Performance Perspectives Blog

Why not turn your car into an automobile university

by | May 2, 2017


automobile university 3

There’s an automobile university near you that’s taking new students!

I posted about this idea nearly four years ago, and thought it worthy to do so again.  Have you thought about enrolling in automobile university?

What do I mean by that? Simply, to turn your drive time into a learning experience. There are countless ways to do this.

The first time I heard the term, automobile university, was from the motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. I’ve been using (in chronological order) cassette tapes, CDs, iPods, iPhones, and now Sirius as a way to make the most of my driving time. Granted, I drive a great deal (about 20,000 miles a year), so spend lots of time in my car. But even if you’re only driving 12-15,000 miles, just think about the amount of time you’re there!

What are your automobile listening options?

While driving you have a few choices. You can:

  • listen to the radio
    • music
    • the news
    • “talk radio”
  • listen to music on CDs, Sirius, or some other method
  • have quiet time.

All of these are good things to do. BUT, why not set at least some time aside for learning?

Today, there are many ways to obtain this education. You can:

  • buy “books on tape” (now probably CDs, or download to your phone or some other device)
  • borrow CDs from your public library
  • listen to educational programs on Sirius or some other source.

Automobile university approaches I’ve used

About 30 years ago I started purchasing courses from Nightingale-Conant. When I started TSG 27 years ago, I purchased loads of material that helped me with my business. I don’t get as much as I used to from this company, as I rely more on, a site that my dear friend, Sandra Hahn Colbert, turned me on to. Prior to that time, when I wanted a “book on tape,” I’d get it from the bookstore: often, they were abridged. With Audible, they’re unabridged* and quite reasonably priced.

I’ve been a subscriber to the website for the past eight years, and have listened to about 175 books and programs over this time. Some of the books have been literary classics that I just never got around to reading (e.g., “Moby Dick,” “The Brothers Karamazov,” “The Idiot,” “Far From the Madding Crowd,” “Anna Karenina”), while most are nonfiction (many biographies, as well as books about history and other topics).

I spend a great deal of time reading “the old fashioned way,” but have found listening just another way to get through books.

I recently discovered that you can purchase, for a fraction of their normal cost, university-level lectures from The Great Courses on Audible. So far I’ve listened to courses (taught by university professors) on philosophy, physics, opera, grammar, history, and other topics. This truly does make the car a university!

I’ve become a big fan of Joel Osteen, and regularly listen to his program on Sirius. He speaks of turning the car into an “automobile university,” too. Sirius offers loads of things to listen to, and those that help “build you up” are ideal, in my view.

While “staying informed” by listening to the news is a good thing, often the information is repeated multiple times. Music is entertaining, but not informative or educational. Talk radio can get depressing, frustrating, and worse.

What to do with that time?

Just think about the hours and hours you spend behind the wheel. Why not spend at least a fraction of it “in school”?

My wife and I will often listen to a book while we’re on long trips: they tend to be fiction, and can be an enjoyable way to pass the time.

Another thought: do you ever exercise on a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine? If yes, why not use that time to listen to educational recordings, too? I use an elliptical three or four times a week for roughly 45 minutes each time: this provides me with additional time to learn, rather than watching a TV program or listening to music.

In all likelihood, you’ll be come wiser and more knowledgeable by devoting some of your time in pursuit of an education while driving and/or exercising. I think I can pretty much guarantee this. So, why not give it a try?


*:  Yes, with an unabridged you have to devote more time to listening, sometimes two or three times as much time. But, you get to better experience the author’s writing skills. You’re not at the mercy of someone who decided what parts to cut out.

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