If you don’t already know, podcasts are short audio programs you can download onto your iPod or smart phone, and listen to at your leisure. Sort of like a DVR/TiVo for audio. Most of them are free downloads, and most smart phones have a built-in app for listening. I encourage you take advantage of these — there is so much wonderful creativity going on with podcasts.

Some are serial in nature, so you’ll want to listen to them in order. Others are self-contained, you can just listen to what sounds interesting. And just like programs on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon — you may find yourself binge-listening to a really good podcast.

I’ve been struck by podcasts that have me either laughing out loud or weeping on the train ride home. Embarrassing, sure. But powerful.

A few I have been enjoying lately :

  • By the Book : Two women take on self-help books. They live two weeks according to the advice of a book, then compare notes on whether it works, how their husbands reacted, and whether they would recommend the book. Funny!
  • Can He Do That? by The Washington Post : A politics and policy explainer to help us understand what the President has the legal right to do. Listen to whatever topics are interesting to you.
  • Crimetown : The story of organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island. Great characters, true stories.
  • Dumb People Town : Three comedians plus a guest examine dumb people that make it into the paper for how idiotic they were. (Often in Florida.)
  • The Grift : True stories about con artists and the lives they ruin. Just ten episodes, but they are riveting!
  • Lore : Lore covers the roots of scary stories. Why is the house haunted? Do people really have a connection with the ethereal world, or with the animal kingdom? Why would people even ask that?
  • Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly : “Because none of us is as smart as all of us.” These two have great banter, and deliver analysis about the economy, technology, and culture. They bring in experts to help explain how what is in the news will affect you.
  • S-Town by This American Life : An Alabama man is certain someone got away with murder. Sure enough someone ends up dead. Another true life story, unfolding bit by bit.
  • Serial by This American Life : An investigation into a true crime. Definitely listen in order. Season one was a huge hit.

Got one to recommend? Lay it on me in the comments!

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