You know what they say: hang out with people you admire. Surround yourself with bad influences (holla @ me, Netflix) and you’ll end up slamming Ben n Jerry’s and watching Family Guy reruns more often than you’d care to admit. Back in “the day,” guys were limited to their loveable, but—let’s face it—limited group of friends and family. You learnt to swear from your uncle, how to flirt from more socially-confident mates, and how to succeed at business by trial and error.
Now though, thanks to the digital revolution, you can (virtually) hang out with your heroes. For free. For hours. Each week. In some cases you can even send in questions and have them answered. And you don’t even need to trawl the net to find them, ‘cos we’ve done the sleuthing for you. Oh, and did we mention? Listening to a podcast is like getting an extra hour in the day. Allow us to explain with two examples.
Situation one: the bus comes to a halt, you look up and see traffic backed up for the next two kilometres. Situation two: the plane’s seatbelt lights flash, and your pilot announces there’s been a delay and you won’t be landing for the foreseeable future.
What do these scenes have in common? They are both time wasting activities where you either doze uncomfortably and wake up with a crook neck, or sit stewing in your thoughts, thinking about situations you could’ve handled better five years ago. Ew. That or talk back radio. Double ew. Don’t get me started on audiobooks and Doctor Phil.
Enter the podcast. No longer will you have to languish—bored out of your mind—on your daily commute listening to the inane chatter of Kyle and Jackie O. Now you can learn a language, listen to (highly addictive) true crime stories, be entertained to the point of laughter and stay informed with news that really matters (to you). All for free.
The beauty is that it’s personalised. Unlike TodayFM you can curate your podcast database to keep you up to date with specific aspects of business, sport and entertainment that actually affect your life (or that you are genuinely interested in).
Bonus: these expert podcasters will help you (sound like) you know what you’re talking about when it comes to politics, impress your date, get you a date, improve your relationship, understand nutrition and fitness, and open your mind to thought provoking topics you’d never before considered.
The only problem? These days, every man and his mic has a podcast. That’s where we come in, sorting the well-marketed phoneys from the honest to god hilarious. From the timeless to the timely, here are the best podcasts for the modern man.
11. The School Of Greatness
Hosted by Lewis Howes, ex NFL athlete, The School Of Greatness interviews the most successful and influential people of our time, from professional athletes to self made millionaires, having them share their story and give tips on finding your own path to greatness.
- Episode #151 – What Holds Us Back from Having It All. Danielle LaPorte, bestselling Canadian author, inspirational speaker and entrepreneur could be the kick up the arse you need.
- Episode #109 – 7 Simple Steps to Master the Game of Money. World famous self help guru Tony Robbins explains how to, as the kids would put it, “make bank”.
- Episode #189 – The Secret to Attracting Your Dream Relationship. Matthew Hussey, British dating coach and resident NBC matchmaker reveals how to find what you’re looking for.
- Episode #148 – Finding Your Passion and Following Your Purpose. Julianne Hough, American dancer, singer, and actress on what it’s really like to monetise your passion.
10. How I Built This
Whether you harbour entrepreneurial ambitions, have a few back-of-napkin ideas or already have a bustlin’ side hustle, this is the podcast for you. Host Guy Raz dives headfirst into the stories behind internationally-renowned companies, pulling back the curtain on world famous innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built. Apart from the episodes listed below, highlights include their interviews with the founders of Vice, Rolling Stone and AOL. The common themes here are improvisation and grit—like when the founders of Airbnb paid off their credit card debt and financed their startup by selling $40 boxes of cereal…
- Episode #22 Virgin: with Richard Branson, English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist.
- Episode #62 Airbnb: with Joe Gebbia, the founder of… you guessed it, Airbnb.
- Episode #5 Clif Bar: with Gary Erikson, founder of a highly successful, organic energy bar company.
- Episode #79 Lonely Planet: with Maureen and Tony Wheeler, whose notes on how to travel on a shoestring became a book, which grew into the largest travel guide publisher in the world.
9. Coach Corey Wayne
Coach Corey Wayne is no sleazy dating coach. He gives a a rare mix of intelligent, respectful advice and can help you in your dating life—whether it’s currently non-existent or you are 15 years into your marriage. From successful nightclub pick up techniques to re-igniting a stale relationship, or what to do when you run into your ex, Corey Wayne has you covered.
- Episode #3 – Is She Testing, Or Wasting My Time?
- Episode #6 – The Art Of Texting
- Episode #119 – The Art Of Being Mysterious
- Episode #20 – Women Bluff To Test Your Strength
8. The Barefoot Investor
There are a wealth of personal finance podcasts out there. But they tend to either be boring, or niche. And often, unless you agree with each host’s personal finance strategies, they can come off a bit preachy. What’s great about Scott Pape, host of The Barefoot Investor is that he gives simple, practical advice (and easy to understand commentary) on a wide variety of investment strategies (including some of those from his book) and personal finance topics, and motivates you to follow through on them.
- Episode #9 – Addicted To Debt. In this episode The Barefoot investor talks about our countries least understood addiction, with 7 time world surfing champion, Layne Beachley.
- Episode #7 – It’s All About Investing. In this episode The Barefoot Investor explains his core philosophy, and gets secret trading tips from one of Australia’s best minds…
- Episode #12 (of season 2) – Getting Back Your Mojo. This episode details how to build your emergency fund, and why you should always have one.
- Episode #10 (of season 2) – Love & Money. In this episode Scott talks to one of his readers, who has applied “Barefoot” techniques to plan his dream wedding.
7. Masters Of Scale
Hosted by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn and Investor at Greylock, Masters of Scale is run by a man who very much “walks the walk” of the advice he gives. In each episode, Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion, testing his theories with legendary leaders. None of this has gone unnoticed; it won the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast. A must for anyone who wants to improve their business skills.
- Episode #33 with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg – if you want to know why, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late,” give this one a whirl.
- Episode #2 with Instagram’s Kevin Systrom. Check this one out to learn how to scale big with a simple idea (and a tiny team).
- Episode #4 with Zynga’s Mark Pincus. Want to know how to kill your bad ideas? You know where to click.
- Episode #1 with Spotify’s Daniel Ek, on how to build trust fast.
It’d be a crime not to mention award-winning podcast Serial in this list. From the creators of This American Life, Sarah Koenig hosts Serial, a series that tells one true story over the course of a season, allowing the plot and characters to change the story’s direction in real time. Season One investigated the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore (it was such a hit that it was not only downloaded more than 80 million times but has played a pivotal role in the retrial of the accused Adnan Syed), and Season Two focuses on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who was held for 5 years by the Taliban, and then arrested for desertion. Interest piqued? Hit play.
- Episode #3 – Leakin Park. This is one of the most entertaining episodes of the podcast, because it deals with the crime itself, and is where a lot of evidence comes to light.
- Episode #6 – The Case Against Adnan Syed. This episode shows Adnan lying to Sarah multiple times. Many argue it is the episode that gets closest to the “truth” of what happened in the series.
- Episode #1 (Season 2) – Dustwun. The first episode of the second season sets up the mystery in explosive style, and will have you wishing your commute was longer so you could keep listening instead of checking in to work…
- Episode #3 (Season 2) – Escaping. The crux of the story, many would have you believe. Have a listen and decide for yourself.
5. Freakonomics Radio
Stephen J Dubner, co-author of the Freaknonomics books has now turned his hand to podcasting, where he tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do)—from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, providing an awesome experience for the listener by being, as one fan put it, “Funny, kind and smarter than anyone in the room.”
“The flagship of all podcasts.”
Anyway, these are the best episodes.
- Episode #322 – People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard. In this episode Richard Thaler, the founder of Behavioural Economics comes on the podcast to discuss his unlikely route to success; his reputation for being lazy; and his efforts to fix the world.
- Episode #323 – Why We Choke Under Pressure (And How Not To). In this episode you will hear from psychologists, economists, and the golfer who (some say) committed the greatest choke of all time. Ignore their advice at your own peril.
- Episode #34 – How To Be More Productive. There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. This episode will help you master it.
- Episode #247 – How To Win Games & Beat People. Listen to a chin wag with Tom Whipple, Science Editor for The Times in London. Your monopoly record will thank you for it.
4. Books On The NightStand
If you’re struggling to find a book that’s not about vampires or bondage sex, Books on the Nightstand is your new best friend. Hosts (and publishing industry insiders) Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman will give you tips you just won’t get from Amazon’s suggested reading list, and their mission in life (okay, podcasting) is to help you find your next favourite author. They explore literature of the past, present and future (books that haven’t been released yet).
- Episode #381 – One-Sit Wonders. If you have a short attention span, or simply would like some recommended reading that can be knocked over in one night, give this episode a go.
- Episode #374 – Commercial vs. Literary Fiction. We’ll give you a clue—one sells, the other wins awards.
- Episode #363 – Favourite Books Of 2015. Self explanatory.
- Episode #361 – Why We Like The Books We Do. Your (lack of?) taste: explained!
3. Waking Up With Sam Harris
From meditation to politics, neuroscience to philosophy, Sam Harris is your go-to podcast for when you’re in the mood to focus on a new topic, expand your horizon, challenge your thinking, learn about politics, or keep up to date with international affairs. He deals with topics like North Korea, artificial intelligence, identity politics and self improvement. Not always an easy listen, but always worth your time. Apart from the episodes listed below, Freeing The Hostages, where Harris speaks to an FBI hostage negotiator, is also worth a listen.
- Episode #71 – What Is Technology Doing To Us. In this episode Sam interviews a design ethicist from Google about the arms race for human attention, the ethics of persuasion, the consequences of having an ad-based economy, the dynamics of regret, and other topics.
- Episode #32 – The Best Podcast Ever. Despite the ironic title, it is actually one of the most interesting podcasts he has produced. Harris considers this conversation a failure because it is basically a 3 and a half hour, ego-driven argument. This takes place with a cocky young lawyer/journalist, on the back of a highly critical article he wrote about Sam’s book “Islam and the Future of Tolerance.” Like episode #123 (“Identity and Honesty” with Ezra Klein) Harris found this interview uncomfortable as his interviewee treats the conversation like a debate to win at all costs, not a casual chinwag—but this actually makes for a more riveting experience for the listener.
- Episode #87 – Triggered. In this episode, Harris interviews Scott Adams, cartoonist and author of, “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big” and, “Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter” in order to understand why people voted for Trump.
- Episode #107 – Is Life Actually Worth Living? This episode goes deep into the good and bad things in life, the ethics of existential risk, the moral landscape, the limits and paradoxes of introspection, the “experience machine” thought experiment and population ethics.
2. Under The Skin
Comedian and actor Russell Brand has decided to go back to uni to study international relations, religion and politics, and wants to take you with him. With a new guest each week he interviews sexologists, psychologists, recovering drug addicts, diplomats, politicians, shamans and more.
- Episode #46 – Kindness vs. Power. In this episode he debates the gender pay gap, left vs. right wing politics, spirituality and self improvement with Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and controversial Canadian university professor.
- Episode #23 – Can We Protect The Planet? In this episode Brand interviews former Vice President Al Gore about his new film “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, his feelings about Donald Trump, the corruption of big money, and the future for renewable energy.
- Episode #27 – Can We Have More Connected Sex? In this episode Brand is joined by author Isabel Losada to discuss how we can all get better in the bedroom…
- Episode #29 – Is Anarchy The Answer? Here, Russell interviews Carne Ross, a former high-flying diplomat and Middle East advisor, pulling back the curtain on the British governments’ decision making process during the Iraq war.
1. The Joe Rogan Experience
Whether you’re interested in martial arts, politics, comedy, finance, psychedelics, ancient civilisations, nutrition, hunting, isolation tanks, astrophysics, spirituality or self improvement, The Joe Rogan Experience (hosted by American stand up comedian, sports commentator and actor Joe Rogan) will quench your thirst—then double it. Running since 2009 the JRE is one of the OG podcasts, and its popularity means it attracts high profile guests like Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Anthony Bourdain.
Stubborn in pursuing a point yet open minded in considering new ideas, Rogan’s interview style (which includes plying his subjects with everything from coffee to whisky and psychedelics) makes for some fascinating, hilarious episodes, and the long-form format means you get to see what his guests really think about a topic beyond just a few news bytes.
- Episode #142 with Graham Hancock & Duncan Trussell. Even if you have zero interest in ancient history, Hancock’s controversial theory of a “lost civilisation” and Joe Rogan challenging him on it, as well as their discussion on how you can have a psychedelic experience—without taking a single mind altering substance—in an isolation chamber is, to say the least, interesting.
- Episode #1080 with David Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL and former USAF Tactical Air Control Party member who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if ultramarathon running and pull ups aren’t your jam, this man’s insights will still help motivate you to achieve your aims—in life and in sport.
- Episode #1051 with Duncan Trussell and Christopher Ryan. Existential life debate and discussion between comics—this episode is a great example of this trio’s incredible on screen chemistry.
- Episode #958 with Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor often caught up in controversy over his critiques of political correctness. Whatever you think about his political views, Jordan has some quality life and self-empowerment advice.
Any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.