Just when I start to feel overwhelmed in the Information Age, I remember when I had to learn how to use the card catalog system and referred to a set of Britannica encyclopedias when researching a school paper. I also am reminded of what an amazing time we live in when you can listen to a super talented writer or an expert in an obscure field share their knowledge while driving to work or doing dishes.
It is my favorite pastime, listening to podcasts. And while true crime is a genre I love to turn to when I need to tune out, I have expanded my knowledge base so much thanks to the list of podcasts below.
So if you love learning, are looking to up your game when suffering through small talk, or just want to throw off your snobby know-it-all cousin, these nine podcasts are bound to make you a little bit smarter while you do all the mundane things adults have to do.
Ologies by Alie Ward
It is hard not to be charmed by Alie’s unabashed love to science and learning, and it helps that she’s funny to boot (I’d definitely tune into a Netflix special of her talking to me about how Dolphins communicate). Alie covers one topic at a time with the curiosity we all remember from childhood. She never hesitates to ask the questions the rest of us might fear would make us look a bit silly, all for the sake of understanding how things work.
Becoming Wise by Krista Tibbett
Becoming Wise is part of the On Being network from the amazing Krista Tippett. The podcast curates big themes and topics covered by Tippett over the years with “wise and graceful lives.” You can consume them within the time it takes to make a cup of tea.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
I wish I loved history as much when I was in school as I do as an adult! If you feel the same way, or just want to brush up on the history of pretty much everything with a new vantage point, this podcast is for you.
Basically “How Stuff Works” in microdoses—for inquiring minds who don’t have a lot of extra time on their hands. Topics cover biology, sociology, medicine, and more.
Future Perfect by Vox’s Dylan Matthews
The premise of this show is to be a medium for the wild ideas people have that could change the way our world looks and have a positive impact on society. Each episode takes a radical idea, technology, or pursuit and looks at it through the lens of basic human needs, like episodes “How to save a stranger’s life” and “How to be a better carnivore.” This podcast presents a really wonderful way to think about the bridge between innovation and application in everyday life.
Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam
If you are curious about psychology, the brain, or what drives humans to do what we do, then you’ll love how Vedantam uses storytelling to reveal the patterns that drive our actions, and how they shape our choices and relationships.
No Man’s Land by The Wing
What is written in history books, as we’ve come to learn, isn’t necessarily the truth. The Wing explores the deeper stories of women who’ve exiled to the fringes of history for one reason or another, most often the result of being too bold, too progressive, or too outside the box for their day and age.
Start With This by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
The premise of this show is to help you get outside your head and put your ideas in motion. They also have a membership forum where you are able to share your own ideas, get insights from other members, and begin to build relationships with other big thinkers.
Invisibilia by Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin
A hit from NPR right out of the gate, the show “explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior—things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.”
Alright— YOUR TURN!! What podcast do you feel brings more insight and knowledge to your life?? We’d all love to know!
BY Kate Arends - June 11, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.