5 Simple Joys: Podcasts

A good percentage of my adult life was spent driving my son to various sports practices. The soundtrack of those years was NPR: not only did it keep me entertained (and informed) but I like to think some of it rubbed off on my backseat passengers.

Now, my day is not complete without a long walk, outdoors as much as possible. Podcasts keep me company on those outings in the same way NPR did while I was driving: engaging my brain yet still allowing me to take in my surroundings.

For a simple joy, check out one of my five favorite podcasts at the moment, and please leave a comment if you have a favorite show that I’ve missed.

1. Freakonomics

5 simple joys: Freakonomics Podcast

As someone who devoured the 2005 Freakonomics book, signing up for the podcast was an easy decision. Stephen Dubner covers an eclectic range of topics … from the mystique of Trader Joe’s to the politics of Andrew Yang to the problems with high school math. Invariably, I learn something new, and predictably (annoyingly?) I try to pass along said information to whomever will listen. Pro tip: the live shows are fantastic.

2. Slate Money

 slate money podcast | simple prettyI discovered the Slate Money podcast last fall while in the throes of my Succession obsession, searching for “more” about the show. The weekly recap and commentary was clever, insightful, and had just enough snark to keep me hooked. The “regular” episodes are a lighthearted and straightforward discussion of the week’s financial news. Plus, I must confess, I really like Felix Salmon’s accent.

3. Reply All

reply all podcast | simple prettyA fascinating and entertaining dive into all things Internet. I have learned so much from this podcast … and have become so much savvier regarding my phone/laptop/app use. Is Facebook listening to you? Why did a Snapchat account get hacked? Wonder about two-factor authentication? Or just want to understand something tech-related better? PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman have you covered.

4. Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

conan o'brien needs a friend podcast | simple prettyRecommended by a culturally savvy friend, I admit I was skeptical at first, as I don’t watch O’Brien’s TV show. I started by listening to episodes that featured celebrities I found interesting. (see: Lin-Manuel Miranda; Tina Fey; Charles Barkley) Each week, the concept grew on me. O’Brien is a skilled interviewer (no surprise), but my favorite parts just might be the banter between O’Brien and the regulars, Sona Movsesian (his longtime assistant) and podcast producer Matt Gourley.

5. Lovett or Leave It

lovett or leave it podcast | simple prettyAfter the 2016 election, I found myself consuming a lot of political media in an attempt to process “what happened”. I first landed on Pod Save America, as their outrage was cathartic. It sustained me for a while, but I know myself: I process grief/outrage/anger best through comedy. Jon Lovett’s weekly podcast is a targeted smart-take on politics, with extra-credit for exposure to the millennial mindset/culture.

image credits: freakonomics.com, slate.com,gimletmedia.com, earwolf.com, crooked.com