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The Worst Narration of Any Audio Book, Ever

Updated on October 7, 2014


My hand went to my forehead, an unconscious homage to Homer Simpson. The narrator painfully navigated through some words he clearly didn't understand, and I tried hard to focus on what Napoleon Hill was trying to say with his insightful, meaningful advice on how to "think and grow rich", whatever that meant. I wanted to at least be able to determine what it was he was trying to say, then determine if I was a slimebucket for wanting to "be rich", or if I could just take some of what he was saying with a grain of salt. First, however, I had to get through what I was realizing was some of the absolute worst narration I had ever heard in my life.

Why so bad?

I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks over the last 2 years or so. In fact, I might call my pace of listening "frantic" if I had to describe it in a word, because I've been able to get some reading (or, if you prefer, "reading") done really quickly - stuff that I've been putting off for years, stuff I know is valuable for my intellectual development or for one of the businesses I run (a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in the town of Richmond, VA, and a national tournament circuit for BJJ events).

Imagine my surprise when I picked up this business classic via Audible and discovered some of the worst narration I've heard since I got my roommate blackout drunk and made him read "Charlie the Choo Choo." Seriously, this guy must have either A) done this on a dare, or B) taken the principles of the book just a little too far (one of said principles is that you can accomplish anything and shouldn't listen to naysayers, or "haters" for lack of a better modern term).



Think and Grow Rich for the 21st Century is a decent read after all, with some pretty impressive insights into the mindset behind success (not so much just financial success, but more broadly, success with life). However, this is all about the abysmal narration, so I'll continue with just a few specific examples.

Some things this guy really says in the book:

  • He refers to the famous industrialist as "Charles Swab" (as opposed to the somewhat- ah- appropriate "Charles Schwab")
  • "Bowe some" (as opposed to "bosom")
  • "Aristocat" (aristocrat)
  • Nuculus (nucleus)
  • "Nyativity" (naivete)

Really. And this is just from the notes I had time to jot down. Keep in mind that I am listening to this book when I'm not able to write or type 99% of the time, so this is just a tiny sample of the glorious ridiculousness that is the worst audio book narration of all time.

You kind of have to hear it for yourself to believe it.

Have you heard a worse audiobook than this? If so, please leave a comment below!

Ever heard an audio book so badly narrated that you just couldn't finish it?

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"Think and Grow Rich"

The book itself is actually a bit of a contemporary classic for many self-made millionaires and business owners, or so the truly desperate would have you believe. I tried really hard to internalize the concepts from the book in spite of the narrator's fumbling over word after word, convincing myself that the material was still worthwhile. In a nutshell, the concept is that you should empower yourself with the knowledge that positive thinking and ambition will get you anything you want in life.

There are thirteen total steps listed in the book, and they are:

1. Desire: Hill points out that you must truly want something more than anything else. He points out the need to sacrifice anything to achieve your goals.

2. Faith: Here, you must believe in your ability to achieve your goals.

3. Autosuggestion: You're supposed to wake up and engage your subconscious mind.

4. Specialized Knowledge: You have to find exactly what it is that you can do well.

5. Imagination: It's going to require some creativity.

6. Organized Planning: Without a plan, you'll remain completely theoretical.

7. Decision: Deciding to do it now.

8. Persistence: This one matters the most to me and actually fires me up the most out of all the tenets.

9. Power of the Master Mind: Meet with like minded people and surround yourself by other motivated folks.

10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation: Garbage. Just garbage.

11. The Subconscious Mind: Engaging the most powerful portion of your brain.

The last two, "The Brain" and the "Sixth Sense" are equally inane. Basically, if you can remember that you should have a "mastermind group" and meet with people who have similar ambitious, and be super persistent in your goals, and you really desire it, you've got all the stuff in the book worth reading.


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