Up until about a year and a half ago I never could quite grasp what a podcast was or why I would want to work it into my busy life. Was it an audio book? Was it radio? Was it a talk show?
How could it be better than the other types of media I was already consuming? I listened to Game of Thrones audiobooks on my commute, bumped to hip hop music when I ran and watched House of Cards on Netflix when I got home. Could I possibly squeeze another form of digital consumption into my life?
Well this all changed for me back in the winter of 2015 when my sister told me I HAD to listen to the podcast Serial. At the time, the nonfiction series that followed the reinvestigation of a decade’s old teenage murder was rising the ranks on the podcast charts and popping into the mainstream media.
It turned out that my sister was absolutely right and that there was a reason for all the buzz. After just one episode of Serial, I was hooked and finally understood the power of the podcast. It proved to be an intimate, enjoyable and addictive listening experience. Since my early days of dabbling with Serial I’ve become borderline obsessed with podcasts. Over the last eighteen months I’ve explored all sorts of genres and formats discovering that my appetite for them is insatiable. Today, my podcast consumption has amazingly surpassed both television and audio books.
But what I didn’t realize would happen when I started listening to podcasts was that they’d become more than just a form of entertainment for me. They’d become something that has helped reshape my life. What started with me firing through more mystery shows like Serial, transitioned next into experimenting with shows about history, science and investing. From there I moved onto shows about business, entrepreneurship and self-help where I spend the majority of my listening time today.
Podcasts have inspired me, challenged me and influenced me in ways I never thought were possible. They’ve inspired me to think more critically about the world. They’ve challenged my own thoughts on what I want my life to be. They’ve even influenced me to start creating my own content. Podcasts are the reason I decided to revisit my creative side and are ultimately the reason I’m blogging right now.
With this post I want to give you the opportunity to enter into this podcast world with me or to explore parts of it you may not have known before. Below is a list of the top 7 podcasts I’m listening to right now and what you you’ll get from each. Enjoy and please comment with your favorite podcasts!
My Top 7 Podcasts (in no particular order):
1. The Tim Ferris Show:
Consistently among the top ranked business podcasts on iTunes, Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Work Week) interviews a diverse mix of world-class performers (athletes, businessmen, authors, etc). For 1-2 hours Tim deconstructs their habits, tools, and routines to give the listener actionable items that they can try to implement into their own life. The conversations are stimulating, engaging and witty making for a great listener experience. Although this podcast is listed in the business section I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for personal improvement and to gain perspective from the world’s best. I’d definitely suggest starting with the Jamie Foxx interview!
2. EO Fire:
Also among the top business podcasts, EO Fire is a show where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring entrepreneurs daily. The interviews are short (about 25 minutes) and are usually always run with the same questions. In each episode, John extracts how his guests generate revenue, what advice they have for listeners, but also digs into their journey to reveal their lowest moments in their business. John’s enthusiasm for what he does echoes through the microphone as he is on his own entrepreneurial journey. I’d recommend this for anyone considering creating an online business or even if you have the slightest itch to start your own side project. This show will inspire you and you will NEVER run out of episodes.
3. Love + Radio:
Produced in Cambridge, L+R is aired monthly by Nick van der Kolk and is an incredible mix of strange, intense and exhilarating. Their website describes it best as “in-depth, otherworldly-produced interviews with an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.” This show will take you into a different world and then spit you back out. The listening experience is unlike any podcast out there. Anyone that loves top-notch story telling and uncommon subject matters should check this out. Start with the Episode “Fix” and you’ll never stop listening. If you’re looking for just one podcast on this list to start with, it’s this one!
One of the most popular podcasts of all time, hosted by Jad Abumrad & Robert Krulwich, Radiolab “is a show about curiosity.” Each episode is between thirty minutes to an hour and investigates curious concepts in science, history, and within the human experience. The show will take you to different parts of this world and into various moments in history to unravel mysteries about this planet and the humans that inhabit it. If you’re looking to learn something new and want a premium audio experience then this is your place to start. I would recommend listening to “The Dust of This Planet” but really you can’t go wrong with any episode.
Produced and hosted by Megan Tan, Millennial is a show that “teaches you how to maneuver your 20s.” In essence, Megan captures her life in real time as she navigates her early 20s. She shares everything with us from her uncertainty in her career to the intimate details of her relationship. She’s sincere with her audience in every episode and has the guts to share it all. The concept and format of the show had a significant influence on my idea to start this blog. If you’re looking to relate with problems from another millennial then check it out. Start with episode 1 in the first season as everything moves in order for this one.
6. We Study Billionaires: The Investors Podcast
Hosted by Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen, this podcasts serves two primary purposes: 1) studying the minds of the world’s famous billionaires (i.e. Warren Buffett) and 2) providing investment insights. For anyone that likes investing this is a must listen. However, my favorite episodes are when they review the books that billionaires have written and dissect how billionaires think. I admit this is a niche podcast and maybe not for most people in my blog audience but worth a try for people trying to beat the market, learn about billionaires, or simply get some great book recommendations.
7. Reply All:
Claiming to be a show about the Internet, Reply All hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, is way more than that. Each episode explores different internet related problems but really focuses on the human elements of it that affect us all. With Alex and PJ, you’ll be drawn in by their likeability and hang along for whatever ride into cyberspace they’re about to take you on. This is a casual listen that’s maybe a good place for you newbies to test the podcast waters. I recommend the episode called “Zardulu” to start!
So there you have it, from business to the bizarre, my top seven podcast recommendations. Give one a try and get a taste into my obsession. And then once you get comfortable with the podcast landscape, you can start to explore the genres that most appeal to you. I’m sure you’ll find your own niche that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Already a podcast listener? Great! Then share your favorite shows below. I know I’m still only scratching the surface with what’s out there.
Full disclosure: while I can’t guarantee that these podcasts will change your life, like many of them have for me, they will unquestionably teach you something new. Each podcast tickles your brain in a way that radio and TV cannot. It’s difficult to explain why, but you’ll just have to trust me. So download the Podcasts App for iPhone or the Stitcher App for Android and prepare yourself for a new wave of digital consumption.