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What's Happening in the Outside World

A lot of things we used to take for granted have changed over the last few years. Though the focus of my articles has often been the inner game of personal growth, it’s hard to work on yourself when the world around you is changing daily and in dramatic ways. Of course, one big issue for all of us is the pandemic, which continues to impact many aspects of our lives even as the world opens up again. Two of the audios we heard recently—IMMUNE and SHUTDOWN—provide useful information on how to understand and navigate through this storm (and the next one). IMMUNE provides an impressive amount of detail about how our bodies fight diseases of all kinds, while SHUTDOWN explains the many ways the pandemic has changed the way we work, invest, and do business with others. In print form, these are encyclopedic books that will keep you in your easy chair for quite a while. But when one listens to these fine audios while walking outside on a sunny day, they become fast-moving streams of accessible information and insights.

Our other two selections, LETTERS TO MY WHITE MALE FRIENDS by Dax-Devlon Ross and THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE by Fiona Hill, sound as moving as they are informative. Narrating their excellent writing with professional-level clarity and grace, both authors convey the pathos of their private lives with touching authenticity as they describe personal experiences that illustrate broader messages. Their performances sound at once strong and humble as they draw listeners into their stories about how inequality and discrimination limit and damage people. Lifted by their audible commitment and sincerity, these are audiobooks that will make a lasting impression on how you see the world around you.


IMMUNE: A Journey into the Mysterious System that Keeps You Alive
by Phillip Dettmer, read by Steve Taylor
Random House Audio

Steve Taylor's native British accent and lighthearted cadences work well in his narration of this encyclopedic guide. It's the ultimate roadmap for anyone curious about how our immune system protects us from cancer, injury, dysfunction, and infections like Covid.

SHUTDOWN: How Covid Shook the World's Economy
by Adam Tooze, read by Simon Vance, Adam Tooze
Penguin Audio

Reading his introduction with clarity and aplomb, the British historian and Columbia University professor offers this coherent story of how the world reacted to Covid. Simon Vance narrates the balance of this intelligent work with equal grace and fidelity. 

Letters To My White Male Friends
There Is Nothing For You Here

Written and read by Dax-Devlon Ross
Macmillan Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrating this powerful audiobook about how everyone is damaged by racism, social equity consultant and author Dax-Devlon Ross radiates the equanimity needed for listeners to absorb his healing perspectives. 

THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century
Written and read by Fiona Hill
Mariner Books

Hearing this cautionary political tale by the celebrated foreign policy expert and Trump impeachment witness, listeners will marvel at how riveted they become to the author's personal history and authentic speaking voice. 

This article is adapted from the Feb/March 2022 issue of AudioFile Magazine.

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