The best books that made me write a book about my life behind a microphone

Joe Pardavila Author Of Good Listen: Creating Memorable Conversations in Business and Life
By Joe Pardavila

Who am I?

Joe Pardavila has produced over ten thousand hours of audio content over the course of his career in podcasting and terrestrial radio. Joe was a radio personality and producer on the legendary New York City radio station, 95.5 PLJ, where he was part of the iconic Scott & Todd in the Morning. He studied sketch and improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and was a founding member and actor in the New York-based sketch comedy group, Clip Show. He is the codirector, writer, and producer of the award-winning horror satire, The Witches of Bushwick. Currently, he serves as the director of podcasts for Advantage Media Group | Forbes Books.

I wrote...

Good Listen: Creating Memorable Conversations in Business and Life

By Joe Pardavila,

Book cover of Good Listen: Creating Memorable Conversations in Business and Life

What is my book about?

In the new book Good Listen: Creating Memorable Conversations in Business, I share with readers my insights and knowledge for creating a podcast that will appeal to listeners and leave them clamoring for more. But you don’t need to have a podcast to benefit from the book because my tips for connecting with others also apply to work, love, and life.

Drawing on my days as a New York radio personality, I also weave into the book anecdotes involving such celebrities as Taylor Swift, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer, and Chris Martin to demonstrate how interviews can go wonderfully right (Aniston) or terribly wrong (Swift).

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The books I picked & why

Humankind: A Hopeful History

By Rutger Bregman, Erica Moore (translator), Elizabeth Manton (translator)

Book cover of Humankind: A Hopeful History

Why did I love this book?

I read Bregman’s book during the height of the pandemic and it was the perfect escape from all the sadness. It’s a history book full of happy stories. Most history books are downers and are full of death and destruction, but Bregman proves that humans aren’t all that bad. Wait until you read the part about the Stanford Prison Experiments. Reading the book, I realized that you could learn so much from stories of hope and perseverance.

By Rutger Bregman, Erica Moore (translator), Elizabeth Manton (translator)

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Humankind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and Daily Express Book of the Year

'Hugely, highly and happily recommended' Stephen Fry
'You should read Humankind. You'll learn a lot (I did) and you'll have good reason to feel better about the human race' Tim Harford
'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah Harari

It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have…

Book cover of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Why did I love this book?

Like many Americans growing up in the 80s, I was aware of “The Troubles,” but I had no idea what was actually happening between the UK and Northern Ireland. You would randomly hear about car bombs and the like but didn’t know what they were all fighting about. Reading Keefe’s book, you get an understanding of what it was like to live in Northern Ireland and why this was all happening. It's narrative non-fiction at its best and is a remarkable piece of work.

By Patrick Radden Keefe,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Say Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •From the author of Empire of Pain—a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book—as finely paced as a novel—Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." —New York Times Book Review

Jean McConville's…

Book cover of The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Why did I love this book?

Business books tend to be stuffy and over technical, but Iger’s book was the model I was going after when writing my own book. Iger shares the hits and misses (but mostly hits) of his time running one of the most prestigious brands the world has ever seen. But even though they’re mostly showbiz and Disney-focused, any human can relate and learn from his stories.

By Robert Iger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Ride of a Lifetime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the best business books I've read in years.' BILL GATES

The CEO of Disney, one of Time's most influential people of 2019, shares the ideas and values he embraced to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.

Robert Iger became CEO of The Walt Disney Company in 2005, during a difficult time. Morale had deteriorated, competition was intense, and technology was changing faster than at any time in the company's…

The Chain

By Adrian McKinty,

Book cover of The Chain

Why did I love this book?

I had to share my favorite piece of fiction from the past decade, and that’s McKinty’s The Chain. A book I always recommend to folks looking for a high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Adrian takes the concept of “chain letters” and heightens it into a game of murder and manipulation. Any time a work of fiction makes you feel like you’re watching a movie unfold in your brain, you know it’s working.

By Adrian McKinty,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Chain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

It's something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it's a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a…

Les Miserables

By Victor Hugo, Lee Fahnestock (translator), Norman Macafee (translator)

Book cover of Les Miserables

Why did I love this book?

Les Miz was the first book I truly read as a kid. I was in high school, and we mostly read boring old textbooks and I never had an interest in reading anything outside of what was required. That all changed when I was assigned to read Hugo’s novel in sophomore English class. Not only did I learn about the turbulent history of France, but I saw it through the eyes of Jean Valjean. Jean fought against all odds to live the life he wanted to live and change the lives of people around him. I’ll never forget that twist midway through the book that forced me to go back and read to see what I had missed.

By Victor Hugo, Lee Fahnestock (translator), Norman Macafee (translator)

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Les Miserables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The only completely unabridged paperback edition of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece—a sweeping tale of love, loss, valor, and passion.

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean—the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread—Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose.

Within his dramatic story…

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