Creating an Audiobook of “Starting with Why” by Simon Sinek


  With this project I had a goal of doing something that I had never done before. I wanted to push my boundaries on what I felt was possible for my specific set of skills. I have created pamphlets, booklets, and I have written many papers. I wanted to do something creative that could potentially lead to a career if I felt that was the correct path. It is easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same things over and over because they put you in a comfortable situation. That was something I wanted to avoid by doing this project.

  Without attempting to find something different, you will never know if certain tasks fulfill you as a person or not. I am inherently not a very adventurous person, which is why this project created some difficulties that I had to face. Even with those difficulties I was still able to accomplish what my original goal was. Along with accomplishing my goal, I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.

The Project

  For this personal project I chose to create an audiobook. Start to finish I wanted to produce a professional audio project that I wouldn’t mind being published on Audible or other sites that were similar. The book that I selected was Starting with Why by Simon Sinek. This book is a self help book for managers that want to become successful leaders, rather than just managers. I wanted to produce something that was worth listening to, and something that I would be proud of once it was accomplished.

I created four podcasts documenting my adventure in the audiobook world. Explaining all of the challenges, setbacks, and successes that I experienced during my project. You can find those podcasts here. Along with my podcast you can find a sample of the book here.

Challenges Encountered

Right from the beginning this project faced many challenges. I had never created any type of audio project before. This meant learning an entirely new software to accomplish my goal of creating a professional level audio book. Learning how to deal with audio clips also meant learning how to record professionally.

  About halfway through recording the book I realized that it was a lot more effort than I thought it was going to be at the start of the semester. You must stop your recording after each paragraph, sometimes each sentence depending on length, to make sure you cut out breathing noises. If you forget to stop the recording and restart, and then you make a mistake, you often have to rerecord the whole paragraph or page again. Leading to one hour of recorded audio sometimes taking up to 3 or four hours to truly produce in a professional manner.

  Along with length of time being a problem, there was also the problem of my voice. If I recorded for any long periods of time at all my throat would begin to hurt and my voice would become scratchy. I tried a couple of methods to keep those problems from popping up, but never really found a solution other than breaking recording sessions up into smaller increments. Which helped but didn’t really solve the problem entirely.

Project Process

After I spent the first few weeks of the project learning Audacity (the audio program I used to record the book) I then actually read through the book in its entirety to become familiar with the content inside. Once I finished reading, I spent on average three to four hours a week recording content, and then one to two more hours editing that content for quality purposes. I would end the week with a podcast episode talking about the different challenges and successes that I faced throughout that specific period.


 Tackling new projects that you have never attempted before can be incredibly daunting. I didn’t want the fear of something new to prevent me from doing something that seemed incredibly interesting to me at the time. Which is why I stuck with the project and pushed through to produce a complete audio book. There are always many different lessons to learn as you experience something new. Especially when you are producing something that people will listen to. There were a lot more hurdles than I was expecting in my project, but I think that ended up being a good thing. I learned a lot of lessons that are important for my future. Without taking a step into the unknown, those are lessons that would have gone unlearned.


  At the end of this project, I do believe I produced a professional quality product. I don’t think that it was perfect, maybe more of a third of fourth draft just before the final project. The important thing to me, was that I completed my goal of recording the entire audio book, which I did. Some of the lessons I learned along the way were difficult to learn, but worth it. I learned that I don’t have a desire to record audiobooks professionally as a career. This is something that I didn’t know when the project first took place. I believed that it was genuinely something I was interested in. After the difficulties that I faced, and the frustrations that I found, I realized that it may be a dream career for some, but I was not that someone.

  Which is okay, that is the whole point of doing things that challenge you. When you experience new things, you really get to develop opinions and feelings towards that certain thing. I started out thinking that I could create a dream career through recording audiobooks. After putting in the time to really understand what all recording an audiobook entailed, I realized that it wasn’t my dream. That doesn’t mean I should try new things in the future though. Making a realization that something isn’t for you, is getting you one step closer to finding something that matches you perfectly.