Best Podcasts to Listen to in 2021
On the way to work, you turn on the radio. The current hit is interrupted by a talk show. By the way, you listen to the radio for some pop music, but this conversation catches on for some reason. The guest is interesting, the topic is good, but after 5 minutes a Shakira interrupts the conversation, followed by a 2-minute commercial.
It raises the question:
How good it would be if quality talk shows existed beyond radio?
Today this is not a dream.
You don’t professional studio equipment or a complete crew to start a podcast. A medium-quality microphone is often enough to get your foot on the door, while thanks to the apps that help distribution, you can reach a large audience.
Thanks to the low entry bar, we can find more and more good podcasts, but many times we have to search through shows where two unknown people are laughing at moderately interesting stories.
In this article, I collect the podcasts I enjoyed the most in the last few years. The list of the best podcasts is more of a podcast recommendation than an impartial review.
But let's not run so far ahead.
You can have many questions if you are new to the world of audio entertainment:
- What is a podcast?
- Why should you even listen to podcasts?
- What are the benefits of a podcast?
We will touch on all of these topics.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a radio-like program that is available as audio on the Internet. Podcasts can be listened to online and downloaded through applications. The format is coming after mixing the name of Apple's music player, the iPod, and broadcasting.
The benefits of listening to a podcast
- Taking advantage of puffer time: While most people spend their time with some pleasant music during a public transportation adventure, the morning rush also provides an opportunity for passive learning. While a book can be problematic to read effectively on the crowded subway, we can listen to a podcast by driving a car, standing in line, or even when running a marathon.
- Getting to Know Other Perspectives: Thanks to the many thematic podcasts, it has never been easier for the opinions of different people to easily reach us. Want to be a programmer, but don’t know exactly what a software developer’s job is, what does an average workday look like? Would you like to add the downsides to the slightly unbelievable stories? Listen to a freeCodeCamp podcast or other unbiased sources.
- Up-to-date Knowledge: Whatever area you want to dive deeper into, you can almost certainly have at least one podcast on the subject. We don’t have to travel to conferences these days to keep up with current marketing trends. It’s enough to download the latest section of our favorite marketing podcast in the morning for a little guidance. Like democratized university courses, several renowned universities have recognized the potential of the podcasts and make the presentation of geniuses from different disciplines available to everyone. My personal favorite is the podcast of the London School of Economics.
Best podcast apps
You can listen to podcasts easily from your browser, but for offline listening, you might want to get a podcast app.
When choosing a podcast app, I considered three things:
- I want to find all my favorite podcasts in the app.
- Be able to manage my downloads quickly and easily. (don't freeze while downloading)
- The app should not be annoying. (No popups, ads)
Castbox was the first app I tried and actively used it for almost a year. After some poorly managed update, the app started to freeze, did not download the requested podcast episodes, and sometimes did not play the episodes that were downloaded beforehand.
After Castbox, Spotify became my favorite app to listen to podcasts and I have been using it ever since. Almost all podcasts can be found in the app, the app working smoothly, and thanks to Spotify Premium, ads are no problem either.
In addition to the two apps I use, there are countless other platform-independent apps available for Android or iOS only. With the help of external hosting providers and RSS technology, you can find the same podcasts in almost every app available.
The difference is usually in design, speed, and ads.
- Platform-independent podcast apps: Stitcher , Podbean , TuneIn Radio
- Podcast app Android: Google Podcasts , Player FM , Podcast Republic , Podcast Addict
- Podcast apps for iOS: Apple Podcasts , Overcast , Castro , iCatcher , Downcast
Good podcasts to listen to
The Joe Rogan Experience
Comedian, actor Joe Rogan started his cult podcast 10 years ago, which is now over 1,300 episodes. The interview podcast is made special not only by the personality of the host, the depth of the conversations (average 2-3 hour portions) but also by interesting guests.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey , Angellist founder Naval Ravikant, and psychologist Jordan B Peterson, author of The 12 Rules to Life also appeared in the show. And who wouldn’t remember Elon Musk’s chill moments in the show?
Favorite episode: Naval Ravikant
The Art of Manliness
Personal finances, careers, fitness tips, perseverance, emotional intelligence, and countless other topics appear in the podcast that can be interpreted within a broadly defined category of the art of manliness.
Guests are coaches from top NFL teams, bestselling authors, entrepreneurs, and scholars.
Many times I feel like the host is hunting down writers on my reading list. For the cons: Sometimes Brett McKay stretches his parts too long, and the overwhelming amount of advertising doesn’t help either. But quality content is not free.
Favorite part: The Obstacle is the way: Ryan Holiday
The Tim Ferriss Show
The podcast of Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-hour Workweek and other best-selling books, investor, and a living human experiment is more than an experiment.
The list of Ferriss guests who often share networking tips in his books proves that the writer’s tricks work. Countless guests from different backgrounds have already appeared in the show. The Victora Secret Model, the self-improvement guru, and the professor of mathematics can be found in different episodes.
Although Tim Ferris undoubtedly talks to interesting guests on his show and, except a few episodes, he directs the conversations in an audience-friendly way, but he is not on the list for these reasons.
Tim Ferriss was capable of what almost no one had before and recorded a podcast with Neil Gaiman.
If you only listen to one episode, let this be it.
Favorite episode: Neil Gaiman - The Interview I've Waited 20 Years To Do
The Philosophise This podcast introduces you to the major schools of philosophy and their theories in a digestible (20-30 minute portions) form.
The emphasis is not on lists, biographies, and years, but on the knowledge that can be applied every day. We can also find thoughts on optimism, faith, capitalism, communism, Aristotle, and Socrates.
Favorite part: Optimism
The Knowledge Project
A bit more focused than usual, the Knowledge Project is a program that highlights the educational role instead of the fun feature of a podcast.
Shane Parrish always selects interesting conversation partners and topics. There have been episodes about universal principles of leadership, cryptocurrencies, or even privacy.
My favorite podcast episode of all time is The Knowledge Project's are privacy discussion. During the conversation with the CEO of DuckDuckGo, we can learn so much, and I recommend this episode to anyone who has ever used the internet.
Favorite episode: Popping the Filter Bubble with Gabriel Weinberg
North Star Podcast
In his podcast, David Perell talks to curious thinkers and creators "who see the world through a unique lens". Although the guests are different, the themes that come up, again and again, paint a pleasant pattern: technology and man,
- futures research in the present,
- personal development,
- online content creation.
Best-selling writers, scholars, investors, and philosophers have also spoken to Perell. The host’s preparedness and questions can’t be called superficial or subtle at all. He brings out the best of interesting guests.
North Star podcast episodes point to the future, and we can immerse ourselves in the most current topics or ideas that haven’t even entered the mainstream.
This contrast is particularly striking as a Hungarian. I listened to a conversation with Seth Godin about her new book (The Practice) shortly after the new book was published in the U.S. In parallel, a three years ago published book of the marketing guru became available in Hungarian. There is a gap of at least 3 years between the podcast episode and the Hungarian publication of the ideas.
Bridge the gap!
Favorite part: Morgan Housel: Writing for the Internet
Recommend a podcast yourself!
Maybe you've heard of filter bubbles.
In short, the essence of the phenomenon is that we come across only information that corresponds to our preliminary assumptions, our interests, our geographical location.
Information isolation is caused by the filter bubbles and this way we never meet differing opinions. Google’s personalized searches, Facebook’s similarly functioning feed, or even remarketing ads have only made the matters worse.
I recommend books and now podcasts from various sources to pop out others' filter bubbles. However, reading back the recommended list, I also have a kind of bubble.
Help me burst the bubble!
Share with me your recommendations! What podcast are you listening to? What would you add to the list?