I mostly use my “before going to sleep” and “eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner” times to listen to podcasts. I think one of the good aspects of owning a car or having a commute to work is one has dead time that can be used productively. I don’t have that. And before I made this list I didn’t think I listened to a lot of podcasts. I was wrong. There are two handfuls that I find consistently interesting and then a bunch more that I listen to in varying degrees of regularity.
My podcast listening is mostly skewed towards comedy and science. As much as I enjoy business and marketing I process that kind of information better via books and blogs.
With that I bring you, in no particular order, several podcasts you should check out if you haven’t already. (All links open in a new window.)
StarTalk Radio is by far, without a doubt, my favorite podcast. If I could only listen to one this would be it. The subtitle of this show should be, “educate yourself out of ignorance.” Which I guess is kind of redundant since education often leads to intelligence and, let’s say, anti-ignorance.
Even if you hate science Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice is so amazing he will lull you into a trance like few people can. Then he’ll hit you with knowledge bombs left, right, and center and you’ll never be the same.
I’ve listened to every episode of this show. I think it’s the only podcast I can say that for.
I highly recommend this one if you believe in astrology or crystal healing or anything of its ilk. Mr. Tyson is an astronomer — let’s get technical, he’s an astrophysicist — and will quickly, kindly, and non-judgmentally steer your mind happily towards the truth.
Mr. Stanhope is vulgar, politically incorrect, and funny. He’s also often drunk or at least pretending to be. I’m a Louis CK fan as much as the next person, but Stanhope takes “did he really just say that out loud?” to a new level. (So does Jim Jefferies, but Jefferies doesn’t have a podcast.)
I’ve not read the Freakonomics books yet, though I probably should if the podcast is any indication of the quality of the books. They take a rational, measured, approach to such diverse topics as, “Does religion make you happy?” and “The upside of quitting.”
This one is tough to recommend. It’s a fantastic podcast. But the creator, Brian Dunning, recently started serving a 15 month prison sentence on federal charges related to illicitly making a few million dollars with the eBay affiliate program nearly 10 years ago. It now has a new host. And it’s still good.
This is a recent find and a fun listen. I’ve never done improv, but I love the idea of it. Creating funny on the spot isn’t easy, but Matt Besser and friends do it consistently.
More on this topic in 2015. But if you’re interested in tiny houses and simplicity this is the podcast for you.
This is what I wish I had created with the now-in-limbo Effin’ With podcast. I like that the hosts don’t pretend to know what they don’t know. The tagline is, “Four professional comedians/incompetent scientists take you through this week in science. Incompetently.”
I’ve been listening to this one since September of 2009. I had just arrived in Sydney, Australia on my first solo international trip and was looking for stuff to listen to while riding the metro. Back in those days Maron begged for money on every episode (I donated) and now he has a successful TV show and supposedly earns upwards of $20k per podcast episode via advertising. I stopped listening for a while a year or two ago, but started listening again this year. He’s a great interviewer and in 10 years will probably be Larry King level as far as respect goes. (Though Larry King is one of the worst interviewers I can name so not sure why he gets that respect.)
It seems everybody I know already knows RadioLab, but if you don’t well now you do. It’s probably the most interestingly edited podcast around and it will keep you thoroughly engaged.
There are a bunch of other podcasts I listen to as well, though with more irregularity. Some of that may be due to the fact that they’re not regularly updated. Let’s call these honorable mentions.
– No Meat Athlete Radio (I listen to most of these. It’s definitely for you if you’re into plant-based fitness.)
– Tropical MBA (As I already mentioned, I don’t regularly listen to business or marketing podcasts, but I promise this one is worth your 30 minutes. I don’t quite listen to every episode, but I listen often.)
– Doug Loves Movies (I’m not a movie buff, but if the guests are good I’ll listen.)
– Brain Science Podcast (I love this, but I’ve only listened to about 5 episodes thus far.)
– Serial (This is a new one and an interesting form of journalism.)
– Wits (Mostly an improv comedy podcast. It’s good but I prefer the aforementioned Improv For Humans.)
– The Champs (White guys who only have black guests on the show. Often funny.)
– The James Altucher Show (I’ve only listened to a few, but they were good. Except the Biz Markie episode, oh goodness.)
When I look at it like this it seems like I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, but it’s about 30 minutes per day plus a comedy podcast as I’m falling asleep. (I don’t often re-listen to the parts I missed after falling asleep.)
Based on what you’ve seen here if there’s a podcast you think I should listen to please share it in the comments.