The Best Podcasts...In My Opinion
Whether you’re a long distance runner and in need of a distraction from the pain in your legs, or you have a long commute and want to enjoy the drive, you may have delved into the world of podcasts. For me, the list of best podcasts is long. In fact, I subscribe to almost 60 podcasts and need to listen to them at double speed to keep on top of the ever-growing list. Check out this video to learn the benefits of this technique.
Before I jump into my long list of favorite podcasts, let me get you setup with the right equipment.
Podcasts can be played on a computer, phone, tablet, mp3 player, or Smart TV. Your choice of device depends on where you’re listening from. For me, my iPhone is my best friend, as I’m constantly listening to podcasts while I’m running, driving, or doing chores around the house. On the other hand, you may be working in a coffee shop and find that accessing a podcast directly from your computer is the easiest option.
Audio aside, video podcasts are becoming more and more popular and making screens necessary. Soon, you may find that you’re turning on your Smart TV to watch a podcast instead of Netflix. If you find yourself getting hooked to video podcasts, a Smart TV or iPad is a great investment.
If you’re into listening on the go, a good set of headphones is essential. I always have at least two pairs of headphones with me at a time and I have extra pairs strategically placed in my purse, car, and workout bag. I told you, I’m obsessed.
My all-time favorite pair of headphones is the Plantronics Backbeat Fits. In addition to these, below is a list of some of my other go-to headphone choices.
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
While you can download podcasts onto your computer and then transfer them to your phone, it’s much easier to have an app that curates the episodes for you. The list below includes both free and paid options. I personally use a paid option, as I listen to podcasts enough to want a quality app.
This app comes pre-installed on your iPhone. It’s a great option, as it is designed to be supported by IOS and is very user-friendly. It can be prone to glitches though. I used this app for a number of years before it was causing more problems than it was worth. If you’re new to podcasts, I’d start with the Podcasts app to get a taste of this new world. If you like it, it may be worth investing in a paid option down the line.
This is the app I currently use and I love it. My number one priority with podcasts apps is simplicity. With 55 podcasts on my list, I want to be able to quickly see new the new episodes without sifting through a lot of fluff or past episodes. PodCruncher does this better than any other app I’ve tried. Not only are all podcasts organized neatly, there is a playlist option that lets you see the most recent podcasts within the past hours, days, or weeks. It’s genius and makes listening to podcasts hassle free. Believe me; this app is worth the $2.99.
I used Stitcher for a while, but became overwhelmed by its user interface. This is a great app for those looking to discover new podcasts. Stitcher gives great recommendations and makes it easy to discover the latest trending podcasts. For me, the amount of extra information became a nuisance, but it may be just what you’re looking for. This is a really well designed app that makes listening to podcasts fun. In addition, Stitcher supports live radio streaming. If you want to listen to podcasts and also throw away your old FM tuner, Stitcher is a great option.
This app is not only user-friendly, but also does a great job of highlighting the beautiful cover art of all of your podcasts. Their interface makes it easy to jump between audio podcasts and video podcasts, while also staying up to date on the latest episodes with the feed tab. This is a great choice if you want a good listening experience, but also want to enjoy using the app as well.
This app is different than the others in that it lets you explore podcast “topics.” In other words, when you’re looking for something new to listen to, you can curate a list of podcasts based on your interests. Although it’s a free podcast, there are no ads that interrupt your listening or use of the interface. This app scores high in the ratings and is a favorite of many podcast listeners.
See Stitcher review above.
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My List of the Best Podcasts
Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Terry Gross is a gem of the radio world. Regardless of the topic being discussed, I find myself listening to Fresh Air just to hear a master interviewer at work. With new shows released every weekday, there’s more than enough content to keep you entertained. Topics range from politics, to science, to literature, to history, to culture and beyond. Here are some of my favorite Fresh Air episodes to get you started:
On Being with Krista Tippet
This show will get you thinking about what it means to be human in a complicated world in which kindness can be hard to come by. Krista Tippet introduces listeners to thought leaders, activists, and social justice influencers that are making a difference in how we interact with each other and find beauty in hardship. Equally inspirational and thought provoking, On Being is a great way to feel connected to our universal human experience. Here are some of my favorite On Being episodes to get you started:
Stuff You Should Know with Josh and Chuck
Each episode of this podcast is dedicated to meticulously flushing out a single topic. Now with hundreds of episodes in the archives, topics span everything from chili peppers to circus families. While you thought you didn’t care about spiders or Feng Shui, after an hour of listening to Josh and Chuck share every little detail about the topics, you’ll be eager to tell all of your friends what you've learned. These guys are humble, hilarious, and great at making even the most boring of topics fascinating. This show is perfect for those of you who want to show off at trivia night. Here are some of my favorite Stuff You Should Know episodes to get you started:
Awesome Etiquette with Lizzie and Dan
Hosted by the kin of the famed manners guru Emily Post, this show is all about how to behave like a civilized human being when out in public. This show is driven by guest questions, which range from hosting dinner parties to uninviting people from your wedding. While keeping it fun and light, Lizzie and Dan discuss the proper ways to handle any type of etiquette faux pas or manner mishap. While not life or death information, I’m always surprised by the intricacies that come with being polite. Here are some of my favorite Awesome Etiquette episodes to get you started:
America's Test Kitchen
Calling all cooks and food lovers! America’s Test Kitchen is your go-to podcast for recipes, food tastings, product reviews, interviews, and everything food related. While topics delve into the details and intricacies of food, this podcast is for food novices and experts alike. As I don’t get to spend as much time in the kitchen as I would desire, I can always count on America’s Test Kitchen to give me my dose of the culinary world. Here are some of my favorite America’s Test Kitchen episodes to get you started:
The School of Greatness
There’s no lack of inspiration and motivation here. Each week, Lewis Howes interviews a wide range of individuals who are making a difference in the world and have a message to share. What I love about this podcast is that it highlights the many manifestations of “greatness.” While Lewis may interview an author one week and a champion athlete the next, both embrace greatness in their own ways. Here are some of my favorite School of Greatness episodes to get you started:
Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People
The premise of this podcast is simple: the host, Chris Gethard, gets on the phone with a stranger and they chat for an hour. I know, this sounds boring. Believe me; it’s not. This podcast is your chance to eavesdrop without feeling bad about it. It’s also your chance to be fascinated by the everyday lives of ordinary people. I’ve been listening to this podcast for a while now and I have yet to be bored. Chris Gethard has a gift for drawing the deep, quirky, fun, emotional, and powerful stories out of complete strangers. Here are some of my favorite Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People episodes to get you started:
Have you ever wondered about the secret lives of insects, or how you can live forever? Well, Inquiring Minds is here to help you find the answers. Each week, hosts Indre Viskontas and Kishore Hari explore a science-related topic with no limits. Not fearing controversy or disagreement, Viskontas and Hari have delved into the throes of GMOs, Seaworld, global warming, and politics. Get ready to learn something new and be challenged to think when you turn on this podcast. Here are some of my favorite Inquiring Minds episodes to get you started:
I think Dan Harris would be pleased to hear that I was once a meditation sceptic who is now a believer. Harris’ podcast is a spin-off of his book by the same name (a great read!). 10% Happier explores the many aspects and forms of meditation that one can practice. What I love about this podcast is that Harris adopts the novice perspective. More than once I’ve hear him say, “now this may be a dumb question” before asking the exact question that was in my head. Not only does this make the information accessible to newbie meditators, it also allows us to dig deeper into the various traditions of the guests he’s interviewing. Even if you aren’t interested in picking up a meditation routine, this podcast is a great cultural exploration worth taking. Here are some of my favorite 10% Happier episodes to get you started:
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What are your favorite podcasts? Let us know in the comments below!