Tools and Resources

6 Podcasts that will Make You Smarter

There is no denying that podcasts are, to be put plainly, the absolute best. It’s like a TV show for your ears. You feel productive when you listen to them, because you can multitask, and generally you’re learning something while being entertained. My phone is constantly running out of space due to the insane amount of podcasts that I’m subscribed too. Here is a list of my top 7 current favorite podcasts:

Freakenomics

Ok, who likes economics? The answer is quite simply…no one. That’s not exactly true, but it certainly does not get many people’s gears going. That being said, Freakenomics combines the science of Economics and pop culture. The episodes are about 40 minutes long and are absolutely entertaining.

To give you an example of some of the things they talk about, they recently had an episode “How Stupid is Our Obsession with Lawns?”. And they went through the history of why lawns are so important, what they signify about our class, and the economic and environmental impacts all of this is happening. They do all of this in a narrative style, that is sure to keep you engaged and laughing along the way.

Ask Farnoosh

Farnoosh Torabi is an all around finance expert. She’s had an extensive career on multiple different talk shows and is the who’s who of finance for millennials. She has her own podcast that goes through the do’s and don’ts of finances. Every week she releases two episodes, one that’s an interview, and then my personal favorite, her Friday show which is a segment called “Ask Farnoosh”. Listeners write or call in and ask their questions. What’s an IRA? Should I negotiate a higher salary? Stuff like that.

Now what’s awesome about Farnoosh, is she is a powerful, bad ass woman in a field dominated by men. So she does focus a lot on women issues, and most of her guests are females. But Guys, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find her information useful or entertaining! I encouraged Mr. BFI to start listening to her, and he enjoys it a lot. This is definitely one to put on the subscribe list.

Bigger Pockets

I’ve talked bout BP before, but their weekly podcast just really gets my personal finance juices flowing. It’s normally hosted by two guys, that I’ll admit, can sometimes come across a little “college roomatey” but add a lot of character to the show. The entire point of BP is to talk about real estate investing. The difference with these guys, over any other podcast/forum/website that I’ve tried to find, is how not scammy this is.

It feels like you can’t go to anything with the word real estate in it, and not get pitched something.  This is totally different. Between Brandon and Josh, the two hosts, you will hear multiple times in an episode, frustrations at the people out there giving a bad name to the business. Because they really have the desire to share the immense impact that real estate has had in both of their lives.

Even if you’re totally not into real estate investing right now, this is a great one to pick up and start listening to. It’s one of those podcasts that after you start, you’ll look at the world differently.

The Pitch

This is a new podcast from Gimlet Media, which I am absolutely obsessed with. Basically think of Shark Tank, when you think of The Pitch. It focuses around one entrepreneur and their pitch to four investors. They basically stream live audio from the second they start their pitch.

As an entrepreneur myself, with no real expectations about getting involved in raising capital, this podcast is a great listen. Not only does it feel good to be emerged in the thick of a real conversation about business ventures, strategy, and everything else that it evolves. But it keeps me fresh on what is new to the market, and what types of ideas are floating around out there. I am also a huge proponent of listening to podcasts like this because they silently teach you. Having something like The Pitch on forces you to hear the jargon of investors and inventors. That type of thing totally gets ingrained without even thinking about it. This podcast is sure to make you sound and feel smarter.

Dear Sugars

When you’re talking about podcasts that make you smarter, that doesn’t just mean business smart. You are sure to walk away from your 30 minute dose of sugar with more emotional intelligence then you started with. The show is hosted by Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed. Yes…that Cheryl Strayed. When I first read Wild, I was absolutely obsessed with it, and if you enjoyed the movie or the book even a little, this a podcast that is sure to enlighten your life.

Each week they have a new topic, and the shows acts as an auditory advice column. They read a letter from a listener that is completely anonymous, and then Cheryl and Steve talk about it and provide advice. They normally will bring on a guests that is some form of an expert on whatever topic they’re talking about. For example, last week Cheryl and Steve read letters about people that have trouble saying no, and all that it can involve. Their special guest? Oprah. I know. It was awesome.

This is truly a podcast that I look forward to every week. I feel like it boosts me up and allows me to be in touch with my emotional side. When I first listened to it, I went back and downloaded every episode and worked my way through. By the end, they feel like your friends and I promise that you will feel a little less alone.

The Tim Ferris Show

Sometimes intelligence means emotional intelligence, and sometimes it just means being damn smart everywhere. And that’s what the TFS is bound to provide. Tim is the author of the four hour work week, which is all about productivity and really embodying the whole idea of working smarter not harder (the dude really does have a 4 hour work week, it’s insane but totally doable… you should probably read the book)

His podcast is all about interviewing the top performers in every aspect of life, and then deconstructing their everyday habits and actions, to figure out what makes them so freaking amazing. The podcasts are framed as long form interviews. That means that an episode is normally longer than an hour and is basically non stop recording of a conversation between Tim and his guests.

Now I will warn you, Tim normally comes off as a totally arrogant ass. And to be honest, the dude has a right to that arrogance. To entrepreneurs, he is like a god. He was the first to really start this idea of how maybe life is worth more than the 9-5 and material goods. The guy is amazing, and though the interviews are long, I do come away from each one feeling smarter, refreshed and recharged. Definitely worth a listen. Oh, and he’s totally into some crazy fitness stuff, so if you pick an episode at random, maybe read through some of the titles to pick a good fit.

Conclusion

Well that’s it ladies and gents. If your’re like me, then you are probably subscribed to a million and one podcasts, and feel a deep emotional connection to all of them, to the point that you just don’t feel like you can unsubscribe without feeling horribly guilty. Even though this is an issue that plagues me daily, I find myself always gravitating to certain episodes on my list, and these are the podcasts that call to me the most. I promise that if you listen to even one, you will start to feel and see a difference in your everyday life.

I'm a young professional in a large metropolitan area. I became interested in early retirement and financial independence after entering the workforce and realizing that a traditional 9-5 setting was not going to work for me. Since then I've been combining my love for entrepreneurship and money!

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