I spend around ninety minutes a day driving to and from work. When I first started commuting, I thought I would go crazy doing this every weekday, but then I discovered podcasts. They turn a miserable commute into a productive, informative experience. Below are some of my favorite podcasts to listen to.
I think we can all agree that Neil Degrasse Tyson is the coolest astrophysicist out there. Not only does he know everything about the universe, he can explain it all in a down-to-earth way. He usually picks a comedian to cohost and will have all kinds of scientists—not just astronomers—on to discuss their work.
Best Feature: Neil Degrasse Tyson’s giggle.
Pod Save America
This is a political podcast hosted by former Obama advisors. They go over the recent news in a hilarious—but still informative—way, and often interview high-profile guests, like Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Best Feature: The ads! I’m not even joking. The hosts read the copy and frequently critique the ad company’s writing, often coming up with better slogans or inside jokes in the process.
This is a great one from NPR that discusses everything that is even remotely related to money or the economy. It’s usually not about banks or retirement funds, but stranger topics like Birkin bags, the history of social security numbers, or red pickles.
Best Feature: They’re easy-to-digest, twenty-minute segments and the topics vary so much, you can’t get sick of them.
TED Radio Hour
This is another hit from NPR that combines loosely related TED talks into cohesive, one-hour episodes. The host also interviews the TED speakers in between clips of their talks to give you a deeper perspective on the topic.
Best Feature: You get a personalized, behind-the-scenes look at the experts who deliver TED talks.
…And it’s another NPR podcast. This one’s great for anyone with an interest in psychology. For each episode, they pick a single topic—like envy or the evolution of language—and delve deep into the research behind it.
Best Feature: They aren’t afraid to tackle tough topics like sexism, implicit bias, and toxic masculinity.
What can I say? I love the crooked mainstream media. Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper’s CNN shows do quick overviews of that day’s news (an impressive feat in today’s political climate), although sometimes their discussion panels devolve into shouting matches. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has a more subdued show that goes for depth over breadth. She only covers a few topics per episode but does an excellent job supplying context and background information.
Best Feature: Episodes come out almost daily so you’ll always have something to listen to.
What are your favorite podcasts? Leave your answer in the comments.