May 1, 2015
If you’re like most people (and I’m guilty of it too), it can be hard to find time to read things like books, news articles, and content from your favorite websites. Audiobooks can be a great way to listen to books while doing other things, but it doesn’t always solve the problem since many audiobooks can be more than 5 hours long, which is where podcasts can come in. Depending on the show, most podcasts can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour long, which can be perfect for things like driving or while cooking dinner.
I’ve gotten really into listening to podcasts while driving, since many cars these days allow you to connect your phone right to the car sound system. Trips like going to Virginia Tech from the DC area are about 4 hours long, and most times I’ll listen to podcasts rather than the radio. It works out because I’m more productive while driving, and I find that the podcasts help the drive go by faster. So, what do I listen to? Here are my top 4 favorite podcasts:
TED Talks are all about ideas worth spreading, and this podcast by NPR is a great way to listen to them. Each show in the series covers a single big idea, which can range from things like how we build communities to the case for optimism. The show then gives snippets of different TED talks and features an interview with the different speakers. For example, one episode focuses on the idea of Maslow’s Human Needs and covers ideas like why we need sleep and the relationship between perceived and actual security. Most episodes are a little under an hour long, so I’ll usually knock out a few chapters on longer drives.
Personal finance is something we should all know but isn’t something always taught in schools. Unless you took a track that focused on financial planning, many people might know what stocks are but not how to invest your first thousand dollars. If you’re looking to learn the basics of personal finance, I really enjoy the Listen Money Matters podcast. They cover topics like renting vs. buying, how to invest in stocks, and what credit unions are. Segments are usually about half an hour long and are very conversational as opposed to being half hour lectures. If you’re looking for learn personal finance more in-depth, Khan Academy has a great series on it.
While these episodes are super short, they can be an easy way to catch up on things. NPR offers the Hourly News Summary that highlights the biggest stories in about five minutes (think of it as an audio version of the Skimm). They’re posted every hour, and I try to listen to them on my way out the door or while doing slow things like folding laundry (as strange as that may sound, it totally works). The summary certainly won’t give enough information to be an expert, but does cover enough that you have an idea as to what’s going on in the world.
My most recent find, the Art of Charm focuses on tips on how to improve your life by covering things like how to become a better role model or making the decision to start a business. The shows usually last a little under an hour, and they post new topics pretty frequently and can be a great show if you consider yourself entrepreneurial. While I haven’t had the chance to listen to a lot of them, the ones I have heard definitely gave a few good nuggets of information.