Nell's Top 10 Podcasts
July 06, 2016
Having a bit of a hard time getting back into the swing of things after a really fun holiday weekend with my family. Anyone...? Anyone...? I'm in full summer mode, so to speak, but still in dire need of focus and producing some real work. So I am leaning on all the crutches and tricks I have developed to get myself to focus—or at least sit at my desk for an extended period of time.
The list in it's entirety:
Since I'm assuming you all know how to brew or buy your own cup, I'm going to walk you through my favorite podcasts and episodes. Really this is just a prolonged delaying of "real" work that allows me to nerd out on all my favorite series.
At any rate, here goes:
This American Life: This is the podcast that started it all for me. I started listening a few years ago and have now listened to all 500+ of them. Each episode picks a theme and then gives a variety of different takes on the theme. From autobiographical stories, to expert studies, to fiction to music and drama produced just for the show. I will often laugh and cry (real tears!) within the same episode. I have so many favorites, but a few of my top recommendations are: How I Got into College, Babysitting, Harper High School Part 1 and Part 2.
- Radiolab: Radio Lab is a similar set up to This American Life in that it takes a deep dive into one topic, often through a variety of lenses, but sometimes they will focus on one story for the entire show. It's incredibly well produced and thought provoking. Two of my favorites: 23 Weeks, 6 Days and Smile My Ass
Startup Podcast: This whole series is just great. The first season follows Alex Blumberg through his journey of starting the podcast itself and the parent company Gimlet Media. The subsequent seasons follow other companies while checking in on Gimlet overall. It's honest and I always, always walk away with fresh thoughts or ideas for Hi Little One.
- Snap Judgement: Self described as "story telling with a beat", Snap Judgement is series of stories (again based on a common theme) with extremely sophisticated sound production. This podcast really takes me somewhere else - I forget I am listening and not watching. (Because of this, it's best to save this one for low brain-power tasks ;) Start with: Infamous.
- Freakonomics: Freakonomics dives into the data of really popular topics, like the gender pay gap, and less hot button issues, like finding the best cheeseburger in town. This podcast helps me better process the world around me by providing a (mostly) opinion-less and data driven look into it.
Hidden Brain: These are quick, 20 or so minute episodes that dive into human behavior and the science of why we do what we do. The episodes are fun, fast paces and feel more like you're listening to a live radio broadcast than a recording. I really liked The Power and Problem of Grit.
- Invisibilia: Invisibilia discusses the intangible factors that affect ourselves and our interactions with others. I always walk away with a new perspective and think I'm more sympathetic in general while having more faith in the human spirit. It's (mostly) uplifting without being fluffy. I really enjoyed the Power of Categories.
- Two Dope Queens: Each episode of Two Dope Queens is a standup performance by comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams. The show is topical, hysterical, and really makes me miss living in New York City. It's the perfect afternoon pick me up. I like Thank You Harriet Tubman.
- Death, Sex and Money: Anna Sale is an incredibly gentle and respectuf interviewer that somehow manages to delve into all the topics generally considered the most private. She is so good at getting people to share honest reactions and stories of their life in a safe environment. A few of my favorites are From Chaos to Sesame Street, Why You're Not Having Sex, Diane Guerrero on Debt and Deportation.
- Reply All: This show is cohosted by two internet nerds, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. They explore popular memes, trends, really anything happening online that they find interesting. I really love this show and without sounding too old and lame, it helps me feel like I know what the young cool kids are all laughing at. They have a great list of episodes to start with here.
- Bonus: Mystery Show: Sneaking in at #11, Mystery show is one of my favorite new podcasts. I will be honest that the first episode I listened to, The Video Store, really lost me and I thought the entire concept—host Starlee Kine solves mysteries that are impossible to solve on the internet or without the help of other people—was stupid. But then I gave it another try and was instantly hooked. Much more about the conversations and interactions Kine has with people on the way, than the mystery itself - this show is really just about the way strangers interact with each other and really makes me think about how small the world is! With just one season, Mystery Show only has 6 episodes out. Definitely check out The Belt Buckle and Britney.
So there you have it. Do you have any suggestions for me? I'm all ears! (ba dummm dummmm).