9 Podcasts That Help Me Run My Business (and My Life) Better
Once upon a time, we were stuck with just radio. But no more. Now we can listen to podcasts on virtually any topic that feature experts, celebrities, leaders, and thinkers who teach us how to run our businesses better and be better people.
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Once upon a time, we were stuck with just radio. But no more. Now we can listen to podcasts on virtually any topic that feature experts, celebrities, leaders, and thinkers who teach us how to run our businesses better and be better people. My podcast app is called Castbox. But all of my favorite podcasts below can be found on the more popular iTunes, Google, and Spotify platforms.
- In Our Time
What do you get when you put together 3 (usually) stuffy British professors and one impatient British moderator? You get a great discussion about history topics ranging from Alexander the Great to the Spanish Inquisition. Each week, moderator Melvyn Bragg and a revolving door of experts take on historical topics that put today’s world—and our problems—into perspective.
- Planet Money
Because of NPR’s “Planet Money,” I’ve learned why banning plastic bags is actually worse for the environment, how football teams maximize their stadium revenues, the best tactics for getting a car loan, and how to make it in the music business. Usually under 30 minutes, these fast-paced episodes hosted by snappy Millennials are a great way to get smarter about the economic world around us.
- The Indicator
Also brought to you by the people at “Planet Money,” this show—also fast-paced and also hosted by snappy Millennials—digs deeper into the economic metrics that make up the world. Should we trust the unemployment rate? Why are municipal bonds so popular? What exactly was the great British bicycle bubble? Listening to this podcast makes me question some of the more popular economic metrics today and appreciate some of the lesser known.
This popular weekly show, based on the best-selling book series by Stephen Dubner and his team of economists, examines how money and economics play a role in everything we do—from sleeping to vaping to tipping. These episodes tend to be a little longer—some almost an hour—but I’ve yet to cut one short.
- The James Altucher Show
Altucher is one of the rare entrepreneurs who isn’t afraid to let it all hang out on public display: his weaknesses, fears, mistakes, losses, and bad decisions. A hungry learner and (it seems to me) a genuinely nice guy, Altucher is on a mission to interview anyone and everyone who can, with some nugget of wisdom, improve his life (and his listeners’) just a little bit.
- Words & Numbers
Hosts Gilfoyle and Dinesh… wait, sorry Silicon Valley fans… I meant Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan (trust me, the similarities are eerie) are 2 right-leaning and practical-thinking economists and political scientists who both opine on the crazier stories of the week and, more importantly, dissect the true data behind the world. Examples: the reality of net neutrality, the real impact of deficits, the myths behind the “leading” causes of death, and whether or not corporations are people. I love these guys because they’re not only right on the money with their analysis, but they deliver it in a manner that’s both arrogant and humble. Just listen and you’ll see what I mean.
Speaking of Silicon Valley, the host of this podcast—tech journalist Kara Swisher—oftentimes makes guest appearances on the popular HBO show. Why? Because she’s a major part of the technology world. No, she’s not a software developer. She’s a no-nonsense, no-bullshit journalist who likes to aggressively confront some of the biggest tech names in the business with hard questions about security, privacy, greed and… well… making the world a better place. Swisher’s interviews are insightful and always entertaining.
- Desert Island Disks
This show, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, interviews some of the biggest names in the world (Paul McCartney, Sheryl Sandberg) and many lesser- known but incredibly accomplished people and in 30 minutes has them pick out 8 songs they’d take with them if they were forced to live on a desert island. Each song has a story behind it, and the collection of those stories makes up the subject. This is a great biographical show featuring some of the world’s most iconic business people, artists, scientists, politicians, and leaders.
- Small Biz Ahead
What could be better than listening to… ME… for 20 minutes? OK, please don’t answer that. But if you can stomach my voice, then I think you’ll enjoy my weekly podcast with The Hartford (we’re now 150 episodes in) where we tackle all issues affecting existing business owners from selecting the right CRM system to whether or not you should pay your salespeople a bonus on top of their commissions.
Source: Gene Marks (www.marksgroup.net) is a small business consultant and author of The Small Business Desk Reference, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Successful Outsourcing, and Outfoxing the Small Business Owner.