I really enjoy podcasts! The radio, with its incessant advertisements and highly opinionated hosts, annoys me. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with opinions but some radio DJs seem to believe that their platform entitles them to strong opinions without substantiating those opinions. I’ve become very judicious of the content I allow into my mind and am wary of unsubstantiated opinions. If you are listening for the music, you don’t get much of it on the radio in between the ads and opinions. If you do hear music, it’s often the most popular songs being played on an hourly repeat, which isn’t particularly enjoyable for me. Now I just listen to podcasts and downloaded music. The radio has become assaulting.
Obviously, the podcast style is determined by the podcaster but there are a number of factors which make the medium attractive. There are only two people partaking so they are usually conversational and easy to listen to. Guests open up in one on one conversations and are happy to reveal deep personal and professional insights. Sometimes the personal insights from highly successful people are as valuable as their professional insights. Tim Ferris’s podcast focuses specifically on the common characteristics from a diverse range of successful people.
There are often no advertisements and if they are you can skip them. Podcasts can be listened to whenever is most suitable for you, they can be paused, listened to at double the speed, rewound and listened to again. I listen to them when I’m cycling, walking, cleaning the dishes and at the gym. Sometimes I’ll re-listen to a podcast that I really loved, four or five times and pick up a whole bunch of different insights each time. In fact, I listen to podcasts so much that I’ve had to start cutting down in order to make time to think about all the things running through my head. Meditation essentially – another great influence on me from podcasts.
I find podcasts are a great opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds in the world. Corporates pay millions to fly well-known speakers to conferences, give them 20-30 minutes to speak on a pre-determined topic and then allow the audience to ask questions for 10-20 minutes. With podcasts, you’ve got access to these people, on your phone, for free, at the click of a button. The questions asked by professional podcasters are often of a better standard than at your most recent corporate conference. In fact, some podcasters are so skilled in their ability to ask questions that I’ve started honing in on this skill rather than merely the guest content. For example, Sam Harris has an amazing ability to speak calmly, accurately and succinctly, which is a skill I’m trying to cultivate. Or Russ Roberts, a strong free-market advocate who manages to hold wonderfully balanced conversations and learn from people he fundamentally disagrees with.
Everyone has to find the podcasts that they like, with an appropriate style and content. I recommend trialling many of them to find out what you like. Here are a few that I listen to from time to time. I’ve provided a short guide of the general content and have put favourites higher up the list.
- Waking up with Sam Harris (philosophy)
- EconTalk with Russ Roberts (economics but with very broad topics)
- Macro voices (financial markets)
- The Felder Report (financial markets)
- Epsilon Theory (financial markets)
- The Knowledge Project (general, learning)
- The Tim Ferris Show (general, learning)
- Real vision television. Adventures in finance (financial markets)
- Andreas Antonopoulos on youtube (bitcoin)
- Blindspotpodcast (South Africa guy living in the USA talking about broader political issues)
- Epicentre bitcoin
- Unchained (bitcoin)
- Capitalist exploits (financial markets but hasn’t posted in a long time)
I found almost all of these podcasts on twitter, which is another medium that I find very useful.
If you’re using an Apple device then you probably have an apple application for podcasts. Sticher is decent on android. Podbay is an easy place to download podcasts. Soundcloud also allows pretty easy downloads from most podcast websites.
Please send your podcast recommendations to me. I’m always keen to try out new content. I’m particularly short on high-quality South African content.