Do you love learning? I’m not referring to the often mundane practice of sitting in a classroom being led in lecture by a planned syllabus of topics. Do you love the pursuit of continued intellectual exploration simply to follow the winding path of your own curiosity? Join the club.
I’m not one for tests or writing papers, but I voraciously consume media (books, podcasts, magazines and blog articles) covering topics that strike a chord with me. I enjoy myriad genres, though behavioral sciences and intentional living are undoubtedly two of my favorites.
Like most of you, I don’t have as much time as I might like to curl up with a good book on the couch. Podcasts, however, have proven to be a great way to engage my meandering mind while I’m out and about (commuting, running errands, on the plane, etc…). I’ve never counted up the total hours of podcast episodes I’ve listened to but I’m sure the number is staggering, at least to me.
During that time, I’ve listened to some really amazing podcast episodes that stuck with me and continue to resonate in my conscience from day to day. If you’re anything of a continuous learner by nature, I suspect you’ll fall in love with each of these episodes as much as I did.
10 Amazing Podcast Episodes Inquisitive Minds Will Love
Nerdist – Bill Gates ~ Although it’s a really long episode, it’s well worth a listen! Gates speaks a bit about his time at Microsoft but mostly about his current philanthropic endeavors through the Gates Foundation. He talks about lots of engaging international issues surrounding public health and education, among others. He’s articulate and interesting. At the very least, you’ll love hearing from a brilliant mind who’s had a large impact on shaping the way we live today.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) Ideacast – Evernote’s CEO on the New Ways We Work ~ Technology changes the way we live and work so rapidly these days. The Evernote CEO, as the leader of a company making great use of modern technology, extols his insights on how we will consume and track information in the future. I’m a big fan of Evernote (and use it daily) and hearing his perspective on where the company and the consumption of information are headed was really intriguing.
Invisibilia – The Power of Categories ~ Stereotypes are bad, right? Defining people by the “boxes” they fit into isn’t so great, no? But are stereotypes and boxes really that bad? In my opinion, it depends entirely on how we use them. They can be truly harmful in modern society, but the power of making generalizations and drawing conclusions based on recurring prior experiences serves important biological purposes. This episode talks about how we use categories and we sometimes actually like them, even if using them toward others carries a negative connotation. If you love this episode, consider following it up with Playing with Perceptions from Ted Radio Hour.
Ted Radio Hour – The Source of Creativity ~ This episode poses some inspiring questions about what creativity is, where it comes from, and who can be creative. Spoiler Alert: We all have the potential to be more creative than most of us give ourselves credit for.
Dorie Clark – Speaking at Microsoft ~ Following the release of a previous book, Reinventing You, Clark spoke to a team at Microsoft about reinventing how you see yourself and, more importantly, how others view you. It’s not part of a specific podcast series but simply a recording of her presentation. I totally loved it. She focuses on learning how to ensure others perceive you the way you want to be perceived without losing authenticity. In general, I’m a big Dorie Clark fan and recently read her book Stand Out, but this was one of my favorite and most engaging experiences with her content.
Ted Radio Hour – Simply Happy ~ Most of us are on the constant hunt for happiness, whether it eludes us or we’re just in pursuit of holding on to it. The episode includes discussion with various researchers who have spent years better understanding what does and doesn’t make us happy. And they have a wealth of interesting insights that we can take into our daily lives.
If you love the episode, check out Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. The author, Shawn Anchor, is one of the speakers in this episode, but his book is well worth the read. I’m currently reading his work and will be writing more about it when I’m done.
Ted Radio Hour – The Unknown Brain ~ We know so little yet it dictates every detail of our life. Isn’t it cool to find out how it works and why?!
Planet Money – Auditing ISIS ~ In this episode, you get an inside look into how ISIS uses budgeting and economic power to run and manipulate the cities and towns they strongly influence. It’s really insightful and offers some compelling suggestions about why people would want to join ISIS (as hard as that is for some of us, or at least me, to believe). It’s difficult to step out of our own shoes and understand why people in worlds so different from our own act the way they do. We can’t see the world through their frame because our perspective is so vastly different. This episode helps, to an extent, see the world of terrorism and the chaos in the Middle East through others’ eyes, which I really appreciated.
If you like it, consider reading I Am Malala. While it’s a well-known book that may have already landed on your bedside table, it similarly provided me a view of a completely unrelatable existence through the eyes of someone living at it’s epicenter.
Freakonomics – The Economics of Sleep (Part 1 and Part 2) ~ Most of us never get enough so sleep, and I’m definitely a serial offender. Thus, I’m often intrigued by any research-based arguments reminding us why adequate sleep is so important. (I usually start getting more sleep after listening, at least for a few nights, until the novelty of the insights have faded.)
Ted Radio Hour – Building Better Cities ~ This episode shares a host of perspectives on how amazing cities are and what they can bring to our lives. As an urban dweller anticipating a move in the near future to a much more suburban locale, this resonated with me particularly well. Cities offer a lot of unique advantages that may be worth the costs of living in them. They also have some qualities that we could possible replicate in the suburbs to increase the quality of life. No matter where you live, I think you can appreciate the insights.
If you do love the episode, definitely read Walkable Cities: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step At A Time. I know you might think I’m crazy to suggest that reading a book about sidewalks and bike paths, width of roads and height of buildings is interesting. But it shines some lights on aspects of urban living that increase health and happiness (and we all pursue those).
By now it’s entirely obvious, but I really love Ted Radio Hour. I have favorite episodes from lots of podcasts, but I absolutely love just about every Ted Radio Hour podcast. I get excited each time I see a new episode download on my phone (and a little bummed if it’s a replay because I’ve likely already heard it). I tell more people than care to know how great it is. And M has officially gotten sick of hearing me say “So I was listening to this Ted Talk podcast today and…“
Do you have a favorite podcast that hits a home run with just about every episode? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or shoot me a line on social media!
P.S. I’ve linked to the web recordings of each podcast, so you can easily find them. However, if you want to listen to podcasts from your phone, it’s easier to download them so you don’t have to steam to listen. You can easily search for them in iTunes, Stitcher or whatever podcast player you use, so they are stored on your phone and available for your listening pleasure whenever you please.