Though podcasting has been around much of this century, for many, 2016 was the best year in podcast history. After all, so many existing podcasts really got into their groove, and more exciting and informative podcasts hit the airwaves.
Every year is a chance to start thinking differently, and 2017 should be no exception. For those of you looking to approach the new year with a new mindset, here are the podcasts you need to start streaming to start thinking differently in 2017:
If you've ever wanted to think differently about virtually everything, this is the podcast for you. The show professes to explore "the hidden side of everything," which is a pretty good way of describing it. A common thread that runs throughout the episodes, helmed by journalist Stephen Dubner, is that actions often have unintended consequences, from well-meaning laws to anti-police protests to even the act of standing in line.
Out of all the podcasts on this list, this one may very well have the strongest archive of episodes. New episodes show up overnight in time for your Thursday commute to work.
2. Think Again
This podcast from the terrific Big Think site is centered around a fascinating concept: It surprises some of the world's sharpest thought leaders with ideas they're not prepared to discuss. Jason Gots hosts, and the list of luminaries who have been guests is consistently impressive: William Shatner, Tim Ferriss, Salman Rushdie, Mary-Louise Parker, Bill Nye, Anne Rice, and Jim Gaffigan, among others. The show subscribes to the theory that some of the best conversations happen when individuals are pushed outside of their comfort zones, and this show delivers on a weekly basis.
3. Planet Money
This long-running podcast is an NPR staple that lets listeners delve into the unexpected as a means of understanding the economy. From stories about how Facebook protects its intellectual property, to how we went from candles made out of cow fat to seemingly limitless amounts of light, to how the fake news business has emerged as a viable career path, Planet Money routinely delves into the unexpected. One modern classic is the show's "Planet Money T-Shirt Project," a special series that followed the making of a basic NPR-branded cotton T-shirt across the global economy.
4. HBR IdeaCast
Hosted by Harvard Business Review editor Sarah Green Carmichael, the HBR IdeaCast is, unexpectedly, one of the smartest listens out on the market today. It's not uncommon to have guests such as Harvard Business School professors Bharat Anand and Nancy Koehn, but the show liberally invites standouts from outside the Harvard community, such as author David Burkus and commentator Anne-Marie Slaughter. Don't let its Harvard pedigree fool you; this is one podcast that's surprisingly easy to follow.
5. Why I Social
This podcast's tagline is "From Average Joe to CEO," and it doesn't disappointment. Why I Social features interviews with practitioners at all levels, from project manager Amelia Tran to humorist Amma Marfo to education marketing expert Seth Odell. It's actually quite refreshing to hear about the career paths of folks who everyone can relate to, as opposed to only world-beaters. And hearing about the career paths of others is a great way to reevaluate what you've been doing, and seeing if you ought to consider a tweak or two.
6. Inspire Nation
A truly inspirational podcast, Inspire Nation features motivational advice from top authors, experts, heroes, and spiritual masters, all designed to help you shine bright. The topics covered are incredibly diverse, from cranking up your positivity levels to making peace with your mind to how to stay sane in a digital world. There's just so much content in this stream (a few episodes a week) that you're bound to find a few that are guaranteed to help you think differently in the year ahead.
7. Aspen Ideas to Go
The Aspen Ideas Festival is arguably the top public gathering place for cross-disciplinary leaders from around the world to exchange ideas on a pretty deep level (the next one begins June 22, 2017). If you're like me, you've never had the pleasure of going to one of these major events. Luckily for us, there's the Aspen Ideas to Go podcast, which features fascinating conversations and talks given at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other programs thrown by the famed Aspen Institute. Recent episodes include a discussion of Judge Louis Brandeis's legacy, how commitment to choices creates the life you live, and the latest studies on which foods lead to the longest, healthiest lifespans.