“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – Dalai Lama
Podcasts are a great way to get information into your brain, enjoyable. They are a great type of media to listen to when doing something else, such as repetitive labor or commuting, and you’ll be surprised as to how much you can learn. Just this past week, I recalled something that I learned in a podcast that I listened to three years, specifically how Mayor Richard Daley wouldn’t negotiate with sanitation workers during strikes. That just goes to show you how effective they are at teaching you something, and that I could remember a minute detail like that three years after the podcast just furthers my point.
They are like a book and a radio show, mashed into one, big, beautiful, audio file, brimming with information. This makes it great for people who don’t like to or don’t have the time to read books and magazines and are much easier to understand and digest than that type of media.
Today, many young adults who commute, whether it be in a bus, car or train choose to put headphones in their ears, and zone out. It’s a habit. Try to think of how many minutes per week you spend listening to music. For me, it was at least 45 minutes each day, during my commute to and from school. That’s a whopping 15 hours, at a minimum each week! To me, this was a 15-hour opportunity to gain knowledge. Let’s face it, most of us like listening to music, but it doesn’t have a lot of value, and definitely won’t help your future financial status.
Now, every morning on my commute, I listen to a podcast. In my free time, I listen to podcasts. At work, when doing repetitive, manual labor, I listen to podcasts. Why? Because the more you know, the more successful you’ll be. It’s not just in the future, it is now. Personally, in everyday discussions and debates, I find myself using more and more statistics and evidence sourced from podcasts. I put into place principles and methods taught by interviewees (which tend to be really successful people). And, I know that this will continue to happen in the future, and because of it, I will be much more successful.
Here are the top five best podcasts on business that I personally listen to, and why I like them. After them, I list a few others (not all about business) that either I enjoy, or that others highly recommend.
“How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity, and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best-known companies and brands. If you’ve ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it — check out How I Built This hosted by Guy Raz”
The podcast is extremely well presented and produced, and the host, Guy Raz, keeps things light and interesting. He also hosts TED Radio Hour, and both of his shows are NPR’s most popular – for a good reason. Guy is an extremely good speaker and interview. Following each interview of an influential CEO, I come away with a new piece of knowledge that I am excited to implement into my life and business.
“Freakonomics is an award-winning, weekly podcast.” Host Stephen J. Dubner has surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt.”
When I first started listening to podcasts, about three years ago, this was the first show I had downloaded on my phone. And, because of the quality and content that Freakanomics brings, I’ve been an avid listener since I’ve discovered it. The show isn’t your typical economic lesson, like you’d expect. It’s actually about everything society has to offer – from The Demonization of Gluten to how to redesign public toilets. Every show is impeccably produced, and always has interesting content. At the end of each episode, I find myself cataloging away a wealth of new information and thinking about the episode well after I’ve heard it.
“How do companies grow from zero to a gazillion? Legendary Silicon Valley investor / entrepreneur Reid Hoffman tests his theories with famous founders. Guests include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg & Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Spanx’s Sara Blakely. With original music and hilariously honest stories, the show sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard. Masters of Scale is a WaitWhat original series in association with Stitcher.”
This show is a newcomer to the business podcast scene, but has quickly become one of my favorites. The show interviews extremely high profile CEOs (and some you’ve never heard of). Each one presents their story, and more importantly, advice on how to be successful in life. Recently, I’ve found myself taking more real world away from this podcast than most other articles, interviews or books.
“If you’re looking for ACTIONABLE advice during your daily commute, workout, or ‘me’ time, JLD brings the HEAT. Each episode details the journey of a successful Entrepreneur who shares their WORST Entrepreneurial moment and lessons learned, an AH-HA moment and how they turned that idea into success, and much more. Each episode ends with THE LIGHTNING ROUND where JLD extracts golden nuggets, Internet resources and action steps for you, FIRE NATION!”
Unlike the other weekly podcasts, Entrepreneur On Fire is published seven days a week. Because the podcast is almost always an interview, episodes are never bland and always have good content. I listen to this show when I’m out of other podcasts, and because it is daily, I know that I will always have good content to listen to. And, it’s not what you might expect of a daily podcast (bland, dull, slow…), its crazy high energy! And the description is right, after almost every episode, I walk away with actionable advice that I can implement into my life and businesses.
“Retired Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink, and Director, Echo Charles discuss discipline and leadership in business, war, relationships and everyday life.”
One to two hours of intense motivation from a former Navy Seal, awarded the silver star. You cant get much better than this. Each episode is different, but the outcome (for me) is the same – you want to do something to better yourself after listening to this. You may not want to devote an hour or two of your day to listen to this, but believe me, it’s worth it.
Don’t miss the other podcasts listed below, they’re all stunning shows!
These are a few other podcasts that I also enjoy listening to. While they might not be completely about business, they provide great, entertaining messages, and enable you to learn about the world.
99% Invisible – A design and story-centered podcast, hosted by Roman Mars. One of my favorites.
This American Life – Stories on everything. Always interesting, and really well produced.
NPR – Informative stories on the real world, but usually politically biased. NPR has a network of podcasts, but I usually listen to Fresh Air, and How I Built This (discussed above).
Song Exploder – Brakes down how artists create hit songs. Gives you a look into their heads, and workflow, with the musicians telling the story.
The Solopreneur Hour Podcast – How to take your skills and hobbies and turn them into a business.
Planet Money – The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Great for education, and to learn basic (and not so basic) economic principles.
The Moth – A podcast where various people read stories. Great for entertainment, and while not about business, you can learn some great life lessons from this show.
The School Of Greatness – Shares inspiring stories from the most brilliant business minds, world-class athletes and influential celebrities on the planet; to help you find out what makes great people great.
Crimetown – A story about the mafia and crime in different cities. My favorite nonbusiness podcast.
*All quoted descriptions of the podcasts are sourced from the website of the podcast, or its iTunes page.