List of podcasts I recommend.
I think podcasts are great for passive content consumption. Here’s a few I’m listening to. Some of these have not been releasing episodes lately but still remain great entertainment.
ℹ️ Also see Periodicals. For individual writers, see Thoughtful Essayists.
Culture / History
Empire - A podcast on various topics on world history hosted by historians Anita Anand and William Dalrymple (one of the big names specializing in history of India), in the style of a casual conversation with occasional expert guests.
History of Indian Philosophy - A crash course in Indian philosophy, which in many ways developed independent of the western one. The hosts Peter Adamson and Jonardon Ganeri provide a very level-headed summary of various threads starting all the way back from Vedic literature. Part of the broader project on History of Philosophy without any gaps.
99% Invisible - about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about hosted by Roman Mars.
Articles of Interest - Another great podcast by Avery Trufelman with stories related to fashion.
Wine For Normal People - For someone interesting in the academic and social aspects of the wine industry without the “snobbery”. Discussions are hosted by Certified Sommelier Elizabeth Schneider with a supporting role by her husband M.C. Ice. There are usual excursions to wineries across the world, but mainly the US.
Nice Try! - Narrations by Avery Trufelman telling the stories of the world’s most fascinating attempts at utopian communities. Highly recommended for insights into behavorial patterns of communities with grandiose visions. As the title suggests, they unfortunately failed. (inactive)
Build for Tomorrow (formerly Pessimists Archive) - Jason Feifer takes us through stories of pessimists in history. It is funny to look at things that are the norm now being demonized, downplayed or outright rejected in yesteryears. (inactive)
Extremities - Why and how people live in earth’s most isolated and extreme settlements. (inactive)
Economics / Social Science
Ideas of India - Through conversations with top thinkers in the social sciences and beyond, economist Shruti Rajagopalan explores the ideas that will propel India forward. Their most recent work is The 1991 Project which is a deep dive into economic reforms in India starting 1991.
Conversations with Tyler - Tyler Cowen hosts a variety of thinkers. I particularly like Cowen’s style of hosting because the questions are extremely succinct and lead to insightful conversations. Being knowledgable himself makes this very engaging.
Freakonomics Radio - A host of general topics about society and trends, an offshoot of the popular book titled Freakonomics.
The Numberphile Podcast - Podcast on all things numbers (and often mathematicians).
Learning Bayesian Statistics - A podcast on Bayesian inference - the methods, the projects and the people who make it possible, by Alexandre Andorra.
The Joy of x - Interviews with a diverse set of scientists hosted by Steven Strogratz for the Quanta Magazine. Discussions around interesting concepts from all the sciences and their impact on society. (inactive)
Talking Machines - Relevant to anyone who’s connected with the Machine Learning community and wants perspectives beyond just research. It starts with a conversation between the hosts Katherine Gorman and Neil Lawrence followed by the conversation with a guest who is at the front line of data-driven problems. (inactive)
News / Analysis
Exponent - In-depth discussions on business and strategies by Ben Thompson and James Allworth. A nice supplement to Stratechery.
ThePrint - Podcast by the news publication of the same name focusing on India, founded by reknown journalist Shekhar Gupta. The series “Cut the Clutter” by Shekhar Gupta and “Politically Correct” by D. K. Singh are the only ones I listen to.
More or less: Behind the stats - Tim Harford explains the story behind the numbers that popular media just throws around and the average population just gobbles up for the sake of watercooler conversations. It only discusses UK but highly recommended!
The Knowledge Project - Insights into mental models of people in various walks of life, interviewed by Shane Parrish. Some interviewees have had interesting backgrounds, yesteryear careers and been successful in their new lives with some common sense principles (and luck of course).