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13 Fears And The Audiobooks That (Might) Help!

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We’re going to be recommending you a casket-full of Halloweeny books during October but it’s not all about Stephen King and sexy vampires. In our first installment we’ve put together a list of 13 fears, from the fear of staying single to the fear of hipsters, along with audiobook recommendations to help you get over your aversion.

1. Fear of Staying Single

You’ve done everything possible to avert singledom. You’ve swiped right until your fingers are calloused, spent entire weekends answering OKCupid’s questions on your potential partner’s political values and whether or not you’re into leather; you’ve started saying yes to more social engagements and month by month your list of dating ‘deal breakers’ gets shorter and shorter. I don’t really have a solution. In fact, I’m going to make things worse by recommending The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by the hilarious, and very much married, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, of Parks and Recreation and Will and Grace fame, respectively.

The pair met in 2000 and eighteen years later, they’re still very much in love. They’ve finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they’ve learned, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they’ve completed. Presented as an oral history in a series of conversations between the couple, the book features anecdotes, hijinks, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery. This is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally’s and Offerman’s fans have been waiting for. It might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life.

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2. Fear of Parenting

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You pull into a parking lot and dash into the store. You left your child in the car but you’ve only been gone a few minutes. You come back, your child is fine and you drive off to continue your day. What you don’t know is that a stranger has filmed you leaving your child unattended and has sent the footage to the police. The aftermath of this action, an action no doubt done by countless parents every day, is the catalyst for Kim Brooks’ Small Animals. Parenthood in the Age of Fear. She explores the influence of fear on parenting, how and why our notions of what it means to be a good parent have changed so radically, and what the rise of fearful parenting tells us about ourselves and our society.

3. Fear of Reality

We can probably blame Descartes and The Matrix for messing with our view of reality. But imagine waking up strapped to a gurney surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. A man smiles down at you and says, ‘welcome back.’ But where is back? Jason Dessen, the protagonist of Dark Matter wakes up unsure of the world he’s in. His wife isn’t his wife, his son never existed. Is he dreaming or is this reality?

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4. Fear of Failure

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Most of us have daydreamed about turning our hobby into a side business or just quitting the 9-to-5 and risking everything on our passion(s). In Crush It! Why NOW is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk tells you how to use the internet to turn your hobbies into businesses. Relating his own story of internet business success, maybe it’s time you took that hobby to market.

5. Fear of Bad Ideas

Sprint might sound like the title of a jogger’s memoir, but in fact it’s the influential methodology created by three partners at Google ventures. So what exactly is a sprint?

A Sprint is a structured process, usually over a week or two, where a team focuses intently on solving a problem or creating a solution or product. It’s often used by software development teams but has been successfully adapted to almost any industry.

Time to put on your running shoes and your thinking cap.

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6. Fear of Death

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As the saying goes, the two certainties in life are death and taxes, but I’m not sure which of the two is worse. Tuesdays with Morrie, a memoir, but often classified as fiction, recounts the friendship between Mitch Albom and Morrie Schwartz (in Hebrew, “morrie” means teacher), as the latter faces his impending death. Mitch visits his former professor over 14 Tuesdays (hence the title) as his old teacher succumbs to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), passing on to Mitch teachings on life, the process of dying, and death.

7. Fear of Adulting

One thing we should all avoid as adults is using nouns as verbs, but that aside, Lauren Graham, bestselling author and star of Gilmore Girls, offers advice to graduates on staying true to yourself. Graham waxes lyrical on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the present moment. At a lean 29 minutes, the audiobook is an expanded version of her commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High.

“I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve had successes and senior slumps. I’ve been the girl who has the lead, and the one who wished she had the bigger part. The truth? They don’t feel that different from each other.”

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8. Fear of Change

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Some things, like flares and mullets, have stayed firmly in the 1970s. LSD however, is making a comeback. You might not be aware but psychedelic drugs are going through something of a rebrand. The effects of lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, are being investigated and trialed, both officially and unofficially, for their efficacy in treating a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and addiction. There are also courses offering instruction on “micro-dosing” for businesses and enhancing employee performance (what ever happened to coffee?) In his book, How To Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan combines research, memoir, travelogue, history, and medicine to explore and explain the positive, therapeutic effects of acid on those who suffer mental health problems, and those who don’t.

Trippy or what?

9. Fear of Robots

In 5 years time, this blog post will probably be written by some sort of artificial intelligence. As the world becomes increasingly automated and we rely more on algorithms for, well, everything, Life 3.0 asks the questions and explores the answers to what exactly the future holds for our species. If automation is unstoppable, what do we do with all the people who are left behind? How does this drastic societal shift effect what we teach our kids? How exactly will artificial intelligence serve us, outsmart us, and possibly overwhelm us? If you’re prepping for the end-times or thinking of investing in a robot vacuum cleaner, Life 3.0 is the audiobook for you.

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10. Fear of Missing Out

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FOMO is real, y’all. In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), star of The Office and SNL writer Mindy Kaling offers her hilarious advice on what it’s like to be, in her words, ‘a timid chubster’ and daughter of immigrant parents.

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). Even if you don’t want the answers to these questions, just listen along for the laughs.

11. Fear of the Future

Yuval Noah Harari’s first book, the global bestseller Sapiens, told the story of each of us and how we’ve developed into the fine primates we are today. His second book, Homo Deus, did an about-face and focused on the future of our species. In his latest, much slimmer book, Harari poses 21 questions of import. His focus is unsurprising but always enlightening: climate change, immigration, artificial intelligence, and terrorism.

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12. Fear of Audiobooks

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We hear you. You like physical books: the earthy smell, the feel of it in your hand, the way you can fan a selection on a coffee table before guests arrive. But don’t be afraid of audiobooks. They’ve come along way and as the demand continues to grow (rapidly), the production value of audiobooks has kept pace. Probably one of the most impressive examples is 2017’s New York Times bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. The book has 126 narrators (stay with me), including some big names: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller, Lena Dunham, and the author himself.

13. Fear of Hipsters

Although I’ve just mocked hippies (see How to Change Your Mind) we can all appreciate their being totally down with peace and love. Paulo Coelho takes us back to that optimistic era to tell the story of Paulo, a skinny Brazilian who wants to be a writer and sets off on a journey of self-discovery. Is this autobiographical fiction, you ask?

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Steve Partridge

Steve is from the UK and has lived in London, Bulgaria, and Berlin. He studied Christian theology at King’s College London and spent several years working in publishing. His articles, books reviews, interviews and essays have been published in a range of digital and print magazines. In 2012, he was shortlisted for the Brighton Fringe Festival Writers Prize. His obsession with books and writing led him to start his own ‘BookTube’ channel on YouTube (to which you should probably subscribe). You can find him talking nonsense on Twitter @StPartridge.

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