Top 5 favorite podcasts

I love listening to podcasts and do it often — basically whenever I have the mental capacity to multitask. For example:

  • When in transit (on a plane, on a bus, in a cab, driving, walking, waiting)

  • When running errands (post office line, anyone?)

  • When waiting around for my kids (playground, piano lessons, event gigs…)

Sure, people may give you a funny look if you burst out laughing on the bus, but that’s because they are curious about what you are listening to.

Why do I love podcasts? They inform me, they inspire me, they give me ideas, they entertain me, they expand my ability to talk about random, interesting things at cocktail parties. My favorite part of listening to podcasts is when the voice of a former client or colleague pops into my ears and I get to appreciate their ideas, experiences, and successes.

Comparing favorite podcasts has become just as popular as comparing favorite apps and streaming shows. What podcasts do you listen to most these days? Send me your list and I’ll aggregate and share your favorites too.

I generally like podcasts that cover science, business, economics, decision-making, psychology, and languages.

Here are my “Top 5” current favorites:

  1. Exchanges at Goldman Sachs discusses “developments shaping industries, markets and the global economy.” Most of the speakers are Goldman practitioners from around the world, but they do invite external business leaders as guests from time to time. I love the variety of business topics they cover, as well as their polished and fact-based style. The podcast comes out 1-2 times a month and is about 20 minutes long.

  2. Choiceology by Charles Schwab “explores the lessons of behavioral economics, exposing the psychological traps that lead to expensive mistakes.” It is hosted by Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School, who explores cognitive biases and decision-making through interesting stories. The podcast is produced very well — with soundscape clips and interviews. The podcast comes out 1-2 times a month and is about 30 minutes long.

  3. McKinsey Podcast offers “conversations with experts on the issues that matter most in business and management.” If you enjoy reading the McKinsey Quarterly, or the research reports by the McKinsey Global Institute, you would love the podcast’s conversations with the authors of their reports and articles. Having spent time at the McKinsey Global Institute and having published articles at the McKinsey Quarterly, I know the rigorous investigation that goes into publishing external pieces. The podcast comes out 1-2 times a month and is about 25 minutes long.

  4. Freakonomics Radio explores “the hidden side of everything” and is hosted by the authors of the best-selling “Freakonomics” book series: Steven Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Dubner, “an award-winning author, journalist, and TV and radio personality.” The two Steves — along with a big team of researchers and podcast producers — tell intriguing stories through the eyes of economics (and especially behavioral economics). The podcast is a bigger time commitment — it comes out about once a week and lasts at least 45 minutes each.

  5. Planet Money by NPR has the tagline “The Economy Explained.” And the tagline captures it well. The podcasts explains — through stories and in very basic terms — economic concepts and current developments. The hosts are always chatty, the topics are often intriguing, and the explanations are so simple my kids can understand them. The podcast comes out 1-2 times a week and is about 20 minutes long.

Notable mention on longer trips:

Science Friday, which covers “the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies” and promotes itself as “the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff.” It comes out weekly (on Fridays), lasts 2 hours, and exposes listeners to all sorts of cool scientific research going on out there.

So, how does your list compare to mine?

Written by Aneta Key. This blog post last edited January 2019.