Diversions, Travel & Leisure

24 Podcast Suggestions for Men

podcasts

The humble podcast has seen its fair share of ups and downs since its inception (at least as we know it now) about 15 years ago. These days, podcasting is more popular than ever, and for good reason. It’s never been easier to have a whole library of information right in your pocket. Cars have wi-fi and auxiliary ports, smartphones have download speeds that would put the early days of AOL to shame, and for better or worse, folks of the digital age can’t seem to go more than a few minutes without headphones in their ears. More than just a diversion, however, podcasts can help you become a better man (they can also just be plain entertaining — nothing wrong with that!).

Listening to podcasts can give you interesting tidbits to throw out at your next cocktail party, make your morning commute or road trip fly by, and perhaps best of all, help further your mission of becoming a lifelong learner. From history lessons, to discussions about media and popular culture, to business ideas, the amount of knowledge out there for the taking in the form of podcasts is immeasurable. Second, listening to podcasts helps you make the most of your time. Instead of listening to the banal banter of morning radio during your commute, listen to a podcast and sharpen your mind for the day. Instead of music while working out or mowing the lawn, listen to a few TED talks. It may seem strange, but listening to something that engages my mind helps me focus on something other than how I’d rather be on my couch reading a book.

The real problem, as I see it, is that podcast discovery is still lacking. Most of the services built-in to your phones or tablets are junk for the discovery process. They don’t organize well, they’re not able to “read” your interests, etc. In addition, there are well over 100,000 podcasts to choose from. That’s quite an intimidating number if you’re new to the game. That’s where I come in. I’ve spent the last few months listening to hours and hours of podcasts in order to highlight some ideas for the modern man to start with. The reality is that you won’t be able to listen to all of these. If you’re like me, you’ll do some experimenting, and end up with 3 or 4 that you try to listen to on a regular basis. Whether educational, athletic, entertaining, or humorous, there’s sure to be something for everyone in this list.

In the comments, tell me the podcasts that you listen to on a regular basis and enjoy.

 

BR_Podcast_Square-150x150 Book Riot. In general, the world of book blogs and podcasts is a bit pretentious. They love their big words and generally frown upon popular fiction in favor of high literature. Book Riot is different. The podcast is a weekly round-up of new books in the news, reading statistics, and general thoughts from the world of publishing. As a bit of a bibliophile, this is by far my favorite book podcast. It’s also my favorite book-related website, and they recently did a post on best books to read during football season, so check that out as well!
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hardcorehistory Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Carlin knows that his show is not your average podcast. It has a fairly random schedule, and length runs into multiple hours, making it a daunting task to get through them. He’s also definitely not always politically correct and isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. But isn’t that the beauty of podcasts? Anyone and everyone can have an opinion, and people love Carlin’s, as this podcast is consistently featured in top lists. His brilliance is in connecting modern events and ways of thinking with the past, and discovering what we can learn.
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footballprogram Dave Dameshek Football Program. It’s football season. Get you fix with NFL.com staffer Dave Dameshek. A couple times per week he interviews players, talks a little bit about fantasy football (and his league with Bill Simmons and Jon Hamm — not too shabby), and gives the run-down on all things NFL. For whatever sport you love, there are going to be multiple podcasts for you to choose from, and there’s a good chance that your favorite team also has its own podcast run by some hardcore local fan. If you’re looking for a focus on fantasy, ESPN’s Fantasy Focus is a daily goldmine of the latest stats, injuries, and sleepers to look for.
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Print HBR IdeaCast. Harvard Business Review is known for bringing new insights to the world of business and productivity. You need a fairly expensive subscription to get access to all their content, but their free weekly podcast provides a sampling of new ideas to think about. With each episode being only 15 to 20 minutes long, it’s easy to keep up with, which is nice. It’s also not too niche — just about anyone can take insights from almost every episode. Recent titles include, “The Rise of the Megacorporation,” “Working Fathers Need Balance Too,” and “How to Schedule Time for Meaningful Work.” All good and interesting stuff!
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thumbnail-nerdist The Nerdist. Years ago, a little-known actor and comedian, Chris Hardwick, started The Nerdist podcast. It was this show that catapulted him to semi-fame, and he now even hosts AMC TV shows The Talking Dead and Talking Bad — weekly commentary on The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, respectively. This podcast centers on long interviews with celebs from the entertainment industry — that’s about it. It’s fairly vulgar sometimes, so be warned. I don’t listen to every show, as they’re usually over an hour long and come out every few days, but it’s nice to pick and choose the folks you’d like to hear interviews with. The Nerdist has grown into a bit of an empire, and you’re sure to find something you like in their network of podcasts.
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NPR-fresh-air-logo NPR Fresh Air. This is my favorite podcast. Interviewer Terry Gross has been hosting for nearly 40 years, so she knows what she’s doing. Every single day, she interviews someone interesting. It varies between celebrities, authors, entertainers, researchers, etc. What’s great is that she gets into people’s lives beyond just the artificial details. This podcast never ceases to fascinate me, no matter who is being interviewed. Recent guests include David Letterman (during late night TV show host week), Bradley Cooper, and Jenji Kohan (creator of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black).
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npr NPR How To Do Everything. Our next NPR choice is a totally random podcast about how to do stuff. They describe themselves as “half advice show, half survival guide.” Sounds good to me! Many podcasts are more cerebral in nature — they’re just entertaining or maybe things to think about, but this show is practical AND entertaining. Recent topics include how to deal with a smelly roommate, how to survive an airport delay, and how to smuggle money across the border.
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TEDhour TED Radio Hour. We’ve extolled the awesomeness of TED before. It’s a fantastic resource for short snippets of information and new ideas about the world we live in. There is a TED podcast that’s just a feed of all their talks. That’s great in itself, but NPR’s TED Radio Hour takes it up a notch. This weekly hour-long show finds talks around a common topic and brings them together for some amazing mind-melding ideas. One recent show, titled “Turning Points,” profiled three people whose lives were instantly changed by a single event. Another of my recent favorites, called “To The Edge,” explores people who literally go to the edge of the world for more than just the sake of adventure. You can’t go wrong listening to this show.
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mp Marketplace. Every weekday, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal along with his staff of tireless reporters provides insights and commentary on the world of business, financial markets, and personal finance. What we love most about Marketplace is how accessible they make economics for the average Joe. What’s more, they do a bang-up job of explaining how the national as well as international economies affect the wallets of regular folks. If you’ve wanted to bone up on economics and finances, Marketplace is a great way to start.
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stuffyoushouldknow Stuff You Should Know. If there’s a more self-explanatory name for a podcast, I can’t find it. It’s not always practical, but it always lives up to its name as stuff you really should know. There is no niche here — it’s a fairly random assortment of tidbits of knowledge for you to know. Nothing wrong with that! Recent topics include, “How Broken Bones Work,” “History’s Greatest Traitors,” and “How Ejection Seats Work.”
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TAL_color2 This American Life. A radio classic since 1995, This American Life often features stories that delve into the essence of human nature. It’s almost like 60 Minutes for radio. The stories are usually told as first-person narratives, and regularly speak to current events. It combines news with creative storytelling and journalism, making for one of the most unique combinations on the airwaves today. They just aired their 500th show, so you have plenty of great shows to listen to from the archive as well.
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This-Is-Your-Life-Podcast-Michael-Hyatt-Pocket-Changed This Is Your Life. Michael Hyatt has long been a well-known blogger and author, and about a year ago he launched a podcast. He delves into a variety of topics relating to business and personal growth. Sometimes his topics are a bit too specific for all listeners (Advice for Beginning Bloggers), so I tend to pick and choose the topics that interest me. Many business and productivity bloggers/podcasters reference this show as a favorite of theirs, and every few weeks, I’d have to agree.
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startalkradio Star Talk. For being a scientist (primarily an astrophysicist), Neil deGrasse Tyson has become something of a household name. He’s a frequent guest on various media outlets as a general science expert, and produces and hosts this science podcast in a way that the common man can understand (for the most part). What really sets him apart is that he’s just a funny guy. He doesn’t take science too seriously, which is often what plagues men from delving into its study. His show dives into the science of sex, the real-life probability of a zombie apocalypse, and of course the occasional astronomy lesson. Fascinating stuff here.
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freakonomics-white_medium_image Freakonomics Radio. What started as a book (Freakonomics) has turned into a movie, consulting group, additional books, and a podcast. Combining pop culture with economics, the authors set out to provide a way for the common man to gain a deeper understanding of a wide range of topics. The book was great at connecting ideas that didn’t seem to have any connection. But the podcast takes the slightly different angle of simply hoping to help you think differently about something. Recent shows include, “Do You Really Want to Know Your Future,” “How to Think About Guns,” and “Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?” The shows are generally less than 30 minutes, so you can get your weekly fix without too much commitment.
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tumblr_mbyxjsTbcq1qauj8jo1_500 Stuff You Missed in History Class. This one is for those history buffs out there. Whereas Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History tries to connect the past and present in new ways, this show is simply a weekly history lesson for interesting topics that…may not have been covered in your history classes. This is just a fun show with no real practical use whatsoever. Recent shows have featured oyster wars, the Hope Diamond, and the origin of ice cream.
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ricksteves Travel with Rick Steves. I debated whether or not to include this on the list. Rick Steves is a bit dorky, and sometimes pretentious about his travel tips. His weekly show often features places the average fella will never get to. Having said that, this podcast is a gold mine if you know where you’re traveling to and want some insider info. Do a Google search for “Rick Steves [insert location] podcast” and he’s likely talked about it at some point. Or, maybe you’re looking for your next vacation, in which case it won’t hurt to listen to a few random episodes to help you think of ideas.
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getfitguy Get-Fit Guy. The folks over at Quick and Dirty Tips are best known for their Grammar Girl, but they have a couple of other great podcasters too. They’re quick and dirty because the tips are generally 10 minutes or less, and give simple advice to remember the ideas they’re trying to get across. Get-Fit Guy, as the name suggests, gives tips for how to get in shape, ideas for dieting, and often comments on current trends (like Intermittent Fasting).
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ModernMannersGuy_pod Modern Manners Guy. Learn about proper etiquette for various situations with just 10 or so minutes per week. We’ve written plenty about this topic, but Modern Manners Guy (MMG) covers some things you may not have thought of intentionally, but are important nonetheless. What’s proper etiquette for workplace relationships? How do you handle awkward bathroom situations, especially when you’re a guest? How can you tell a coworker or family member they’ve had too much to drink without coming across like a jerk? An incredibly helpful show for men.
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craft-beer-radio-podcast Craft Beer Radio. The point of this recommendation is not that you should listen to Craft Beer Radio, necessarily, but that you find a podcast related to a hobby of yours. I occasionally partake in homebrewing, and my wife and I often explore local breweries here in the beer mecca of Denver. Craft Beer Radio does tasting notes, industry news, etc. It’s a great resource for beer enthusiasts. Chances are high that you’ll find a podcast for any hobby you could have. From woodworking, to gardening, to guns, you’ll find something to supplement your favorite diversions.
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marriage One Extraordinary Marriage. It’s hard to find a good marriage/parenting podcast that isn’t religious. This one is a Christian husband and wife team who talk every week about how to have a better marriage, with parenting tips getting some play as well. Recent topics include the impact of porn on marriage, keeping secrets from your spouse, and “sexpectations.” It’s a little cheesy sometimes, but their ideas are generally pretty universal, so folks who aren’t Christian can get something out of it as well. Another good one to check out is Stay Happily Married.
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onnit Onnit Podcast. Here at AoM, we love Onnit. They have awesome kettlebells, maces, and even superfood supplements. Their goal is basically to help everyone unleash the uber-mensch within them. Their podcast follows that mantra and is generally centered around an interview with someone who has taken life by the horns both physically and mentally, and that includes Brett. Other guests include performance psychiatrist Dr. Dan Engle, author and entrepreneur Lewis Howes, and MMA fighter Mike “The Truth” Jackson.
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Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 1.23.44 PM 5am Miracle. This new podcast is only 9 episodes into its existence. Host Jeff Sanders seeks to optimize and dominate mornings. We’ve praised being a man of the morning before, and this show takes that to a whole new level. He talks about habits for adopting a powerful morning ritual, the benefits of rising early, and how to eat/workout to maximize your productivity and efficiency. Luckily, the majority of his tips can be applied no matter what time you get out of bed in the morning.
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radiolab-logo Radiolab. Big thanks to Kate for pointing me to Radiolab. Radiolab is a cross between This American Life and Fresh Air that seeks to explore scientific and philosophical subjects in an accessible and light-hearted way. The show experiments with new ways of telling interesting stories — be it through interviews, music, or simply editing/presenting a story or topic in a fresh and unique way. They update every other week, and it varies between full-length episodes (1+ hour long) and “shorts” (30 minutes or so). Recent shows include a full-length episode on blood — everything from fake blood in movies, to blood being used in/as art, etc. And a recent short tells the story of the first person to be cured of rabies, a disease that previously held a 100% fatality rate. That particular episode was one of the more interesting and captivating that I’ve heard in all of my research. Be warned — if you don’t give yourself enough time to listen to a whole Radiolab episode, you’re going to find yourself having a “driveway moment” to see how the story turns out.
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aomlogo Art of Manliness. In being as objective as I can, our podcast is sure to help you on your road to being a better man. From celebrity interviews (Nick Offerman aka Ron Swanson, Rich Sommer of Mad Men), to conversations with authors, to speaking with men of the land like Creek Stewart and Forrest Pritchard, Brett covers a wide variety of subjects that men are interested in. He posts a new podcast every other week (okay, not always) and tries to keep them between 30-45 minutes long. Be sure to check out the show’s archives, and let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see featured in the future!

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