Podcasts are radio programs that appear in your phone and patiently wait for you to listen to them in your own time.
I cannot remember how I used to function before them. I listen to podcasts during my runs and walks, when driving, and (wife permitting) when I’m getting prepared in the morning.
Photo by: Maciej Korsan
My favourite podcasts change along the way but here are the ones that stuck with me for a while and why:
I usually listen to every episode of the podcasts below. In some cases I have a backlog of about one year but I cannot get myself to delete any episodes because I’m anal and every episode below is good.
- The Economist (All Audio): I have read The Economist every week since the fall of 1996. I don’t claim to read it cover to cover as Bill Gates does but I must read about 10 articles every week. The podcast is like a preview to that week. Many times as the writers interview people for their stories, they record parts of the podcast. In some cases there is more information than the piece itself and sometimes they are summaries which let me decide which articles to read. This podcast keeps me informed about the latest in politics, business, science/tech or culture.
- In Our Time: This is an excellent BBC4 program that lasts for about 45 minutes each week. It’s on from September to July. The host Melvyn Bragg calls 3 academicians as expert guests on a variety of topics usually about history (e.g. Justinian’s Legal Code), philosophy (e.g. First Philosophers in Miletus), science (e.g. DNA), culture (e.g. Animal Farm) or religion (e.g. Sufi Orders of Islam). Let Melvyn teach you how to shut others up if they speak too much (handy in meetings).
- The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss invites his guests who are what he calls “world class performers” and interviews them to extract some applicable secrets to their success. Tim is a very diligent person and an excellent interviewer. The episodes tend to be quite long (sometimes up to two hours) but are always worth it. I’ve learned a lot from his guests regarding health, business and life in general.
- The Great Debates: This show reminds me of my college days when we (usually Utku and I) would argue over trivial things for days and annoy everyone around us. But I must confess these guys are funnier and better debaters.
- Intelligence Squared: This is serious debate podcast and the expert debaters change in every episode. Some good past debates were on Rome vs. Greece with Boris Johnson for Greece, and Queen Elizabeth vs. Queen Victoria. This podcast is good example of the British debate tradition.
- FT Life of a Song: Every weekend The Financial Times’s music section takes a song and brings the reader through its many reincarnations along its life. The podcast does the same but has excerpts of the music as well.
The podcasts below are also in my list of subscriptions but I am more picky on which episodes I decide to listen to.
- The Art of Manliness: A podcast of the successful blog by Brett McKay which talks about such “manly” things as grooming a beard, stacking firewood, working out, cold showers etc. He’s obsessed with Navy SEALs who I find very interesting as well.
- The Guardian’s Science Weekly: Pretty self explanatory. Focused on news related to science.
- Masters in Business: Podcast by Bloomberg columnist Barry Ritholz. Lengthy interviews related to business and investing.
- Canvas: A very geeky podcast about iOS. Apps, productivity and more with your Apple iDevices.
- Mac Power Users: Another geeky podcast this time related to all Apple products. A bit more basic. Older episodes are recommended to bring a user up to speed with Macs and iDevices.
- The James Altucher Show: Similar to Tim Ferriss. Some redundency between the two. He’s a very smart guy but he began to repeat himself lately.
- Freakonomics Radio: Excellent production, sounds like a good old radio program. Stephen Dubner (one of the authors of the famous Freakonomics book) talks about data and everyday life.
- FT World Weekly: Less episodes than The Economist if you are into the brevity thing.
- The Knowledge Project: Shane Parrish talks about reading, philosophy, travel and music with his guests with a lovely Canadian accent.
- Philosophy Bites: This podcast has been around forever. 10-15 minute interviews related to philosophy. Some excellent past episodes.
- The Productivity Show: Productivity nerds at Asian Efficiency talk about… Productivity!
- Turkey Book Talk Podcast: Hürriyet Daily News columnist William Armstrong talks to authors about their recent books on Turkey. I think he should change the intro song as soon as possible.
You can listen to podcasts via the stock Apple Podcasts app or my preferred app Overcast which lets the user change the speed. It also skips spaces to save valuable seconds. Help yourself if you are an Android user.