The only thing more vital to carry than cash in New York City is a pair of headphones. Odds are you’re spending at least an hour a day walking, getting herded into subway cars, and commuting. And unless you enjoy the mouth breathing of the guy standing behind you on the train or the never-ending sounds of sirens, jackhammers, or scam artists (tourists take note: never ever buy show tickets, CDs, or anything else for that matter on the street — ever), you’ll want to have something to listen to.
I’ve substituted my music for podcasts to get a little more mental stimulation out of my commute. I hate wasting time and so podcasts are a nice, passive means of keeping my brain moving and entertained as I move around the city. Below you’ll find a list of some of my current favorites and recommendations.
Yes, the personal finance blogger listens to personal finance podcasts. Surprised? That being said, it only makes up a small portion of my listening diet, as evidenced by the small representation for the category below.
Okay, so this is really just Dave Ramsey’s daily radio show, but if you’re like me and never catch anything live and just want it available on the go, get the podcast. Whenever I need to repent of my non-budgeting ways, I return to the Church of Ramsey and worship… or just listen. If you need a financial motivation pick-me-up, hit this up.
With a name like Planet Money, this podcast very rarely discusses the type of money that you and me dish about around this blog. Instead of budgeting and Roth IRAs, this NPR-produced podcast dives deep into topics that are loosely about money: skill-based gambling, betting against the USA (aka shorting the stock market), rose farming around Valentine’s Day, etc. Always fun, informative, and random.
What a terrible, terrible word. Both to spell and say. It’s so affected — entre-PRE (notice the “r” in front of the “e”… straight up snobbery)-neuurrrrrrr (as much nasal-ness as possible)-ship. It’s also such a buzzword that just by subscribing to the idea you sound naive and aloof and looking for the easy way out of work. I digress… while I don’t think I’m a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, I like learning about others’ side gigs, ways to optimize our income streams, and reliving the adrenaline rush of a big idea. These help satisfy that itch.
Tim Ferriss is one of my favorite people out there. He wrote the Four Hour Work Week and is a fascinating dude who is obsessed with hacking every aspect of his life. His podcast is mostly lengthy, in-depth interviews with similarly interesting people. Tim does a great job asking unconventional questions that help shed layer after layer of his interview subjects and how they became who they are. Inspiring, educational, and slightly neurotic.
This is my favorite podcast right now. StartUp is a podcast that follows the start up journey of former-NPR podcaster Alex Blumberg and his podcast company. So a start up podcast about starting a start up that is a podcast company. Meta enough for you? Season one follows that story from the very first bungled investor pitch to the eventual successful funding of his company. Now in season two, the podcast is following a dating service start up and is already highly entertaining.
This is straight up Side Gig 101. Pat Flynn is a successful online entrepreneur who brings other successful business-minded folks on his show to share their success stories and learnings along the way. If you’re interested in learning more about earning passive income or learning the ropes of online businesses, this is a great place to start.
This category is the main reason I’ve stuck with podcasting. They call radio the “theater of the mind” and podcasting is no different. There’s something oddly magical about sitting for 30 minutes to an hour just listening and letting your brain crank its own filmstrip. If you haven’t given podcasting a try, this category is the place to start.
This is the podcast that launched a million listening earbuds. This NPR-produced podcast dissects a “closed” murder case from the late 90’s that offers more questions than it does answers about the crime. It is podcasting at its finest. Descriptive storytelling, rich sound effects and music, and gripping dialogue. Joanna and I would eagerly await Thursdays when new episodes would come out and wait until Sally was asleep to listen to it together. We were like giddy children of the ’50s tuning into our favorite live radio program. If you want a good podcast to get your feet wet with, start here. And if you’re already a Serial listener, then please do yourself a favor and watch this incredible SNL spoof.
Remember the StartUp podcast I mentioned up above about starting a podcast company? Reply All is the second show of said start up, Gimlet Media. This podcast takes a random Internet/tech-related story and follows it down the rabbit hole, from the shady aftermarket of domains to a guy who has spent a good portion of his adult life fixing very specific repeated grammatical errors on Wikipedia. These are great when I don’t want to think and just want to be entertained on my subway ride to work.
BONUS: Mystery Show
This is the third produced podcast of Gimlet Media and started just last week. I don’t know if it’s worth recommending yet, but given the quality of the other Gimlet podcasts and the strength of the first episode, this will probably be worth subscribing to. The premise is pretty simple: the host solves random mysteries. In the first episode, she helps a woman return a VHS to a video store that mysteriously disappeared the day after she rented it. Fun.
Who else out there is a podcast junkie? Share some of your favorites with us and give us more ear goodness for our daily commutes.