I’ve been thinking about a post on podcasts for a long time. As in, “these are the podcasts I enjoy, and here is why, maybe you’d like to check them out.”
On Saturday, I found out a friend of mine listens to two of the same podcasts. Then today I was listening to one while walking, and the story resonated with me a lot, so I figured today must be the day to write about them.
So, I like to listen to:
Hidden Brain (social science research that teaches me a lot about human behavior)
Freakonomics (which covers a variety of topics, many with an economic or social science research slant)
Bob Shieffer’s About the News (insight into politics from the perspective of journalists currently working, hosted by a veteran political news man)
The Yarn (about children’s books, authors, and illustrators)
How I Built This (interviews with people who built successful companies) Note: I used to listen to Side Hustle School but found the sheer volume of podcasts to keep up with exhausting (every day?!) How I Built This still talks about entrepreneurship, but far less often. Ha.
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (a game show during which people offer little-known factual information to a panel of judges who try to guess the fact initially hinted at).
TED Radio Hour (a podcast that curates 4-5 different TED talks around a theme, talks to the speakers, and offers snippets of audio from the original video recordings).
I listen to all of them because I love to learn. As a writer, I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people tick, and it informs how I interview people and how I will one day write about fictional people.
I don’t understand much about economics, and I like the big picture view of how these forces shape the world around us — Freakonomics makes me feel smarter, for sure.
About the News helps me think about politics (which I don’t like to do). When I heard the first podcast I felt like I was at the “meeting the mentor” stage of The Hero’s Journey — Bob Shieffer in a wizard hat is my mental picture.
The Yarn = fangirling over rock stars in the kidlitosphere.
The last three, again, because I love to learn, I love to hear people’s stories, and frankly, there is a lot of cool information out there. Sure, there is stuff I may never need to know or may not agree with, but there is far more that makes me marvel, gets me thinking, and gives me great conversation starters.
I don’t listen to every podcast. I get behind. I skip the ones that don’t interest me. But, for someone who doesn’t like to waste time, podcasts allow me to multitask while I walk.
Then, there are times when podcasts seem to align with thoughts and ideas I’ve been having, or questions I’ve had, in an almost mystical way.
Back when I was wrangling with setting goals, cleaning out old stuff, and hitting the reset button on some of my dreams, the very next day, I listened to a TED Radio Hour podcast titled “A Better You.” Seriously. Jia Jiang talked about fearing rejection/failure, so he set out on a quest to get rejected every day. And even though he asked strangers to do some crazy stuff, he only got rejected about half of the time! One of the speakers was Andy Puddicombe, who developed the Head Space app . . . and I had just started using the app regularly. Matt Cutts talked about habit formation (one of my favorite topics to study!), and how he starts a new habit every month. He doesn’t keep all of them, but he tries something new every month. Some are fun/easy habits, like taking a photo every day and posting to social media — and seeing how it makes time pass more slowly. (Who doesn’t need more of that?) It felt like all 5 of the speakers were basically saying, “Yep, you’re on the right track. You can do this.” Thus, lifelong learning + serendipity = whoa.
What podcasts do you enjoy?