According to multiple reports, podcasts have been sharply rising in popularity in the past years (Statista, Forbes, NYTimes). A recent announcement that made waves and some of you might have seen is the deal between Joe Rogan and Spotify, which includes the acquisition of the “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast (going live on Spotify next Tuesday, Sep 1st) for 9 figures. This certainly illustrates the value that this kind of medium can have in this day and age, despite being built on a free-to-download respectively free-to-listen basis.
I find myself being a frequent listener of podcasts aswell, and as a contrast to the more science oriented texts I usually write (and because I’m currently out of ideas), I thought I’d start a “Top 5” series and start with my favorite podcasts.
#5: The Inforium (originally “College Info Geek Podcast”)
The Inforium or College Info Geek Podcast by Thomas Frank and Martin Boehme is, the way I see it, split into two parts. Before their recent rebranding, they focused on college life: Studying tips, productivity hacks, career/life skills, tools, book recommendations and other things of the sort.
The first episode after their rebranding, published on the 11th of August 2020, picked up the topic of life after graduating, which basically just means a shift towards less college-related topics. They announced that, going forward, they will be discussing “productivity, personal finance and other interesting things”.
The podcast is available on Spotify and other platforms like Apple podcasts, and I would mostly recommend it to students or people who are about to start with their studies!
#4: Gemischtes Hack
Gemischtes Hack is a German podcast by comedian and author Felix Lobrecht and comedy author and columnist Tommi Schmitt. It’s one of the most popular German podcasts overall and apparently also one of the most-streamed podcasts on Spotify worldwide — in my opinion rightfully so!
They mostly talk about everyday life with a humorous twist, sometimes inviting well-known guests such as musicians or comedians. If you care about political correctness, then this podcast is probably not for you, but if you’d like to learn German or already speak German and are looking for a lighthearted podcast, then this is a good choice. It’s only available on Spotify.
#3: Not Overthinking
Not Overthinking is hosted by the British brothers Ali and Taimur Abdaal. Their podcast is fairly new, but as someone who has listened to every episode from the very start, I’d say that its quality is (and has been) relatively high nonetheless.
They frequently invite their friends onto the podcast to ask them uncomfortable questions, and seem to enjoy talking about any topic, really. They often try to discover an underlying pattern or framework to the topic at hand by going over their experiences and questioning each other’s motives. One topic that comes up frequently would be social interaction.
If you enjoy listening to British English and are looking for interesting insights on pretty much anything, give it a try! This one is available on pretty much any platform, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
This one is so well known, I’m not even sure if an introduction is needed. Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian and MMA commentator. His podcast, originally (and currently) hosted on YouTube, is one of the most popular ones to have ever existed.What makes it somewhat exceptional are the guests that appear on his show: Elon Musk, Edward Snowden, Mike Tyson, Bernie Sanders, Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx to name a few.
The conversations usually span between 1.5 and three hours, which means that it’s not at all the usual one-sided interview format, but rather an interesting back and forth between Joe and his guests, leaving room for depth as well as breadth. Furthermore, he also sometimes invites less well-known individuals, one of them being Lex Fridman, which brings me to my next and last recommendation:
#1: Lex Fridman Podcast (originally “AI Podcast”)
Similar to Joe Rogan’s podcast, what makes this one so special to me is Lex’ way of thinking and also his guests. While the original title implied a “narrow” focus on AI, exactly the opposite proves to be true in reality: Lex has long and versatile talks with mathematicians, neuroscientists, physicists, planetary scientists, biologists and even his father about philosophy, psychology, the future, the Soviet Union, the USA, STEM in general, and yes, also Artificial Intelligence (many more items to be added to this list, but this should cover a decent amount).
I think there’s something in this podcast for everybody — simply make sure to set aside enough time and have Google ready for some of the more technical ones, you’ll most likely need it!
And that’s all! If you’ve got any favorite podcasts that are not on this list, let me know, I’m always looking for new ones. As always, see you next Sunday.