Be Better At Podcasts

It’s Time For Ear Pleasure

Hi I’m Shane and I’m addicted to podcasts. I’m a huge fan. I listen to them in the car, while working out, while cooking, while eating, while walking and even in the shower – I’ll stick on a podcast at every opportunity. I’ve found I have less and less time and energy to sit still and read a book so a podcast is the perfect way to keep my brain stimulated on the move.

Podcasts have really blown up over the last couple of years. I listened to my first recording about 18 months ago and I’ve now grown to card holding super fan status. I subscribe to a podcast to suit every mood; whether I need to chill, laugh, learn or stay informed there’s a podcast for that.

There was 250,000 unique podcasts across 100 different languages in 2013 according to myndset.com so there’s no doubt a lot of rubbish to sort through in order to find the gems. I’ve gone and done you a solid and outlined my personal favourites below to help you get started:

Humour

My Dad Wrote A Porno

This is my all time favourite show with the host, Jamie Morton reading a chapter of his father’s erotic novel each week with running commentary from best mates Alice Levine and James Cooper. This show never ever fails to make me laugh out loud and with new episodes released every monday it’s the perfect way to a start a new week. It’s painfully funny and I’ve yet to meet anyone that doesn’t love it.

No Such Thing As A Fish

Brought to you by the researchers from the BBC’s QI TV show this podcast centres around a number of facts that the panel have come across in the previous week. The group then chat around each fact, adding in other hilarious details. These are some seriously intelligent guys that have wicked senses of humour and I love listening to the rapport between the crew.

Stories

RadioLab

This US show focuses on themes of science and philosophy and creates interesting and thought provoking stories that are light hearted and easy to consume. This is a seriously well produced series that introduces new ideas and really encourages a new way of looking at things.

99% Invisible

Focused on design and architecture and how our world interacts with it, host Roman Mars uncovers the unseen elements of design, architecture and activity around us. Everything is designed with intent and each episode helps you see the intentionality and reason behind the things we interact with everyday – incredibly interesting show even for those not interested in design.  

This American Life

One of my favourites and potentially the most popular podcast the world over, This American Life explores a different theme each week through a number of acts. This is probably the king of all podcasts and really dives into its subject in a creative way. I find it hard to describe This American Life succinctly except to say that it tells a number of different stories along one common theme and is incredibly entertaining. A must listen.

This American Life

This American Life

Entertainment

Criminal

Criminal explores a different criminal case in each episode and focuses on true crime. The team dive real deep into these cases and uncover fascinating details culminating in truly  gripping stories. Each episode is around the 30 minute mark so they’re handy for quick trips or while cooking.

Serial

The original viral podcast, I subscribed to Serial before it was even released, such was the hype. People have compared it to Netflix’s Making A Murder in so far as it’s a non-fiction story with plot twists and turns at every corner and really puts a question mark over the law and those in place to protect it. Series 1 is my favourite and focuses on the trial and sentencing of Adnan Syed for the murder of his 18-year old ex-girlfriend Hae Ming Lee in 1999. I’m getting excited thinking about how good this series is, you’ve been warned!

S-Town

S-Town blew my mind! Downloaded a record 10 million times in just 4 days, this investigative journalism series is from the creators of Serial, above. S-Town is a true story of a series of events that need to be heard to be believed and seemingly unfolds as the host digs deeper and deeper into the story – I won’t spoil it for you but you will not regret the 7+ hours you’ll spend listening . Download this podcast now.

Business

Startup Podcast

The most meta of the list, Startup originated as a podcast following entrepreneur, Alex Blumberg, on his journey starting Gimlet Media, a media company focused on…podcasts. It’s open and honest and a real insight into the ups and downs of startup world. Following Season 1 the show followed a different startup and has since gone on to a different format which, while good, in my opinion isn’t as groundbreaking as Season 1. It’s worth a listen if business and start-up culture is your thing. I used to get so excited about new episodes each week and I’m disappointed that they release them with less frequency now but there’s a considerable back catalogue for you to get stuck into.

Startup Podcast

Startup Podcast

The Pitch

This is probably my most recent obsession and is the latest release from the aforementioned Gimlet Media. It’s the podcast version of Dragon’s Den / Shark Tank where entrepreneurs pitch ideas to a panel of Venture Capitalists for investment. It’s very American in how things play out but still quite entertaining. I’ve learned quite a bit about presentations from this podcast.

How I Built This

Described as a podcast about “innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built”, this podcast is a 1 on 1 interview with incredibly accomplished entrepreneurs and recounts the story on how they got to where they are today, often having built global powerhouse brands. Notable episodes feature the geniuses behind Toms, Five Guys, Zappos, Zumba, Warby Parker, Instagram, Dermalogica and Airbnb among others.

Irish

An Irishman Abroad

In a departure from his usual output as a stand-up comedian, in an Irishman Abroad Jarlath Regan speaks openly and candidly with first and second generation Irish people on their experiences abroad, their Irishness and everything in between. He’s a smart and inquisitive broadcaster that never fails to deliver very honest interviews with even the most seasoned people of interest.  The Brian O’Driscoll, Lenny Abrahamson, Sharon Horgan, Sam Barry and Hozier episodes are particular favourites but there are literally hundreds to choose from. Edit: There’s precisely 2 hundred.

Originators (RTE – The Collective)

One of my newer ones, released all at once a la Netflix, I devoured each episode in one day. Rick O’Shea speaks to Irish under 35’s such as James Kavanagh, Stef Preissner and Sinead Burke who have experienced incredible success on how they made it all happen. These are current irish people of interest and what I loved about Rick O’Sheas style is that we hear their story in a very unguarded way – nice little podcast with short episodes so perfect for filling time. 

Second Captains

Ireland’s most listened to podcast releases four shows a week – 2 looking at all sports and 2 focused on football. A panel show (and very very successful media company in its own right), the Second Captains panel discuss everything you need to know in sport every Monday and Thursday. Even if you have just a passing interest in sport, this is a quality production to keep up to date.

Second Captains

Second Captains

Education

TED Radio Hour

If like me you love TED talks then you’ll love TED Radio Hour. It takes traditional TED talks to another level and links different speakers along a common theme. I love this podcast.

Science Vs

If you’re cynical like me then Science Vs is the podcast for you! In a refreshingly unbiased and fact driven way it explores the scientific evidence behind things like Abortion, Artificial Sweeteners, Meditation, Gluten, GMO, Acne and Anti-Depressants. In an age when we’re hit with pseudo science on the daily and when it’s becoming more and more difficult to discern who to trust and who has ulterior motives, Science Vs is a source I can trust.

Science Vs

Science Vs

Current Affairs

The Globalist

I’m pretty bad for watching the news and when I say bad I mean I never ever watch the news. TV isn’t my favourite thing in the world anyway but I do suffer from a lack of knowledge on current affairs. The Globalist is a daily morning news show from Monocle (a very very good magazine I only buy in airports before long haul flights) that covers all the top stories trending globally from politics to business. It’s an hour long and I try listen as soon as it’s uploaded at 7am every morning.

Mindset

Mindset Zone

If you can look past host Ana Melikian’s accent, this is a solid podcast featuring discussions from experts focused on cultivating and maintaining a growth mindset. It’s particularly relevant for people in business or if you’re very career focused but I would imagine it resonates with anyone.

Invisibilia

This podcast looks at the invisible forces that inform human behaviour. Through fascinating discussions and science based evidence each episode forces you to look at yourself and how you see things in a very different light. If, like me, you’re big into self improvement and being your best possible self then this is a good shout for you.

The School of Greatness

I debated including this one because there’s something about that just doesn’t sit well with me. I think it’s the insincerity I get from host Lewis Howes, like the whole thing is commercially driven rather than purpose driven. It makes me kind of uncomfortable. That said, the actual content of this podcast is extremely relevant and the guests extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I have to take this show with a grain of salt but I do listen. Give it a go and let me know what you think – I may well have it very wrong.

Have I left your favourite out? Let me know on instagram, twitter or in the comments below!

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