Weekly Top 10: Podcasts
By Maddie Teren
Google the word podcast and 419 million results show up. Search through the Podcast app on your phone and thousands upon thousands of shows are available for your listening pleasure. Click over to the Podcast section of Spotify, and they are broken down into a dozen genres, each of which is filled with an endless array of programs. With so many options it can be hard to sift through them all, and even more challenging choose one to which you want to commit. Fortunately, this multitude of choices means there’s something for everyone.
Here in the Strategic Hospitality office, we all seem to have podcasts that suit our listening fancies. So we’re doing things a little differently for this week’s Weekly Top 5. We’re adding five more to the list, and focusing on one thing, and one thing only. You guessed it: podcasts.
Check out our Weekly Top TEN Podcasts below - in no particular order - and then go find your earbuds and dive in!
1. [History] Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History
History fans beware: this one’s gonna hook ya. Host Malcolm Gladwell is committed to exploring “the overlooked and the misunderstood” side of history. In each episode he takes a second look at something from the past — whether it’s a person, an idea, or an event that occurred — and then reevaluates and reinterprets those events. Asking questions like, What was misunderstood? Was history written from the winner’s point of view? He gives it a second examination; a second chance. It’s both an enjoyable and insightful listen, and gives you plenty of interesting tidbits to whip out at your next networking happy hour.
“[Revisionist History] is really well done; it’s critical thinking at its finest. This probably ranks as my number one podcast choice.” - Jordan
2. [Business] How I Built This with Guy Raz
Launched in September of 2016, How I Built This is a show that features innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists, exploring the stories behind the stuff they built. From the founders of Home Depot, to the guy who invented Wikipedia, to Ben and Jerry themselves, Guy Raz asks questions to find out how these folks built the empires they’ve established today. In the almost two years that it’s been on-air, HIBT has already put out more than 100 shows featuring some of today’s most successful business people, so you’ve got plenty of material to work through and plenty of lessons to learn for whenever you get the brilliant idea that allows you to build an empire of your own.
“The fun part is that the guests tend to be people who have created such behemoth companies and products — like, it’s stuff I’ve been using for ages — it’s really fascinating to hear the story behind the brand directly from the Lion’s Mouth.” - Maddie
“I love hearing stories of how ideas, companies, etc. are built and learning about their struggles and successes.” - Max
3. [Stories] Criminal: A Podcast About Crimes
Criminal is a podcast that explores different types of crime and shares stories of “people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” But the crimes detailed on this show aren’t all murder and thievery like the crimes we often see portrayed on TV. Host Phoebe Judge explores criminal stories and instances that are much less obvious but far more interesting. And because each episode explores a different crime and story (it’s not ongoing or sequential), this show is a great one to pick up and have a listen whenever you’ve got the urge.
“I became scared of owls because of this podcast. They cover some really fascinating stuff.”
- Maddie - Want to know why? Listen to this episode.
4. [Entertainment] Here to Make Friends - A Bachelor Recap Show
We didn’t say all of these podcasts were going to be intelligent and insightful, did we? ABC’s reality show franchise, The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, has been on the air for more than 15 years now (say what!?) so, to say the show has a loyal following would be an understatement. Here to Make Friends is Bachelor/Bachelorette recap show hosted by two HuffPost writers, Emma Gray and Claire Fallon who dissect every date, every kiss, and every hilarious scuffle from that week’s episode. It’s light and funny, and typically makes you feel really good about wherever you are in your dating life.
“They recap each week’s episode from both an emotionally invested and humorous perspective, while also analyzing what it reveals about relationships and dating from a feminist point of view. It truly changed the way I watch the show week to week.” - Simone
“This show is my guilty pleasure. I generally don’t read (err…listen) for fun but dang is it nice to tune out and just revel in that hot goss.” - Jordan
“This podcast is my Friday afternoon treat: when I need a boost to make it to the end of the week, listening to HTFM is the move. Emma and Claire are sarcastic and witty and the guests that they bring on are too. This one makes me LOL.” - Maddie
5. [Business] Worklife with Adam Grant
Did you know humans typically spend a quarter of their lives at work? That’s a big chunk! And organizational psychologist Adam Grant thinks we should enjoy it if we’re going to be there so dang much. In this podcast, Grant focuses each episode on one extraordinary workplace and the different ways in which they make work...work. For example, one episode took a look at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and investigated their brainstorming tactics in the writers’ room, only to reveal the immense power of creative collaboration and the importance of sharing both good and bad ideas.
“It’s a really great look at interpersonal communication and creative ways in which we can work smarter, instead of harder. Plus, even the advertisements are fantastic. I would honestly tune in just for those.” - Jordan
6. [Pop Culture + News] It's Erik Nagel
A show that discusses topics from “the other side of mainstream media,” It’s Erik Nagel focuses on...well, everything. The conversation typically hovers around pop culture, but often veers into current events, internet trends, social issues, video games, food, beer and more; there seems to be no limit to what Erik and his co-hosts will discuss. What used to be a show on Sirius XM has since turned into a podcast, and this program is what keeps our accountant John current, hip and with the times. Episodes come out around twice a week and John listens to every one — it prevents him from pulling his hair out. Thanks, Erik Nagel!
“I listen to every episode.” - John
7. [Female Empowerment] Lady Lovin’ with Jilly Hendrix, Greta Titelman, and Lo Bosworth
Hosted by three successful, New York-based women, Lady Lovin’ is a weekly conversation that focuses on female empowerment. The show discusses a wide range of topics, including relationships and sex, health and wellness, as well as business and growth. Plus, they host a slew of interesting guests, ranging from comedians to CEOs, all of whom have insightful perspectives on the subject at hand. They put out a new episode every Monday, so c’mon and start your week off with a little Lady Lovin’!
“While I’ve found many of their episodes educational and informative, I’ve also found many of their conversations to be super relatable and relevant to what women in their 20’s/30’s are going through. Every episode feels like a weekly gab with my gal pals!” - Simone
8. [Comic Books] Big Kev's Geek Stuff
With a name like this one, Geek Stuff isn’t too hard to decode or figure out. The show takes a look at various elements that proliferate and make up the "Geek" culture. Think: comic books, comic book-based movies, video games, collectibles, and other various geeky things. Whether the analysis focuses on Marvel or DC or a less widely known comic book publisher, you can bet Big Kev’s got something to say about it.
“If you’re not into comic books and that kind of thing, you probably won’t last 10 minutes with this show. But if you are, you’ll like it. Just please don’t judge me for being a nerd.” - John
9. [Entertainment] Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
One of the “Fab Five” from Netflix’s popular Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness is widely known for his role as grooming expert on the show. A hairdresser by trade, Jonathan has most certainly had conversations with a wide range of interesting people (what else do you do when you’re getting your hair done?). But on Getting Curious, he gets vulnerable with his guests with the intention of learning something new. Whether it’s deciphering the difference between British English and American English, discussing gender bias in film scoring, or diving right into what’s up with our nation’s opioid crisis, Jonathan isn’t afraid to ask questions about subjects he thinks he should know — with his signature fun and flare, of course.
“I thought the show would be more of a laugh than it ended up being but I like that it can be both fun and serious. It couldn’t not be fun with Jonathan as the host. I especially enjoy the episodes where he chats with his fellow Fab Five guys.” - Maddie
10. [Stories] Mystery Podcasts in General
We know, we know - we’re cheating a little with this last one. But there are so many incredible deep-dive mystery podcasts out there, we couldn’t pick just one favorite. All of the below programs require a bit of concentration, memory and sometimes commitment (Up and Vanished has more than 75 episodes!), but these stories leave you with the same satisfaction of finishing a nice, long book. They’re entertaining, sometimes frightening, and always worth the time spent.
What started as a side project for filmmaker-turned-amateur-investigator Payne Lindsey soon turned into something much more serious: cracking an 11 year-old murder investigation wide open. Payne somehow managed to figure out what the hell happened to beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead even though the case had gone cold. It took me a few episodes to really get hooked on it, but once I got going I couldn’t listen fast enough. - Maddie
While Dirty John starts out as a love story, it quickly takes a turn for the worse. Debra Newell met John Meehan on an online dating platform, and was thrilled to have found a man who seems to check all of her boxes. However, we soon find out that John is not the man he claims to be. Some of the characters and details in this investigation are so outrageous they actually seem unbelievable -- which only makes is juicier. This story was like something you might see on an HBO Drama series: SO GOOD. - Maddie
S-Town takes you on the journey of how a real-life / real-time investigation into a murder in “Shit Town Alabama” (hence, S-Town) unfolds into a whole new mystery about a man named John B McLemore. If you’ve not given it a listen, you should. It’s from the same folks who created Serial and This American Life (neither of which I’ve ever listened to, actually) but I opted see what S-Town was all about after multiple people recommended it. I’m so so glad I did, because I enjoyed it very much. So much so that I listened to it twice - once on my own and once on a road trip with my mom. - Jordan
Lore is fantastic. It focuses on folklore, so those real-life scary stories your grandparents used to tell you -- the same ones their grandparents told them. And so on and so forth. It runs through historical accounts of what people once, or maybe still do, believe is true. Shortly after I began listening, Amazon Video released a new series in which they bring these episodes to life. They’re interesting and you can learn a lot. Win, win! - Jordan
The story behind Season One of Serial had me hooked from the first episode. Host Sarah Koenig takes you through the mysterious murder of a high school senior in 1999, and the trial of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Syed, who claimed to be wrongfully accused, was arrested for the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Koenig’s investigation reveals how complicated the story behind the trial truly is and tries to find answers in order to help prove his innocence. I could re-listen to the entire podcast over and over again just to relive the suspense of this case! - Simone
Do you like to listen to something we missed? Tell us your favorite podcasts in the comments below.