I think Podcasts are fantastic thing. They allow for getting quality and in-depth content on topics as obscure as we chose. To me, they are a great resource for information, learning, and entertainment.
A few days back, my nephew told me that he did not listen to Podcasts mostly because he haven’t had the time to pick a few, and asked me which ones did I listen to. This prompted me to do a mental inventory, but rather than just reply privately to him, why not voice it to the world?
First of all, on what platform? As much as I love Spotify for music, I prefer having Podcasts downloaded to my phone automatically. This is not dependent on any provider, as -for example- iTunes doesn’t host them, it only lists the podcasts, and the file can be fetched directly, and I like to use a client that has extensive configuration, so I have been using Downcast for years.
Alright, now about the shows. Not all Podcasts are the same style, and not all of them match my mood all the time. I have a few “on rotation”, sometimes I get tired of some, and come back to them months later, some are just there for when I need a break. I have a rough classification method, which you’ll see on the headings:
News and Current Events
NPR’s Up First – The news, daily, in short 10-20 min audio.
Pivot – Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway discuss the Tech news. Witty.
Interviews of Wide Ranging Topics
Fresh Air – Terry Gros interviews a wide range of personalities and asks thoughtful questions.
The Tim Ferris Show – The author of “The 4 hour work week” interviews people. Tim has become one of the best interviewers I have heard. His guests are also stunning. I have a favorite series where he interviews Balaji S. Srinivasan, FOR MULTIPLE HOURS. It’s so good that I have listened to those shows multiple times, logging about 20 hours just on Balaji.
The James Altucher Show – James interviews an even wider range of personalities in his own awkward, funny, and contrarian style.
The Jordan Harbinger show – Same concept, different take. Jordan is pragmatic and funny.
Moonshots and Mindsets – The creator of the X-Prize, Peter Diamandis, interviews people from his network. Usually optimistic and far-fetched.
Stories, Highly Produced shows
Radiolab – The firstestest nicely produced Podcast. A must listen.
This American Life – Long form reporting and stories by Ira Glass.
Throughline – A younger generation of podcasters telling stories. The original music (by one of the authors of the podcast) is A-ma-zing.
Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell takes podcasting to where he took “Blink”
The TED Radio Hour – TED Talks on Podcast (“annotated”-if you can say that about audio), usually about a specific topic.
Radio Ambulante – A “spanish language Radiolab”? That’s about right.
Freakonomics – The author of Freakonomics applies Behavioral Economics and questions pretty much everything.
The New Man Podcast – I love this guy. Trip Lanier is a professional coach, but he has the witt, and inserts just enough foul language to make you feel you are talking to a buddy with a pint in hand. A “safe space” for men.
Work-Life with Adam Grant – Usually inspirational, still business-ey.
A Bit of Optimism – Simon Sinek. Who doesn’t know Simon Sinek?
For Breaks – When tired of so much information
On Being – Krista Tippet interviews spiritual leaders on -well- spiritual topics. She has done them all, Christians, Buddhists, Hindustanis, Atheists, poets, musicians, artists of all classes. The constant is Krista’s spiritual bent questions.
The Splendid Table – Tired of work? Tech? Business? The news? Let’s listen to something about FOOD! Cooking, recipes, interviews, special ingredients.
99% invisible – A trained design professional looks at the world through design lenses.
Revolutions – Learn history through the pivotal moments.
Back2Basics – My friend, Leticia Latino, interviews personalities in her own style.
This is not a list intended to flag “the best” or any “must listen” Podcasts, these are just the ones I have on rotation currently. There are many others that I have listened to regularly over the years, like All Songs Considered, Alt Latino, Hidden Brain, No Stupid Questions, PROOF (all about NFTs), Hardcore History, The McKinsey Podcast, The SaaStr Podcast, This Week in Photography, We are Photographers, The Candid Frame, and The Martin Bailey Podcast.
I understand if you need more visuals, or if you just cannot pay attention to someone just talking to you, but if you have not dipped into listening to podcasts, you are missing out on a large body of information.
There you have it Konrad…