This month’s Reading List cheats & focuses on some of the best podcasts out there.
I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a book. But an unfortunate consequence of modern life, means I don’t always have time to read as much as I’d like. In recent years I have become fond of podcasts as a way to bridge the input shortfall when I’m too busy to actually read. I can listen to podcasts when I’m running, in the shower, or even when I’m creating digital content like this.
There are some truly informative podcasts out there – once, like me, you get over your aversion to anything that isn’t bound and can sit on a shelf, a whole world of information opens up, often more cutting edge and thought provoking than the written word. Here is a list of the ones I regularly tune in to (I’ve linked to Spotify but there are other mediums out there if you don’t have a Spotify account).
1/ The Rich Roll Podcast
If you regularly read my book reviews, then you will know that I am a huge fan of Rich Roll. And many of the book recommendations I pass on to you come from guests he interviews. Rich Roll is a former lawyer and alcoholic turned ultra-athlete and inspirational writer & speaker. For his podcasts he tends to choose guests that have had some form of challenge and transformation in their lives, hence my fascination with it. He is a champion of the inspirational story, particularly the people who bottom out then rise again, finding purpose and meaning. I cannot recommend this enough.
2/ Huberman Lab
Andrew Huberman is a Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford Medical School. He specialises in cutting edge research designed to improve our lives and health. It was from him that I learned about making sure my eyes get natural light first thing in the morning in order to promote focus. He covers lots of contemporary subjects from caffeine to alcohol to ways to improve performance. He also has an interesting life story which brought him to everyone’s attention – check out his two appearances on the Rich Roll podcast which are truly fascinating.
3/ The News Agents
Freed from the shackles of the BBC, Jon Sopel, Emily Maitlis, and Lewis Goodall have put together a punchy daily podcast in which they cover different topics ranging from poverty in the UK to bullying in Westminster. This is top class journalism and always provides a short, thought-provoking angle on current affairs. In a similar vein, although perhaps often slightly more controversial is The Rest Is Politics, hosted by Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart.
4/ Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
I first encountered Dr Chatterjee on a series he did for the BBC. A GP, he recognised the limits of treating individual symptoms, and saw the logic in treating lifestyle and the whole person. From that series he has become a well-known international figure and has hosted many well-known speakers on his podcast. He is pragmatic, humane, and always worth listening to. His podcast is great too in that he has the longer slots of often 2 + hours, but then also condenses some of them to bitesize chunks.
5/ The Tim Ferris Show
Famous for his book The Four-Hour Working Week, Tim Ferris is a phenomenon. Generally known for looking at the World differently to the rest of us, he covers a huge variety of subjects in his podcast from hacks to help you get more out of life, to segments on health, trauma, and politics. He is a big name and consequently gets big guests to appear. A more palatable Joe Rogan!