I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but my passion for learning continually increases with the years – I like it, and hope that the feeling continues and grows. One avenue of education that I think is perfect for those with little time, is podcasts.
If you’ve never heard of the concept, it’s basically a radio episode recorded specifically for consumption by digital users, that is it’s not constrained to running ads every 5 minutes, or to be clean, correct, etc. basically it’s the wild west of audio broadcasts.
By no means are all podcasts that I listen to educational, but there’s an intellectual stimulation that is somehow consistently reached by the entire selection of podcasts I listen to.
Therefore if you’re interested in potential mind expansion (or even just some laughs) then I’d recommend checking out a few of the following:
Do you remember being a kid, hearing a radio story about to start and just groaning “ughhh…. talk radio borrrrrring”? - I do, and I remember I was 22 when that stopped being the case. My friend Nick had mentioned 99% Invisible a couple of times a few years earlier while we were both at university, but I had never got around to it.
Boy was I foolish! 99% Invisible set me down the path of enjoying radio stories (maybe) more than any other storytelling medium.
99% Invisible in summary is a podcast about design, whether it be architecture, art, urban planning, product design – it investigates design in a very unique and compelling way. The audio production is phenomenal, and it’s a joy to listen to for that fact alone. If you like feeling deep, perceptive, and insightful then start listening to 99% Invisible right now – the episodes are basically light meal length, most often 10-15 minutes of weekly perfection.
Here’s a few to get you started:
Clean Trains – How the New York Subway system cleaned up it’s issue with graffiti with cunning and patience (also quite educational on early street art).
Heyoon – Did you ever have a special hiding place which was only yours? This will bring feelings back for you.
The Sound of Sport – We all watched the olympics, world cup, and commonwealth games right? Well what if you found out most of the sounds are fake?
Have you ever found yourself on the bus, biting firmly down on your fist to stop yourself from bursting into laughter? Well Professor Blastoff does it to me on the daily – I can’t believe how funny this podcast is, it’s given me the highest frequency of tears streaming down face laughter since I first listened to the Ricky Gervais XFM radio series.
It’s basically three comedian friends who discuss a topic each week (mainly scientific or philosophical concepts) with no actual evidence, or insight to support their positions. But that’s why it’s great – they’re interested, passionate, and they’re willing to listen to the experts that come onto the show. I struggle to come up with any criticism for this show – give it a go!
I’d recommend starting from the beginning, however this episode is particularly brilliant. It’s both insightful around nutrition, and introduces the hilarious recurring joke – i.e. David’s cool beers.
Well there you are! I’d give you more, but I don’t want to scare you all off yet with too many options. I really hope you give 99% invisible a go in particular, it opened my eyes to Radiolab and This American Life which are again both phenomenal (and will be written about). So get out there (or stay indoors) and start listening!