That Encouraging Voice in Your Ear

I’m a self help fan who hates reading self help books. When it comes to encouraging words, I want to hear them, preferably while I go about my household chores, tend my garden, or take a walk in the park. These encouraging little talks between me and my iPod are just the thing to add more creation to my recreation, or to revivify a draining commute. Here are a few recent self-help audiobooks written and read by seasoned performers that make for great listens.

Creative Quest, by Questlove. There have been some excellent titles on creativity lately (most notably Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic) aiming to engage our creative potential. In his fourth book, DJ/drummer/producer and founder-of-The-Roots Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson offers lessons from his own staggeringly creative life. This wealth of anecdotes  tips on embracing fear, boredom and failure, flipping your mental scripts, setting goals and welcoming surprises is enlivened with original music and with sketches, making this an inspiring and diverting audio package.

Life Is Like a Musical: How to Live, Love and Lead Like a Star, by Tim Federle. There’s no people like show people, they smile when they are low, and thrive in a life filled with daily rejection. Broadway dancer, librettist and author Federle narrates this delightful collection of advice with candor, humor and panache, turning personal recollections and show biz lore into life lessons on how to be a truly class act. (Another engaging and inspiring audiobook with a theatrical pedigree is actress and playwright Anna Deavere-Smith’s wonderful Letters to a Young Artist. While our library currently doesn’t own a copy, remember that your Seattle Public Library card enables you to get an account with our neighboring King County system. A bit of librarian self help advice: digital media fans should always carry both cards!)

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes. What happens when you’ve met all your creative goals and achieved enviable fame and success, only to find you’re miserable? This is the question asked and answered by TV director/producer (and introvert) Shonda Rhimes, who overcomes her own crippling anxieties by embracing all those things she had previously said ‘no’ to. Ms. Rhimes journey to find and use her own voice is perfectly captured and realized in her own candid, spirited and empowering narration.

    – posted by David W.

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