We’ve always been told that we have to read to acquire knowledge. I don’t believe that to be the case. I masqueraded as a bookworm through most of my childhood by watching a lot of infotainment (Discovery and National Geographic). And as I got older, other platforms like YouTube came into the scene to provide easy access to information. One such medium is podcasts.
We spend a lot of time plugged into our earphones, listening to music mostly. But try listening to a couple of these podcasts instead, and you’ll end up learning a lot more. These hosts are some of the best in the podcast scene and they’ll make sure that they keep you entertained and interested while you do mundane chores or commute to work (the next time you commute to work).
So here goes…
Tim Ferris is the author of books like The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans. In his podcast, he invites world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) and derives tactics, tools, and routines you can use to improve yourself. This includes favourite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more.
Episode recommendation: #287 Terry Crews
Tim has a conversation with Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine star) and it is by far one of the best episodes I’ve heard. Terry speaks about his life, the hardships he had to face, and how he overcame them. The sheer energy in Terry’s voice will get you pumped up to achieve all you can in your life!
If you’ve read my reading recommendations list, you know that I’m a Freakonomics fan. This podcast is an extension of the books – the expanded Freakonomics universe! But you don’t have to read the books before tuning into the podcast as each episode tackles a different issue and in typical Freakonimics style, gives you the ‘hidden’ perspective.
Episode recommendation: #232 The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap
We’ve all heard of the gender pay gap and I’m sure that you would’ve thought that the solution to it would be to just make sure that men and women get the same pay. But nothing is as simple as it seems now, is it? In this episode, the Freakonomics team dive into why we haven’t solved this problem yet.
Hosted by Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, this podcast is for people who are interested in entrepreneurship. Reid interviews business leaders and derives insights from their experience to help you understand and overcome challenges you’d face in setting up and running a business.
Episode recommendation: #1 Airbnb’s Brian Chesky in Handcrafted
All of us know of Airbnb. What a brilliant idea, right? And an idea like that is bound to work. Well, think again! In this episode, Brian Chesky shares the difficulties Airbnb had to go through and talks about how they overcame those hurdles. It is a great insight into the ‘start-up’ life and lets you understand what you’re gearing up for when you start a company.
If you’re someone who likes history, this is podcast heaven. Dan Carlin’s long-form episodes last for 5 hours! And he picks up a topic and does a series of 4-5 episodes; so that’s enough to keep you occupied for a month. And yes, I know the time investment can sound like a lot, but trust me, he goes into such depth and detail that you’d want to binge the whole series.
Episode recommendation: #56 King of Kings
This is the story of the Achaemenid Persian empire – the bad guys in the movie 300. Historians were enraged by the way they were portrayed in the movie and after this podcast, you’ll know why.
P.S. Dan Carlin has started a new podcast that has shorter episodes called Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History: Addendum. You might want to give that a try if you aren’t interested in the longer episodes. Try starting with #9 Glimpses of Olympias. It is story of Alexander the Great’s mother, and it is a fascinating story.
You might remember Joe Rogan from the Fear Factor show on AXN, or his stand up sessions. Joe, like Tim Ferris, invites experts to his show and has really fascinating conversations with them.
Episode recommendation: #1169 Elon Musk
This is the episode that led to the stoner Elon meme. Enough said!
This podcast can be called the Indian version of Freakonomics. The host, Amit Varma, delves into Indian topics – everything from history to politics – and helps us understand the unlying issues better.
Episode recommendation: #78 Crowd Violence in India
There has been a rise in the number of lynchings in the country (from what we see on popular news media). If you’ve been wondering what’s causing these horrific acts of violence, here’s an episode that will give you some insight. Amit Varma teams up with legal experts Madhav Chandavarkar and Alok Prasanna Kumar to give their take on the issue.