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Ask HN: What are your favorite educational non-tech podcasts?
53 points by Quanttek 52 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments
I am currently listening to Opening Arguments, Revisionist History, 99% Invisible, and Thinking Allowed but I feel like I'm missing some podcasts that may be less current but offer more substance/significant and profound content (instead of looking at tidbits of interesting topics)

An obvious one is Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. I'd also suggest audiobooks if you're looking for something more substantial. I'm currently revisiting the classics and found a great reading of Plato's Republic. Before this, I had a great time listening to an audiobook of Will Durant's book The Story of Philosophy which is a nice summary of Western philosophy.

YouTube seems to have full audiobooks, some of which are of great quality. There's a version of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra that is highly entertaining and even enlightening, if that's your thing. There is a good librevox recording of Wittgenstein's principle book that I've started on recently, and was surprised how good it was.

So I suppose I'd suggest audiobooks over podcasts for in-depth material.

Lots of public libraries also allow you to download audiobooks from their websites.

The first one is a very well-known and popular one: The Tim Ferriss Show is a long-form interview show with a single guest per episode. It provides profound insights on a wide range of topics and areas of life (given the guests' diverse backgrounds). In Tim Ferriss' own words the show's aim is to deconstruct world-class performers and tease out their tactics, tools, and routines: https://tim.blog/podcast/

Revolutions is an in-depth history podcast about, well, revolutions: https://www.revolutionspodcast.com/ So far, it has covered - amongst others, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, the Springtime of the Peoples (1848) and the Mexican Revolution. The current season is about the Russian Revolution.

Another amazing history podcast is 'The History of England', which provides meticulous detail on England's long and colourful history: https://thehistoryofengland.co.uk/

I really struggle to listen to Tim Ferriss's podcast.

He has amazing guests, but he'll routinely spend 2-3 full minutes asking a single question. After the fifth or sixth clause in a single (question) sentence, I just want to shake him and yell "shut up and let your guest answer!!!"

The interviewing style feels as if he weren't expecting a conversation, as if he had one and only one shot to fully qualify and give context to every single question before mailing them to a person in a far-away place.

Aside from the interviewing style, the breath-taking amount of ads generally keep me away from his podcast except for a few guests I simply must hear.

This is a major pet peeve of mine. I use the breaker app to cut through the umm and hmmms but I wish there was a way to summarize what the speaker is saying as well, and cut away the part when they are just overiterating the obvious. (by comparing the transcribed audio to the footnotes perhaps)

I can listen to Tim just fine, but I had similar problem with Andrew Warner of Mixergy.

If you'd like a cliffs-notes version of the podcast, that is what most of Tim's books.

I.e. Tools of Titans are very much this and I heard Tribe of Mentors is similar in this regard.

Timmy is the worst interviewer on pods... Asks questions that don't require him even to be present..in fact, some of his shows he isn't (and they are arguably better). He should learn to listen and actually have discussions.

[EconTalk](http://www.econtalk.org/) is among my favorites.

> EconTalk is a weekly economics podcast hosted by Russ Roberts. Roberts, formerly an economics professor at George Mason University, is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. On the podcast, Roberts typically interviews a single guest—often professional economists—on topics in economics.

Opening Arguments. Great podcast that takes a deep dive into current and past legal arguments.

Leans very left, so may not appeal to a good portion of the HN audience, but they do steel man a lot of their positions.

For another legal podcast, the Amicus podcast (Slate mag) covers the Surpreme Court in deep detail. It also leans left.

Elite Man Podcast - http://elitemanmagazine.com/elitemanpodcast/

Rich Roll podcast (he tends to ramble sometimes, but he has some great guests) - https://www.richroll.com/category/podcast/

Bundyville - always two sides to the story, https://www.npr.org/podcasts/606441988/bundyville

Reversing climate change podcast

Superhuman academy

I’ll second Rich Roll’s podcast, but I don’t agree that he tends to ramble :)

> Bundyville

I recently found this. How did you like it?

Found My Fitness[0] With Dr Rhonda Patrick. She and her guests go quite in depth about science behind nutrition, genetics, exercise, sleep, fasting, and health (physical and mental).

I first heard her on Joe Rogan and was super impressed with her depth of knowledge on these topics so I've been listening to her podcast ever since. She does a pretty good job of breaking down the sciency stuff for the layman but it still sometimes goes super in depth and goes right over my head, but I still enjoy listening to her.


I'm getting tremendous mileage from Peter Adamson's The History of Philosophy Without any Gaps -- which has a lot on history, culture, historiography, religion, and bad puns, as well as philosophy: https://historyofphilosophy.net/

The "New Books Network" podcast collective, actually a whole set of podcasts on numerous subjects, is a great way to keep up with literature in specific fields, as well as get exposed to new ideas generally: https://newbooksnetwork.com/

"Ideas" from CBC radio. Resuming with a new host following the retirement of very long-term host Paul Kennedy this past June: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas

"LSE: Public Lectures and Events", from the London School of Economics. Clearly, economics, though also numerous other topics: http://www.lse.ac.uk/lacc/Podcasts

"On the Media", with hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, from WNYC. About all the news I can stand (if that) any more, plus introspection on the media itself: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm

In Our Time by the BBC. Old man invites 3 professors in a field to discuss anything from kinetic theory to the Peloponnesian War

ok so 'educational' and 'meaningfull' without small tidbits... so off the boat falls 'no such thing as a fish' (still quite fun and laden with small factoids), and also you probably already have 'reply all' and 'love+radio' since it's tech-inspired. I really like 'Benjamin Walker's theory of everything' has some tech in there, but more with an art-eye. I would say 'making sense' which I lately discovered as really insightfull and in-depth, but it's more interview/dialogue style. I also like 'the memory palace' and 'the organist'. also still great, but more tidbitty: radiolab, and it's sister podcast 'invisibilia', then also 'freakonomics' and 'planet money'. Have fun! like to hear if any of that was useful to ya

Seconding Hardcore History and The History of Philosophy without any gaps.

Adding Mike Duncan's (same host as Revolutions) The History of Rome.

Lots of substance in all 3 and continuous stories with conclusions you can learn from, and just enjoyable to listen to of course especially Hardcore History.

Agreed on both History of Rome [1] and Revolutions[2]. Also adding on "The History of Byzantium Podcast" by Robin Pierson[3], which continues where Mike left off with The History of Rome into the Eastern Empire.

I'll throw in "The British History Podcast" by Jamie Jeffers[4] as well, which does a really good job of explaining how life is like for the common people of Britain through history, and examining the historical sources he has to work with. Not many other history media to get into the details of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy!

1. https://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/ 2. https://www.revolutionspodcast.com/ 3. https://thehistoryofbyzantium.com/ 4. https://www.thebritishhistorypodcast.com/

I like Physics Frontiers - they just cover a couple of papers on a modern physics topic (Loop Quantum Gravity, or Octonions).

It's a physicist and sculptor who taught himself serious modern physics, so it's an interesting dynamic.

Not sure what your requirements for "educational" are, but I very much enjoy Scriptnotes [1]. It's tagline is "a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters". That should exclude me, but I still find much of what they talk about deeply fascinating. So much of it is applicable to any creative craft, and to other types of storytelling.

I keep a finger on the skip button for when they get stuck talking about politics of the movie industry.

1: https://johnaugust.com/podcast

It's not a podcost per se, but I've really been enjoying the Essential Craftsman channel on YouTube. They've got a video series going right now detailing the entire process of building a spec house (starting with bare dirt). It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I vastly underestimated the amount of engineering that went into it. They just finished up with the foundation, so now is a good time to get in if that kind of thing is of interest to you.

JRE discusses everything from Comedy, MMA, Psychedelics, Mind-expanding revelations, Conspiracies, Insights, and Fitness & Health in a jovial environment. I personally like the varied profile of guests on the show and how Joe takes their listeners through a curiosity led journey of understanding the expertise of the guests. http://podcasts.joerogan.net

Skeptoid with Brian Dunning is excellent!

"Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena is an award-winning weekly science podcast."


Each episode includes complete transcript, references, and further reading. It's pretty addicting.

Episode guide: https://skeptoid.com/episode_guide.php

I've been really enjoying The Omnibus Project [1]. It's more of a comedy / trivia podcast — more infotainment than educational, and I mean that in a good way — but I enjoy the deep dives into obscure topics and the wide-ranging knowledge & interests of the hosts.

[1] https://www.omnibusproject.com/

I started listening to https://fallofcivilizationspodcast.com/ ... I think it strikes a nice balance between reading history as a thrilling (albeit tragic) narrative and how much we don't know and just speculate about.

I feel that Radiolab sometimes falls into that category. I would also recommend Stuff You Should Know.

> I feel that Radiolab sometimes falls into that category.

I really, really hate how the show's edited, especially when handling dialog.

It's like they listened to This American Life and thought "This would be so much better with less chit chat and more fun sound effects!"

Science for the People does in-depth interviews about science and technology, including history and impact. One topic per podcast, and they stay on topic without unrelated asides.


Not only for managers, they have a lot of advice on productivity.

Stuff to Blow Your Mind - nice depth of dive into many topics with some humor, not taking itself too seriously. And the hosts have pleasant voices.

Factually! With Adam Conover. It is like his show Adam Ruins Everything but does a more in-depth dive into the topics.

"The Infinite Monkey Cage"

Professor Brian Cox, loads of smart other people and comedians talking about Science. Its outstanding.

The Daily by the New York Times - every weekday about 30 minutes on one topic


Hidden Brain



Hardcore History

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape - learned of it thru Opening Arguments - seems ok

The Intelligence by The Economist

Very Bad Wizards is a nice mix of psychology, philosophy, and crudeness.

Seth Godin's 'Akimbo'

In Our Time on BBC

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