Why Nations Fail is one of the most thought provoking books I've ever listened to.
This book explains in detail the reasons why we see the world as it is today. British, and in particular English creativity and entrepreneurism are at the heart of the story and describes how the actions of those people who wrestled power away from English elite society in the 17th century changed the face of the world for ever.
Well worth a read if you want to know why the USA succeeded to become the most powerful country in the world and didn't end up as just another failed state.
If you want to learn about the roots and developments of the current political situation in the Middle East, from Iran to Egypt, this is where you can find out. It is an up-to-date, authoritative textbook for a foundation course, read out completely verbatim. This is not an audiobook to attempt to whizz through non-stop; I listened to several sections more than once in order to absorb the information, but I was keen to do so because I learned so much from the book. Its structure facilitates understanding, with clear sectional headings and summaries of each chapter. Probably the most informative sections are those on the birth and earliest years of Islam, and those on the late 19th and early 20th century.
It may well be worthwhile complementing the audiobook with reference to online information, eg from Wikipedia, as the lack of maps or other visual aids is a bit of a drawback. However, I would never have found the time to read all through the text versions of the book, whereas taking it steadily on my iPod I have been totally committed and absorbed in my listening. I have finished it now but fully intend to go back again to several sections. I fully recommend this.