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by Rachel Halpern | August 20, 2018


girl on headphones

If you’ve circled through the same playlists, memorizing way too many lyrics you had no intention of memorizing, then you might want to switch up your audio routine and listen to a podcast. Podcasts are an engaging alternative to music, offering entertainment, information, advice, conversation starters with coworkers, career inspiration, and much more. Here are six great podcasts you can listen to on your commute, during mindless tasks, or whenever you have the time.

1. HBR: IdeaCast

Harvard Business Review’s weekly podcast featuring the leaders in business and management is a great source for focused career advice. Harvard Business Review features two other shows, Women at Work (specifically for women in the workplace) and Dear HBR (an advice column). All three podcasts are worth checking out if you’re looking to resolve workplace issues or advance in your career, or if you’re simply curious about the business and management environment.

2. The Daily by The New York Times

On The New York Times website, you may have noticed their podcast, The Daily, featured in the center of the front page. Typically around 30 minutes, these podcasts weave audios, interviews, and journalist narration together to take an in-depth look at a current story. From Roe v. Wade and its political implications today, to why the ACLU wants to be more like the NRA, to Paul Ryan’s exit interview, The Daily topics are intriguing and guaranteed to have you hooked. Listen to The Daily on your commute in, getting your daily dose of current politics before you start your day.

3. NPR Fresh Air

National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, an award-winning talk show with long-time host Terry Gross, comprises intimate conversations with prominent figures in various disciplines. Examples of recent conversations include a journalist’s recollection of 2.5 years kidnapped by Somalian pirates, a Smithsonian paleobiologist’s experience with whale science, and a judge’s suggestions for reducing mass incarceration in America. Each episode contains a main conversation followed by shorter pieces covering cultural current events and commentary from regular contributors. In 2016, Fresh Air was the most-downloaded podcast on iTunes. Fresh Air can provide you with new ideas and a new outlook.

4. NPR Invisibilia

Another popular NPR podcast is Invisibilia. The word “invisibilia” is Latin for “invisible things.” The podcast focuses on the invisible forces that influence our behavior. A combination of human stories and brain science, Invisibilia is an enlightening and informative podcast that could change your awareness of behavior and the reasons behind it. Understanding why people act the way they do is valuable not only in your career but also in your everyday interactions.

5. S-Town

In 2012, NPR’s show This American Life received an email from a man requesting that the show investigate rumors of an alleged murder that took place in his hometown: Woodstock, Alabama. One New York reporter decided to go down to investigate, and what he discovered went way beyond what he could have expected. If you’re looking for a longer story to delve into, the investigative journalism podcast S-Town is a captivating real-life narrative of one man and his legacy. It’s an important reminder of your value and how you affect others.

6. Intelligence Squared: US Debates

A personal favorite podcast of mine is Intelligence Squared: US Debates. Intelligence Squared: US Debates features debates on hot controversial topics with experts from around the world. It is an organized debate with two teams of two and a live audience. The live audience votes before and after the debate for a motion “For,” “Against,” or “Undecided,” and the winning team is determined by the largest number of voter gain. Some recent debate topics include trigger warnings and safe spaces, social media and democracy, the effects of globalization on the American working class, and the positive or negative net gain of humanitarian intervention. Intelligence Squared: US Debates will challenge your views and expose you to different perspectives on big issues, improving your argument assessment and critical thinking skills.

Rachel is an Editorial Intern at With interests in journalism and law, she is excited to contribute to before she heads off to the University of Vermont this fall.