11 Podcasts That Will Inspire You

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The podcast obsession

To get my creative juices flowing I almost always need to be listening to something... When I was pulling all nighters to finish my collection during college I'd leave the TV on in the background, usually some all night cartoon channel, sometimes movies I'd already seen a million times, half listening to keep myself awake.

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It sounds counterproductive but listening to something keeps me focused and keeps my mind from wandering. When I started working in offices I obviously had to change strategies so I'd listen to music and some TED talks, but when I discovered podcasts I immediately became obsessed! The 20 - 60 minute format is perfect and they're entertaining, yet not so complex that they distract me from the task at hand. I devour full seasons in a matter of weeks so I'm always on the lookout for new shows, here is a list of my absolute faves:

11 Inspirational Podcasts

1- RadioLab


This is the show that got me hooked! It's about the intersection of science with other aspects of life. They have a way of making complex subjects approachable and explaining them from unconventional angles. One of my all time favorites is the episode about color, which is super interesting from a design perspective.


2. 99% invisible


A podcast all about design, seen from a wide angle and ways it affects our lives. These guys can make anything (including flags!) interesting. An episode that really spoke to me since I was living in Shanghai when it came out is all about the origins of Chinatowns across the US and how they're not really representative of China. Another of my all time favorite episodes is about the origins of surfing which they trace all the way back to... well I don't want to give it away but let's just say it's architecture related and very surprising! 


3. Startup

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Listening to the first season of this podcast is one of the catalysts that motivated me to start Glitches and Stitches. The show documents the start of the podcasting company Gimlet from the founders perspective and they don't leave out any of those hard to hear vulnerable conversations. The entire first season is a must listen, start off with the very first episode "How not to pitch a Billionaire", it'll have you both cringing and rooting for the founder.


4. Reply All


I especially love the chemistry between the two hosts Alex and PJ, their laughs are so infectious that I find myself laughing out loud in public on a regular basis. The show offers a totally unique & refreshing perspective about all things internet related and (not unlike an episode of the Simpsons) rarely ends up where you'd expect. Too many good episodes to choose from so here's a starter kit: The Case of the Phantom Caller, Long Distance, Shipped to Timbuktu.


5. Freakonomics


I love the way Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt use economic principles  to look at everyday problems from a fresh perspective, they always inspire me to think out of the box, like with this episode about The Upside of Quitting or this one about Temptation Bundling.


6. Goal Diggers

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Jenna Kutcher dishes out invaluable advice about starting up as an entrepreneur. She covers strategies on everything from social media, to automating parts of your business, to finding your brand's voice. Check out this episode about Keeping Social Media Social


7. Criminal


Aside from Serial, I'm not usually a fan of true crime shows, but this podcast covers a wide variety of beautifully produced stories, some heavy and some lighter like this one about a serial streaker.


8. Ear Hustle

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A podcast produced from inside St Quentin prison, a unique and touching take on real prison life. Check out this episode about Firsts in prison.


9. The Moth


All kinds of true stories (funny, heartwarming, intriguing...) from all kind of people told in front of a live audience, I love this story about an art student who tracks down the person who stole his identity.


10. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me


An entertaining NPR news quiz. These days this podcast is the only way I've found to keep up with the US news in a way that makes me want to laugh instead of crying. Check their latest episodes.


11. Planet Money


I'll admit that it took some convincing to get me to listen to a podcast about the economy, but I'm so glad I did! Planet Money was started by the same guy as Start Up and has the same very casual approach that makes you feel like your hanging out with friends more than listening to a show about the economy. As a big fan of all things cheese, I recommend the episode about The Fondue Conspiracy.

Are there any amazing podcasts that I'm missing out on? Let me know in the comments below!

Pssstt- Looking for more inspiration to get the ball rolling? Check out my Creative Crush interview series!