In 2005, my friend Dan Gruber told me about a new media format that was going to change the way we consume information. It was called podcasting, and I had never heard of it. I thought it sounded like a transmission from an alien vessel. “Take me to your leader…”
It’s like the radio, Dan said, only anyone can have a microphone, and you can listen whenever you want. I didn’t get it. Why would I want to listen to other people’s conversations when I could participate in my own? And why would I want to broadcast my conversations to other people?
Clearly, I was wrong. After four years of hosting a podcast, I’ve come to see it as an ideal way to blend gaining knowledge with sharing knowledge. I get to seek out the people and places that fascinate me, and instead of learning from me afterward, the audience gets to learn with me along the way. I get to learn and create at the same time (the overachiever’s dream).
As a listener, I’ve come to value the purity of attention that comes from listening without waiting to respond. I love being a fly on the wall for interesting conversations without having to leave my house (introverts unite) and absorbing new insights without having to look at a screen—they’re perfect for bedtime, dishwashing, and garbage night.
I’m always on the lookout for new shows. Here are my new favorites:
Cognitive scientist Maya Shankar demystifies the psychology of change.
Civics teacher Sharon McMahon leads an army of Governerds to fight fake news with facts.
Author and comedian Luvvie Ajayi Jones drops truth bombs.
Journalist Aarti Shahani uncovers how power works—and how it changes us.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia invites his hilarious peers to give notes on his rough drafts—and share theirs.
Historian Kate Bowler challenges prosperity gospel.
Podcasting pioneer Max Linsky seeks wisdom from extraordinary elders.
Author and activist Glennon Doyle gives voice to the emotions we normally silence.
Author and sociologist Reza Aslan teams up with actor and comedian Rainn Wilson to help you think through—and laugh through—your existential crises.
What are your favorites?