If you enjoy spending time on a beach while sipping on an ice-cold cocktail but feel that you should also be doing something more productive like learning new things, then podcasts are your answer. Here is a selection of some of the best educational podcasts.
Each season of Slow Burn is an in depth analysis of a major political event from the recent past. Season one examined Watergate, including contributions from journalist Bob Woodward. Other seasons have tackled the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the rise and fall of David Duke and the road to the Iraq War. In season six, host Joel Anderson examined how a jury failed to convict the four Los Angeles police officers who’d been captured on videotape beating Rodney King in 1992. He explores the people and events behind the worst civil disturbance in American history, a story that still so sadly relevant today. In last month’s series, host Susan Matthews looked at Roe v. Wade.
The Economics Review, a non-partisan economics podcast hosted and produced by economist Aadi Golchha, explores new and exciting economic research through entertaining conversations. The podcast features interviews with authors, professors, and other leading experts in economics, finance, and public policy. A recent episode featured Dr. Paul Oyer, Professor of Economics at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and discussed his latest book, An Economist Goes to the Game: How to Throw Away $580 Million and Other Surprising Insights from the Economics of Sports. In another episode, Dr. Oded Galor, Herbert H. Goldberger Professor of Economics at Brown University, talked about his new book, The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality. Another high profile guest was Bill McKibben from Middlebury College and leader of the climate campaign group 350.org. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change.
Flippa is an international online marketplace that allows individuals and business owners to purchase and sell websites, online enterprises and other forms of digital real estate. Flippa’s, The Exit Podcast offers advice and tips from business owners who have been through the process of buying and selling a company providing listeners the inspiration to do so themselves and to succeed.
In a weekly 30-minute podcast, you’ll hear from a range of “been there, done that” business owners, from an interview with SVP co-founder Eli Portnoy to conversations with the author of The Art of Selling Your Business, John Warrilow. Chris Bell of Perch discusses how to sell your Amazon FBA business while Amazon Music Education App award winner Pokin Yeung suggests what’s essential for serial entrepreneurs.
The Globalist is a serious international daily global news programme, anchored from London and Zürich. It was nominated for Best Daily Podcast in the 2020 British Podcast Awards. Topics have included the brewing crisis in Taiwan, how much sway political TV debates have in electing leaders, Italy’s government in crisis and the latest on Sri Lanka. You can listen to this podcast live at 7am GMT/8am CET but all episodes are available for download globally.
This co-production from award-winning podcasters Airship and Noiser, History Daily is hosted by Lindsay Graham (American Scandal, American History Tellers). In each episode he explores a significant moment that happened “on this day” in history. On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set out on his first voyage to what has been come to be known as the New World. June 21, 1913 was the day that Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick became the first woman to parachute from an airplane. The “night of the long knives” was the purge of Nazi leaders by Adolf Hitler on June 30, 1934. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 20, 1969.
The Infinite Monkey Cage features Professor Brian Cox and comedian (and former BBC Focus columnist) Robin Ince on the latest developments in science and technology. Many celebrities and science experts join them to offer fascinating insights into subjects ranging from the science of fire and how it has impacted the evolution of life, to the Periodic Table and dinosaurs. One episode looked at the importance of the night sky to human history and how our relationship with the stars has changed over the centuries. On another podcast, Nobel prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek, cosmologist Janna Levin and comedians Eric Idle and Sara Pascoe joint the two hosts to discuss what reality is.
Travelers often do not realize that automated web data collection methods have built the foundation for their favorite fare aggregator and accommodation services, such as trivago and Skyscanner. Web scraping, an emerging technology in the field, has entrenched itself in the daily lives of internet users while remaining completely invisible to the naked eye. OxyCast is a podcast created by web scraping experts who reveal this mysterious and fascinating technology. Although highly technical, OxyCast is a great place to learn about the immense business applications of web scraping, ranging from basic data collection practices to complicated ways to maintain access to real-time information from numerous sources at once.
In The Great Women Artists podcast Katy Hessel (author of The Story of Art without Men) interviews artists on their career, or curators, writers, or general art lovers, on the female artist who means the most to them. Recent artist interviews have included Marina Abramović, Tacita Dean and Deborah Roberts. Writer Jennifer Higgie praises 19th-century French artist Suzanne Valadon, former Tate director Frances Morris chooses abstract artist Agnes Martin, while curator Eleanor Nairne explains the greatness of Abstract Expressionist pioneer Lee Krasner.
Improve your Foreign language skills with the French and Spanish podcasts from popular language-learning app, Duolingo. Fascinating true stories in easy-to-follow French or Spanish, with added English for context are life lessons through language. Hosted by Martina Castro, co-founder of NPR’s Radio Ambulante.
Gastropod looks at food through the lens of science and history. Co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley serve up a brand new episode every two weeks. Past topics have included the invention of ketchup, the science and history of gum, the coffee bean, the origin of the bouillon cube and investigating the way food is grown, raised, and processed to become what we eat. Some shows include field trips, followed by expert interviews.
Classical Fix is the ideal podcast for classical newbies. If you want to learn more about classical music, join Linton Stephens as he introduces music-loving guests to classical music. Each week, Linton mixes a bespoke playlist of six tracks for a guest, who will then join to discuss their impressions of their brand new classical music discoveries. Recent guests have included actors Jamie Dornan and Rob Delaney.
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Robert Swain
Sustainable(ish) is ideal for all of us who want to save the planet but feel exhausted at the very idea. Sustainable(ish) isn’t about austerity, or deprivation, or needing to live off grid in a yurt, it’s about the small tweaks we can all make, the baby steps and how they add up to change the world.