Me and my politically-correct, gender-balanced, equal-race-represented group of business people have picked out the best business podcasts of 2017 for you! We've also put together some helpful tips on how to make podcasts turn you into a learning machine during time you'd otherwise be doing nothing: *NOTE* Simply listening to ONLY business-related podcasts can get BORING. So in this list we've included business podcasts as well as curiosity-inducing podcasts which help spur creativity!
1.) Planet Money - by NPR:What I love about it: This is a professionally produced show by NPR (generally about 20 minutes per episode) that takes one concept about economics or money, and tells a story about it in a fun way. Planet Money puts A HELLUVALOT of effort into their shows! They actually send reporters across the world and do real research in order to put out a 20 minute show. Of any podcast I listen to, I listen to 100% of every Planet Money episode that comes out. What you will learn: Money and economic principles. Who it's for: Everyone. They tell stories about economics you never even thought of, and in a fun way that doesn't scare anyone away. Favorite Episodes:
- Tracking where a shirt comes from An AWESOME six-part series following the making of a tshirt from cotton in America, to assembly in Bangladesh. When I first heard this I literally said, "Now THIS is real journalism."
- The Chicken Tax. How a tax on chicken has really weird results on other parts of the economy.
- What if you just gave poor people cash? They document the results of programs where instead of more "social services", governments just give poor people cold hard cash.
2.) A16Z - by Andreessen HorowitzWhat I love about it: This show makes me feel like I live in Silicon Valley and hang out with the smartest people in the area. They even literally have "The Hallway Sessions" where the host (Sonal) just starts recording these insanely great conversations venture capitalists are having in the hallway. This is the podcast put out by the A16Z (Andreessen Horowitz) venture capital company. There's zero ads, zero sponsorships, zero introductions, and it's just a straight-to-the-point podcast. What skills you'll learn: You'll get filled in by startup founders and industry veterans about topics from VR, to mass cloud storage, to the latest in AI algorithms. Who it's for: Relatively advanced tech people. Sometimes the conversations get VERY technical, so this podcast isn't for everyone. But if you want to hear some of smartest people. Also, I have a serious man-crush on Benedict Evans from listening to A16Z, and I get excited when I see that he will be in the episode! His commentary is super intelligent, numbers driven, and it plain-old sounds like he knows what the fuck he's talking about. Favorite Episodes:
- Telling a story in VR is different than a movie: They break down the physical hardware needs before VR is ready for prime-time.
- Tech and Entertainment - Marc Andreessen and Reed Hastings (CEO of NetFlix) talk.
- Mobile is eating the world: Benedict Evans breaks down the way he views phones, complete with numbers.
3.) StarTalk Radio: by Neil Degrasse TysonWhat I love about it: Neil Degrasse Tyson is the new Carl Sagan, and he's quite badass. His answers (and sheer enthusiasm) for physics and science is incredible. He also always has a comedian co-host, so the banter is generally very entertaining. He rarely is ever stumped by a question, and has a super-wide breadth of knowledge. It's super interesting to hear the inner workings of these large space programs. Who it's for: Beginners of all ages. The show is funny, informative, sparks curiosity, and is great for background listening (it's a favorite of mine to listen to when driving back-n-forth from Austin to Houston). Favorite Episodes:
- Venus: An entire show about the Venus Cassini mission and all the wild stuff they found out about Venus.
- Cosmic Queries Gravity: An fascinating episode entirely about gravity.
- Mars Curiosity Rover: He brings on the people who built parts and instruments on the Mars Curiosity Rover
4.) 99% Invisible:What I love about it: This kind of has a Planet Money feel where reporters do stories on various subjects you never would've thought of. The host (Roman Mars) has a seriously unique way of telling stories that would otherwise be boring as fuck, but makes them super interesting! What you'll learn: A bunch of totally random things that you never even considered. For example: On one episode they documented the story of a woman who was the "perfect average" model which they modeled thousands of statues after. On another episode they documented how the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and inspired the "Usonion" style home for middle class families. I think nearly every single 99% Invisible episode I've ever listened to opened my eyes to a little nugget of the world I never even knew about. The story-telling production value of the episodes are amazing! Favorite Episodes:
- NBC Chimes - How the NBC Chimes became the first sound to be Trademarked.
- Dollar Store Town - About where are your "made in China" stuff comes from.
- Mojave Phone Booth - A fun story about one of the most remote telephone numbers in the world.
5.) The Tim Ferriss Show - By Tim FerrissWhat I love about it: Tim Ferriss gets access to all these cool people other podcast rarely get. Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marc Andreesse.....these are not the typical podcast guests. He also asks much more in-depth questions and has real conversations as opposed to most TV-ized interviews. I feel like after Tim started upping his podcast game the entire podcast industry "leveled up" and tried to get cooler and cooler guests. What you'll learn: Tim "deconstructs successful people" and also has a strong inclination towards health. I'm personally not the biggest fan of his more health-related episodes, but I'm a huge fan of when he interviews successful people about their habits, daily routines etc. Favorite Episodes:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (Part 1 and Part 2) - Arnold's story is amazing, and his enthusiasm infectious.
- Matt Mullenweg (1 and 2) - The founder of Wordpress speaks about all sorts of things (like running a 500 person company without an office).
- Mike Birbiglia - Comedian Mike Birbiglia actually had a really great episode about productivity and sleep. I picked up a bunch of good nuggets about sleep like, "You shouldn't think of it as CRASHING into sleep, you should think of it as EASING into sleep."
6.) The Jordan Harbinger ShowWhat I love about it: Jordan Harbinger talks to a wide variety of people (after 500+ episodes I'm not gonna say EVERY single one is a winner, but there's some real great gems in there. This is a great podcast for people who need to learn better social skills. He brings on guests who talk about relationships, style, building up a network of people. The best part is Jordan calls B.S. when he hears it, and I always appreciate that when a guest starts using "buzzwords" and he'll just stop them and say, "Umm.....that sounds vague, can you please clarify with an example?" What you'll learn: Social skills from a wide variety of different cool guests, including Tony Hawk and Gary Vaynerchuk. Tone of voice: Informative. Favorite Episodes:
- Building your "Third Place" - If you move to a new city this is useful.
- Fan Mail Friday's - A rapid-fire Q&A from the audience which is usually about 15 minutes long per episode.
- Neville Medhora - Hey, I'm a little biased ;-)
- Esther Perel - A great episode about relationships, cheating, staying together.
7.)Noah Kagan PresentsWhat I love about it: For starters Noah is one of my best friends in the world, so I'm slightly biased.....but he legitimately is one of the most useful people to know EVER. What you'll learn: He always has unique perspective on things, and every single episode I listen to I get an idea. I'm lucky and get to hear all of Noah's ramblings in real life, and now the whole world gets to hear! Favorite Episodes:
- How to come up with a business idea. - A useful primer for people "trying to come up with a business idea."
- Spending $1,500,000 on a domain name - The whole story about buying the Sumo.com domain name. e.
- Q&A w/ Tim Ferriss
8.) How I Built This - by NPRWhat I love about it: Because it's NPR they can get some super-cool guests on. They What you'll learn: The basic startup stories of a lot of famous companies and their founders. Favorite Episodes:
- Tony Hsieh - How he built Zappos.com.
- Alli Webb - How she built DryBar.
- Beto Perez - How he built Zumba.