2017 Top 5 Podcasts

[Note: We need a good podcast on Learning and Development, one that doesn’t sound like a conversation between two instructional designers who want to use the words they heard during their graduate programs.]

I base this list on a few criteria – nothing very scientific. I listen to podcasts mostly when I commute to and from work and when I exercise or throw the ball with my dog. I’ve come to consume most of my news through podcasts. But what I really use podcasts for is to stir up my imagination to help me try new and creative things in my profession or side hustles.

Before we get to my list, I want to mention How to do Everything. They stopped producing the podcast but it’s hilarious and is a great thing to listen to with kids and adults to get a good laugh. In my opinion it’s a tragedy that they ended the show.

#1 – Only A Game

Host: Bill Littlefield

My whole life I’ve been a fan of sports, mainly college football, professional basketball, baseball in general, and even boxing. But as an adult with busy kids, a career, a house, only a gamechurch responsibilities, and other hobbies, I’ve found it very difficult to keep up on any sport. I rarely even find time to watch my beloved Utah Jazz lose in the playoffs anymore. But Only A Game gives me a snapshot of the most important happenings in sports each week. NPR releases it on Fridays but I save it for Saturday mornings as I drive home from a hike. Bill Littlefield includes the important, interesting, ridiculous, and often rarely told stories of the week in sports. It’s a great distraction from conversations about work.

#2 – Revisionist History

Host: Malcolm Gladwell

There are two guys right now in my professional life that wield a high level of influence RHand Malcolm Gladwell is one of them. He’s a terrific author (one of his books made my top 5 books for 2017) and always has unique and important point of view on issues that affect us all. I’ve had more than a few random conversations with people this fall that turned into debates on the best french-fries, thanks to Mr. Gladwell.

#3 – 1-3-20

Host: Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink is the other guy right now who is helping me to push my career, as well as contributing to help I give others. His podcast, 1-3-20 asks one author three key questions 1-3-20and does it all under 20 minutes. I’ve been a fan of Dan Pink since I watched a video on YouTube that explains the three things that truly motivate people (autonomy, mastery, and purpose) and lead me to read one of his terrific books that goes into more detail called Drive. I even read and then gave my daughter who recently graduated from high school a copy of Pink’s manga The Adventures of Johnny Bunko as she was deciding what to do with her career.

#4 – TEDEd

This podcast is a collection of great ideas from authors and artists. They are usually TEDEdunder five minutes and explain topics ranging from why whales sing to a discussion on if math is discovered or invented.

#5 – Planet Money

Hosts: varies from episode to episode, but they’re all great.

Planet Money takes a topic to help explain the economy that usually explains why the PMworld works like it does. This is another podcast that isn’t too long – usually under 30 minutes, and not only are the topics interesting but the hosts seem to really enjoy what they’re doing and have fun. It’s often funny as well as educational.

Honorable Mentions

Freakonomics Radio: hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, this is probably my overall favorite podcast of all time. I look forward to Thursdays when I get to jog and listen to Mr. Dubner.

HBR Ideacast: hosted by probably the smartest podcast host, Sarah Green Carmichael, the latest episode explained the unlimited time off policy of Kronos.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know: also hosted by Stephen J. Dubner, after listening to a couple seasons of this podcast I’m convinced that I could now beat anyone at trivial pursuit (if only I could find someone to play with).

The Way I Heard It: hosted by Mike Rowe takes stories we thought we already knew and explains the other side.

Stuff You Should Know: hosted by Josh and Chuck, this is a great way to unwind on the way home from work.