I listen to podcasts. We go out, she sniffs all her bushes and pees on stuff and I’m constantly fiddling with my earbuds.
I listen to a ton of podcasts. It’s a little ridiculous. So ridiculous, I’m splitting this post into two parts. I’d like to be hipster and pretend I’ve been listening them before Serial came out but let’s face it, I didn’t even start listening to Serial until several weeks into that first season.
I listen to everything at 1.5 speed through the iPhone Podcasts app. I also listen to them when I’m driving or doing stuff around the apartment like washing dishes or making breakfast.
Unlike books, I have no problem skipping an episode if it’s not holding my attention. If I fall behind on news podcasts, I skip them unless the topic discussed is really compelling or still relevant.
So here’s what’s in my ears for a couple hours or so each day:
This is the only one I listen to with daily (weekday) episodes. The host is great and while it’s got a heavy bent towards politics, they’re not just covering the latest news cycle. The podcast is just part of a longer morning program, so you’ll get anything from analysis about Trump’s (horrible, awful, bad, terrible, no-good, wretched) decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement to an interview with a concert pianist about recording with a youth orchestra in Cuba.
Space nerds unite! Dr. Carrie Nugent talks to a different scientist every week (mostly those focused on space—astrophysicists and the like) about, as she puts it, “their corner of the cosmos.” They also share a drink while recording each episode which might be simple (Diet Coke) or weird (charcoal lemonade) or boozy.
Part of their tagline is “we obsess about food to learn more about people.” The host, Dan Pashman, delves into everything from diversity in restaurants (both in the industry and customers) to tasting edibles (pot brownies).
Okay, the content here is great and delights my nerdy heart, but I’d probably listen to Shankar Vedantam talk about anything. His voice is magical. Hidden Brain covers “the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior” which means what are we really saying in our Facebook updates, why we lie, how the phenomenon of tunnel vision affects those living in poverty (episode 65 – fascinating!), and so much more.
LISTEN TO THIS ONE LISTEN TO IT NOW. Obviously it’s about politics, but the tagline is “No insults, no shouting, plenty of nuance.” Sarah from the left and Beth from the right mostly discuss the current events surrounding the Trump administration and our political climate. I started listening to this sometime last summer and it’s given me hope and life throughout that awful presidential campaign and all the…we’ll call it tumultuous time since. Hearing (mostly) calm discussions about what’s going on is great, but I really love when they’re able to get into debates about policy and issues or when they talk about what it actually means to be “conservative” or “liberal.” They’ve helped me examine my own political beliefs (which stay firmly left of center) and consider different viewpoints.
One of two Book Riot podcasts I listen to that are largely responsible for my out of control Amazon wishlist. This one is released on Tuesdays and they discuss and recommend the latest book recommendations. I’m just in awe of how much these ladies read every single week.
I’ve been reading Ali’s blog for awhile, and I’m enjoying her (fairly new) podcast. She releases two episodes a week. One is around 20-ish minutes and is usually just her talking about something related to running or fitness (or Crohn’s disease, which she’s had since she was a kid), and the other is a longer interview. Really, really recommend her recent interview with Dan Nevins, an Army vet, double amputee, and yoga teacher. Yeah. That one had me hardly noticing Memorial Day traffic from Del Mar to Oceanside. Also the one with Chris Mosier, the first transgender athlete to be featured in the ESPN Magazine Body Issue.
If you consider yourself a writer of any sort—blogger, journalist, novelist, poet, whatever—definitely check this one out. The host, Kelton Reid, “studies the habits, habitats, and brains of renowned writers to learn their secrets to productivity and creativity.” If I have a complaint on this one, it’s that the guest lineup could use some more diversity, but a lot of the interviews are solid. Even if it’s someone I’ve never heard of I usually get something out of it.
This one is just so fun. Hosts Vanessa and Casper read each chapter of Harry Potter through a theme (like love, jealousy, desperation, humor, etc.) and use practices that have traditionally been applied to reading and studying texts like the Torah, Bible, Quran, and others. Really enjoyable way to think about these stories and characters that so many of us know so well.
Roman Mars is another host that could talk about anything. This podcast covers just about anything—the Brazilian soccer team’s jerseys, the nature and animal sounds you hear in wildlife documentaries, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes—through the theme of design, specifically to call our attention to all the parts of our environment that we don’t notice.
Creative business coach Tiffany Han interviews all sorts of people (mostly women) about their creative adventures and businesses. She’s talked to a ton of people I admire—Lisa Congdon, Alexandra Franzen, Paul Jarvis, I think Chris Guillebeau in there somewhere? About once a month she does a solo show to “pull back the curtain” on her own business (I love her honesty about how she does what she does) or talk more in-depth about some other topic.
Relatively new podcast, but since I’ve been listening to Tiffany’s original podcast, this one is a no-brainer. Instead of an interview format, this one is Tiffany and graphic designer Erin Cassidy talking about how people (generally women, but whatever) can run their own “remarkable” businesses. Great for solopreneurs—writers, photographers, designers, makers, artists, coaches, anybody.
I’ve been reading Gretchen’s blog literally forever, it seems—before she even published The Happiness Project. She co-hosts this podcast with her sister and like the title says, it’s all about happiness and ways we can be happier. What’s great is they’ll maybe talk about broad concepts, but bring it down to a simple, actionable tip or one thing to think about. If you’ve read her books or blog, you’ll hear a lot of similar ground covered.
The tagline is “a tech show about being human.” They’ll cover stuff like exactly why certain games we play on our phones are so relentlessly addicting to how to deal with privacy issues online to AI. It’s somewhat newsy but a lot of it is grappling with what it means to live as a person in our world today—what we can and should do or at least think about as being connected to everything all the time becomes less and less of a choice.
Fun little podcast put out by two friends living in LA as they figure out this adulting thing. They’ve also got “The Universe” advising them along the way.
The other Book Riot podcast that makes my Amazon wish list grow every week. Instead of just new releases, though, this one provides “personalized” reading recommendations to listeners. People write in with questions about what they or others should read next—like, “I just read the Robert Galbraith novels and now I’m looking for more whodunnits,” or “what should I get my niece for her birthday if she likes historical fiction?” Recommendations will run the gamut from classics to recent releases.
More coming next week!