Top 7 Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter

For someone who just listens to Apple related podcasts, it’s possible to believe that podcasts are just a couple of dudes talking about technology every week. But Podcasts are also the digitization of radio shows. And if you know where to look, you’ll find podcasts that are not only entertaining but also educational. Now, we’re not talking about something like a curriculum. We’re talking about shows that leave you a little bit smarter and wiser after each episode.

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In some ways, podcasts are replacements for non-fiction books. Now don’t quote me on that. But if you’re not the kind of person who likes to read 300 pages on the same subject, but you still like to learn new things, podcasts are the answer for you. Now, you might already know about shows like This American Life, Radiolab and Serial. So I’m not going to discuss them here.

1. 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is a podcast about design and architecture. They talk about things that are affected by design – which, lets face it, is almost everything. They recently did a two-parter on automation in airplanes and cars. And it was glorious.

My favorite thing about the podcast is its host – Roman Mars. And how passionate he is about things he talks about. Roman recently gave a TED talk where he recreated a podcast episode about flags on stage and it was spectacular. Yes, flags can be interesting. Just watch this clip and I’m sure you’ll be sold on the show.

2. Planet Money

Planet Money teaches you about money. Not in the how-to-do-your-taxes way but instead by featuring interesting stories. Like how the financial meltdown in Iceland affected its citizen. Or what if gold was still the standard. They’re really good journalists. They try to put all the important sides of the argument front and center and usually just let you form your own opinion.

The best tech podcasts: If you’re looking for some tech-related shows to listen to, we’ve got you covered there as well.

3. Invisibilia

Invisibilia is a new podcast from NPR. There are only 6 one hour long episodes yet. Invisibilia is a podcast about the invisible forces that guide us in life. You really should listen to this. If you’re a fan of psychology and the mysteries of the human brain, you’ll enjoy this one.

They talk about what it’s like to not be able to experience fear, or any sensation on your body. Plus they cover the history of physcho-analysis starting from Sigmund Freud all the way to the modern era.

4. Freakonomics Radio

Do you remember the Freakonomics book that came out? That and the sequel is a must read. But if you’re not really willing, check out the podcast of the same name, from the same guys. Here, they talk about some of the same stories and same principles plus, there’s a lot of new stuff.

5. The Big Web Show

This one’s strictly for web designers and developers. The Big Web Show is run by Jeffrey Zeldman and this is where he talks to some of the best people in the industry about how they work, what they think the future will be like and discuss the landscape of web technologies in general.

Listen to podcasts on the web: Here are the best ways to listen to podcasts right on the web. No need to download apps or anything.

6. Developer Tea

At some point in my life, I had aspirations to become a developer and went looking for the best podcasts to listen to (that fire still burns, in the background though). And Developer Tea was the most approachable podcast I found. The episodes are around 10 minutes each (meant to be consumed during tea breaks) and the soothing voice of the host is almost zen like.

7. The Guardian Long Reads

Guardian knows you well. They know you’re not going to sit down and read a 5,000-word article about world events. So they turn the best of their long form stuff into podcast episodes. I wish more publications did this.

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Even More Stuff

I think I’ve given you enough podcast recommendations to fill up your daily commute. But if you’re still looking for more, check out Reply All, a podcast that shares stories about living in the internet world. If you’re a Mac user, I highly suggest you listen to Mac Power Users. Katie and David are great at breaking down Mac productivity in a way that can be beneficial to everyone.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite podcast? Share with us in our forums below.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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