I'm a programmer with a two-hour round trip commute to work each day. I'd like to fill some of that time with audiobooks about software development. Any audiobooks that would help me become a better programmer would be appreciated. I'm thinking that books about design patterns and non-fiction about computing history might be good here, but I'm open to anything.

Keeping in mind that I will be listening to this in a car, what are the best audiobooks that I can listen to?

EDIT: Many people have also suggested podcasts. This is appreciated, but since podcasts arrive in a constantly arriving stream of data rather than as a finite amount of data, ways to juggle all of these different content streams would also be appreciated.

To be more specific to my situation, my commuting vehicle has an MP3 CD player, USB input for MP3 files, and AUX input. I own Android and webOS devices that can be plugged into the AUX input.

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    I wonder what it would sound like when they read code samples: "if left-parenthesis conditionA double-equal true right-parenthesis left-brace x equal y.getFoo left-parenthesis right-parenthesis semi-colon..." Jul 25, 2011 at 21:29
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    I'm in your same situation and have been thinking about trying text-to-speech with some pdf e-books to see how that works out. What better way to learn programming than from a robot voice? Jul 26, 2011 at 18:52
  • Pluralsight video courses. Get the expensive subscription and download the courses to your device. Listen to them on the way to work. Not as good as watching, but still good.
    – Trevor
    Nov 1, 2012 at 16:18

5 Answers 5


Podcasts are good, my usual programming ones are

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    www.se-radio.net Jul 26, 2011 at 15:24
  • The Polymorphic Podcast link is wrong :s
    – Osukaa
    Aug 14, 2011 at 6:44
  • How to download all mp3 effortlessly ? Aug 19, 2011 at 3:37
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    Oh and don't use iTunes on a pc unless you have to sync an iPhone, it's a complete pain in the ... Otherwise Aug 19, 2011 at 7:10
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    IT Conversations is closing. Las episoce will be December the 1st. Oct 22, 2012 at 1:26

Not really audio books, but I know I usually spend my time in the car listening to podcasts such as the SE Podcast or .NET Rocks. I'm sure there are other quality podcasts out the that I don't know about.

To be honest, I think this will be as close as you get to an audio book.

  • There aren't many programming audiobooks. But, there are good ones that will help with other aspects of your career. I've also found podcasts to be a great way to stay up to date on tech issues. If you have a Kindle, you could use the text to speech feature and have it read things that aren't too code-filled. Jul 25, 2011 at 21:53

I agree with the recommendation to check out podcasts. In a way, it's nice to be exposed to new ideas or technologies in the car where you can't pop up a browser window and start researching them yourself. Inevitably you'll hear about a product or web site that interests you, which you can keep in mind or find in the show notes later on. When you're back at your computer in full-on research mode, you'll have a good idea where you want to go to feed your brain.

Most of the shows I regularly consume have already been covered by MattyD and Rob. The only one I'll add is This Developer's Life.

Podcast-wrangling methods:

I keep a podcast playlist on my Android phone, which I fill with MP3s from the archive pages of my favorite shows. I prefer to download full files and queue them up locally rather than streaming. I don't always have a signal where I do my listening, and studies show that interrupted podcasts are a leading cause of road rage. MortPlayer is my preferred player for Android, but the only feature I find indispensable is the ability to reliably resume tracks where you left them.


For all developers

Kevin Mitnick - The Art of Deception

Kevin Mitnick - Ghost in the Wires

Richard Dawkins - The Magic of Reality

Stephen Hawking - The Grand Design

Jonah Lehrer - How We Decide

For OSX/iOS developers

Walter Isaacson - Steve Jobs


I'm in the same situation (commuting by car) and recently have started to download presentations from www.infoq.com.

Since you don't have access to the slides while listening to the presentations, a littel effort is required. There are quite a few presentations where you really don't need the slides and can simply listen to the audio part, but it takes a while to filter them out. Nevertheless, I find it quite interesting.

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