Why you should listen to podcasts (+ 17 podcasts to listen to right now)

Aiva Strelca 21.04.2020
why listen to podcasts

If you’re looking to discover new productivity and business podcasts to listen to, you’re in the right place.

Look – 

When every minute of the day is filled with stuff to do, it can be hard to squeeze in time for self-improvement and growth. If you’re yearning for a few extra moments to learn something new and interesting, what about using your time while you’re on your daily walk, washing the dishes, or commuting?

How, you ask?

Listen to podcasts!

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The popularity of podcasts is growing – and there’s a reason for it

Podcasting first came about in the 1980s, and it was relatively popular in the early 2000s. Now, podcasts are going through another revival in popularity. 

According to a survey, 62 million Americans – that’s approximately 20% of the country’s total population – listen to podcasts each week. Since Apple added podcasts to the iTunes store, they reported over 1.6 billion subscriptions and 20 billion downloads.

Part of this surge is due to smartphones. Now it’s fast and easy to stream a podcast on your phone, as opposed to downloading one from iTunes and uploading to an iPod. The immense success of Sarah Koenig’s Serial was also a pivotal moment in podcasting history. It became the first mega-hit in the industry, attracting 2.2 million listeners per episode.

What I’m saying is this:

There’s potential in podcasts, and people are noticing it. Because you can listen to podcasts anywhere, they allow you to productively spend the time you spend, for example, while you’re going for a walk, driving to work, grocery shopping, or working out at the gym.

When it comes to podcast recommendations, there are plenty – below are some of our and our readers’ favorite ones. They’re enlightening and cover a broad range of niches, from startups to weird fun facts.

1. Planet Money

A podcast about money may not sound very interesting from the get-go, but trust me, it is—this isn’t like listening to advice from your accountant.

The host discusses popular and complex topics such as unemployment, different types of taxes, American healthcare, and much more. In other words, NPR’s Planet Money covers absolutely everything about money, finance, and the economy, and they do it with playful storytelling, in a way that’s interesting and fun to listen to.

Recommended for: anyone who wants to follow and understand the quickly-changing global economy without feeling overwhelmed.

2. Radiolab

Radiolab is a little harder to describe. Put simply, it’s a show about curiosity.

The hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich delve into broad and sometimes complex topics such as politics, socioeconomics, philosophy, morality, you name it. No matter the topic complexity, they’re all discussed and explained in an understandable, easy-to-grasp way.

Recommended for: the curious ones who want to learn about a wide range of topics.

3. Get-It-Done Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More

Recommended by Kenny Trinh, CEO of Netbooknews.

Want to work smarter, not harder? This podcast is all about how to do it. 

Each week Stever Robbins, author of “Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More”, provides inventive productivity and organization tips to transform even the most overwhelmed person into an overachiever. 

Are you buried in email? Stever will tell you how to dig your way out. 

Is technology holding you captive? Stever will help you evaluate your devices to only use the ones that actually help you get stuff done.

Recommended for: office workers and entrepreneurs looking to balance their work and personal lives and be more mindful about where they devote their energy.

4. Freakonomics Radio

If you read and enjoyed Freakonomics, the book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, you’ll love Freakonomics Radio. The podcast is hosted by Dubner with the economist Steven Levitt as a regular guest. 

The podcast has a similar premise – it uses economics as a lens to explore and explain human behavior and promises to help you ”discover the hidden side of everything”. 

Can the idea of open-space offices be saved? 

How to fail like a pro? 

What are the side effects of social distancing?

Find answers to these questions by listening to the Freakonomics Radio podcast.

Recommended for: people who want to know a little about a lot of things in the context of economy and money.

5. The Tim Ferriss Show

The author of The Four-Hour Work Week has a podcast where he discusses everything about and around productivity. Ferriss uses examples of success stories and deconstructs the tactics that make his guests successful. 

Among podcast guests, you’ll find well-known names, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx, Tony Robbins, LeBron James, and many other hyper-successful people.

Pro tip:

Every episode Tim Ferriss and his guests discuss new productivity tactics. While every single one is worth trying, you may want to start with hacks and tools whose effectiveness has been proven by research, advises Tim Absalikov, Co-founder & CEO of Lasting Trend.

Recommended for: people who want a different perspective on their challenges and those looking for extra motivation in their everyday lives.

6. The Animalz Content Marketing Podcast

“The Animalz” is an American content marketing agency that has a remote-first approach to hiring (our favorite!). If there’s anyone who knows their stuff about content marketing, it’s these guys.

Hosted by their marketing director, Jim Daly, the show covers the most relevant topics in content marketing and provides actionable insights and strategies that any brand can certainly make use of. 

Recommended for: entrepreneurs, marketers, and, generally, anyone who’s looking to up their marketing game.

7. StartUp

The StartUp podcast is all about building a business from the ground up, hosted by Lisa Chow and Alex Blumberg, the former producer of This American Life and Planet Money before he left to start his very own digital media company. 

In the first seasons of the podcast, Blumberg talks about his experiences, from funny pitfalls to unpredictable challenges whilst building a company.

Fun fact: StartUp has actually been adapted into an ABC sitcom called Alex, Inc. starring Zach Braff. The series follows a radio journalist who decides to quit his job and start his own company.

Recommended for: entrepreneurs, especially startup owners.

8. Beyond the To-Do List

Recommended by Brett Downes, Founder of HaroHelpers.

The Beyond The To-Do List podcast covers all aspects of productivity, focusing on how to get to-do lists working for you by sharing tips on how to prioritize tasks and maximize productivity in a realistic, feasible, and structured way.

Each week the host Erik Fisher talks with real people who practically implement productivity strategies, from to-do lists and other hacks, that help them get more done in their professional and personal lives.

Recommended for: overwhelmed professionals who struggle with time management and those who simply want to get more done during their day.

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9. Reply All

On the surface, this podcast is about the Internet, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Its captivating stories cover broader Internet trends and the little intricate ways the Internet affects our everyday lives.

”A podcast about the Internet that is actually an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it.”

– The Guardian

The hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman examine various Internet-related topics and trends, from dating nightmares to LSD microdosing at work.

Recommended for: people who live and breathe the Internet. That is…everyone.

10. The School of Greatness

Recommended by Karlis Blumentals, CEO of Mozello.

The host of The School of Greatness podcast, Lewis Howes, interviews successful people and entrepreneurs from different industries. The podcast covers a variety of topics, including business, motivation, health, relationships. These topics are not only useful and relevant to business owners but generally everyone willing to live more successful and happier lives.

Because of the variety of topics, this podcast doesn’t get boring or tedious.  It’s a great listen for a longer walk or commute to work, as well as for putting on in the background while you do simple work tasks or housework.

Recommended for: people who are interested in self-growth and are able to learn from other people’s experiences.

11. The Tech.eu Podcast

Recommended by Julia Gifford, Co-Founder & CEO of Truesix Co.

Tech.eu is Europe’s leading tech news platform. And by extension, this podcast is all about the latest news in the European tech scene.

Hosted by Tech.eu senior journalist Andrii Degeler, the podcast not only covers the latest news but also does not shy away from delving into the latest controversies such as if governments should bail out startups during times of recession. The podcast is joined by frequent guests who help to explore all sides of the story and help to provide a full-picture view of the situation at hand.

Recommended for: European tech entrepreneurs and everyone else looking to learn about the latest hot startups in the region.

12. How I Built This

Recommended by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

The host of the How I Built This podcast Guy Raz takes listeners on a journey that showcases how major companies were built by innovative and curious entrepreneurs.

Listen to this podcast to hear how billion-dollar companies like Instagram, Zappos, TOMS, Kickstarter, and many others were brought to life – from coming up with the idea to conquering the world. Get your pen and paper ready for note-taking, as you’ll hear a lot of practical tips you may want to try out in your business, too.

Recommended for: owners of businesses of all stages.

13. Snippets of Leadership Podcast

Recommended by Edoardo Binda Zane, Founder & Trainer at EBZ Coaching.

The Snippets of Leadership Podcast is a recently-launched podcast that provides quickly applicable leadership tips and tricks that can be immediately applied to ramp up team performance and productivity. 

Each episode is targeted to be 5-10 minutes long, focusing on one specific topic like ”how to gain your team’s trust”, for example. The podcast takes a practical, hands-on perspective, and is based on research and practice.

Recommended for: anyone who is taking their first steps to leading others and generally, for anyone looking for ways to quickly develop and refine his or her leadership skills and grow professionally.

14. I Can’t Sleep Podcast

Recommended by Mason Culligan, Founder & CEO of Mattress Battle Inc.

The I Can’t Sleep Podcast is a podcast by Benjamin Boster that revolves around sleep and mental health. The host promises to ”bore you to sleep by reading random articles from the web”.

That’s exactly what Benjamin does: in a soothing and calming voice, he reads articles from various websites on random topics, from Star Wars to rain, gravity, and typeface. The I Can’t Sleep Podcast is the perfect podcast to listen to at bedtime to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Recommended for: individuals who suffer from insomnia and others who simply want to fall asleep faster.

15. Today Explained

There are so many things happening every day – how do you even keep up with all of them and stay informed about what’s happening in the world? 

Today Explained is a podcast by Vox, hosted by Sean Rameswaram who, at the end of each day, will guide you through the most important stories of the day – the impeachment of Donald Trump, the failure of WeWork, the war in Syria, you name it. Every episode features an expert guest who helps the host get to the bottom of the topic discussed.

Recommended for: people who want to stay up-to-date with the fast-changing world.

16. Entrepreneur on Fire

Recommended by Dominique Jackson, Content Marketer at Baremetrics.

The Entrepreneur on Fire podcast has interviews with entrepreneurs talking about how they built their companies, and gives advice on every part of running a business. 

The host, John Lee Dumas, does a great job of getting his guests to go in depth on the tactics they use to grow their business. Most of the episodes go way beyond generic tips like “treat your customers well” and dive into the real stories of how entrepreneurs were able to build successful businesses, with great takeaways.

Recommended for: entrepreneurs looking for actionable tips instead of general fluff.

17. The 5 AM Miracle Podcast

Recommended by Elliott Reimers, Certified Nutrition Coach at Rave Reviews.

The 5 AM Miracle Podcast is a weekly podcast from Jeff Sanders. The podcast’s tagline is ”Dedicated to dominating your day before breakfast,” and it certainly lives up to its own hype. The core topics include rising early, healthy routines, personal development, and productivity.

Designed for driven, passionate people and high achievers, this podcast doesn’t offer shortcuts to success but promotes hard, smart working to achieve your goals in a reasonable, realistic time frame.

Recommended for: people looking to create powerful and productive lifelong habits.

Final words

This list only scratches the surface – there are podcasts specifically for every niche. If there is a topic that you’re particularly interested in, you can find a podcast about it. Search iTunes and subscribe to get new episodes as they come out. 

Pro tip?

Register with Stitcher, where you can stream on the go, discover new podcasts, and create lists of what you want to listen to.

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