I love a good podcast! And if you don’t already, I have a hunch you will too. There is something out there for everyone and for every mood. My love affair with podcasts began a few years ago as a way to make my commute easier (and distract me from frustrating traffic…), but now it is so much more than that! These days I’ll even listen while cleaning the kitchen or exercising. Even though many of us aren’t leaving our homes the way we used to, podcasts can be a great way to claim a little “you” time while still at home – which we all desperately need and deserve. Especially now. So set 15 minutes aside to pop in your headphones, shut your door, and take some time for yourself – with a good podcast.
Here are some past and current favorites!
The Daily – The New York Times
Released every weekday from the NYT. Super engaging and a great way to stay up to date on current events in the US and worldwide. Episodes average 25-30 minutes
Up First – NPR
Want an even quicker news update? These average only about 15 minutes. And of course well done like every other NPR podcast I’ve heard.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
Dax Shepard and Monica Padman interview celebrities and different experts about, well, life. SO much more than you would expect out of a celebrity interview podcast. I’m obsessed. Episodes are long but easy to break up into multiple sessions.
Dolly Parton’s America
Series about the career and legacy of Dolly Parton. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a Dolly fan before this, but I loved every second!
Rabbit Hole – The New York Times
Talks about the internet – how it’s changing and how it’s changing us. Important and sometimes cringe-worthy.
Nice White Parents – The New York Times
Five episode series following a public school in New York City – about trying to create a better school system. Makes you think. Good for parents and teachers alike.
Missing Richard Simmons
Focuses on the abrupt disappearance of Richard Simmons from the public eye in 2014. Addicting and strange.
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
The premise is that after all the years of interviewing thousands of people on TV, Conan never made any real friends. Now he interviews a different celebrity each week on a search for true friends. If you like Conan and celebrity interviews, you will enjoy!
Hosted By Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Each week they break down an episode of The Office and tell some behind the scenes stories.
This American Life
A different theme each week – weaves together a few different stories. So well done. This show has been around on public radio since 1995.
Another program that has been around for a while. Great storytelling, amazing production quality, large variety of topics. Difficult to not enjoy this, no matter what they are talking about.
This is just one story over a series of seven episodes. Brought to you by the same people as This American Life and Serial. Follows a man who hates his hometown and asks a reporter to come investigate things going on there. Some unexpected twists and turns. Well worth your time.
Couldn’t leave this one out as the first Season was the first podcast I ever listened to. I was hooked. The first season is about the murder of a high school student and her ex-boyfriend who was arrested for the crime. Seasons 2 & 3 are on much different topics – still good, but Season 1 holds a special place in my heart!
My Favorite Murder
This should also fall under the “Comedy” category. The two hilarious hosts talk about different murders.
When love goes wrong. I don’t want to say too much, but trust me, it’s good.
If you start down the true-crime podcast rabbit hole, you will likely end up listening to, and loving, Crime Junkie. Bonus points because the hosts, Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, are based in Indy!
Each season focuses on a specific medical case where things went very wrong.
3 in 30: Takeaways for Mom
Each episode gives 3 doable takeaways for moms (or any parents!) on a particular topic. Amazing!
Best of Both Worlds
Great podcast for working moms. About balancing career and mom life.
Podcast about respectful parenting.
Like Kit: Parenting – NPR
15-20 minute episodes covering tough topics in parenting.
The Mom Hour
Weekly podcast with conversations between two friends who are also moms. Between the two of them, they have kids ranging from little to big so topics are relevant to many!
Unlocking Us – Brene Brown
After listening to Brene, I just feel so amazing. And as one of my friends recently said – like “I’m going to go take over the world with my kindness!” There is so much here, I’m not even sure how to summarize it. She has spent much of her career studying emotions and how we’re hardwired for connection with others. Just listen and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
The Happiness Lab
Hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos. She takes you through the latest scientific research on happiness. Many good stories along the way. She started the podcast after teaching a wildly successful class at Yale on the topic. As a science nerd, I love a little scientific evidence to back up my self-improvement plans.
Like Kit – NPR
From making a better cup of coffee to parenting to saving money – this podcast provides tips for all sorts of things. Episodes are on the shorter side, typically 15-25 minutes.
Been thinking you should start meditating, but not so sure? Dan Harris (ABC News co-anchor on Nightline and weekend GMA) was a self-proclaimed former “fidgety skeptic” – until he had a panic attack on air and eventually found meditation. His book is great and eventually, he also made this podcast on the topic.
About being your best self in a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others.
1619 – The New York Times
This was released in 2019, 400 years after the first boat carrying enslaved Africans came to America. They explore how the following 250 years of slavery shaped our country. So relevant and well done.
Malcolm Gladwell looks back on events in history that may have been overlooked or misunderstood and reinterprets them.
ESPN 30 for 30
If you’ve watched the show 30 for 30 on ESPN, you probably know what to expect here. I don’t think you even have to be a sports fan to enjoy this.
Throughline – NPR
Looks at stories in the past to help explain the present.
Stuff you Should Know
Want to know about a bunch of random stuff? Listen to this podcast. Seriously, the list of topics is expansive and fun. Something for everyone.
This isn’t just for people who love science. This show takes on fads or trends and digs into all the available research to help make sense of what is really going on. Topics are variable and relevant. Nice to have a place to go for evidence-based discussion on popular topics because the internet is hard…
Invisibilia – NPR
Not sure how to describe it better than their tagline. This podcast investigates how “unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions.”
Hidden Brain – NPR
Uses science and storytelling to investigate the “unconscious patterns that drive human behavior and the biases that shape our choices.” As with Invisibilia above, this is so intriguing, and I can’t explain it any better than they do!
Short Wave – NPR
More science for everyone! These are great, daily podcasts lasting only around 10 minutes each. Topics can be relevant or seemingly random, but always interesting.
Like an audio version of Shark Tank with generally nicer VCs.
How I Built This with Guy Raz – NPR
Interviews with the founders of many well-known companies. They talk about how they started, made their way, and where they are going. Makes me want to become an entrepreneur…if only I had a great idea.
Each season is a little different. Season 1 follows Alex Blumberg – the creator of the podcast – as he starts Gimlet Media. Many subsequent seasons spend either an entire season or a single episode following another startup as they try to make their way. I found the first few seasons addicting.
This list is long, but not at all exhaustive. I feel confident there is something on this list you will enjoy, but no need to stop your search here. Happy listening!