Despite almost everyone I know jumping on the Audible train, I just can’t do audiobooks.
But podcasts? Now we’re talking!
I love listening to podcasts (which are similar to on-demand radio shows…or at least that’s how I explain them to my grandparents) when I’m driving or doing mindless tasks—like cleaning, wrapping Christmas gifts, cooking dinner, washing dishes, or knitting. Are you the same way?
And do you do this? I often choose a podcast based upon what I’m feeling, like if I want to be informed versus entertained.
For instance, if I’m trying to fall asleep, then I won’t listen to the five best tips to rock Instagram this year (my brain would explode with ideas!). I choose a less mind-stimulating episode instead.
But I’m picky.
What I Look For in a Podcast
According to my unofficial rating system, the absolute best podcasts of all time often meet at least two of these three criteria:
- Quality Production. The best podcasts of all time tell a story in a compelling way, weave in complimentary sound effects or interview clips, and stay on track—a.k.a. no rambling!
- Talented Interviewer, one who can coax the most interesting answers just by asking the right questions. They need to be curious…and a little nosy! I also need to feel like this isn’t just a sales pitch for the interviewee’s book or course.
- Powerful Communicators. Someone who can inspire, doesn’t beat around the bush, and says exactly what you need to hear in a way that moves you to action (this is especially important for the best informative podcasts or if the host is going solo, i.e. if the podcast is not an interview!).
I try out a LOT of podcasts, but I unsubscribe if an episode doesn’t check off one of my nonnegotiables.
Lucky for you, the following ten make the cut! If you have a road trip coming up or just want to add more education or entertainment to your day, I highly recommend you try one from this list of the best podcasts of all time!
Don’t forget to share your favorite podcasts with me in the comments below!
My Top Ten Best Podcasts of All Time
1. 10 Things to Tell You
This is a show about sharing your stuff. Host Laura Tremaine’s casual and friendly voice will make you fall in love with her instantly!
She talks about journaling, books, life lessons, and occasionally shares an interview or two with prompts you can take to your journal or social media. But I enjoy her solo episodes best.
2. How I Built This
If you love inspiring entrepreneurship stories, welcome to your new favorite podcast!
Guy Raz interviews the founders of well-known brands—Starbucks, Whole Foods, Spanx, and Dyson, just to name a few!—to discover how they came up with their ideas, as well as the pitfalls and successes they experienced along the way.
I love this behind-the-scenes glimpse into some my favorite companies; every episode inspires me to keep going with my own.
3. Science Vs
Don’t be fooled by the title. This isn’t your typical boring science textbook masquerading in audio form.
Wendy Zukerman (she’s an Australian journalist, so you’ll love her accent!) goes beyond fads and opinions to find out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between.
I’ve listened to episodes on antidepressant medication, how to stop a killer asteroid, organic food, Big Foot, and more. They’ve all been fascinating!
4. Up and Vanished
(Genre: True Crime)
I don’t listen to a ton of true crime podcasts (because again, they have to be produced well!), but this one ranks at the tippy top along with Season 1 of Serial.
Payne Lindsey digs into a Georgia cold case and uncovers clues even the police missed. In fact, two people get arrested because the podcast inspired people to come forward with new information!
5. Imagined Life
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to walk in the shoes of a legend … and not even realize it? That’s exactly what this podcast invites you to experience!
Travel back in time to learn about the surprising moments and challenges that shaped someone’s life before they were famous. Joseph and I love guessing “who” this person is as the podcast drops clues along the way.
Sometimes we are right and other times we are totally off!
6. What Should I Read Next?
This podcast guarantees I’ll never experience a TBR list shortage. If you love books and bookish talk, you need to download this delightful show by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Anne plays literary matchmaker with her guests based on the books they love, hate, and what they’re currently reading. I always walk away with at least one new recommendation (or five!).
7. Online Marketing Made Easy
For online business owners, Amy Porterfield delivers loads of valuable content through her show. She’s always up to date on the latest trends (or at least interviewing someone who is), and I can count on her to provide practical strategies over vague theory.
Honestly, I feel like Amy and I could be business besties in real life. She is super personable yet totally Type A—I just love her!
8. Ear Hustle
(Genre: Society & Culture)
This one is totally out of my box, but I also loved the show Prison Break. So, maybe not?
Anyway, a journalist AND an inmate produce a podcast together of all the crazy things that go on behind-the-scenes inside this California prison. You’ll learn what it’s really like to be in the SHU (Solitary Housing Unit), how inmates date, and even how badly racism divides the men.
Warning: there is some crass talk and language in this one. But again, it’s a prison, so….
(Genre: News & Politics)
You guys, I really debated adding this one because Allie Stuckey can be pretty divisive.
I don’t agree with her on everything (she is a very reformed Christian conservative), but I do appreciate how she approaches each political topic with research and evidence. She really knows her stuff!
10. The Lazy Genius
For short episodes full of life-changing hacks, Kendra from The Lazy Genius has your back! This podcast helps you become a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. That’s right up my ally.
From how to create the perfect playlist to no-fail meal plan formulas, you’ll learn how to lazy genius just about anything and make life a whole lot easier.
My Favorite Podcast App
Many podcasts have their own websites that allow you to listen to each episode in your internet browser.
But my favorite way to listen is through Pocketcasts.
This app is super easy to use and is 100% free! Both iPhone and Android users can download it (another win), and you can use the search function to find exactly what topic you’re in the mood for rather than combing through each individual show.
Like I mentioned before, my list is not permanent. I fall in and out of love with podcasts on the regular and don’t hesitate to unsubscribe if I’m just not feeling that particular podcast anymore. Some I’ve unsubscribed and then resubscribed later!
I hope you’ve found a few new podcasts to try using this list of the best podcasts of all time (at least, according to me!) as a starting off point. And if you’ve never listened to one before, I encourage you to give it a shot. You might just become podcast-obsessed like I am!
Do you listen to podcasts?
I would love to hear your favorites in a comment below!
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