Before I discovered podcasts, my options of utilizing considerable amount of my daily waking life were limited to music from FM radio station or music from my USB stick. Former were annoyance due to abundant number of advertisements, which are often repeated, and limited selection of latest songs, which were also repeated, and which were less of musical delight but more driven by latest movie marketing. Later was considerably preferred, but became boring due to my inability to update my collection often and hence repeating same collection. I tried audio-books few times but quickly discarded the option for they required too much concentration detrimental to safe driving.
Enter world of podcasts! Podcasts are best described as audio blogs. They are delight because they are almost inexhaustive, being updated weekly, and are not as distracting in effect being similar to listening to radio news, and are wildly interesting, entertaining, educational and useful. In some way, I feel they have made my driven less stressful since I am no hurry to reach my destination, instead preferring continuation of my favourite show.
Below is collection of some of my favourite podcasts, in decreasing order of my preference, and my commentary on the same:
- Freakonomics Radio — Logic and data driven look at almost everything in world around us. Built from book of the same name, this is absolutely wonderful podcasts which brings out best practices in various fields from all over the world. Intelligent and stupid questions, all are honored.
- Futility Closet — Extremely affable narratives from history of world telling history of minor things and incidents. As they describe themselves, will suit you if your mind is curious about oddities and find pleasure in information for sake of it.
- Dissecting Love — Science and biology of relationship and sex. Need I say more?
- The Data Skeptic Podcast — This just fits into my groove of analytic science, so I love it for it's discussion and references. Will work if you have interest in science of data driven decision making.
- Serial — This is a serialized radio show with one story. First season presented a true murder mystery thriller. Very gripping.
- Radiolab from WNYC — Interesting informative stories about various themes.
- This American Life — Interesting, emotional and amusing stories from various walks of life, on varying theme
- The Economist — Weekly round of world new and explanations on money, market and science. Useful for getting critical international news, and free! Content is heavily biased towards US and UK with bit of Japan, China and Europe but then one can assume it's driven by where money is.
- HBR IdeaCast — Management gyaan isn't my cup of tea, but listening to key stories of Harvard Business Review is still worthwhile.
- 60-Second Science — Quick bites into latest scientific research. Mildly interesting.
- Inside Forbes India — India related stories from business world.
- Stuff You Should Know — This is 'how things work' of podcasts. It's mildly entertaining but content is too low key and slow for my taste.
Apart from these, I have Dan Carlin's Harcore History, 99% Invisible, Big Picture Science, and A Skeptics Guide to Conspiracy on my list, but I have not got around to listening them to comment.