The Best Podcasts We’re Listening to Now
A long drive, the commute to work, folding laundry, working out, you get the gist, there’s no shortage of occasions perfect for podcasts. If you’re anything like us, there’s nothing better than finding a good podcast whether it’s a binge-worthy true crime story, advice from your favorite entrepreneurs, or exploring the world of politics. There’s so many great listens out there, many beyond this list, but today we’re rounding up our favorites to listen to right now. Let us know your top picks in the comments, we’re always down for a good podcast recommendation.
How I Built This
This is the only podcast that I immediately play when a new one drops. Each episode features an entrepreneur and their either typical (or crushingly heartbreaking) journey of how they built their now successful business. It’s endearing to hear how relatable some of the stories are and fascinating to learn how many times these world-altering ideas were rejected for seemingly warranted or ridiculous reasons. As a female listener, there’s a common thread that’s still astonishing every time I hear it—that male-dominant venture firms have issues relating with female-run businesses/ideas. For perspective, U.S. female-founded startups have raised just 2.2 percent of venture capital investment in 2018.
Start With: Eileen Fisher, Away, Kate Spade, Spanx, Stonyfield Yogurt, Glossier, Five Guys
Perhaps a more niche selection, this is sort of like a look behind the curtain for fellow designers/illustrators. Top designers/creative directors get way less media coverage than say celebrities or CEO’s, so to have an opportunity to hear them in interviews is amazing. Host Debbie Millman, an accomplished designer in her own right, does such a thorough job in her interview research and prep — and it shows in her execution. Lots of guests don’t even know how she dug up the information she inquires about. For those ready to write this podcast off, she doesn’t just interview designers.
Start With:Michael Beirut, Jessica Hische, Aaron Draplin, Jessica Walsh, Bob Gill, Roz Chast, Paula Scher
I got completely hooked on S Town. I had a long, very late drive up through Florida with two of my best friends. All of us wanted to stay awake so the driver wasn’t the only one up. S Town was suggested as a method to keep us all wide-eyed, and it delivered! It’s only one season, but that’s kind of the refreshing part. It fulfills my love for absolutely eccentric people and tells the story of a mysterious man living in a small town in Alabama. It has murder, small-town feuds, hidden treasure, and all the superb production value you can expect from the producers of the This American Life podcast.
BROKEN: Jeffrey Epstein
I have no idea why, but I’m obsessed with the Jeffrey Epstein case. I lived in South Florida for two years, just following and sometimes during, some of the civil cases against him. I’ve been following the news around this now widely covered case, and that alone reads like a true-crime show. This podcast has only released one episode and an introduction, but it’s already ranked at the thirteenth spot of the most popular podcasts on iTunes. It explores some other odd mysteries about this creep, things like his upbringing, social circles, and how on earth he made all the hoards of money that he did. File under: So far, so good.
Mental Illness Happy Hour
Anything that helps remove the stigma from mental health deserves to be applauded and supported. Each episode is dramatically different and covers a range of topics from self-care to living with Lyme disease to substance abuse. Sometimes it offers very candid looks into different people’s personal struggles but it also features interviews with therapist/experts. With so many valuable pieces of advice and lessons that people can apply to their own lives, any listener can take something away from this podcast.
If your art history class was this interesting, you probably would have gone more. With more of a focus on the story behind some famous works than dissecting techniques, after each episode you’re practically guaranteed to walk away with some fascinating piece of info. Plus! It doesn’t stick to one artistic style or design period, topics range from Munch’s The Scream to an episode on the rivalry between Manet and Degas.
Cheryl Strayed can do no wrong in my book. Not only is her writing powerful and raw, but the woman gives amazing advice. The podcast version of a previous column she used to write called Dear Sugar, she always manages to toe the line between wise best friend and I’m-not-accepting-this-excuse hardass. They also bring on experts to delve further into issues like the loss of a child, living in a sexless marriage, and living in the shadow of damaged parents.
Pod Save America
I mean, they had me at the title. I first discovered this podcast after they appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Once I saw that their tagline was, “A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane” and that felt like me. Again, I’m all for education and if it can educate while entertaining, then even better. Plus, they have great guests/politicians on like AOC, Bernie Sanders, and Rashida Tlaib. If you feel intimidated by politics or wish you were more informed about what’s going on, they make it really approachable.
Besides the fact that Terry Gross might be one of the greatest interviewers of all time, I just love NPR. It’s something that has evolved as I’ve gotten older, but this podcast really defies classification. She talks to celebs, authors, you name it. What you can expect is a really thoughtful conversation. You’ll get hooked I promise.
I quickly became obsessed with the story of Christian Andreacchio, found dead in his apartment from a single gunshot wound to the head, which was ruled a suicide after a 45 minute investigation by local police. Culpable is an investigative look into the story behind Christian’s death and his family’s relentless pursuit of justice and the truth. The last two episodes just came out so you can listen to the story in its entirety. If you’re a true crime fan you’ll be hooked.
To Live & Die in LA
A “who done it” true crime story that still has me thinking about what actually happened to Adea Shabani. Her mysterious disappearance in 2018 left everyone wondering how someone could just disappear without a trace. This is one of the first true crime podcasts I’ve listened to that unfolds in real time. With interviews and first hand accounts from friends, family members and even suspects this story keeps you guessing up until the very end.
The Shrink Next Door
This is the story of when the relationship between therapist and patient goes terribly wrong. It’s so bizarre the story almost seems unbelievable at points. Ike Herschkopf’s control over his patient Marty Markowitz expands beyond his mental health and infiltrates his personal life and professional life to a shocking degree. What makes the story even more fascinating is that Markowitz managed to keep track of it all, and when sharing his story, goes into great detail of how it all went down over several decades.
Drilled is a true crime meets climate change kind of podcast. If you’re interested in the history and background behind climate change denial, Drilled is a deep dive into how corporations have successfully manipulated the truth around climate change. If you’re interested in understanding how climate change became so political, this is an in depth dive into the history of what has become a polarizing topic.
I think I’ve shared this podcast before, I listened to it a few months ago. It was an incredibly eye opening and in depth look into how Larry Nassar, the Olympic gymnastics doctor, was able to get away with abusing hundreds of women and girls for two decades. In the podcast you hear stories from survivors, and how so many adults and people in power at the time failed to believe.
I’ve only listened to season two of Slow Burn, which covers the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. I was young when this went down and while I had a faded memory I also had a certain understanding of it that was entirely changed after listening to this podcast. Whether you remember the scandal or not, Slow Burn will certainly make you re-examine how you would have felt and whose side you’d take back then.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t listen every week, but I couldn’t do this round up without mentioning Bad on Paper Podcast with my friend Grace Atwood and her co-host Becca Freeman, as well as Press Send with Chinae Alexander. Both feature interesting guests and lots of great advice.
Start With: Press Send – Linda Wells // Bad on Paper – Negotiating Your Salary
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For a funny podcast, My Dad Wrote a Porno. Most people would hide if their dad wrote erotic fiction…this guy grabs two friends and starts a podcast. It’s not even a little sexy, but it’s so funny I have cried. There’s 4 books written by Rocky Flintstone and then one book annotated with their comments.
UMMM Cozy Ranch Radio?! How did that not make the list? haha
I was hoping The Daily of The New Your Times would make the list. Maybe because I live by it, lol.
But recently while reading, https://bellocollective.com/94-the-best-podcasts-of-the-week-8ea586803523
I stumbled across this podcasts: “Awful Grace” and particularly this episode “Again the Never Came.” It is about news footage on the day of 9/11, before and after the impact. Truly worth listening.