Podcast episodes for the insatiably curious

Some podcasts are pleasant but fleeting – they keep you company for a while, but you quickly forget them.  Others stick with you, and you want to go back and relisten once, twice, or more.  I thought I’d recommend some of the podcast episodes that have made it into that small circle of all-time greats for me.

Obviously, this is an evolving list, and know I’ve left even many of my favorites off.  I may even make this a periodic theme to come back to here.  If I’ve left of one that you think is truly great, please feel free to drop a note in the comments or tweet it at me.

Generally speaking, if the individual episode was superb, it’s worth subscribing to the feed.

  • Not surprisingly, any interview with Professor Barbara Oakley will rank very high with me – I’m looking forward to reviewing her new book, Learning How to Learn and talking (gushing) more about her ideas on this blog, but if you’d like an introduction, check out this excellent interview on Shane Parrish‘s show, The Knowledge Project.  
  • Since I’m plugging The Knowledge Project, go ahead and check out this interview with Annie Duke that I’m currently re-listening to.  Annie is a former professional poker player, and has some amazing advice about decision-making, humility, and how to talk to yourself about past failures.
  • RadioLab consistently produces some of the best podcasts, and I usually jump straight there when my feed refreshes.  One episode that’s stuck with me is this extended interview with physician and author Oliver Sacks in the final months of his remarkable life. If you haven’t read Sacks before, I’d recommend starting with The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales.
  • Related to a recent post here, I’d recommend John McWhorter‘s interview of Mark Seidenberg, author of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It.  Lexicon Valley is a treasure trove for language and linguistics nerds, and Professor McWhorter’s style is loose, engaging, and funny.
  • I’ll leave you on an emotional note this morning – I dare you to listen to the final podcast of season three of Revisionist History Malcolm Gladwell is a master storyteller, obviously, but his episode on he song that Elvis just couldn’t get “right” just left me, well, all shook up.




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