Five of My Best 2017 Podcast Discoveries

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a podcast junkie. Whether I’m working at my desk or working outside, going for a walk or making breakfast, I’m probably tuned into a podcast teaching me something about tech, business, economics, spirituality, philosophy, science or something along those lines.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to supplement my core podcast subscriptions. The good news is that great shows are coming online all the time. Here are a few old and new podcasts that I’ve discovered for the first time in 2017:

1.  Deschool Yourself

A ten-episode affair created by unschooling advocates Zak Slayback and Jeff Till, Deschool Yourself is a gut-wrenching re-examination of your school years. What lasting effect have 14-18 years of schooling had on you? How can you get free of any bad lingering habits or limiting mindsets which school’s authoritarian environment creates? You can listen to this full podcast series in just a week, and it will be worth your time, whether you’re still in school or considering your decision about your own kids’ education.

2. On Being

On On Being, Krista Tippett hosts conversations with people who have interesting takes on “the big questions of meaning.” With guests from relationship expert Helen Grant to philosopher Alain de Botton to Jesuit priest James Martin, this podcast has everything. I loved her recent conversation with Franciscan friar and prolific author Richard Rohr. If you listen to this podcast, start with that interview. You don’t have to religious or “spiritual” (a word which frankly still makes me cringe) to get a lot from these conversations that you can apply toward being more present and experiencing more of the presence of goodness, truth, and beauty.

3. The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast 

Jordan Peterson is a wildly effective academic. A clinical psychologist in the Jungian tradition, his lectures on the evolutionary psychology of perception, the human brain, comparative mythology, and what they mean for ethics have gotten millions of views on YouTube in the past year. Peterson’s podcast includes large clippings from his Maps of Meaning lecture series, which will 1) blow your mind and 2) might change how you think about your life and meaning.

4. 99% Invisible 

A podcast about the architectural designs and buildings that play a large, if largely background (“invisible”) role in our daily lives, 99% Invisible has high production values and good insights into the the vital importance of things which most of us ignore and rely on every day. Their recent series on the Sanctuary movement for illegal immigrants from Central America is especially interesting.

5. The Partially Examined Life*

Hosted by several university friends who studied philosophy together and then went on to non-academic careers, this podcast is all about going in-depth into the major themes and questions of Western philosophy – from Descartes’s questions on epistemology to the free will vs. determinism debate – without gratuitous name-dropping, “academese,” or pretentiousness. These conversations have plenty of humor and creativity that make the length tolerable. They provide a solid basis of knowledge for anyone wanting to engage in serious personal philosophical thought.

If you for are not listening to podcasts yet, what’s stopping you? If you love learning and have a smartphone, download the Pocket Casts app today and start subscribing to some of the shows that strike your fancy. 

*Found this one a few years ago but started listening this year.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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