My daily commute is way less sucky than it would be without podcasts. Here are some of my current favourites.
Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast is definitely my favourite. That’s hardly surprising, considering I’ve listened to his earlier History of Rome from start to finish at least four times. Revolutions deals with various political revolutions in history; so far it has covered the English revolution, the American revolution and the French revolution. Duncan’s writing strikes a great balance between history, politics, humour and historical trivia and clarity; his narration has become the standard against which I measure other podcasts and audiobooks. If you’re at all interested in history, I cannot recommend Duncan’s work enough.
The Economist is a great newspaper to keep up with current affairs. It also takes great advantage of modern media with a superb audio edition (the full contents of the weekly paper in audio form), mobile apps and Twitter accounts. It’s nicepodcast feed includes some full articles from the audio edition, and some podcast-specific shows hosted by editors and correspondents. Subscribe to The Economist for the audio edition, or get a good summary from the free podcast.
The Incomparable is an awesomely geeky show full of nerds and geeks discussing stuff nerds and geeks are into. Jason Snell and a host of panelists discuss movies, comics, TV shows and books – and they’re not afraid to spend over an hour talking about an 80 seconds-long Star Wars trailer. Listening to The Incomparable is probably as close as you can get to having a laugh with some geeky friends on a friday night while you’re on your monday-morning commute.
The Infinite Monkey Cage
Take two witty hosts, a panel of scientists and comedians and let them discuss grand topics in front of a live audience on BBC Radio 4 and you’re set for inpsired, educated laughs. The BBC’s The Infinite Monkey Cage is a perfect mix of science and British humour.
In Our Time
BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time is a weekly show about science, history, philosophy, culture and art. Melvyn Bragg and three guests, usually leading experts in a field, discuss topics raning from the life of Caesar to the nature of prime numbers. There are new shows coming out every week, but there’s also a great archive of past episodes.
Listen to Lucy
I recently started listening to Lucy Kellaway “poking fun at management fads and jargon and celebrating the ups and downs of office life” in the Listen to Lucy podcast from the Financial Times. The episodes are witty and brief and a nice change of pace from some of the other, denser topics in this list.
There’s also some other podcasts I listen to sometimes, that you might want to check out:
- The Get-It-Done Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More
- BCC Radio 4 Science in Action
- Happier by Gretchen Rubin
- The Ruby Rogues
- BBC Radio 4 From Our Own Correspondent
- The Savvy Psychologist’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health
- The Charged Life by Brendon Burchard
- Giant Robots podcast
- Back to Work with Merlin Mann
I often find myself skimming the feed of these podcasts for interesting topics.