fall shattered her pelvis, …

Review of Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Dr. Anna Lembke

September 7th, 2021


Anna Lembke is the medical director of Stanford Addiction Medicine, program director for the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship, and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She is the …

Review of The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

August 31st, 2021


Matt Haig is an author for children and adults. His memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 …

Review of This Is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan

August 17th, 2021


Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also …

Critique and Compare: How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera vs. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. van der Kolk

August 3rd, 2021


Self-help references on social media seem to be more popular these days, especially as many of us seek to move forward from pandemic life to …

Review of Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green, read by David Pittu

July 27th, 2021


The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, New York City’s high murder rates, …

Review of Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard

July 20th, 2021


Suzanne Simard is a professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences and teaches at the University of British Columbia. She was born …

Review of The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green

July 13th, 2021


The Anthropocene Reviewed started out as a podcast, where bestselling author John Green tried to make sense of some of the contradictions of human life – how we can be so compassionate, and yet so cruel. So persistent, …

A conversation with Elena Iacono: What insights can we bring to our post-pandemic lives?

July 6th, 2021


In today’s extended episode, I chat with Elena Iacono. Elena is a professional colleague of mine who helps empower people to support their well-being …

Review of Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab

June 29th, 2021


Do you struggle with saying no, or simply telling people what you need? Or, are you someone who secretly or not so secretly embraces JOMO, (the joy of missing out)? Nedra Glover Tawwab shares plainly and clearly what …

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone – A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb, read by Brittany Pressley

June 22nd, 2021


As many of us adjust to life after a pandemic, Lori Gottlieb’s memoir is a powerful reminder of how we relate to ourselves and others based on the …

A conversation with Lucas Cantor, host of the Book Society podcast

June 15th, 2021


In today’s extended episode, I’m sitting down with Lucas Cantor, a podcaster, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and speaker. He has worked …

Review of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

June 8th, 2021


In his 15-hour audiobook published in April 2021, Keefe captures a family saga that spans the twentieth century and leads up to 2020. Members of the Sackler family founded Purdue Pharma, the infamous maker of OxyContin, …

Review of The Quick Fix: Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills by Jesse Singal

June 1st, 2021


In The Quick Fix, author and podcaster Jesse Singal argues that the trendy, TED-Talk-friendly psychological interventions so in vogue right now will …

Review of What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing written and read by Oprah Winfrey, Bruce D. Perry

May 25th, 2021


What Happened To You is the latest popular psychology book examining the relationship between trauma and behavioural patterns that many of us …

Review of The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell

May 18th, 2021


The Bomber Mafia is a fascinating exploration of how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war. The production was initially …

Review of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't by Julia Galef

May 11th, 2021


Author Julia Galef is the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality and host of Rationally Speaking, the official podcast of New York City …

Review of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out by Amanda Ripley

May 4th, 2021


This is one of the most important books that will be published in 2021. The Covid vaccine will soon free humanity from a biological pandemic, and …

Review of Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism by Mariana Mazzucato, read by Lexie McDougal

April 20th, 2021


“This economist has a plan to fix capitalism. It's time we all listened.” – Wired

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation …

Review of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

April 13th, 2021


Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. …

Review of Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere by Tsedal Neeley, read by Marisha Tapera

April 6th, 2021


Tsedal Neeley (@tsedal) is the Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Her work focuses on how leaders …

A conversation with Rachel Décoste, author of a Year of Return: a Black Woman’s African Homecoming

March 30th, 2021


Have you ever explored your ancestry? What did you discover? In her 2021 audiobook, The Year of Return: A Black Woman’s African Homecoming, Rachel Décoste shares her epic odyssey to Africa. Like most descendants of …

A conversation with Paul Gewuerz, founder of Made to Order Audio: give the gift of a custom audiobook and commemorate your story

March 23rd, 2021


What are the funny or interesting stories from your life? You know, the ones that get retold at every family or friends get together? In this …

Review of How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, by Bill Gates, read by Wil Wheaton

March 16th, 2021


Gates identifies the Five Grand Challenges of climate change as manufacturing (31%), electricity (27%), agriculture (19%), transportation (16%), and …

Review of The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? by Michael J. Sandel

March 9th, 2021


In the Tyranny of Merit, political philosopher Michael Sandel attacks what he calls “the rhetoric of rising” and ideas about meritocracy on both the …

Review of The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, read by Dylan Moore

March 2nd, 2021


The Glass Hotel is like a literary mosaic of tiny pieces taken from various times, locations, and perspectives. I found this initially disorienting, but when the bigger picture started to emerge, I was hooked. 

Emily …

Review of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam Grant

February 23rd, 2021


Think Again is a 21st Century reboot of Enlightenment ideas, celebrating skepticism and science. Adam Grant’s balance of storytelling and statistics is fascinating, but what makes this listen fun is how Grant challenges …

Review of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, written by Jonathan Haidt, read by Ryan Vincent Anderson

February 16th, 2021


The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt is a 2006 psychology book written for a non-academic audience, with insights that remain relevant today. …

Review of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, read by Carey Mulligan

February 9th, 2021


“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever…”

Ultimately, stories have emotional power over us, and great stories stay with us for a lifetime. Haig’s charming style …

Review of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times written by Katherine May and read by Rebecca Lee

February 2nd, 2021


All of us have experienced unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a breakup, or a job loss. These experiences can be deeply lonely and confusing. I’m reviewing this book because I’m …

A conversation with author Tom James: Does parenting make people better, less selfish members of society?

January 26th, 2021


In this extended episode, I sit down with author Tom James to chat about his hilarious and thought-provoking book, Your Children Are Boring: How Modern Parents Ruin Everything, which delves into society's obsession with …

Review of You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy

January 19th, 2021


One Goodreads reviewer gave this book three stars out of five, criticizing it as a “Love Letter to Listening” (but lacking tips of how to listen better). This same rationale is exactly why I’m giving this title five out …

Review of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein, read by Will Damron

January 12th, 2021


Have you ever felt conflicted about the phrase “follow your passion”, or hesitated to try something new because you were already invested in another …

Make Listening Your Superpower in 2021: Special extended episode

January 5th, 2021


This extended episode is also available as an article on and shares insights taken from some of the audiobooks about listening I've reviewed on my podcast

Want to add lasting value at work and in personal …

Review of A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future, written and read by Sir David Attenborough

December 29th, 2020


Do you feel overwhelmed by data and news about climate change? A Life on Our Planet offers some powerful reasons for optimism. 

Sir David …

Review of A Promised Land, written and read by Barack Obama

December 22nd, 2020


What does it mean to be American – and is it possible for Americans to unite in a common cause unrelated to war or terrorism? 

Barack Obama's unwavering vision of American Exceptionalism is not new; it’s been a feature …

Review of Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy by Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano, read by T. Ryder Smith

December 15th, 2020


The November 2018 fire that levelled the towns of Paradise and Concow was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California's history, and the most expensive natural disaster in the world that year. Named the …

Review of How to Be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening, written and read by Julian Treasure

December 8th, 2020


Which habits are keeping you from being a great communicator? Julian Treasure is the chair of the Sound Agency, a firm that advises worldwide …

Review of The Wolf Hall Trilogy (Thomas Cromwell Series) by Hilary Mantel, read by Simon Vance and Joseph Kloska

December 1st, 2020


Modern marriage and politics have nothing over the royal court of King Henry VIII. The Wolf Hall Trilogy includes Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies

Review of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, written and read by Oliver Burkeman

November 24th, 2020


“The effort to try to feel happy is often precisely the thing that makes us miserable.” ― Oliver Burkeman,

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking is a witty, fascinating, and …

Review of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine, read by James Patrick Cronin

November 17th, 2020


What if you already have absolutely everything you need to feel satisfied (and even joyful!) about your life? Stoic philosophy is based on the idea …

Review of Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse: What You Urgently Need To Know by Nina Schick

November 10th, 2020


While forgery and deception are intrinsically linked to the human condition, the information age in which we live is increasingly moving toward what author and broadcaster Nina Schick describes as the infocalypse, a …

Review of Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined, written and read by Stephen Fry

November 3rd, 2020


Heroes is the second book in Stephen Fry’s Greek Mythology trilogy; the first book, Mythos, which I also reviewed, focuses on gods and other …

Review of Eat a Peach, written by David Chang & Gabe Ulla, read by David Chang

October 27th, 2020


Have you ever ordered something you enjoyed so much at a restaurant that you tried making it yourself at home? Well, I have, and although I never quite succeeded in replicating David Chang’s Ginger Scallion noodles from …

Review of Everything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story) written and read by Daniel Nayeri

October 20th, 2020


Don’t let the young adult (YA) fiction marketing fool you, this autobiographical story is unforgettable (and much appreciated!) by those with some …

Review of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, read by Derek Perkins

October 13th, 2020


“Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question” – Yuval Noah Harari

What is the right thing to do when …

Review of How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide written by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay, read by Peter Boghossian

October 6th, 2020


Would you like to have more productive conversations with people who think differently than you or strongly disagree with you? Hint: it’s unlikely to …

Review of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, read by Michael Goldstrom

September 29th, 2020


“You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate.” -- Robert M. Sapolsky 

Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky is a Professor of …

Review of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, read by Robin Miles

September 15th, 2020


Has public conversation about racism stalled because we’re limited by the language we use? In Caste, Isabel Wilkerson sets out to reframe how we think about and discuss systemic and structural racism.

“Of all the books …

What Does it Take to Record & Produce an Audiobook? A Conversation with Narrator Michael Bafuma

September 8th, 2020


Healthcare professional, musician, and actor Michael Bafuma sought new creative outlets during the Covid-19 shutdown, so he decided to try his hand at audiobook recording through ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange …

Favourite Fiction Highlights: Tana French, genre-busting master of psychological suspense

September 1st, 2020


This episode goes out to all the listeners who asked me to review fiction on the Audiobook Reviews in 5 Podcast! Tana French is one of my favourite …

Review of The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, written and read by David Whyte

August 25th, 2020


Have the events of 2020 made you redefine or question the concept of work-life balance? According to David Whyte, the concept of striving to find balance between our personal and work lives is a case of misapplying and …

Bonus Episode: Ask Me Anything (AMA) #1

August 23rd, 2020


In this bonus podcast episode, I answer listener questions about why I don’t include ratings with my reviews, how I identify great listens for future reviews, and the challenges of reviewing fiction.

Audio production by …

Review of Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings and read by Simon Vance

August 17th, 2020


Sir Max Hastings is an author, journalist and broadcaster whose work has appeared in every British national newspaper. He has published twenty-six books, and rumour has it that he rises at 5 a.m. and writes 2,000 words …

Review of Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City by Fang Fang, read by Emily Woo Zeller

August 10th, 2020


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the epicenter of the COVID pandemic? Fang Fang is the pen name of a 64-year-old Wuhan …

Review of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

August 2nd, 2020


Dr. Brittney Cooper is an associate professor of women's and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University in the United States. She is a …

Review of Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker, with Lisa Miller and read by Caz Harleaux

July 26th, 2020


This title intrigued me because Dr. Willie Parker seems like an unlikely champion of reproductive justice, yet in many ways, his lived experience is …

Review of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

July 19th, 2020


Are you feeling flummoxed, bamboozled, and stupefied by communication and language online? And how exactly did LOLcats irreversibly change the course …

Review of They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up by Eternity Martis

July 12th, 2020


Eternity Martis is an award-winning Toronto-based journalist and editor whose work has been featured in The Huffington Post, VICE, Chatelaine, Maclean’s, Flare, Salon, CBC, Hazlitt, The Walrus, Refinery29, The Fader, …

Review of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney, read by Paul Hodgson

July 5th, 2020


Laura Spinney is a British science journalist, novelist, and non-fiction writer, and she’s been reporting on the Coronavirus pandemic for the last few months in the Guardian, but this audiobook was published in 2017, …

Review of Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq, read by the author

June 29th, 2020


When was the last time you listened to an audiobook that shattered all of your expectations – from the format and narrative performance, to the genre-defying content? Split Tooth is part memoir, part manifesto, and it’s …

Review of The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole, read by the author

June 21st, 2020


Do you believe that racism isn’t a problem in Canada, or that it’s a relatively benign issue compared to racism in the United States, or other …

Review of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, read by the author

June 14th, 2020


“For Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, there are no non-racists; there are only …

Review of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

June 7th, 2020


Dr. Robin DiAngelo is an antiracist educator and University of Washington professor. She defines white fragility as the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially. White fragility is characterized …

Review of Permanent Record by Edward Snowden, read by Holter Graham

June 1st, 2020


This might be the most fascinating memoir ever published by someone under 40; you can’t beat the combination of storytelling, historic context, and current relevance.


What makes an audiobook reader stand out? Extended review and highlights

May 24th, 2020


If you’re a fan of audiobooks like I am, you’ve likely found yourself drawn to readers with a talent for capturing and keeping your attention! The very best readers have a talent for drawing you in and keeping you up …

Review of Mythos: The Greek Myths Reimagined, by Stephen Fry

May 18th, 2020


Every now and then, I come across an audiobook that’s so entertaining and so deliciously enjoyable, that I limit myself to listening to just an hour or less each day – allowing me to savour it longer. Mythos is that …

Review of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Michelle Alexander

May 10th, 2020


Even 10 years after publication, the systemic issues that Alexander expertly navigates throughout her book remain among the most problematic and …

Review of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

May 3rd, 2020


Have you ever wondered who YOU might become if you could just change or develop different habits? In Atomic Habits, James Clear defines success as a …

Review of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It, written by Chris Voss and narrated by Michael Kramer

April 26th, 2020


This book is for anyone who wants to improve their communication, relationships, and professional lives. Whether you’re job hunting, parenting, …

A conversation with author Codi Shewan: What if your legacy isn't what you leave behind, but something you create?

April 18th, 2020


In this extended episode, Codi and I discuss his book, Everyday Legacy: Lessons for Living With Purpose, Right Now. Everyday Legacy shares vital lessons for living, informed by Codi’s experiences as a funeral director …

Review of Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright, read by Gabra Zackman

April 16th, 2020


Do you enjoy dark sarcasm, witty anecdotes, folk history, pop culture references, and historic epidemiological surveys of disease? If so, this …

Review of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

April 11th, 2020


Hari discusses some especially timely concerns: disconnection from meaningful work, from other people, from meaningful values, from childhood trauma, …

Review of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael T. Osterholm, Mark Olshaker

April 5th, 2020


This book was praised as “a wake-up call’ when it was published in 2017, yet cuts to pandemic preparedness budgets nevertheless continued, as is …

Review of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

March 29th, 2020


Originally trained as a visual artist, Jenny Odell has established herself over the last year as a writer and podcaster with her excellent podcast series, Hurry slowly. Published in April 2019, her book has been …

Review of The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry, narrated by Scott Brick

March 15th, 2020


The scale and numbers associated with the 1918 pandemic always stop me in my tracks. From January 1918 – December 1920, with the worst month in …

Review of The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray

March 13th, 2020


In my latest podcast, I review The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, written and read by Douglas Murray. Murray’s main point is that, “Minimizing difference is not the same as pretending difference does not …

Review of Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence by Dr. Amy Blackstone

March 8th, 2020


Have you ever been asked by a stranger or acquaintance whether or not you have kids? If you’re childfree, and especially a #childfree woman, chances are, you don’t easily forget the looks of surprise, judgement, or pity …

Bonus episode: Why I love audiobooks, and tips for getting started

March 2nd, 2020


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been captivated by hearing stories and books spoken aloud. This bonus episode highlights how I came to love audiobooks, and a few tips for those who are just getting started with the …

Review of Homo Deus: A brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari, narrated by Derek Perkins

March 1st, 2020


I broke my five-minute rule for this one! When was the last time you changed your mind about one of your deepest held core beliefs? If you’ve heard …

Review of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? Written and read by Alan Alda.

February 24th, 2020


As our culture increasingly aligns to technical adoption and proficiency, many of us have slipped into various forms of technical and jargon-filled …

Review of Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know, written and read by Malcolm Gladwell

February 23rd, 2020


Do you feel you’re a pretty solid judge of character? How about spotting liars? Malcolm Gladwell’s exploration of communication misalignment and …

Feb 16 Pilot episode recorded on iPhone: Review of Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, written and read by Ronan Farrow

February 16th, 2020


Facing incredible odds and setbacks, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ronan Farrow diligently investigated and eventually exposed some of the most …

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