With the pandemic now in a less acute phase, people are trying to find their feet and get moving again. That means many of us are spending more time in the car or on the train again. If you're looking for something to keep you entertained on your (maybe no longer daily) commute, the Stanford Graduate School of Business has a few suggestions.
Recently Insights by Stanford Business polled GSB staff, asking for their picks of podcasts worth your time, and the professors came back with an intriguing list of suggestions covering everything from tax policy to football to astrophysics. There should be something here to suit nearly every taste, so read on to transform your lost travel hours into a mind-building educational opportunity.
The first three recommendations on Stanford's list come from Michele Gelfand, a psychologist and expert on cross-cultural organizational behavior. Her first pick is EconTalk with Russ Roberts. "He is a generalist, and his guests cover many disciplines and topics. He is also a phenomenal interviewer," she says of Roberts, an economist and fellow Stanford academic.
2. Sean Carroll's Mindscape
Another favorite of Gelfand's is Sean Carroll's Mindscape. "He's a theoretical physicist from Caltech and his reach is wide and deep," she says of this more unexpected pick from a business expert.
3. The Big Idea
Last but not least, she suggests David Edmonds's The Big Idea, calling these short podcasts from the BBC "wildly entertaining" with "nuggets of wisdom in every episode!" Recent episodes focused on embodied emotions and "ubernomics."
4. The Mina Kimes Show, Featuring Lenny
This pick about the NFL is sure to intrigue sports fans, but Stanford's Jesper Sørensen insists the show is about more than just football. "One of my favorite shows is The Mina Kimes Show, Featuring Lenny. (Lenny is her dog, so that part is a joke)," he explains. "Kimes is immensely knowledgeable about the sport and analytically inclined, but she also has a rich appreciation for the limits of analytics, the need to make tradeoffs in allocating resources and game planning, the importance of both design and motivation, the judgment to know when to cut your losses and change your approach, and the role of luck."
5. Taxes for the Masses
Could a podcast about taxes be anything except a cure for insomnia? Absolutely, says accounting professor Rebeca Lester. "In Taxes for the Masses, two tax experts (including my former GSB colleague Lisa De Simone) have distilled some of the biggest headline news about domestic fiscal policy to make it accessible for the average listener," she claims.
6. Huberman Lab
"The Huberman Lab podcast is a fantastic resource," says GSB's Matt Abrahams. Huberman, a fellow Stanford researcher, is "a true expert and makes very complex biological and neurological concepts easy to understand. He and his guests provide actionable suggestions and best practices to help all of us optimize our health and performance," he explains. Huberman's educational YouTube channel is often recommended as well.
7. Hidden Brain
Another neuroscience-centric pick from Abrahams, Hidden Brain "provides many insightful and interesting lessons on psychology and the human condition," he says. "Each episode tackles a fascinating aspect of what makes us human and provides useful information through academic findings."
8. The Experiment
Economics professor Kathryn Shaw reveals she is currently listening to The Experiment. The podcast, made by WNYC Studios, describes itself this way: "Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives." Recent episodes examine vaccine skepticism (in 1905) and Black representation on TV.
Another fascinating and off-the-beaten-track pick from Shaw, Floodlines, hosted by The Atlantic's Vann R. Newkirk II, "is about how Hurricane Katrina affected people as it occurred," she explains.
10. Nice White Parents
"I really liked Nice White Parents, as it talked about how the best of intentions in working to improve our schools can lead to unintended consequences," management professor Robert Siegel says. "The creators did a good job exploring the history of one particular school in New York, and the listener can see how the current status of the campus is the outcome of decades of activities and behaviors."
11. Recode Media, With Peter Kafka
The first of a pair of picks from economics professor Ali Yurukoglu, Recode Media, With Peter Kafka from Vox asks the question: What happens when media, entertainment, and technology collide?
12. Decoder, With Nilay Patel
Yurukoglu's second recommendation is Decoder with Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel. "Both podcasts have top-notch guests and cover a lot of ground in the intersection of media, technology, business, and society," he notes.