My Top 14 non-fiction audiobooks of 2017


by Dennis Ray

There probably isn’t another medium in the arts that has gone through such a drastic change for the better over the past 20 years than audiobooks.
Back in the 80s and 90s finding well-read audiobooks was a difficult task. Finding well-read and unabridged was practically impossible. Today, the quality and craftsmanship of almost every major audiobook are exceptional.
So I’ve made a list of my 14 favorite non-fiction new audiobooks of 2017. I’ve listened to just over 50, so my “best of list” from a potential market of many 1000s is far from complete. But I will state all the books listed here are exceptional. A few of the books had me sitting in my driveway (since I listen to them only in my car) draining the battery on more than one occasion.
These are in no particular order:


Author: Mitch Prinstein | Narrator: Mitch Prinstein | 6.5 hours
A leading psychologist examines how our popularity affects our success, our relationships, and our happiness—and why we don’t always want to be the most popular.

Reading with Patrick
Author: Michelle Kuo | Narrator: Michelle Kuo | 8.5 hours
A memoir of race, inequality, and the power of literature told through the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta.

The Four
Author: Scott Galloway | Narrator: Jonathan Todd Ross | 8.5 hours
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are the four most influential companies on the planet. Just about everyone thinks they know how they got there. Just about everyone is wrong.



Author: Reza Aslan | Narrator: Reza Aslan | 5.5 hours
The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity’s quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.



If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
Author: Alan Alda | Narrator: Alan Alda | 6 hours
Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and honesty, he explores how to develop empathy as the critical factor.



Churchill and Orwell
Author: Thomas E. Ricks | Narrator: James Lurie | 10 hours
A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.



The Vietnam War
Author: Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns | Narrator: Ken Burns | 31 hours 15 min
From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others. A vivid, uniquely compelling history of the conflict that tore America apart — the companion volume to the significant, multipart PBS film aired in September 2017.


Author: Ron Chernow | Narrator: Mark Bramhall | 48 hours
Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.



Happiness in This Life
Author: Oonagh Stransky and Pope Francis | Narrator: Arthur Morey | 6.5 hours
A collection of sermons, speeches, and “messages of the day” that brings together Pope Francis’s wisdom on finding happiness in the here and now.



The Loyal Son
Author: Daniel Mark Epstein | Narrator: Scott Brick | 16.5 hours
The dramatic story of a founding father, his illegitimate son, and the tragedy of their conflict during the American Revolution—from the acclaimed author of The Lincolns.



Author: Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes | Narrator: Kimberly Farr | 17 hours
It was never supposed to be this close. And of course, she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the riveting story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgment about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary’s campaign–the candidate herself.


Sticky Fingers

Author: Joe Hagan | Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris and Joe Hagan | 18.5 hours
A delicious romp through the heyday of rock and roll and a revealing portrait of the man at the helm of the iconic magazine that made it all possible, with open look backs at the era from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elton John, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and others.


Screamfree Parenting, 10th Anniversary Revised Edition
Author: Hal Runkel, LMFT | Narrator: Hal Runkel, LMFT | 7.5 hours
A new recording for the 10th anniversary of this parenting staple, on how parents can control their behavior instead of unsuccessfully attempting to control their kids. Now with further information on keeping your cool in the digital age, examining the new wave of gentle parenting, and dealing with rebellious teens.


Sea Power
Author: Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) | Narrator: Marc Cashman | 11 hours
From one of the most admired Admirals of his generation—and the only Admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO—comes a remarkable voyage through all of the world’s most important bodies of water. This book provides the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path.


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