Like you, I spend a significant amount of time commuting. I can get to work in 30 minutes, door to door, and back home in 45. It’s the reverse commute – I live in the city and work in the suburbs. Every morning on the other side of I-90, however, I see an endless column of cars crawling along at a snail’s pace. For their sakes, I hope they’re listening to something informational. One hour a day, five days a week, can really add up.
In the 2 ½ years I’ve done this commute, I’ve passed the time in different ways. Sometimes I drive in silence and think. Other times I listen to the radio (92.9, 104.1, 107.9, 106.7, 89.7, 102.5). There was a brief period where I listened to audiobooks. My two favorites were Free by Chris Anderson (which is free to download on iTunes) and The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.
The one medium that has passed the test of time is the podcast. When podcasts first came out, I was a bit intimidated by the name. It sounded so technical. In reality, it’s quite simple – a short audio episode that is part of a series and can be downloaded and listened to on demand.
I’m slowly expanding my podcast horizons. Here are my favorites – the ones you shouldn’t live without:
It stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. The TED conference brings the worlds’ greatest minds on stage to teach the rest of us what the latest and greatest innovations are. Each talk is limited to 18 minutes – an arbitrary number, but the perfect bite-size chunk of information. Each talk will inspire or teach you in a different way.
I enjoyed reading both Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, so I was excited to listen to the podcast. Dubner and Levitt started recording in late 2010, and it’s more of the same: interesting facts that seem somewhat contradictory and fly in the face of conventional wisdom.
My biggest complaint about the podcast is that a) it has an extremely lame intro, which I have to sit painfully through each time, and b) it has long advertisements and lots of show-related messages which distract from the content. It is by far the most commercialized podcast I’ve ever listened to.
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know is a podcast produced by How Stuff Works, a website owned by the Discovery Channel. This podcast is extremely long-running and covers every topic under the sun. The content is interesting and informational, but the highlight of the podcast is the banter of the presenters, Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant. They’ve been recording podcasts together for so long that they’ve perfected the art of back-and-forth. I found the informality of the podcast slightly annoying at first, but now I see it as a great addition.
Did I miss any? What podcasts do you recommend?