Some of my favorite podcasts kind of clump together as This American Life-Like (no pun intended). I like a lot of podcasts but these are the ones that I tend to listen to every week and have gone deeply into the archives on:
- This American Life – There’s no point in explaining This American Life. It’s the father of all modern podcasts. If you haven’t listened to it you should. You can start here. I’ll let the TV Show “The O.C” describe it as “Is that that show by those hipster know-it-alls who talk about how fascinating ordinary people are? Ekhh. God.” I remember first hearing This American Life on the radio in college but I didn’t know the name. Then I heard it again in a cab in Chicago and listed to all of the archives online. The show spawned a number of other This American Life-Like Podcasts:
- Planet Money. A business podcast started by two contributors from This American Life – originally a joint project between This American Life and NPR.
- Startup. A podcast about starting a company called Gimlet to create more podcasts like This American Life.
- Invisibilia. A podcast about human behavior created by alumnae from This American Life and RadioLab.
- Radiolab is a more sciency take on podcasts (“lab” is short for laboratory). They do episodes on hard topics like logarithms and chirality. They’ve also done more lighthearted bits like the transformation of Professional Wrestling. They also did a great episode on a man who took a very different approach to the prisoner’s dilemma (for anyone who loves game theory, you’ll really love this!) Abigail and I saw them live. It was amazing. I learned about Radiolab from This American Life – Ira really likes them.
- 99 Percent Invisible — This is a phenomenal podcast about design all around us. You can start here for a sampling. I learned about 99 Percent Invisible from Radiolab.
- WTF with Marc Maron — This is the oddball in the bunch. A great podcast by a great interviewer who’s a bit of a troubled soul. His interview with Louis CK is one of the best podcasts ever. He’s also done the only interview of Terry Gross from Fresh Air. Oh, and he interviewed The President. The Obama recap also shows how nutty Maron really is. Unfortunately most of his archive requires a subscription.