What better way to spend downtime than learning something new? Podcasts are the perfect medium. I can take this to the extreme though, widely sampling many subjects until I have a backlog of episodes that create a sense of unease and add to my to-do list.
At least it FEELS like it’s part of my to-do list until I get a hold of myself and delete episodes that I don’t really need.
I’ve been trying to get better at quitting many things, and podcasts that aren’t making me smarter or really bringing enjoyment are dropped (as much as I can bring myself to do so). I started this post with the intention of listing all the podcasts I still listen to. That list is nearly 30 podcasts long so I split it up.
With that said, here’s what I listen to while commuting, running, doing chores, or projects around the house:
Podcasts I Listen to Every Episode
This is probably my favorite podcast. It only comes out about twice a year, but It’s fantastic if you like history. Each episode is at least three hours long and some are six hours. Dan goes into great detail of historic events and time periods, sometimes taking many episodes to tell a full story. For example, the series on World War I is six episodes, and over 23 hours long total. I listened to it while training for a half marathon one year. Luckily, I was catching up on his episodes and could listen to one after another.
Technically there is another Hardcore History feed called Hardcore History Addendum. This is supposed to be a way for Dan to put out a shorter episode that answers one question, like if the German army of WWI or WWII was better for their time. There have only been two episodes so far, so I’m not sure if this will increase his output, but I don’t care. This is one example of quality over quantity. Each episode is so full of information and story that he doesn’t lose an audience with only a couple episodes a year.
Same guy but thoughts on current events with an attempt to put them in a historic perspective. I like Dan’s take since it’s not reactive and well thought out. There aren’t many of these either, but more than the Hardcore History series since these are only about an hour each.
This podcast is about the design of everything around us, from architecture to societies. I like the episodes about architecture and product design the best. Most episodes are at least interesting and I rarely quit one partway through. I love to learn about the thought that went into designing small things around us that we take for granted.
I learned about this podcast from 99% Invisible and I’ve listened to every episode. 20,000 Hz is about sound design from movies to the notifications on your phone. I find it interesting for the same reasons 99PI is interesting. So much goes into what appears to be so little to make a quality product.
This NPR podcast covers how founders built their businesses. I really enjoy these interviews and have been working my way through the entire series since I found out about it. The common themes are 1) Hard work, 2) Keep going, 3) Luck.
This podcast from Harvard Business Review includes interviews with business leaders, acedemics & researchers, and authors. It’s usually less than 30 minutes so I can listen to a whole episode on the way to work.
Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast on the untold or misunderstood parts of history. Every episode of this has been interesting in it’s first two seasons. He gets a bit preachy at times, but not enough that I wouldn’t want to hear what he has to say on the subject.
That’s it for the podcasts that I reliably listen to every episode. What’s that? You can’t believe there are no finance or investing podcasts? I listen to a few of those too, just not every episode. Those are in Part 2.