I'm a nerd for podcasts, so much so that I expect this to be a passion of everyone I meet. I recently started talking to some friends about my favorites and was shocked when they said they didn't listen to any. It's such a simple way to not only entertain yourself but also learn something new while you're on the go.
While I ride the overpopulated, germ filled train to work, I need a distraction, and podcasts are my drug of choice. Because I've spent so much time listening to podcasts I have a pretty good idea of which ones are best for what moods.
For when you want the news, but also need to laugh...
This NPR news based radio show cracks me up each week. Their goofy sense of humor mixed with the weeks news is a great way to intake all of the typically depressing news of the week (it's important to note they don't go in depth on topics). Their panel of amazing comedians rotates each week and when you're favorite cast member (what up Paula Poundstone) is on one week it feels like a mini Christmas. I never miss a week of this one.
For when you want the news, no none sense...
The New York Times produces this podcast (so it's extremely liberal, but so am I) and it has a good mixture of an overview of the daily news and in depth looks into a particular topic you should know more about. Sometimes they interview other New York Times reporters but other times they interview outside sources. Their reporting can be too one sided (shocker I know), but I find the topics they choose are very significant. They will report on a subject and a couple weeks later that same subject is the the center of all headline news. I feel informed, and not superficially, when I listen to The Daily.
For when you want to get lost in stories...
This podcast comes from recordings of live storytelling events hosted by The Moth. Anyone can audition to tell their story at one of these events and some are chosen to be aired on their podcast. My old boss said it so well, she said, "sometimes there are great storytellers, sometimes there are great stories, it's really special when you hear a story that has both". Be prepared to cry, laugh and learn about new experiences you never thought about.
Each week of this podcast there's a theme and stories told based off that theme. Stories is a word used loosely here, sometimes it's a stand up act, some times an essay is being read, it really depends. The only real thread between all the episode is they're all about American life, but not the strict definition you're thinking of. Similar to The Moth there are terribly sad stories and some hilariously funny. One great thing about this show is it will take in depth looks at important topics, for instance, it recently did two episodes looking into the real impact immigrants have on American life.
In this podcast interesting people are interview but there's no narrator. So you go into each story not certain what conclusion you should come to or what topic will be covered. I have to be in the right mood to listen to this because more so than other podcasts I listen to, you need to really pay attention. There's typically a moment where the light bulb goes off and you "get" what the story is about. The people they choose to interview aren't typical, like a pimp, a street harasser, online sexual dominatrix personality and an ex-lie detector tester.
Every episode of this podcast is linked somehow to criminality, even if it's a loose connection. Sometimes they interview an ex-criminal, sometimes you learn a new criminality technique and sometimes you learn about a historic criminal figure. Most episodes are light and airy but some can hit you to your core. A lot of these episodes have really stuck with me and I think of them often.
For when you want to learn something new...
This podcast teaches you about science through human experiences. I don't have a very scientific brain so some of their episodes kind of lull me to sleep, but some of them have effected the way I view the world. I would highly recommend you listen to the following, even if you don't listen to anything else I've recommended.
- Space- A love story mixed with a story about NASA you wouldn't believe
- Colors- I'm hoping one day to be able to insert more color cones into my eyes... one day
- Memory- This episode made me not trust my memory at all, it's really just a story we tell ourselves
- When Am I Dead?- The history of death that is explored in this episode is fascinating and makes me look at death differently
- In The Running- As a runner I think about this episode often and use it as fuel to go further, perception is the only thing holding you back
Ok for this show you need time, and a lot of it. Dan Carlin knows his history and he likes to talk. His voice is really soothing and the subjects he chooses are very intriguing (for instance Genghis Khan and his reign) but I don't think there is anyway you can truly pay attentive for four hours straight (that's how long some of his episodes are!). I've listened to this in the past while I'm baking all day, or doing an activity that really needs half my brain, never fully taking in every word he says, but still learning something new.
I LOVE DESIGN and so does this podcast. It looks at design of a lot of different fields, audio, architecture, graphic, you name it. The episodes are short and sweet but draw attention to mostly every day objects and their designs. I'll never look at a Flag the same way again.
When I listen to this podcast I become really aware of how little I know about economics, but it doesn't take away from my understanding of the shows topics. This podcast looks at a lot of different aspects of our every day and larger lives through the lens of economics. Before listening to this podcast I had no idea lines at the store, happiness and organ donation could all be made better through economic theory. Each episode explains a theory or a phenomena by interviews experts in different feilds (mostly economics) I always feel more intelligent after listening to an episode.
For when you need spiritual inspiration...
If you're interested in eastern philosophies like I am this podcast is made for you. Ram Dass was a Harvard professor who moved to India, went through a spiritual awakening and upon returning to the west has been teaching what he's learned through lectures, books and retreats. This podcast has a recording of a past lecture (some are very old lectures, going back to the 70's and 80's) with a prelude by a colleague of his. I typically skip the beginning prelude and just listen to the lecture. This podcast always grounds me.
What can't Oprah do, right? Each episode of this podcast she interviews authors and gets real. I haven't listened to many episodes of this but the ones I have listened to have been about following your passion, defining your principles and in general living a honest and purposeful life. When I'm feeling a little too attached to the frivolous things in life I like to listen to an episode of SuperSoul.
A woman loses her husband shortly after loosing her father and decides to be more honest when people ask "how are you doing?". Every episode is filled with true talks with people who have been through terrible times in their lives. I know it sounds depressing but there is always something comforting to hear someone else's tough time in their life. Not only does it make me more grateful for my life but it helps me feel less alone when I'm unhappy or thing's aren't going my way.