Trending March 2024 # 9 Books Every Data Engineering Aspirant Must Read! # Suggested April 2024 # Top 12 Popular

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Did you know that ‘Data Engineer’ is the fastest-growing role in the industry?

Currently, most data science aspirants are still focused on landing the coveted role of a data scientist. That’s understandable – all the hype in the media and the community glorifies the role of a data scientist. But it’s the data engineer that’s emerged as the dark horse.

Which isn’t really surprising, is it? Data science professionals spend close to 60-70% of their time gathering, cleaning, and processing data – that’s right down a data engineer’s alley!

Tech behemoths like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, etc. are collecting data at an unprecedented pace – and they’re hiring data engineers like never before. There hasn’t been a better time to get into this field!

Unfortunately, there is no coherent path designed to become a data engineer. Most data science aspirants haven’t even heard of the role – they tend to learn about it on the job.

I’ve put together a list of data engineering books to help you get started with this thriving field and make sure you’re acquainted with the various terms, skills, and other nuances required.

And why books?

Books are a vital way of absorbing information on Data Engineering. So let’s begin!

1. The Data Engineering Cookbook by Andreas Kretz

There is a lot of confusion about how to become a data engineer. I’ve met a lot of data science aspirants who didn’t even know this role existed!

Here is an ebook by Andreas Kertz that has elaborate case studies, codes, podcasts, interviews, case studies, and more. I consider this to be a complete package to enable anyone to become a data engineer.

And the icing on the cake? This ebook is free! Yes, you can instantly get started with it. Learn, practice, and prepare for your data engineering role now!

2. DW 2.0 – The Architecture for the Next Generation of Data Warehousing by The Father of Data Warehousing W.H. Inmon

This book describes the future of data warehousing that is technologically possible today, at both an architectural level as well as a technology level.

I really like how the book is neatly structured and covers most of the topics related to data architecture and its underlying challenges, how can you use the existing system and build a data warehouse around it, and the best practices to justify the expenses in a very practical manner.

This book is designed for:

Anyone who aspires to become a data engineering professional

Organizations that want to induct this capability into their systems

Data architects

DBA’s

System designers, and

Data warehouse professionals

DW 2.0. is * Written by the “father of the data warehouse”, Bill Inmon, a columnist and newsletter editor of The Bill Inmon Channel on the Business Intelligence Network.

This one is not to be missed! Here is where you can grab a copy – chúng tôi .

3.

Agile Data Warehouse Design: Collaborative Dimensional Modeling, from Whiteboard to Star Schema by

Lawrence Corr

This is a great book. Lawrence Corr provides a comprehensive and step-by-step guide to capturing data warehousing and business intelligence requirements and convert them into high-performance models by using a technique called model storming (model + brainstorming).

Additionally, you’ll come across a concept called BEAM, an agile approach to dimensional modeling for improving communication between data warehouse designers and business intelligence stakeholders.

Source this book at chúng tôi

What do you wish for as a data scientist?

How about getting data that’s clean and reliable? With all the business value captured and presented well in the data, you would definitely wish for accurate and robust data models, high application agility and well-designed models as the final outcome.

How would you feel if someone just granted you these wishes and made your dream to become a champion data engineer come true? So, why wait for that ‘someone’ to grant your wishes when you can find a way to chalk your path and get these wishes granted by yourself by simply reading this book!

Yes, this book is the third edition is a complete library of updated dimensional modeling techniques, the most comprehensive collection ever. It covers new and enhanced star schema dimensional modeling patterns, adds two new chapters on ETL techniques, includes new and expanded business matrices for 12 case studies, and more.

You can grab a copy of it here – chúng tôi

Data is being generated in huge volumes today, a scale we can only imagine. So much data plays a vital role in increasing the complexity of operations and that has sparked new developments in the field of data engineering.

This cracking book by Holden Karau offers a valuable reference guide for all graduate students, researchers, and scientists interested in exploring the potential of Big Data applications.

Dive into the world of innovations in the way you acquire and massage the data, the ultimate goal is to get the best and most classified data for your machine learning model. Spark is the most effective data processing framework in enterprises today.

Get a copy today!! – chúng tôi

6.

Spark: The Definitive Guide: Big Data Processing Made Simple by

Bill Chambers 

Data Engineering is a multi-disciplinary field with applications in control, decision theory, and the emerging hot area of bioinformatics. There are no books on the market that make the subject accessible to non-experts.

So, if you are just starting off and need a good book to learn everything about data engineering, then Spark, a fast cluster computing framework that is used for processing, querying and analyzing big data, is the tool that you should learn and this is your book to read.

All the theory and practical concepts are explained in a user-friendly manner and easy to understand language.

It describes a scalable, easy-to-understand approach to big data systems that can be built and run by a small team. Following a realistic example, this book guides readers through the theory of big data systems, how to implement them in practice, and how to deploy and operate them once they’re built.

So, if you are the CEO/CXO of an organization and want to introduce the Data Engineering practice into your organization, then you should grab this book and access the data engineering pattern of your business.

The concepts of this book revolve around the task of collecting data and distilling useful information from that data. Five discrete sections covered in this book are:

Data scalability

Consistency

Reliability

Efficiency, and

Maintainability

Martin Kleppmann helps you navigate this diverse landscape by examining the pros and cons of various technologies for processing and storing data.

9.

Big Data, Black Book: Covers Hadoop 2, MapReduce, Hive, YARN, Pig, R, and Data Visualization

So, if you want to start learning about data engineering tools, then this book is a must-read. It holistically covers all the tools that help you meddle with data and craft strategies to gain a competitive edge.

End Notes

Becoming a data engineer is not an easy task. It requires a deep understanding of tools, processes, and techniques to be able to extract the best out of any structured/ unstructured data.

You can sketch out a data engineering path for yourself by reading this exhaustive article – Want to Become a Data Engineer? Here’s a Comprehensive List of Resources to get started.

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7 Books To Read About Building A Community From Scratch

When a company first starts out, they have many challenges to face. Establishing a brand, marketing themselves to a particular demographic, bringing in the first quarter of profits…it is a lot to handle. Most businesses also spend that time focusing purely on their product, a natural inclination that can have some consequences.

It is impossible to deny the importance of product development. But what about people development? When you have to compete with more well known businesses, how do you show potential customers that you are a brand they should trust?

This is called a user acquisition strategy, and many startups fail to recognize the importance from the very beginning. These seven books can teach you more about the value of building a community from scratch.

1. Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson

Considered one of the better manuals for small businesses on the market, Ready, Fire, Aim works to break down successful entrepreneur plans into four stages. One of those is all about creating a link between you and your demographic. Being self made and incredibly accomplished, Michael Masterson is a great resource for information.

2. Viral Loop by Adam Penenburg

3. The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Bank and Bob Dorf

Go step by step through the process of customer and relationship development with this handy guide from business gurus Steve Bank and Bob Dorf.. Considered of the most useful training manuals on the subject ever written, it covers all stages for startups hoping to build a really effect user acquisition blueprint.

4. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Focus on both product development and customer satisfaction at the same time with this innovative approach to startups. Cutting out the frills, it gets to the heart of sustainable businesses. All by showing you faster ways to reach milestones, rapid product development without quality control mistakes and learning what customers want for adapting your brand and establishing user loyalty.

5. Trust Your Heart by Marnie L Pehrson

From customer community building, to the importance of fostering a community among your employees or startup team, this is all about relationships in business. Learn to leverage your contacts and build lasting relationships to better your profits.

6. Trust Based Selling by Charles H Green

How does a company like, say, PayPal or Mint manage to gain customers when they ask for something as sensitive as financial information? All while being entirely online based, and so getting that info in spite of identity theft fears? It is all about trust, and this book covers the fundamentals of trust based selling.

7. Privacy Payoff by Ann Cavoukian, Tyler Hamilton and Don Tapscott

Want to know the secret of gaining the loyalty of customers from the very beginning? According to this book, it is through offering privacy to your customers. Since this is a lesson that is very important for startups, which naturally face more scrutiny than established brands, it is a good one to check out.

9 Websites With Scary Stories To Read Online

Maybe you’re a fan of horror and can’t get enough terrifying tales of monsters, serial killers, or ghosts. You’ve streamed every horror movie online and you’re running out of options. Why not take some time to read scary stories online?

Even if you’re a fan of the titans of horror like Stephen King, Clive Barker, or Anne Rice, it is possible to find tales of fear outside of the bookstore. These could be stories written by well-known authors and available as a free eBook, or tales told by little-known online writers who have unique writing skills.

Table of Contents

The following are 9 of the best websites with scary short stories that you can read online right now. 

9 Websites with Scary Short Stories

If you’re ever in the mood for a scary story, you may not have time to run to the library or bookstore. Sure, you could download an eBook from Amazon or purchase an audiobook on Audible. But why add that expense when you can use the sites below to read a spooky tale for free?

No list of sites where you can read creepy short stories would be complete without listing Creepypasta at the top. This site is filled with reader-submitted stories. These include fictional tales about hauntings, ghosts, possessions, and more. Sometimes they are told in the first person, but rest assured that the site owners only accept fictional stories.

You can use the Creepypasta Stories menu to browse stories by category, length, author, rating, and more. For the best stories, use either the Top Ranked or Famous Creepypasta menu items. 

If you’d like to submit your own story, make sure to visit the submissions page (select Submissions from the menu). Follow the editorial guidelines and you could have your own story featured on the site!

Scary for Kids is a website that features a wide range of scary content, geared toward kids. Content on the site includes scary pictures, videos, games, movies, and stories.

Select Scary Stories from the menu to access the area of the site where all of those stories are collected. On that page you can browse scary stories by categories like Halloween stories, urban legends, ghost stories, and more. 

Since this site is for kids, expect spooky stories, but nothing that’s too gory or disturbing for younger children (or for easily scared adults).

The Darkest Blog takes horror short stories seriously. The owner of the site urges visitors to send in their scariest stories, true or fictional. The menu offers special categories like witch stories, ghost stories, “dud” tales (mind-bending), or creepy stories about dreaming.

The site design is somewhat outdated and plain, but that’s not why you’re there is it? You’re there to be spooked! 

The stories here are very good. You may spot a grammar error here and there since most of these are written by first-time authors without an editor. However, those don’t take away from the scary nature of the stories themselves.

The focus of Oldstyle Tales Press is to publish critical essays about all classic horror authors like Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. If you are a big fan of classic literature, browsing these critical essays is actually very interesting. However, the site also publishes “The Yellow Book”, a journal of horror and ghost stories written by modern authors. You can read the journals in PDF format for free. Access these in the Originals section.

The first journal was published in 2014 and the last in 2023. There are no new journals, but that means there are four years’ worth of some of the best horror stories for you to read for free!

Hauntu is a website run by the owners of Colle Eastern Hotel in Malaysia. They run a “real haunted house experience”, complete with actors, special effects, and more. Visit the blog section of the site to read a wide range of stories about haunted places around the world (not only in Malaysia!)

If the small collection of scary stories at other sites just isn’t cutting it for you, then you’ll love the endless supply of them available at Reedsy Prompts. This website runs a weekly writing contest, where writers submit their stories to win the top prize of $250 (or more) and get featured on the site.

Ready for the largest collection of scary stories anywhere? Select Stories from the top menu and the Horror category from the left menu. There, you will find a very long list (175 pages worth) of the award winning horror short stories. Since these are the authors who won the top prize, you can be sure that the writing will be top quality and the stories will be truly horrifying.

Housecreep is a creative way to find stories to freak yourself out. These aren’t fictional horror stories authored by some online writer. No, these are actual horror stories that took place in your own backyard.

Just type the name of your town or city in the search bar and you’ll see a list of the properties nearest to you where the site has a record of a terrible crime (usually murder) that happened there.

These are all very short tales (usually a single paragraph), but the events they detail are no less terrifying because they actually happened.

You may already know that Medium features a very wide range of content written by online writers. Since there’s so much published there, it makes sense that there would be large categories of stories. There are so many horror stories there, in fact, that Medium created several “collections” that fit the bill.

Visit the Medium Collections page, and you’ll find collections of stories covering strange spiritual stories (Radical Spirits), Monsters, Near-Death Experiences, and evil (Damned Souls). Browse these collections to get your scary story fix, or just use the Medium search field to find scary stories on Medium outside of these collections.

Wattpad has an entire “horror” tag where you’ll find all of the horror stories contributors have published. Not all of them are great writing, but you can find some really good horror stories here. Look for those that are or were featured as paid content before transitioning to free.

Get Your Scary Fix

Fans of horror stories don’t always have the easiest time finding entertainment. There are only so many horror movies and TV shows you can stream. Eventually, you’re going to run out. Finding scary stories to read online is a great alternative that can keep you creeped out on those long, dark, rainy nights when you’re looking for something spooky to do.

From Petroleum Engineering To Data Science: Jaiyesh Chahar’s Journey

Introduction

Let’s get into this thrilling and compelling conversation with Jaiyesh.

Interview Excerpts with Jaiyesh Chahar AV: Please introduce yourself and share your educational journey with us.

Jaiyesh: Hi, I am Jaiyesh Chahar, a Petroleum Engineer turned Data Scientist. I have done my bachelor’s in petroleum engineering from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. After that, I pursued my master’s from IIT ISM Dhanbad, and there I decided to take Machine Learning as my minor. From there, my journey of becoming a Data Scientist started. After that, I worked as a Petroleum Data Scientist for an Oil and Gas Startup. And later, I joined Siemens as a Data Scientist.

AV: What made you decide to become a Data Scientist? AV: You have a specialization in Petroleum; what made you switch? What steps did you take to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the field of Data Science?

Jaiyesh: I started by using Data Science as a tool for solving problems in Petroleum Industry. So, I was a Petroleum Engineer who knew Data Science. And regarding the steps, the initial step was learning how to code using python. Started with python, followed by useful libraries of python like Numpy, pandas, and Matplotlib. Then Statistics, machine learning, and at last deep learning. Also, at each step, a lot of practice is required.

AV: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career as a Data Scientist? How did you overcome it?

Jaiyesh: My biggest challenge was to get a job as a fresher without any experience, but here my petroleum background helped me because there are very few people who have knowledge of oil and gas as well as data science. So that mixture helped me to get my first job.

AV: You are one of the co-founders of “Petroleum From Scratch.” What was the inspiration behind it?

Jaiyesh: We started Petroleum from Scratch during covid times 2023. A lot of organizations started during that time, and they were charging hefty amounts for providing training to petroleum students/engineers. And also oil and gas market was at its lowest point, as crude prices went below zero. So a lot of layoffs happened in the oil and gas industry. So, to help professionals and students, we came up with Petroleum From Scratch, where we share knowledge free of cost.

AV: After working at Siemens for over a year, can you describe a recent project you have worked on, and what were some key insights or takeaways?

Jaiyesh: So, one of my recent projects is for a giant automotive company, where we built a complete pipeline for the detection of faulty parts in the manufacturing unit. In this project, not only the Data Science part but the software piece was also delivered by us. So, this project showed me the importance of knowing software pipeline development, even being a data scientist.

Tips for Data Scientist Enthusiasts AV: What are habits that you swear by which have led you to be successful?

Jaiyesh: Consistency and showing up daily are key habits that can help in achieving success in any area of life. When we consistently show up and put in the effort, we are more likely to make progress and see results over time.

This is especially true when it comes to learning new skills or developing new habits. By consistently practicing or working on something every day, we can build momentum and make steady progress towards our goals. This can help us stay motivated and avoid getting discouraged or giving up too soon.

In addition to consistency, other habits that can contribute to success include setting clear goals, prioritizing tasks, staying organized, and maintaining a positive attitude. By combining these habits with consistency and daily effort, we can create a powerful formula for achieving success in any area of life.

Conclusion

Related

A/B Testing For Data Science Using Python – A Must

Overview

A/B testing is a popular way to test your products and is gaining steam in the data science field

Here, we’ll understand what A/B testing is and how you can leverage A/B testing in data science using Python

Introduction

Statistical analysis is our best tool for predicting outcomes we don’t know, using the information we know.

Picture this scenario – You have made certain changes to your website recently. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing with full accuracy how the next 100,000 people who visit your website will behave. That is the information we cannot know today, and if we were to wait until those 100,000 people visited our site, it would be too late to optimize their experience.

This seems to be a classic Catch-22 situation!

This is where a data scientist can take control. A data scientist collects and studies the data available to help optimize the website for a better consumer experience. And for this, it is imperative to know how to use various statistical tools, especially the concept of A/B Testing.

A/B Testing is a widely used concept in most industries nowadays, and data scientists are at the forefront of implementing it. In this article, I will explain A/B testing in-depth and how a data scientist can leverage it to suggest changes in a product.

Table of contents:

What is A/B testing?

How does A/B testing work?

Statistical significance of the Test

Mistakes we must avoid while conducting the A/B test

When to use A/B test

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is a basic randomized control experiment. It is a way to compare the two versions of a variable to find out which performs better in a controlled environment.

For instance, let’s say you own a company and want to increase the sales of your product. Here, either you can use random experiments, or you can apply scientific and statistical methods. A/B testing is one of the most prominent and widely used statistical tools.

In the above scenario, you may divide the products into two parts – A and B. Here A will remain unchanged while you make significant changes in B’s packaging. Now, on the basis of the response from customer groups who used A and B respectively, you try to decide which is performing better.

Source

It is a hypothetical testing methodology for making decisions that estimate population parameters based on sample statistics. The population refers to all the customers buying your product, while the sample refers to the number of customers that participated in the test.

How does A/B Testing Work?

The big question!

In this section, let’s understand through an example the logic and methodology behind the concept of A/B testing.

Let’s say there is an e-commerce company XYZ. It wants to make some changes in its newsletter format to increase the traffic on its website. It takes the original newsletter and marks it A and makes some changes in the language of A and calls it B. Both newsletters are otherwise the same in color, headlines, and format.

Objective

Our objective here is to check which newsletter brings higher traffic on the website i.e the conversion rate. We will use A/B testing and collect data to analyze which newsletter performs better.

1.  Make a Hypothesis

Before making a hypothesis, let’s first understand what is a hypothesis.

A hypothesis is a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but if true would explain certain facts or phenomena.

It is an educated guess about something in the world around you. It should be testable, either by experiment or observation. In our example, the hypothesis can be “By making changes in the language of the newsletter, we can get more traffic on the website”.

In hypothesis testing, we have to make two hypotheses i.e Null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis. Let’s have a look at both.

Null hypothesis or H0:

The null hypothesis is the one that states that sample observations result purely from chance. From an A/B test perspective, the null hypothesis states that there is no difference between the control and variant groups. It states the default position to be tested or the situation as it is now, i.e. the status quo. Here our H0 is ” there is no difference in the conversion rate in customers receiving newsletter A and B”.

Alternative Hypothesis or H0:

The alternative hypothesis challenges the null hypothesis and is basically a hypothesis that the researcher believes to be true. The alternative hypothesis is what you might hope that your A/B test will prove to be true.

In our example, the Ha is- “the conversion rate of newsletter B is higher than those who receive newsletter A“.

Now, we have to collect enough evidence through our tests to reject the null hypothesis.

2. Create Control Group and Test Group

Once we are ready with our null and alternative hypothesis, the next step is to decide the group of customers that will participate in the test. Here we have two groups – The Control group, and the Test (variant) group.

The Control Group is the one that will receive newsletter A and the Test Group is the one that will receive newsletter B.

For this experiment, we randomly select 1000 customers – 500 each for our Control group and Test group.

Randomly selecting the sample from the population is called random sampling. It is a technique where each sample in a population has an equal chance of being chosen. Random sampling is important in hypothesis testing because it eliminates sampling bias, and it’s important to eliminate bias because you want the results of your A/B test to be representative of the entire population rather than the sample itself.

Another important aspect we must take care of is the Sample size. It is required that we determine the minimum sample size for our A/B test before conducting it so that we can eliminate under coverage bias. It is the bias from sampling too few observations.

3. Conduct the A/B Test and Collect the Data

One way to perform the test is to calculate daily conversion rates for both the treatment and the control groups. Since the conversion rate in a group on a certain day represents a single data point, the sample size is actually the number of days. Thus, we will be testing the difference between the mean of daily conversion rates in each group across the testing period.

When we run our experiment for one month, we noticed that the mean conversion rate for the Control group is 16% whereas that for the test Group is 19%.

Statistical significance of the Test

Now, the main question is – Can we conclude from here that the Test group is working better than the control group?

The answer to this is a simple No! For rejecting our null hypothesis we have to prove the Statistical significance of our test.

There are two types of errors that may occur in our hypothesis testing:

Type I error: We reject the null hypothesis when it is true. That is we accept the variant B when it is not performing better than A

Type II error: We failed to reject the null hypothesis when it is false. It means we conclude variant B is not good when it performs better than A

To avoid these errors we must calculate the statistical significance of our test.

An experiment is considered to be statistically significant when we have enough evidence to prove that the result we see in the sample also exists in the population.

That means the difference between your control version and the test version is not due to some error or random chance. To prove the statistical significance of our experiment we can use a two-sample T-test.

Source

To understand this, we must be familiar with a few terms:

Significance level (alpha):

The significance level, also denoted as alpha or α, is the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true. Generally, we use the significance value of 0.05

P-Value: It is the probability that the difference between the two values is just because of random chance. P-value is evidence against the null hypothesis. The smaller the p-value stronger the chances to reject the H0. For the significance level of 0.05, if the p-value is lesser than it hence we can reject the null hypothesis

Confidence interval: The confidence interval is an observed range in which a given percentage of test outcomes fall. We manually select our desired confidence level at the beginning of our test. Generally, we take a 95% confidence interval

Next, we can calculate our t statistics using the below formula:

Let’s Implement the Significance Test in Python

Let’s see a python implementation of the significance test. Here, we have a dummy data having an experiment result of an A/B testing for 30 days. Now we will run a two-sample t-test on the data using Python to ensure the statistical significance of chúng tôi can download the sample data here.

Python Code:



sns.distplot(data.Conversion_B)

At last, we will perform the t-test:

t_stat, p_val= ss.ttest_ind(data.Conversion_B,data.Conversion_A) t_stat , p_val (3.78736793091929, 0.000363796012828762)

For our example, the observed value i.e the mean of the test group is 0.19. The hypothesized value (Mean of the control group) is 0.16. On the calculation of the t-score, we get the t-score as .3787. and the p-value is 0.00036.

SO what does all this mean for our A/B Testing?

Here, our p-value is less than the significance level i.e 0.05. Hence, we can reject the null hypothesis. This means that in our A/B testing, newsletter B is performing better than newsletter A. So our recommendation would be to replace our current newsletter with B to bring more traffic on our website.

What Mistakes Should we Avoid While Conducting A/B Testing?

There are a few key mistakes I’ve seen data science professionals making. Let me clarify them for you here:

Invalid hypothesis: The whole experiment depends on one thing i.e the hypothesis. What should be changed? Why should it be changed, what the expected outcome is, and so on? If you start with the wrong hypothesis, the probability of the test succeeding, decreases

Testing too Many Elements Together: Industry experts caution against running too many tests at the same time. Testing too many elements together makes it difficult to pinpoint which element influenced the success or failure. Thus, prioritization of tests is indispensable for successful A/B testing

Ignoring Statistical Significance: It doesn’t matter what you feel about the test. Irrespective of everything, whether the test succeeds or fails, allow it to run through its entire course so that it reaches its statistical significance

Not considering the external factor: Tests should be run in comparable periods to produce meaningful results. For example, it is unfair to compare website traffic on the days when it gets the highest traffic to the days when it witnesses the lowest traffic because of external factors such as sale or holidays

When Should We Use A/B Testing?

A/B testing works best when testing incremental changes, such as UX changes, new features, ranking, and page load times. Here you may compare pre and post-modification results to decide whether the changes are working as desired or not.

A/B testing doesn’t work well when testing major changes, like new products, new branding, or completely new user experiences. In these cases, there may be effects that drive higher than normal engagement or emotional responses that may cause users to behave in a different manner.

End Notes

To summarize, A/B testing is at least a 100-year-old statistical methodology but in its current form, it comes in the 1990s. Now it has become more eminent with the online environment and availability for big data. It is easier for companies to conduct the test and utilize the results for better user experience and performance.

There are many tools available for conducting A/B testing but being a data scientist you must understand the factors working behind it. Also, you must be aware of the statistics in order to validate the test and prove it’s statistical significance.

To know more about hypothesis testing, I will suggest you read the following article:

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Best Audible Books Of 2023

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Written By Dan Bergstein

Updated Mar 24, 2023 9:01 PM

Audible is the undisputed king of the audiobook universe, with thousands and thousands of great books to choose from and top-talent narration. But where do you start? Browsing the digital shelves can be overwhelming. Do you want to hear something funny? Something scary? Something topical? Something about alternate realities and time travel that illustrates the only true power in the universe is…love? The options are endless. What is Audible, and how do you know which books make for a good listen and which ones sound more like school textbooks? Discover a new way to find a page-turner, and “read” today’s best sellers and guilty pleasures through focused listening. Download a library of the top audiobooks from Audible now to fill your mind and your time.

What to consider when shopping for the best Audible book

Ready to listen to classic literature and gallons of Jack Reacher novels? Before picking out your next audiobook, it’s important to understand how Audible works. There are different plans for different needs. Browse your Audible options and find the best deal for your reading habits and tastes. 

The two types of Audible subscription plans

For more than a decade, Audible has been a helpful resource for buying, downloading, and listening to audiobooks. When you bought the Audible book of your choice, it used to simply be yours forever. But today, there are Audible subscriptions, a rental service that gives you more listening options at a  reasonable price. For a monthly fee, you get access to thousands of books. The two different plans are Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus. 

Audible Plus is the basic subscription service. For $7.95 a month, audiobook listeners can select from thousands of books in the Audible Plus catalog. These include current bestsellers and classics. Subscribers can pick as many books from the Audible Plus catalog as they like, and they can keep them as long as they remain subscribers. The Audible Plus library is large and varied enough that everyone can find more than a few books to try. But it doesn’t include every audiobook on the digital store shelves. Selection is limited, so if you want an obscure audiobook, it may not be available. 

For those who want a bit more freedom, the Audible Premium Plus subscription is a great deal. For $14.95 a month, subscribers have all the listening privileges of Audible Plus customers, with the added bonus of one free credit a month to pick any audiobook from Audible…even those not included in the Audible Plus catalog. Once you buy an audiobook with your credit, the book is yours forever, even if you stop your Audible subscription. Audible Premium Plus is the best deal for anyone who wants to build their own permanent audiobook library. 

The best ways to listen to audiobooks

Listen at the gym. Listen at work. Listen through your Amazon Fire or other tablets. Best of all, connect the phone to your car speakers, because traffic jams are less stressful when you dip into the world of dinosaur theme parks and small-town murders. You can also listen to the book through an Amazon Echo or other smart speaker. 

Your Audible account reaches across multiple devices, so if you stop listening to the book in the car, you can pick it up at the same spot through your computer or smart speaker. And for some books, when you buy the Kindle ebook version,  you can sync it with the Audible audiobook version and switch back and forth.

Audible is not the same as Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited

It can be confusing, but there is a difference between Audible, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime, even though all three are part of Amazon. Audible is dedicated to audio entertainment—audiobooks, podcasts, and Audible originals that cannot be heard on other platforms. 

Kindle Unlimited offers some audiobooks, but it’s designed more for text-based ebook readers. The Kindle Unlimited library of ebooks is larger than Audible’s library of audiobooks, but many of the available books are self-published and it can be tough to find current best sellers. Although Amazon does offer free ebooks and audiobooks to Prime members, the selection is very limited. 

For fans of audiobooks, Audible is the service to use. Still unsure? All of these subscription services offer a free 30-day trial. If you’re on the fence about which service is right for you, give them all a try. You’ll soon learn which service has the best library for your taste. 

How to pick the best Audible books?

Once you understand how Audible operates, the fun part begins—selecting your books. Everyone has their own favorite genre and writers, but with an Audible subscription, why not broaden your reading habits and try something new? That’s one of the best reasons to subscribe to Audible. Pick from the best selling books of all time or hot new authors. You can jump into every type of book imaginable, and if you don’t like it, move on to the next book. (Give the book a chance, but if you don’t enjoy it after two hours, it’s okay to give up. We hereby give you permission.)

Many Audible books are narrated by big-name talents like Meryl Streep or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Some will have an entire celebrity cast of characters reading different parts. And some include sound effects and music to enhance the experience. 

The best Audible books

It can be tough to choose an audiobook. You want a book that is interesting and has a great narrator. But the type of book to listen to changes depending on what you’re doing. Listening to thoughtful non-fiction about current events can keep you interested in the car, but won’t make for the pumped-up, thrilling action you need during a workout. Browse the best books on Audible, below, to find great picks and best sellers for specific activities.   

The best Audible book for commuters: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

James Clear, Penguin Audio

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Want to live a better life? Atomic Habits by James Clear helps readers focus and rededicate their lives, one small step at a time. It sounds like a fluffy self-help book, but Atomic Habits is grounded in practical science. Example: If you want to read 30 books a year, start by reading one page a night and begin building a new, positive habit. Author James Clear narrates the book and his voice is pleasant;  he doesn’t sound like a professor talking down to his students. This is a great book to listen to coming and going to work, and with a length of about five hours, you can easily finish the book in a week. 

The best Audible book for working around the house: Greenlights

Matthew McConaughey, Random House Audio

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Matthew McConaughey is a unique actor, equal parts silly stoner, and thoughtful thespian. The Academy Award-winner talks readers through his life, from a rough middle-class upbringing in Texas to find his unique place in the wacky world of celebrities. It’s a bit rambling at times, but few people have turned rambling into an artform like Mr. True Detective himself. Greenlights is a laid-back soundtrack for any household chore or listening to it in the background while cooking dinner.

The best Audible book for gym rats: If It Bleeds

Stephen King, Will Patton, Danny Burstein

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As much as we all love his phonebook-sized novels, Stephen King’s real strength is in his short-story writing. If It Bleeds is Stephen King’s latest collection of short stories, and the tension is a great motivator for workouts. It’s hard not to increase your speed on the treadmill if you think someone is chasing you. Three different narrators read the stories, including actor Steven Weber who starred in the TV version of King’s The Shining—a neat little Easter egg for King fans. Even if you hate horror, King’s stories are often beautifully written, and his writing style has only improved with age.

The best Audible book for business travelers: Dune

Frank Herbert, Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy

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There’s no denying Frank Herbt’s Dune is an iconic tome of science fiction. It’s often been called the best sci-fi book of all time. But it’s also a long, dense book that can be tough to read. The audiobook version of Dune is read by five professional voice actors who help bring the story to life. If you’ve tried to read Dune and gave up because of the strange vocabulary and complex political subplots, try listening to it instead. The first 100 pages (or two hours) of the book are an uphill climb. After that initial setup, the story moves quickly and you’ll soon be wrapped up in the world of Arrakis, spice, and sandworms. If you have 20 hours to kill on a long flight or waiting in an airport, Dune is the perfect escape hatch to a truly different world.

The best Audible book for bedtime: The Fellowship of the Ring

Rob Inglis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Recorded Books

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FAQs Q: What is the best audiobook of all time?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is likely the best audiobook of all time. The story is engaging, the narration is amazing, and it makes the complicated fictional histories more accessible. For non-fiction fans, Atomic Habits can quickly change your life. The audiobook helps the reader identify bad habits and offers realistic tips on how to create good habits. It’s a great motivator for anyone who wants to live a better life. But some of the best audiobooks of all time are also guilty pleasures. Lee Child’s series of Jack Reacher thrillers can be fun for the beach, the car, the gym, or bedtime. Is it great literature? Nope. But the books are like silly blockbuster action movies. And the audio versions make it easy to eat popcorn while you read.

Q: Is Audible worth the money?

Yes, Audible is worth the money. If you love stories, or simply want a new way to plow through your “to read” pile, Audible is a cost-effective solution. The Audible Premium Plus plan costs $14.95 a month and gives you access to the Audible Plus catalog with the added benefit of getting one free audiobook a month that is yours to keep. Listen to at least one book a month, and the service is a great deal. If you listen to a book a week, the Audible Premium Plus plan is a must-have service. Amazon offers great incentives for signing up for a free 30-day trial, so give it a shot.

Q: What books are best on audio?

The best books on audio will have a fantastic narrator and high production value. That means added music and sound effects to enhance the story. Which book is best for you depends on the type of books you like to read. Mysteries and thrillers make for great audiobooks because the professional narrator will know how to build tension with their voice. Self-help and development books can inspire the reader. And listening to the audio version of a guilty-pleasure vampire-romance novel means others won’t see you carrying around a copy of a cheesy YA book. That said, books that struggle to adapt to the audio format are any books with lots of illustrations. Graphic novels work best as a visual medium. Books with lots of footnotes and endnotes, like some history books, are also hard to translate into a purely audio format. 

The final word on the best Audible books

Give your eyes a rest and let your ears do the work when you download the best Audible books. Audible has cornered the market on audiobooks, offering nearly every title imaginable in their impressive library. Audible subscription services make it fun and easy to try new things, but know that the Audible Plus plan has a limited library. Audiobooks are great for long commutes and workouts while listening to an audiobook before going to bed helps your eyes and your brain relax. Audible allows you to quickly and conveniently read mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, non-fiction and classic literature anywhere in the world—even with the lights off!

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