The Running List of My Favorite Mind-Blowing Podcast Episodes
I listen to a lot of podcasts these days, so I put together a list of my favorite mind-blowing podcast episodes to save you the trouble of searching around and not knowing what episodes are worth your time.
What are Podcasts?
For the uninformed, podcasts are on-demand radio shows streamed from the internet and they’ve quickly become one of my favorite passive activities. Here’s why I listen to podcasts:
- I feel smarter. It’s instant access to conversations between the smartest and funniest people on the planet. What’s awesome is that these podcasters also listen to each other’s podcasts.
- There’s something for everyone. Whatever your interests, there’s bound to be a podcast. I listen to podcasts about writing, meditation and self-improvement.
- It fits into your day. Podcasts fill the in-between times of life. I listen while cooking and during car rides.
- It’s easy to get started. Check the podcasts app on your iPhone. Use Stitcher for Android or otherwise.
Note: I enjoy live podcasts over edited ones. This means that missing from my list are shows like Serial, S-Town, or any murder mystery types. There’s nothing at all wrong with these podcasts, I’m just not that into them. What can I say?! So whether you’re like me or want to try something new, check these out.
This list will be updated as time unfolds. The links take you directly to the iTunes podcast app.
Last update: 1/25/2018.
THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE (JRE)
Joe Rogan has slowly but surely undertaken society’s role as the greatest conversationalist interviewer of our time, and if not the greatest, at least the most prolific and popular.
His podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is nearing episode 1K*, which means he’s invested nearly 3K hours of his life towards deep conversation and 1/3rd of the way to mastery in the realm of idea conversation. His podcast receives 150MM downloads/month, trending at over 1 BILLION downloads/year. *Stats as of May 2017.
Part of the reason why his podcast is so popular is that it operates in a salon-style format where conversation unfolds organically. Compared to television, traditional interviews or other highly-edited podcasts, salon-style gives guests the chance to explain their ideas in-depth and uninterrupted.
Also, Joe’s platform has become so popular that he’s able to fly out his guests to his California podcast studio for face-to-face conversations. This no doubt improves the content’s quality.
I tend to listen to every third or fourth episode. Episodes tend to range from 2 – 3 hours and released every other day. His guests are diverse and reliably interesting enough to call for frequent listening. Don’t miss this one.
The Must-Listen Episode: #958: Jordan Peterson, Purpose and Meaning
The Best Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) Podcast Episodes:
- #1075: Duncan Trussel, Life, Outer Space & Meditation
- #1073: Steven Pinker, Enlightenment & Progress
- #1070: Jordan Peterson, Free Speech & Responsibility
- #1035: Paul Stamets, Mushrooms and Fungi
- #930: William MacAskill, Effective Altruism
- #812: Russell Brand, Entertaining Philosophical Conversation
- #936: Chris Cage, Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail
THE JORDAN B. PETERSON PODCAST
Jordan Peterson is a professor at the University of Toronto most well-known for his popular YouTube channel. I’ve written a blog post, one that I quite like, about how his lectures on the psychological significance of the Bible and other ancient texts have broadened my perspective by shedding new light on old stories.
On his podcast, Peterson’s episodes are divided into a few categories: independent lectures, a lecture series on Maps of Meaning (his first book), and a lecture series on the Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories. I recommend diving into each of them, but before you do, check out the must-listen episode below to get an inspirational taste of his message.
The Must-Listen Episode: #15: How To Change The World
The Best Jordan B. Peterson Podcast Episodes:
- #18: Psychological Significance of Biblical Stories, #1: Introduction to the Idea of God
- #9: Lecture Series, Maps of Meaning #1 – 3
WAKING UP WITH SAM HARRIS
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist and avid meditator. He’s a true student of the mind and his background makes him knowledgeable and experienced from both objective and subjective perspectives. What I find most interesting about Sam is that he’s a wonderful communicator. His presence and speech are unparalleled, most evident in his word choice which is often ridiculously precise.
Sam isn’t afraid to discuss controversial topics like religion, politics, and free will, and his logic holds steady even as he moves towards the sharp edges of society’s hot-button topics. That being said, I enjoy the episodes where he discusses more wholesome topics like meditation and technology, which is what I’ve recommended below. Overall, he’s a fascinating listen.
The Must Listen Episode: #68: Yuval Noah Harari, Reality and the Imagination (start at 12:22)
The Best Waking Up with Sam Harris Podcast Episodes:
- #113 with Anil Seth, Consciousness and the Self
- #111 with Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, The Science of Meditation
- #102 with Robert Wright, Is Buddhism True?
- #96 with Thomas Metzinger, The Nature of Consciousness
- #63 with Joseph Goldstein, Why Meditate?
- #71 with Tristan Harris, What is Technology Doing To Us?
10% HAPPIER WITH DAN HARISS
Dan Hariss, no relation to the aforementioned Sam, is a self-described fidgety skeptic turned meditator, attributing his meditation practice as the solution for reducing his anxiety and panic attacks. He even wrote a book about his experience which I’d recommend.
Dan’s podcast is unique because he brings the top dogs of the meditation world to his podcast, 10% Happier. From Jon Kabbat-Zinn, the man who started the Mindfulness movement, to the Dalai Lama himself, you’ll find practical conversations with some of the world’s deepest practitioners on Dan’s podcast.
The Must-Listen Episode: #07: George Mumford, Flow in Sports and Meditation
Dan doesn’t put his podcasts on YouTube, so I’ve chosen to display my blog post on George Mumford’s awesome quotes. He’s a wise man, that George.
The Best 10% Happier with Dan Hariss Podcast Episodes:
- #120: Tim Ferriss, Attending His First Meditation Retreat
- #16: Ali Smith, Teaching Meditation & Yoga to Troubled and At-Risk School Kids
- #71: Sam Harris, Deconstructing Consciousness
- #01: Dalai Lama, Meditation’s Impact on the Brain
- #81: Sharon Salzberg, Real Love
- #82: Cory Muscara, Mindfulness Teacher & Former Monk
UNDER THE SKIN WITH RUSSELL BRAND
I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I’ve been obsessed with Russell Brand for the last two years. Russell is an Englishman, a spiritual romantic, and a visionary with witty and precise vocabulary. He’ll spout off fast-talking poetic, enlightening rants and his comedic influence always makes for solid entertainment. He’s only just started his podcast, but this episode is worth a listen.
The Must-Listen Episode: #005: Yuval Noah Harari, Is Humanity Finished?
The Best Under the Skin with Russell Brand Podcast Episodes:
- #46: Jordan Peterson
- #37: Ed Stafford, Extreme Survival & Exploring the Mind
- #44: Headspace (with Andy Puddicombe), Could Mass Meditation Change Everything?
- #40: Emma Kenny, How to Be Spiritually Healthy in Damaged Times
DUNCAN TRUSSELL FAMILY HOUR (DTFH)
Duncan Trussell is man deep into the realms of spirituality, virtual reality, psychedelics and other crazy stuff.
The DTFH is perhaps the most awesome and goofiest podcast I listen to. I’ve got to hand it to Duncan. Out of all the aforementioned hosts, Duncan is almost always at his most authentic self. He’s very self-aware, embracing his shadow through dark, apocalyptic rants while simultaneously spreading positivity and hope. He’ll be sure to take you aboard whatever recent adventures he’s embarked on whether it’s Burning Man or some random spiritual retreat on some island.
The Must-Listen Episode: #240: Sharon Salzberg, Love, Enlightenment and Shaping the Course of History
The Best Duncan Trussell Family Hour (DTFH) Podcast Episodes:
- Dec 19, 2017: Steven Kotler, Flow States & Synchronicity
- Aug 8, 2016: Joe Rogan, VR & the Future
- Nov 29, 2016: Drew Carey, Struggle & Meditation
OTHER IMPORTANT LISTENS
I’ve found these via recommendations from others. If you have a recommendation, please send it my way!
- On Being with Krista Tippit, Paulo Coelho — The Alchemy of Pilgrimage
- On Being with Krista Tippit, Bessel van der Kolk — How Trauma Lodges in the Body
- The Aubrey Marcus Podcast, with Gabor Mate — Addiction, Stress, and the Way Out
- Jocko Podcast #98 w/ Jordan Peterson — Breaking Your Wretched Loop
- Tim Ferriss Podcast — Sharon Salzberg, World-Renowned Meditation Teacher
THE ALL-TIME FAVORITES LIST
- The Joe Rogan Experience — #958: Jordan Peterson, Purpose & Meaning
- Waking Up with Sam Harriss — #68: Yuval Noah Harari, Reality & the Imagination
- Waking Up with Sam Harriss — #63: Joseph Goldstein, Why Meditate
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris — #07: George Mumford, Flow in Sports and Meditation
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris — #16: Ali Smith, Teaching Meditation & Yoga to troubled and at-risk school kids
- The Joe Rogan Experience — #930: William MacAskill, Effective Altruism
- The Joe Rogan Experience — #812: Russell Brand, Entertaining Philosophical Conversation
- Under The Skin, Russell Brand — #005: Yuval Noah Harari, Is Humanity Finished?
- Duncan Trussell Family Hour –#240: Sharon Salzberg, Love, Enlightenment & Shaping the Course of History
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris — #71: Sam Harris, Deconstructing Consciousness
- 10% Happier with Dan Harris — #01 Dalai Lama, Meditation’s Impact on the Brain
- The Joe Rogan Experience — #936: Chris Cage, Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail
- Waking Up with Sam Harriss — Tristan Harris, What is Technology Doing To Us?
*Missing from my list are many hours of Tim Ferriss’s Podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. If you’re into self-improvement, this podcast is for you. Also not included is The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast, which I highly recommend for writers. Finally, Freakonomics is a classic. Give them a try if you haven’t already.
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If you could only read one piece of my work and never return, check out my post on why we get happiness wrong and how to fix it.