Favorite Podcast Episodes (2017)

In The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly says that at least 27 new podcasts launch each day. That’s nearly 10,000 per year! And I bet that number has grown since his book was published.

I haven’t looked very hard for a solution, but one of my biggest headaches with podcasts is discovery: finding a new voice / perspective to which I want to listen. Since most podcasts target a niche, then by definition, to each listener, most podcasts are shit.

If you listen to podcasts, how often have you asked a friend which shows they listen to regularly? And how often have their favorites missed the mark?

I think one of the reasons this happens—apart from the inherent dynamics of narrowcasting—is that recommending a show isn’t the right place to start. It’s the episode.

With that in mind, here are the favorite podcast episodes I listened to over the last year or so. I hope you find something of interest!

Philosophical Discussions

BBC Reith Lectures 2016: Kwame Anthony Appiah
In a series of four lectures, the philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah tackles the question of identity. Marvelous perspectives on the “mistaken identities” of Creed, Country, Colour, and Culture. The closing quote from Terence is on point.   iTunes →

Jocko Podcast 98: Jordan Peterson
Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink explores the inner darkness of man with Dr. Jordan B. Peterson—clinical psychologist, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, controversial dude.   iTunes →

In Our Time: The Great Disruption
Melvyn Bragg’s “In Our Time” may be the greatest radio show. “The Great Disruption,” a discussion with Francis Fukuyama and Amos Oz, tackled the implications of the information revolution on the individual, society, and the world. Deep stuff! And yet, Oz keeps it light:

[The kibbutz way of life is] meant for people who are not in the business of working harder than they should be working, in order to make more money than they need, in order to buy things they don’t really want, in order to impress people they don’t really like.

This episode originally aired on June 17, 1999.   iTunes →

Waking Up with Sam Harris: What Is Moral Progress? (Episode 48)
Sam Harris produces the most intellectually engaging podcast that I’ve found. He’s consistently exploring interesting topics with excellent guests. Though I find him a bit insufferable at times, I keep listening.

In this episode, Sam chats with the philosopher Peter Singer about the foundations of morality and its applications.   iTunes →

Waking Up with Sam Harris: Reality and the Imagination (Episode 68)
Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari, professor of history and renowned author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, about everything, basically.

I haven’t read Harari’s books, but I did enjoy this enjoyable skewering of Sapiens.  iTunes →

Business / Economics / Investing

Exponent: The Disruption of Everything (Episode 93)
Exponent is the best podcast I discovered this year. In this episode, the two hosts, Ben Thompson and James Allworth, discuss how the Internet is disrupting everything.   iTunes →

FT Alphachat: Anne Case on Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century
Former host Cardiff Garcia sits down with the economist Anne Case to discuss three papers that revealed rising mortality rates for white non-Hispanic Americans. Bleak, but such is the reality of life in the United States today.   iTunes →

FT Alphachat: The Science behind Our Addictions to Social Media
Izabella Kaminska leads a fascinating discussion with pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig. Basically, pleasure (dopamine) is in competition with happiness (serotonin), and dopamine is winning out in our consumption of food and content. The first half of the podcast explores Dr. Lustig’s work on how sugar (and processed foods) are killing people. The second half touches upon the “hacking of the American mind.”

The notion that many Americans are “free” is a delusion—they’re slaves to addiction. As a society, we’re too busy pursuing pleasure to pursue happiness.   iTunes →

How I Built This with Guy Raz: Patagonia—Yvon Chouinard
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, keeps it real. Great story about a great company. Screw convention.   iTunes →

Invest Like the Best: Jerry Neumann (Episode 45)
Patrick O’Shaughnessy chats with NYC-based venture capitalist Jerry Neumann about the Deployment Age and the economics of venture investing, among other things. Pretty dope discussion. If you’re interested in technology and finance, you should definitely read Carlota Perez’s Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital, the inspiration for Jerry’s essay.   iTunes →

Capital Allocators: Meredith Jenkins (Episode 31)
Ted Seides launched a great podcast for people who try to divine institutional investor sentiment toward alternative assets. He’s had some terrific guests on the show, but my favorite episode was his sit-down with Meredith Jenkins, who serves as the first Chief Investment Officer of Trinity Wall Street, the endowment fund for Trinity Church. (Wonderful church, btw).

Just a superb discussion with an inspirational investor. Particularly enjoyed the bits about manager selection in Asia.   iTunes →