One of the more popular questions we receive is what are the best podcasts to make you think and expand your mind. And, with over 700,000 podcast shows, and so many genres and different types of podcasts, it's no wonder why it can be hard to find the right brainteaser for you. So, we've curated a list of 12 podcasts that will help you think more intelligently.
From investigative journalism, interesting interviews with notable people, history and stories from our past, politics and cultural beliefs, and many other wonderful stories, these objective podcasts will challenge your thinking and help you get a better understanding of the world we live in.
Feed your brain with these fascinating podcasts that will keep you engaged and satisfy your curious mind. Tune in and we hope your brain enjoys these podcast recommendations!
Conversations with People Who Hate Me
In an internet era characterized by comment section wars, devastating clapbacks, and anonymous vitriol, Dylan Marron explores what happens when online feuders step out from behind the keyboard and get to know the human on the other side of the screen. Join Dylan as he connects people who have clashed online – from old friends to complete strangers — to explore why we believe what we believe, how we relate to each other on the internet, and just what a phone call can accomplish. Don’t be fooled by the title! It’s actually a loving show that fosters unlikely connections in an age of increasing digital isolation. Whether Dylan is speaking with someone who wrote him a negative comment or is moderating a call between two strangers at odds, the results are often surprising, usually heartwarming, and always compelling. Webby Winner, Best of 2018 (Apple Podcasts), “The Timeliest Podcast” (Fast Company), “Essential” (Vulture), Podcast Pick (USA Today & The Guardian) New episodes will return in Fall 2021 to the TED Audio Collective.
This American Life
This American Life, hosted by the iconic Ira Glass, has been produced and aired on public radio since 1995. A journalistic non-fiction show showcasing fascinating stories about everything from coincidences to car dealerships to summer camp, the show manages to find a way to make pretty much any topic engaging. That’s probably why it’s won both a Peabody and a Pulitzer award. Each episode is about an hour long and available as a free podcast in addition to airing on the radio.
Brain Science: Neuroscience & Behavior
For the curious! We’re exploring the inner-workings of the human brain to understand behavior change, habit formation, mental health, and being human. It’s Brain Science applied — not just "how does the brain work," but how do we apply what we know about the brain to transform our lives?
Stuff You Should Know
Produced and hosted by the staff of How Stuff Works, Stuff You Should Know, aka SYSK, dedicates each episode to teaching you about something you probably don’t know about. Each episode stands on its own, making it easy to pick a topic at random that interests you. And there is sure to be something that’ll tickle your fancy, as the podcast has dealt with everything from cheese and Barbie to tipping, pinball, and death. With something to offer for everyone, there’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular podcasts in the world.
“Economics for Beginners!” would easily fly as an alternative name for the Planet Money podcast. When they’re not gossiping or discussing Hollywood’s Black List, they're mainly discussing the nitty-gritty of economics. For those that wonder what inflation, charts, graphs, tax rates, and government monetary policies mean for an American citizen, Planet Money is the podcast to get answers. Hosts Amanda Aronczyk, Mary Childs, Karen Duffin, Jacob Goldstein, Sarah Gonzalez, and Kenny Malone do the most in demystifying the most complex economics concepts for the average citizen.
An NPR podcast hosted by journalist Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain makes it its aim to use a combination of science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious drives and patterns that underlie human behavior, choices, and relationships. It answers questions like “why are we nice to some people and mean to others” and “why is marriage so difficult” and even “how does our psychology shape the way we respond to epidemics”. If you’re interested in psychology, this is definitely the podcast for you.
'The past deserves a second chance' are famous words from Malcolm Gladwell, podcast host, and owner of Revolutionist History. Here's what he does on his podcast show. He re-examines a past historical event that he feels is to date misunderstood or misconstrued. Perhaps re-assessing the past can do more than enhance our perception and understanding of it. He believes it can improve our present existence. Find out the other side of the coin with Malcolm Gladwell.
50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
Tim Harford tells the fascinating stories of inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world.