Soaking It Up – Podcasts

I was lucky enough Thursday evening to meet a small cohort of extraordinary people via the friend who originally put me onto the The China Study.

I spent the evening soaking it all up, like a pup loose in a seal colony, and finding some surprising points of similarity. One of those was an interest in podcasts.

Which reminded me that I’d been meaning to write something pointing to some favourite podcasts, and a couple that were mentioned, and new to me.

Also, bear in mind that some of these are aspirational. That is, I’m no Ultra-athlete, or Monk, I’m just evolving, and hopefully, improving.

PodcastsThey’re listed below in a sort of order. That is, my most-listened to in descending order, followed by a couple that I’ve just been introduced to. Here’s how to listen.

Lastly, a hat-tip to the fantastic resource that is Maria Popova’s Brain pickings, which started me on the whole podcast ride, and recommended the one immediately below.

  • The Tim Ferriss Show. tim ferrissThis is hugely popular in the US, not so sure about here in NZ. I read or heard Ferriss,  a best-selling author,  described as ‘a cross between a Silicon Valley investor and a Zen Monk’.Knowing very little about the former, and something about the latter, it seems to fit. These podcasts are often in-depth ( around two hours ), but there are also compact episodes. Ferriss is a penetrating and sharp interviewer, who also writes a spectacular blog at By reputation more popular among men, mysteriously enough.
  • The Rich Roll Podcast. Athlete, author, and vegan, this rich rollis another where the host, Roll ( which seems to be his real name ), interviews some fairly spectacular guests, among them authors, scientists, nutrition experts, and athletes, often of the -ultra type. A mine of information about health, and food. He recently interviewed outstanding New Zealand ultra-swimmer Kimberley Chambers.
  • The Ted Radio Hour. TED The podcasts are a curation by subject of talks organised by National Public Radio’s Guy Roz. NPR’s website describes them as

    a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create.

    Roz does an excellent job of meshing the best of several 20-minute TED talks into very listenable single-topic episodes, which usually feature 3 or 4 expert guests.

  • Business is BoringA New Zealand podcast, one of a stable from The Spinoff.  It aims to show Business is anything-but boring, and its 40-something episodes have done a good job of that. Inspiration stuff from the inventive minds whose ideas generate new products / services.
  • The Expat Chat. Inspirational stories from expat chatinterviews with people who “live the dream”, living and working outside their home countries ( most often USA,  and Australia ). Plenty of fuel for thought here for those with itchy feet, and Pipe Dreams. A bonus, the host Tony is a NZer.
  • After Party Pod. One for those in recovery from addictions, or an interest in the field. after party podHost Anna David seems to be able to snag some Big Name guests ( musician Moby, fellow podcaster Marc Maron, entrepreneur Kahlil Rafati, recovery icon Tommy Rosen, actor Mackenzie Phillips, writers Leonard Buschel, Jason Smith, and Patrick O’Neil ) which make for really good episodes. The podcast has slowed down recently from an episode a week to fortnightly, and despite David’s slightly Valley Girl manner, still well worth a listen.
  • BBC Inside Science.  A new one for me, although I bbc inside sciencehad been listening on National Radio when I ran across it. No dud episodes so far, and they’re nicely compact at around 30 mins. From the point of view of a science dunce ( that’s me ) , this is accessible, but informative. For example, I was able to learn, in two sentences, why Einstein’s Relativity, and modern Quantum Physics, are incompatible ( one depends on space-time being continuous, the other discrete ). Requires concentration.
  • The History of English Podcast. “The Spoken History of a Global Language”. history of englishThis one is unusual in that it’s been going since July 2013. Now more than 91 episodes old. The narrator, Kevin Stroud, is perfect for the subject matter,a nd seems to do all his research himself. Not only that, he responded in person when I emailed around 18 months ago looking for early episodes. The podcast is more commercialised now, and a little more repetitive, but still well worth listening to. The early episodes, all on the site above, are a real trove.
  • The One You Feed . A podcast ‘about feeding the Good Wolf’ goes the tagline. the one you feed“Inspiring conversations about creating a life worth living”. It’s been around a while, 169 episodes, and the host, Eric Zimmer, is sharp and well-read. Zimmer is a recovering Addict, which adds to its appeal for me. Episodes are a good length, and often bear repeat listens.
  • RadioNZ’s The Panel. Hosted by Jim Mora, surely New Zealand’s top radio personality ( urbane, witty, well-informed, sophisticated ),jim mora it features two high-profile local guests per episode and chews over the latest in Current Events. The voice of middle-class Establishment Media, cynics will say, but a good way to keep up-to-date on what’s being talked about.
  • The Runner’s World Show. In-depth ( two hour ) runners workdpodcasts from the vast mine of information ( e.g. race-time predictors ) which is its parent site. Perfect geeking out for running nerds. Apart from the high-performers, it also caters for those of us nearer the back of the pack.
  • The Get podcast. A new one ( 7 episodes old at the time the get of writing ) from NZ’s own The Spinoff featuring NZ freelance writers talking about ‘longform’ journalism.  Some inspiring characters here, including Kennedy Warne, the most recent guest. Host Naomi Arnold, herself a journalist, knows her stuff.
  • The Secular Buddhist. Another that’s been around a the secular buddhistlong time, 273 episodes and counting ( I think, it seems to have slowed down recently ). A fantastic resource for students of Buddhism and / or Religion. Unusually for popular US podcasts, almost commercial-free ( they do ask for support on behalf of their parent organisation. I’ve listened to most episodes, so it’s been less on the playlist recently.
  • Your Website Engineer. your website engineerHosted by the hyperactive geek Dustin Hartzler, an employee at Auttomatic, WordPress’ parent company. Useful tips and tricks on all things WordPress for web developers. A little frenetic, but still useful.
  • On Being . On BeingFeaturing in-depth one-on-one interviews,

    On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?

    . Unusual in that it offers full-length and edited interviews, On Being is a fantastic resource.

  • WTF with Marc Maron. wtf with marc maronAnother interview-format podcast, this usually features guests from the Entertainment industry. It was on high-rotate when I first ran across it, but my interest has waned a little. There are some spectacular episodes ( Ron Perlman and Susan Sarandon spring to mind ), but others are ho-hum. The fast-talking Maron is loud, so can grate on some ears, and is unashamedly commercial. But to give him his dues, this has run to 794 episodes, and is one of the more popular out there.
  • Spartan Up. spartan upOne I’ve just been introduced to.  Pretty good from the several episodes I’ve listened to so far. Here’s the blurb;

    The epitome of grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Reebok Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need.

  • The Joe Rogan Experience. joe rogan experienceAnother I’d listened to sporadically ( reverse snobbery, given its very high popularity in the US ), but checked out properly after it was recommended. A

    long form [ 2 hours ] conversation hosted by comedian, UFC color commentator, and actor Joe Rogan with friends and guests that have included comedians, actors, musicians, MMA instructors and commentators, authors, artists, and porn stars. The Joe Rogan Experience was voted the Best Comedy Podcast of 2012 on iTunes


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