I sent someone a link to a podcast episode at the weekend. They liked it and wanted to hear others that were in a similar vein. I’ve been meaning to make this list for a while now and now my motivation is piqued.

Podcasts I listen to a lot

By a lot, I mean that I’ve listened to tens&endash;hundreds of hours of these.

Hardcore History

This is the only podcast I actively look forward to. That might be because he only does two or three a year, but each one is 3 or four hours long. The recent series on WW1 was 6 episodes, each of 3ish hours.

Because he has a lot of time he’s able to go on tangents. These make understanding the main players’ motivations much clearer. He also loves quoting original sources, reading letters etc. which he does in his special quoting-things voice.

I’d start with Wrath of the Khans as a gateway drug. Everyone loves the mongols!

Cooking Issues

This is a weekly radio show. It took a couple of episodes to get into it.

Dave’s a heavy duty cocktail and food science guy; he answers questions that people send in. He also talks about the things he hates most in the world (MDF, Everclear…).

It’s perfect for getting nerdy about something that I enjoy.

In Our Time

I feel like IOT does more for rounding out my general knowledge than anything else I do. It’s weekly, and goes over history of science, religon, culture and ideas in general. The format is four subject experts talking about it in a very well directed, but not scripted conversation.

Very ocasionally it’ll go off the rails, maybe once a year, on current science topics where there’s uncertainty. (The climate change episode was a bit of a disaster.)

The back catalogue is a good place to look if you need to know a lot about a subject but only have 45 minutes.

Philosophy Bites

Focused, 15 minute interviews with philosophers about specific topics. Again, a pretty major contributor to the bits of my education that school left out.

Over about a year I listened to most of the back catalogue. I think it’s done me a lot of good.

A History of the World in 100 Objects

The British Museum did an exhibition with the same title. This is the director of the museum talking through the significance of 100 things and how they fit into the story of why we’re where we are now.

Meanwhile in the Future

These are a short, fun episodes where they take a possible future scenario and ask experts about what might happen.

They did one where the world had so many wind turbines that it stopped the weather. Turns out you need about a zillion to do that.

The host’s voice grated on me for couple of episodes, but I’m over that now.

A History of Ideas

This is like a mini In Our Time, with only one person talking about a specific idea. There are weekly, broad topics, then daily specific ones.


I’ve been listening to this one for a long time. The format is long interviews with economists.

The host is probably the most hard core libertarian that I’m likely to ever encounter, but if you try and correct for the bias it’s good stuff. He has some really good guests.

This is another one that has contributed a lot to my education. I’m a bit concious of the ideological bias, so if anyone has an economics podcast that’s just as good, but from a different flavour of dogma then let me know.

Common Sense

This is the Hardcore History guy, Dan Carlin, talking about politics. I got pretty into listening to him from the hostory show, and this is spillover.

He tends to be pretty anti-partisan and has some interesting ideas.

99% Invisible

I find the style of storytelling that these guys use a little bit annoying, but they talk about some really interesting things. They have about 5 minutes of ads at the end that you can skip.

Rationally Speaking

Either interviews with interesting people, or the two hosts discussing something. Solid discussions and disagreement ensues. It’s not dogmatically rationalist.

Yoga Download

This is more just because it makes life easy. I try to do one of these before bed. Once in a while I actually manage it.

Podcasts I sometimes listen to

I listen to these every so often, usually in binges.

Music for Programming

Abstract beeping noises to listen to when I need to block out what’s going on around me. It’s not for when I need total focus, but great for when I need something to quiet the spare bit of my brain.

Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot

This is a bit like rationally speaking (above) but I haven’t really got into it properly.

StartUp Podcast

This is a podcast about starting a podcast company. It’s good, but I’ve only just started it.

Practical Ethics Bites

Same guys as Philosophy Bites, but specifically about practical ethics.

Science, Ethics, and the Future

A guy reads essays. Really interesting topics, but because they were written to be read I sometimes zone out.

Planet Money

Fun when I remember to listen.

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

These are long (90 minute) sessions. 45 minutes of talk, then another 45 of Q&A. Wide range of topics, but the foundation is focussed on getting people to think about issues that span hundreds and thousands of years, not just weeks.

Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

A really interesting way of thinking about products and services. These are a good intro to it, but they seem to have dried up.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Irina listens to this religiously, so I just get her to tell me about it.

Barbell Shrugged

Every so often I need a bit of motivation.

Podcasts I haven’t got into yet

It takes a lot to start a new podcast. I usually find people’s voices annoying for the first episode or two, so it’s a big investment.

Design Details

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Hello Internet


Menu Stories

Science Vs - Season 1

The Internet of Things podcast

Smart Drug Smarts


Product Hunt

Product People


This is Product Management


Vox’s The Weeds

What’s The Point

Women Who Startup Radio

I made this list more or less manually by copying bits of the Pocketcasts web app. It’d be pretty nice to be able to make something like this automagically as a way to publish podcast loyalty. Maybe a public page that had a list and some generic details (name, link, frequency of release) and then some person specific stuff (number of these podcasts listened to, number of total hours spent listening etc.).

It might even be a good way to follow specific people. E.g. I think that person’s cool, I wonder what they listen to?