5 Podcasts to Ease You into the Fall Season
Still grieving the end of summer? Hold the sunscreen: It’s the beginning of sweater season, football, and changing leaves. It’s also the perfect time to add some fresh podcasts to perk up your morning commute. Podcasts can inspire you, teach you productivity hacks, keep you up-to-date on knowledge and developments in your industry, and help you reflect on your own life and work.
We’ve picked five great podcasts and paired them with a quintessential fall office activity, to ease you into the chillier days ahead.
Listen to while…Asking the barista for the “secret menu” triple-pumpkin spice latte
Seth Godin is an author, entrepreneur, and speaker. He has written 18 books, including “Purple Cow” and “Tribes.” In his books, blog, and talks, Godin often discusses marketing, leadership, and the ways ideas spread. His podcast is a bit like tapping into his brain for 20 or so minutes, and following him down a path which, while sometimes uncertain, always pays off in surprising and rewarding ways. It’s hard not to be entranced by his earnest yet soothing manner, and it’s easy to get sucked into his enthusiasm for the topics he discusses. Broad lessons about our culture can be distilled even from the sometimes very specific examples discussed—which range from Betty Crocker to Banksy—and you’ll inevitably learn something you didn’t know. Or know you wanted to know.
It’s Not About the Chocolate—This episode begins with the story of the cacao industry and Askinosie Chocolate in particular, but evolves into a discussion about culture, and how the stories we tell ourselves create our reality.
Bonus: If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive Godin’s daily blog post via email, it’s worth signing up—he writes short, digestible posts about life, work, and marketing that are thought-provoking and can be read over a cup of your morning coffee.
Listen to while… Confidently tying a chunky plaid scarf around your neck as you stroll into a meeting
In this NPR podcast, host Guy Raz goes behind the scenes to get the story of how some of the biggest companies got their start. It’s fascinating and inspiring to hear how some of the best-known brands and established empires started from a small kernel of an idea, and some of the podcast’s origin stories of the brands you know so well may surprise you. Though you may not be an entrepreneur yourself, lessons about life, careers, and making hard choices lurk beneath the surface.
Spanx: Sara Blakely—Sara Blakely, at age 27, was selling fax machines door to door. She said, “I kept feeling like, ‘I’m in the wrong movie’—and I really was determined to create a better life for myself.” Blakely tells her entertaining and inspiring story of how a pair of $98 cream pants, cutting the feet out of her own pantyhose, and a search for comfort started her on a scrappy one-woman mission to disrupt the industry.
Listen to while…Replacing your ergonomically correct standing desk with a festive hay bale
After having a nationally televised panic attack in 2004, Dan Harris, co-anchor of the weekend edition of “Good Morning America,” knew he had to make some changes in his life—which ended up including meditation and exploring the concept of being “10 percent happier.” This podcast delves beyond that 10 percent to ask, “Can you be an ambitious person and still strive for enlightenment (whatever that means)?”
The podcast strikes a balance between meditation-focused topics and the types of work issues we’re all grappling with. Harris has an ability to dig deep with his guests, who include professors, meditation gurus, writers, and scientists, in an honest and relatable way. He threads his personal thoughts and experiences into conversations, while still staying out of the way enough to get past the surface chatter and ask more self-reflective questions on a variety of topics.
Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport—This episode with Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University and author of several books, including “Digital Minimalism,” explores our society’s current dependence on, and addiction to, technology, and how we can intelligently harness technology to help us lead a more purposeful and fulfilled life.
Bonus: Aside from his book “10% Happier,” Harris also co-created an app called 10% Happier, which has guided meditations and teachings.
4. Nerdette Podcast with Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen
Listen to while…Making s’mores in the break room microwave
We all have certain things we unabashedly nerd out about (even if we’re the only ones who know about it). Consider yourself seen: Nerdette calls itself a “safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to, and encountering in real life.” The podcast has been around since 2013, but hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen keep the content fresh, and the banter highly entertaining.
This show has a little bit of everything. Bobeda and Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions—guests include creatives, U.S. senators, astronomers, authors, and musicians—and cover topics across the board, including Bill Nye, the bassoon, Star Wars, extreme couponing, true crime stories, and Beyoncé. Chances are, you’ll get sucked into a topic you never knew you were obsessed with…until now.
It’s hard not to get caught up in Tom Hanks’s immense love of typewriters. Listening to him wax poetic about their workings and history is charming, interesting, and joyful. Hear how he got into typewriters—and get ready to ditch your laptop and pick up your own Hermes 2000.
5. “WorkLife” with Adam Grant: A TED Original Podcast
Listen to while…Bobbing for apples on your lunch break
Organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, and TED speaker Adam Grant is an expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives. In this podcast, he takes listeners along as he talks to all kinds of professionals to try to uncover the keys to a better work life. As the podcast home page calls out, “We spend a quarter of our lives in our jobs. This show is about making all that time worth your time.”
The Creative Power of Misfits—This episode explores what happened when Pixar shook up their repertoire of hit movies by trying something different: Bringing in people to work on “Incredibles 2” whom many in the industry had deemed “misfits.” It’s a fascinating peek inside the movie industry, but more than that, at how people in the workplace interact and how our own biases affect hires, relationships, and success.
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